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New World Order: Disorder Prevails

"People still die of hunger although more food is produced today than ever before..The food is in the hands of fewer and fewer corporations and is only available for money..The right of investors to invest their money at the same conditions should be guaranteed. Free foxes run in the free chicken coop. On the other hand, the right of people to share in social wealth is not guaranteed." This article is translated from the German in FriedensForum,9/02
New World Order: Disorder Prevails

The Peace Movement and September 11

By Werner Ratz

[Many had hoped for a new order of peace with the ending of deterrence and blocks bristling with arms. Many regarded the mutual threat with nuclear and conventional armaments as anachronistic. Social interests seemed halfway assured in the East and the West. A peace dividend encouraging dignified worldwide conditions should have arisen after the military disarmament.]

[This article originally published in: FriedensForum July 2002 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://www.friedenskooperative.de/ff/ff02/3-63.htm. Werner Ratz is active in the Latin American Information Agency (Bonn) and in the coordinating circle of Attac Germany.]


George Bush, the former US president and father of the current president, spoke of a new world order. The first act of this new order was the second Gulf war. This was a "war for oil" as he described it at that time and a war for his own sake and for direct military control. The new world order defines worldwide power more militarily than economically or politically.

All important countries follow this course. Germany is again on the battlefields today after merely paying for war in the second Gulf war. The Nato treaty whose supposed defensive orientation was never trusted by the peace movement is changed and now allows protecting interests nearly everywhere in the world

The dismantling of former Yugoslavia, the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia over a few square kilometers of desert and the conflict between India and Pakistan at the brink of nuclear war set precedents. With all force, the great and the small compete for their place in the new world disorder.

The great ones are not generous. No deviations will be tolerated any more, the new Bush proclaimed. "We will show our strength to whoever doesn't dance according to our tune!" The power elites worldwide do not agree with chancellor Schroder's word of unconditional solidarity out of obsequiousness, stupidity or opportunism. We should determine ourselves what are our interests, who are our friends and how we should act...

Some groups cannot keep up with this power game. In the Arab world, there are segments of the money- and power elite who feel cut short. The name of the Saudi billionaire Osama bin Laden is representative for these elites. These groups reproach the rulers for wanting to be in their place. Since everyone uses violence, why shouldn't they? Criminal acts like the terrorist attacks of September 11 or the suicide assassinations in Israel are shocking expressions of this violent competition.

Competition as a formative principle of social relations always has a dimension pressing to force. Whoever threatens to fall behind in this plane and has means of force is tempted to use this force.

"Globalization" is a vague term, a container word in which everything fits. However globalization describes a process of generalized worldwide competition in all areas. Euphemistic terms like "personal responsibility", "personal initiative", "activating welfare state" and "freedom of choice" may not mislead us. Violent relations arise out of the generalized competition where physical coercion prevails.

People still die of hunger although more food is produced today than ever before. This food is in the hands of fewer and fewer corporations and is only available for money. Much technological, political and financial expense ensures that this inequity continues. Seed that cannot germinate and multiply any more, intellectual property rights, patents on food and living creatures and hard extortion of whole states are current methods.

The new world trade rounds and the further liberalization efforts in the framework of the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) set a "legal" framework for this injustice. All elements of caring for existence are described as "service". Old age pension schemes, medical aid in sickness and food security are no longer distinguished from the hairdresser visit or the car wash. These should all be freely traded.

The right of investors to invest their money in these areas everywhere in the world at the same conditions should be guaranteed. Free foxes run in the free chicken coop.

On the other hand, the right of people to share in social wealth is not guaranteed. Whoever cannot afford drinking water, health care and other means of survival must do without them. When the poor of the world do not go away to seek a future elsewhere, they are hindered with laws, harassment and open violence. There is always enough money for the police, the military and repression.

In the meantime, neoliberal globalization creates sectors in societies of the North whose living conditions are similar to those of the majority in the South. Human rights are withheld from the illegalized. Legal migrants hardly have any rights. They cannot either receive the subsistence level defined by social security or move freely. So-called "compulsory deportees" are in jail, locked up in some countries in inhuman camps, deported or killed. There are wretched production sites where the poorest of all must slave away as in the times of early capitalism and are paid in London, Amsterdam and New York as much as in free production zones in Asia.

The downward spiral seizes more and more people. The homeless, drug addicts, senior citizens needing care and the sick without family, friends or financial "resources" and the long-term unemployed find fewer and fewer possibilities for improving their conditions. Unemployment grows. Ever more often the unemployed themselves are made responsible. The environment falls under the wheel of positional competition. Old age and sickness could soon become poverty risks again.

All this is not only an inconceivable waste of human possibilities, capacity for work, imagination and intelligence. This is also an immense squandering of wealth. These conditions do not simply develop automatically. Producing and maintaining these conditions costs much money and personnel. No powerless trim state stands there and looks on. Rather a strong state acts in the interest of its clients. There is always enough money for the police, border control and the jail system.

This globalized disorder must be enforced again and again. World trade rounds and wars, summit diplomacy and migration regimes, police controls and neutralization of protests serve that end. The new EU (European Union) definition of "terrorism" is so vague and sweeping that it could be applied to anti-war activists or activists critical of globalization. A model of absolute good and absolute evil including a whole number of new Hitlers accompanies the wars of the new world order.

As movements that set out at different points of this development, we must adjust when we suddenly find ourselves - as individuals - on the evil side.

We may not leave one another alone. That is the first imperative.

Secondly, we must understand that wars serve the preservation of the globalized disorder and the global disorder produces wars. The distinctiveness of these two movements disappears. The interest of one is to strengthen the other.

Thirdly, the most important, most fundamental and most drastic consequence of war and globalization is migration. Whoever loses sight of migrants misses the whole picture. Only a small part of this migration reaches Europe or the US. We have to look about worldwide at who moves, how one moves, organizes and seeks partnership. We may not leave them alone when they are demonized.

So the circle closes.

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