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New Political Science, Volume 26, Number 1, March 2004

From Globalism to Globalization: The Politics ofResistance1

Benjamin ArditiNational University of Mexico (UNAM)

Abstract The assumption of this article is that the “second great transformation”proposed by global actors parallels the one advanced by those who resisted laissez-fairecapitalism in the 19th century. Both dispute the unilateral imposition of a new planetaryorder and endeavor to modify the rhythm and direction of economic processes presentedas either fact or fate. In doing so, they effectively place the question of the politicalinstitution of this order on the agenda. I look briefly at the familiar underside ofglobalism and then move on to develop a tentative typology of initiatives that set the tonefor a politics of globalization. These include radical and viral direct action, theimprovement of the terms of exchange between industrialized and developing countries,the expansion of the public sphere outside national borders through global networks, theaccountability of multilateral organizations, and the advancement of democracy at asupranational level. Participants in these initiatives take politics beyond the liberal-democratic format of elections and partisan competition within the nation-state. Theyexercise an informal supranational citizenship that reclaims—and at the same timereformulates—the banners of social justice, solidarity, and internationalism as part of thepublic agenda.

Ever since the market ceased to be a taboo and globalization became a dominantcognitive framework, the Left seems to have confined itself to a principledcommitment toward the dispossessed and a continual call for measures toameliorate inequality. Outside the mainstream, globaliphobic groups—an ex-pression I use as shorthand to designate the naysayer as well as Beck’s “black,”“green,” and “red” protectionists2—offer more militant, yet scarcely innovativeresponses. They conceive globalization as a purely negative phenomenon, littlemore than old capitalism dressed in new clothes. For them, especially the redand black globaliphobes, the assault on sovereignty spearheaded by govern-ments and multilateral agencies in the name of international trade strengthensthe hand of the business and financial community, compromises the autonomyof domestic political decisions, and reinforces the submissive status of less

1 I would like to thank Toshi Knell, Eric Mamer and two anonymous reviewers forNew Political Science for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.

2 Ulrich Beck, What is Globalization? (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000). For Beck, “black”protectionists mourn the loss of national values, the “green” variety upholds the state asthe last line of defense against the international market’s assault on environmental values,while the “red” ones maintain their faith in Marxism and see globalization as yet anotherexample of the class struggle.

ISSN 0739-3148 print/ISSN 1469-9931 online/04/010005–18  2004 Caucus for a New Political ScienceDOI: 10.1080/0739314042000185102

6 Benjamin Arditi

developed countries to the dictates of the major industrial nations. Globali-phobes are quite right about this, but they also think about the phenomenonfrom a reductionist perspective that confuses globalization with what Beck calls“globalism,” that is, “the ideology of rule by the world market, the ideology ofneoliberalism.”3 In doing so, they neglect the range of contending forces set intomotion by the process of globalization itself. The paradoxical effect of thisconfusion is that their diagnostic converges with that of the neoliberal right: bothconceive globalization as a victory of liberalism, except that each assignsopposite values to it.

Yet the hegemony of the market and free trade is not quite the same as thevictory of liberalism tout court. When one looks at the efforts to recast the rulesand the institutional design of the international order that has been emergingfrom the ruins of the Berlin wall, the thesis of a liberal end of history proves tobe somewhat premature. Globalism undermines Westphalian sovereignty anddeepens inequality, but also has at least a potential for political innovation as theresistance to globalism opens the doors for an expansion of collective actionbeyond its conventional enclosure within national borders. Notwithstanding theunipolarity of the international order, the wide array of new global warriors thatrally around the banner of the World Social Forum—“another world is poss-ible”—are assembling a politics that seeks to move the current setting beyondmere globalism. This intervention examines some of the symptoms of this move.

The Underside of Globalism

Every age of great changes brings along an underside. Nineteenth-centuryindustrialization unleashed a productive power on a scale unknown beforewhile it simultaneously destroyed traditional communities, virtually wiped outthe cottage industry of artisan production, and created a new urban underclass.Industrial society also saw the emergence of efforts to resist and modify thecapitalist reorganization of the world. Globalization, with its remarkable time–space compression and its impact on our perception of distance,4 presents uswith an underside too. It has three salient aspects: the deepening gap betweenrich and poor countries, the creation of a mobile elite and an increasinglyconfined mass, and the resurrection of more rigid and less liberal models ofidentity as a defensive reaction to the dislocations brought upon by globalizationunder the guise of globalism.

The first point has been discussed profusely.5 For the purpose of our

3 Ibid., p. 9.4 Zygmunt Bauman, Globalization: The Human Consequences (Cambridge: Polity Press,

1998), pp. 16ff.5 The figures of inequality are staggering. At the end of the 19th century, the difference

in the average income of the richest and the poorest country was 9:1. Things got muchworse since then. According to the UN, the income gap between the richest 20% and thepoorest 20% of the planet in 1960 was 30:1, while in 1997 it jumped to 74:1. The case ofAfrica is even more daunting, as the average GNP of around US$360 per person is belowthe annual service of the foreign debt. In countries like Angola and the Ivory Coast, it issimply not payable, for it stands at 298% and 146% of their GNP correspondingly.Moreover, despite our extraordinary capacity to produce food, every 3.6 seconds some-where on the planet someone dies of hunger or for reasons directly derived from it. Thatmakes 24,000 deaths per day. In the meantime, average international aid from develop-

From Globalism to Globalization 7

argument, it suffices to point out that one does not need to be an orthodoxcommunist or a Rousseau-style egalitarian to understand that a minimumthreshold of equality is required to shore up governance and level the field forparticipants in the public sphere. The second aspect addresses a sociologicalissue. While moral indignation in the face of human suffering is not enough toreorient the global patterns of development towards greater social justice andsolidarity, the persistence of exclusion confirms the coexistence of two worlds orlife-experiences concerning globalization. These typically show themselves, andconverge, in one place, border crossings, and around one issue, mobility.Advocates of globalism extol the virtues of the free transit of capitals, goods,services, and people. Without it, globalization faces a real and perhaps unsur-passable limit. That is why the World Trade Organization (WTO) insists on thisfree passage. However, migratory controls to stop the entry of those fleeing frompoverty or persecution multiply. The freedom of the market, say Zincone andAgnew, entails a schizophrenic logic—positive for capital and negative forlabor.6 The UN reports something similar: “The collapse of space, time andborders may be creating a global village, but not everyone can be a citizen. Theglobal professional elite now face low borders, but billions of others find bordersas high as ever.”7 Bauman builds on this to identify a novel socio-politicaldivision developing in the global order. If distance has ceased to be an obstacleonly for the rich—since for the poor it never was more than a shackle—thiscreates a new type of division between the haves and the haves not. The formerare tourists who travel because they can and want to do so, while the latter arevagabonds, people who move because the world around them is unbearable,more of a prison than a home.8 While the vagabond is the nightmare of thetourist, he says, they share something in that they are both “radicalized”consumers—they are embarked in a continual pursuit of satisfaction fueled bydesire rather than by the object of desire—only that the former is a “defective”one. Thus, they are not mutually exclusive categories, both because touristsmight become vagabonds and because one might occupy the position of thetourist in some domains and of the vagabond in others.

The third salient aspect of globalization arises from the exponential increasein the pace of political, technological, economic, or cultural change. Its impact is

(Footnote continued)ment countries has dropped from 0.33% of their GNI in 1990 to 0.23% in 2001, withDenmark topping the list at 1.08% and the US positioning itself at the bottom with just0.11%. See United Nations, Human Development Report 1999 (Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 1999); UN, Human Development Report 2003,;Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents (London: Penguin Books, 2002); JanNederveen Pieterse, “Global Inequality: Bringing Politics Back In,” Third World Quarterly23:6 (2002), pp. 1023–1046; Nancy Birdsall, “Life is Unfair: Inequality in the World,”Foreign Policy 111 (1998), pp. 76–93; Adam Zagorin, “Seattle Sequel,” TIME, April 17, 2000,p. 36;; Giovanna Zincone and John Agnew, “The SecondGreat Transformation: The Politics of Globalization in the Global North,” Space and Polity4:2 (2000), pp. 5–21; W. Bowman Cutter, Joan Spero and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, “NewWorld, New Deal: A Democratic Approach to Globalization,” Foreign Affairs 79:2 (2000),pp. 80–98; Barry K. Gills (ed.), Globalization and the Politics of Resistance (Basingstoke:Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).

6 Zincone and Agnew, op. cit., p. 12.7 Human Development Report 1999, p. 31.8 Bauman, op. cit., pp. 20–24, 92–97.

8 Benjamin Arditi

undecidable. It can be lived as an opening up of possibilities for emancipatoryprojects or as a threat to identity and to the certainties of a more familiar world.When the latter gains the upper hand, people might turn to aggressive forms ofnationalism, religious orthodoxy, tribalism, or messianic leaders—none of whichare likely to enhance toleration—with the expectation of restoring certainty. Thisis not entirely new. The industrial revolution also undermined the referents ofeveryday life without offering cultural responses, at least not at the beginning.Marx and Engels describe the distinctive traits of the dislocations brought uponby capitalism in a well-known passage of the Manifesto. They say:

Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all socialconditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epochfrom all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient andvenerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones becomeantiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holyis profaned.

Nationalism helped to counteract this “uninterrupted disturbance” that un-dermined identities and governmentality. Kahler argues that in the 19th century,especially after the expansion of the franchise, the emergence of mass national-ism had a political function, for it enabled states to forge strong links with thecitizenry and to ensure their loyalty in an age of democracy. Later, anticommu-nism and the promise of economic prosperity replaced nationalism as a politicalprogrammed.9 Globalism has nothing comparable to offer, or rather, as Debrayremarks, it seems to offer no other mystique than the prospect of economicgrowth.10 The latter is certainly desirable, at least if one expects some form ofincome distribution as its side effect, but it is probably not enough to sway thosewhose livelihood and identity are threatened by the rapid reorganization oflabor markets and trade patterns. As suggested, the danger here is the possibleappeal of projects that offer certainty at the expense of toleration. The strong andoften violent revival of nationalism and the aggressive affirmation of ethnicidentities illustrate an uncanny hardening of territorial and cultural frontiers ina global setting where the role of borders is supposed to have waned. This iscomplicated further by the rise of religious radicalism and by the religiouscoding of the global terrorism that became notorious after the events of 9/11.Since then, those hitherto known as freedom fighters became the securitynightmare of the West. Much to the chagrin of those advocating the end ofhistory in the aftermath of the Cold War, the enduring presence of suchradicalism shows that the liberal world-view is not without rivals. Interestingly,Debray describes religious radicalism—but not religious terrorism—as a defens-ive response to the loss of a sense of belonging, or better still, to the dislocationof cultural referents in the wake of globalism. He argues that when people feellost the list of “believers” usually grows. That is why he says that sometimes

9 Miles Kahler, “The Survival of the State in European International Relations,” inCharles S. Maier (ed.), The Changing Boundaries of the Political (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1987), pp. 288, 290; also Richard Falk, “The Decline of Citizenship in theEra of Globalization,” Meeting Point (1998),

10 Regis Debray, “God and the Political Planet,” New Perspectives Quarterly 4:2 (1994),p. 15.

From Globalism to Globalization 9

religion (but we could also say “nationalism” or “ethnic intolerance,” which aresimilar in this respect) turns out to be not the opium of the people but thevitamin of the weak.11

Globalism therefore revolutionizes the certainties of the past and insertsentire populations into a more open, changing and diverse world, often enhanc-ing the array of options of how and where to live their lives. Bauman’s touristsembody this freedom of choice and movement, so dear to liberal thought. Yet italso reminds us of a possible trade off between these new possibilities and therelative security that accompanied identities in a more parochial world. Baumancaptures this disorientation when he speaks of globalization as the perception of“things getting out of hand.”12 The question here is not simply the fear ofturning into vagabonds or remaining trapped forever in that position; it refersinstead to the demand for certainty, a desire for more rigid codes that functionas navigational maps for living in a world in constant flux. This is what Debrayhad in mind when he described religion as a vitamin of the weak. This vitamin,however, is not sought by the casualties of globalism alone, but also by thechampions of globalism who must now face the flip side of cheap airfares, cheapweapons, and cheap digital communications being available to its opponentstoo. In an international scene dominated by a neo-Hobbesian concern forsecurity—terrorism, AIDS, drugs or immigration—the trade off between arapidly changing world and the demand for certainty—both in the center and inthe periphery of global capitalism—reinforces our suspicion about a facileendorsement of a liberal telos of history. It does so if only because it reveals thatnot everyone sees capitalism—which Milton Friedman famously characterizedas a general freedom to choose—and political liberalism as universally validgoods, and because sometimes the very advocates of those values easily overridethem by imposing illegal tariffs on imports or by engaging in wars of aggressionin the name of prosperity and security.

Resistances to Globalism

Yet to accept this underside as a necessary consequence of globalization is tosubmit to the naturalist fallacy of globalism, which presents the unilateralimposition of a world order modeled around the Washington Consensus as ourdestiny instead of as an act of political institution. Arguably, one could say thatthe war on terrorism unleashed after 9/11 reactivates its political origin. It is thetrue index of globalization, or if one prefers, an implicit acknowledgement thatglobalism seeks to hegemonize globalization but can neither control nor exhaustit. However, it is the disagreement with and resistance to the current state ofthings that reactivates it explicitly.

What type of resistance? Another parallel with the 19th century can help toclarify this. Simplifying things a bit, the range of responses of those excludedfrom the benefits of the industrial revolution oscillated between two perspec-tives. One was the destruction of machines advocated by the Luddites in therevolts of the 1810s and 1820s in the North of England—mainly the Midlands,Yorkshire, and Lancashire. Theirs was a mode of direct action motivated by near

11 Ibid.12 Bauman, Globalization: Human Consequences, p. 59.

10 Benjamin Arditi

starvation and the desperation stemming from it, but also by a desire to restorethe working conditions of earlier times, which presupposed that a return to thepre-industrial economy of small-scale producers and artisans was a viablealternative. Marx and the International Working Men’s Association or FirstInternational exemplified the other position. For them there was little or no roomfor nostalgia since capitalism was here to stay, so the political task of the daywas not to destroy machines but to organize the resistance of the dispossessedthrough trade unions and other movements. Their aim was to transform capital-ism from within in order to build a more just and fraternal society. In thecelebrated opening lines of the Manifesto, their socialist and internationalistproject was the specter haunting Europe—or rather, the European ruling classes.Polanyi sees the alternative in similar, yet less revolutionary terms, as he claimsthat by the 1830s “[E]ither machines had to be demolished, as the Luddites hadtried to do, or a regular labor market had to be created. Thus was mankindforced into the paths of a utopian experiment.”13

Today we face a similar challenge and a new specter, one haunting theneoliberal efforts to reduce globalization to globalism. While globaliphobes—inmany ways the latter-day Luddites—see globalization as the ruse of capitalismand call for a return to the state-centered and protectionist policies of the past,others have chosen to become global warriors to transform the current state ofaffairs. Like their socialist predecessors in the industrial age, the more lucidcritics of the global condition are not against globalization or trade per se. Justlike those who opposed Gulf War II were not always pacifists, in the sense thatmany did not pose a moral injunction to war as such but only to a war thatlacked the moral and political legitimacy of a UN resolution, these critics are notnecessarily opposed to globalization but rather to globalism.14 They do not standin awe for the momentum it has gathered nor delude themselves about theeventual disappearance of its negative effects either. They partake in the globalfray to modify the course of globalization from within. Global warriors aim tobring about what Zincone and Agnew, in a felicitous play of words with the titleof Polanyi’s celebrated study of industrialization, call the political phase of the“second great transformation.”15

We can read the latter as a move from globalism to globalization, whichamounts to an effort to politicize economic processes currently mystified aseither fact or fate. I propose a tentative typology of the initiatives undertaken byglobal-minded actors. It functions as a provisional guideline to differentiateforms of collective action that seek to modify the course of globalization. Theircommon trait is the resistance to the Washington Consensus of the 1990s—cap-tured in ATTAC’s slogan “The World is not for Sale”—in order to transform

13 Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time(1944), foreword by Joseph E. Stiglitz and introduction by Fred Block (Boston: BeaconPress, 2001), p. 85.

14 A similar point is made by Fabio de Nardis, “From Local to Global: Values andPolitical Identity of the Young Participants in the European Social Forum,” paperpresented at the Sixth Conference of the European Sociological Association, Murcia,Spain, September 23–26, 2003.

15 Zincone and Agnew, op. cit., pp. 7–8. Also Mary Kaldor, “‘Civilizing’ Globalization?The Implications of the ‘Battle in Seattle’,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 29:1(2000), pp. 105–114.

From Globalism to Globalization 11

globalism from within and below. Their actions extend the political field—andby implication, the scope of citizenship—beyond the enclosure of the nation-state. As in any classification, the boundaries between the various groupings aresomewhat porous, as initiatives tend to overlap and to appear conjointly. I willdistinguish six types, the first two being common to political activism moregenerally.

Radical Direct Action

The lingering perception of the anti-globalization (i.e. anti- globalism) movementconsists of a string of cities—Seattle, Prague, Gothenburg, Genoa—accompaniedby images of sit-ins, smashed windows, street violence, police barricades, andpeople being arrested. It also includes iconic referents like the destruction of aMcDonald’s restaurant in France led by José Bové and the ConfédérationPaysanne to protest against the use of genetically modified foods. This imageryis prevalent partly because street-based politics tends to be more salient and thusthe media picks on it as newsworthy. They are also the ones that instill most fearin the hearts of governments, business leaders, and multilateral agencies moreaccustomed to the logic of expert committees than to mass mobilizations,although at times they embarrass and even undermine the strategic planning ofother global protesters too. That is why some might argue that many activistgroups lack a strategic political compass. This is correct, but it is not the fullstory, as they range from strict globaliphobes to those with a clearer agenda fortransforming globalism. Examples of those who do have such an agenda arethose who participate in the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre, in the morerecent European Social Forum, which gathered nearly 60,000 people whenlaunched in Florence in November 2002, as well in other initiatives I willmention shortly.16 Leading organizations associated with direct action includethe Ruckus Society, Global Exchange, and an array of anarchist groups like theBlack Bloc.17 One could also mention the “glocal” dimension of resistance, likethe international support for local struggles against privatized utility companiesin Third World countries. Here one can think of solidarity campaigns for theBolivian Water Wars of 2000 against a subsidiary of Bechtel Corporation inCochabamba, or for the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee set up to resist rateincreases of privatized state utilities in South Africa.18

16 See Fabio de Nardis, “Note Marginale del Forum Sociale Europeo,” Il Dubbio: Rivistadi Critica Sociale 3:3 (2002),

17 Jeffrey St. Clair, “Seattle Diary: It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas,” New Left Review 238 (1999),p. 88; also “Hans Bennett Interviews Bobo,” Alternative Press Review 7:1 (2002), The Ruckus Society ( has a training camp for direct action where “Participants split their timebetween theoretical/strategic workshops focusing on a wide array of advanced campaignskills and hands-on technical training in tactics for non-violent demonstrations. Theobjective of each Action camp is to provide participants with the opportunity to sharestrategies, facilitate leadership development, and build relationships that will help tospawn more collaboration in the form of alliance, networks, and coalitions.”

18 For the Bechtel case, see For theSoweto and other resistances to the privatization programs induced by the IMF and theWB, see Paul Kingsnorth, “One No, Many Yesses: The Rise of the New ResistanceMovement,” June 2003,

12 Benjamin Arditi

Advocates of direct action—who can be violent or non-violent in theirexpression of discontent with the order of things—are the generic equivalent ofthe “dangerous classes” of 19th-century conservative discourse. Yet most move-ments and protests have a radical wing or radical strands among their ranks.Luddites shunned negotiation or accommodation within the system, and pro-moted the destruction of machines instead of proposing an alternative to thebrutal exploitation of early capitalism. They ultimately failed, but theirs provedto be a productive failure, for cotton merchants and politicians got the messageabout the perils of excessive greed. New social movements have been perhapsless destructive of private property, although the cathartic dimension of destruc-tion should not be overlooked in mass protests. Yet they also appealed to radicaldirect action to advance their cause—the antinuclear protests in Germany duringthe 1970s and the guerrilla tactics of Greenpeace are typical examples. One canagree or not with these “hot” actions, which are often accompanied by moreprotests and slogans than by strategic proposals, but they play an importantrole. They provide an initial momentum for resistances to globalism and for theglobalization of resistances, and therefore contribute to give visibility to thepolitical phase of the “second great transformation.” As Wallach says, some-times direct action helps to cut through the arrogance of the internationalbureaucracy.19 Experts of multilateral agencies often refuse to give any seriousthought to proposals of advocacy groups or stall them in the paper chase ofcountless committees. As theorists of realpolitik have shown, a capacity fordisruption—which is a de facto veto power—serves as a bargaining tool, in thiscase helping global warriors to get their case heard.

Viral Direct Action

The analogical model of these initiatives is the propagation of digital virusesover the Web: once they start to circulate, whoever created them loses track ofhow they propagate and cannot control who will get infected or when they willbe contained. Chain letters are a less damaging example of such dissemination.Terrorist cells are a more threatening illustration. Viral action coincides withwhat Deleuze and Guattari designate as a “rhizome,” a mode of organizationthat lacks an “arborescent” or tree-like central structure connecting and directingits parts.20 A rhizome links people and individuals, and facilitates furtherlinks—independent initiatives generated by other groups and individuals—without the usual hierarchies or infrastructure of more conventional social andpolitical organizations. The range of viral actions is quite broad. While it is notconfined to the “cool” medium of cyberspace, the latter provides interestingexamples. Some consist of gathering funds for relief operations or clicking onwebsites like The Hunger Site ( to donate a cup of food,a percentage of a mammogram, or to save a square foot of rainforest—all of thisfree of cost for those who do so. Others include organizing independent boycottsof firms employing child labor or sharing information and other resources for

19 Lori Wallach, “Lori’s War,” interview with Moisés Naı́m, Foreign Policy 118 (2000),p. 32.

20 Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (London: Athlone Press,1988), pp. 3–25.

From Globalism to Globalization 13

sponsoring initiatives or organizing protests. Among the latter, one couldmention the efforts of MoveOn (, which has an e-mail list with1.8 million members) to organize an internet protest against the war on Iraq, orto disseminate information linking the war with the “Project for a New Ameri-can Century” and its goal of positioning the US as the unconditioned pole of thenew world order.21

The strategic matrix for this mode of action in cyberspace is electronic civildisobedience (ECD). It was posed in the mid-1990s by the Critical Art Ensembleas a way to match the de-centralized and de-territorialized nature of contempor-ary capitalism, particularly financial capital. Like all forms of radical directaction, it eschews electoral and/or party politics. If the streets were the privi-leged sites of traditional civil disobedience, the non-physical cyberspace is themilieu where ECD takes place. The rhizomatic structure of viral direct action isclearly at work here, for instead of aiming for a mass movement of publicobjectors, it favors a de-centralized flow of particularized micro-organizations.“Hacktivism,” the recombinant encounter of technology-savvy hackers andtraditional political activists, is one of its modalities. In December 1997, theAnonymous Digital Coalition called people to block access to websites ofMexican financial institutions by repeatedly reloading them to protest themassacre of indigenous people in Acteal, Chiapas, by pro-government paramil-itary groups. The Electronic Disturbance Theatre, a pro-Zapatista group, devel-oped the FloodNet software to engage in acts of ECD: in 1998, they flooded thethen President Ernesto Zedillo’s webpage with the list of people killed in Acteal.In December 2000, the Electrohippies group organized a virtual “sit-in” of some450,000 people to overload the WTO servers, and more recently, Our World OurSay staged a 30,000 person virtual march on the US Embassy in London toprotest George W. Bush’s visit to the United Kingdom in November 2003.22

In addition to the obvious difficulty to measure their degree of success,whether in the “cool” medium of cyberspace or as “hot” spaces of street actions,a possible disadvantage of this type of initiatives is their inbuilt difficulty togenerate consensus or to develop and pursue what Gramsci would call a“counter-hegemonic project.” However, this might not be such a bad thing. Viraldirect action can function both as an obstacle for large-scale institutional trans-formations and as an alternative to resource-heavy projects. Instead of aiming toarticulate a wide array of forces to reinstitute the political order or communal

21 This is available at For an analysis of this document,see Benjamin Arditi, “Resisting an Unconditioned Pole: Global Politics in the Aftermathof the Iraq War,” Signs of the Times, May 2003,

22 Critical Art Ensemble, Electronic Civil Disobedience (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia,1996), pp. 7–32, 57–69, and Digital Resistance (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1999), pp. 13–27; Stefan Wray, “On Electronic Civil Disobedience,” 1998,, and “Electronic Civil Disobedience and the WWW of Hacktivism: AMapping of Extraparliamentarian Direct Action Net Politics,” Switch 4:2 (1998),; Electrohippies,; David Cassel, “Hacktivism in the Cyberstreets,” May 30, 2000,http://www.alternet,org/story.html?StoryID � 9223, “Hacktivism and Technopolitics,”; Erika Pearson, The Digital is Political,2000,; Barry Cox, “Hacktivism,” 2001,;

14 Benjamin Arditi

space as a whole, the rhizome setup of viral action connects a myriad of localand global initiatives—in cyber or physical space—without a master plan or acentral command structure. Groups and individuals can participate and shareresources on their own terms quickly, visibly, and cost-effectively by setting uptransient virtual communities of action that provide ad-hoc modes of partici-pation for people who are neither militants nor committed activists. It is apost-hegemony mode of political action, or at least a mode of intervention thatdoes not fit strictly within the logic of hegemony.

This is precisely what makes viral initiatives so useful. Despite appearancesto the contrary, those who stay away from politics are not necessarily apolitical.Many still want to change the world, but not all the time, for they do notconform to Rousseau’s idealized image of virtuous citizens who rush to assem-blies when called. They might be unhappy with the available political optionsyet lack the time, the resources, or the inclination to build institutional alterna-tives. This is not so much a proof of depoliticization as it is an indication thatdispersed people or loosely organized groups rarely count as political stakehold-ers. In a way, they live citizenship as functional denizens. The rhizome-structureof viral direct action can contribute to counteract this experience of disenfran-chisement. Signing a petition over the web, refusing to buy tuna cans that lackthe dolphin-friendly label, participating in boycotts of products imported fromcountries with repressive regimes, joining a virtual sit-in, or taking to the streetsto join forces with those who oppose wars of aggression, enables people tosupport a cause and intervene in the public sphere without the usual risks andthe costs—not to mention the complex logistics—associated with collectiveaction. Here “the public sphere” might be a misnomer, for viral action is oftena crossover between the public and the private. It engenders fleeting, ad-hocpublics that appear whenever and wherever private individuals decide to act,even if they only connect with others in the virtual communities resulting fromthe circulation of a pamphlet or forwarded e-mails for a particular action.

Initiatives to Modify North–South Inequality

More institutional-oriented interventions include the campaigns to condone thedebt of poor countries or to allocate 0.7% of the GDP of developed countries tointernational aid. One of the more ambitious initiative to foster equality is theTobin Tax Initiative ( supported by a wide array of networksand organizations such as ATTAC, Global Exchange, the AFL-CIO, The Tobin tax, named after the Nobel laureate economist whofirst suggested it, aims to discourage the ubiquitous cross-border financial flowscarried out by currency speculators—estimated at 1.8 trillion US dollars daily—by imposing a sales tax of 0.1 to 0.3% on each trade. Such a tax would generateestimated revenues ranging from $100 to $300 billion yearly. As the mainfinancial markets are located in industrialized countries, this would amount toa net transfer of resources to the developing world. These funds could beearmarked for poverty eradication, disease prevention, and environmental pro-grams. This is a far-reaching initiative and its advocates are aware of theobstacles that stand in the way of its implementation. It requires extensivelobbying and political mobilization, both to persuade legislatures and multilat-eral agencies to support it and to overcome the strong opposition of currency

From Globalism to Globalization 15

traders and the US-led efforts to peg bilateral trade agreements to the elimin-ation of capital controls. It also has to sort out operational issues concerning thecollection and enforcement of the taxes.

TransFair USA, a non-profit organization that certifies products that complywith the Fair Trade criterion, launched a more modest but currently moresuccessful initiative. It aims to improve the income of direct producers of coffee,tea and bananas by lobbying mayor buyers to purchase them directly from smallagricultural cooperatives in Latin American, African and Asian countries insteadof ordering them through intermediaries. Coffee is the first item licensedthrough this program. There are currently some 500,000 producers organized insmall and medium-sized democratically run cooperatives over an estimated fourmillion coffee growers worldwide. The average price they obtained in 2000 wasunder $1.10 dollars per pound FOB, whereas by eliminating intermediaries, theamount went up to $2.77.23 With the subsequent collapse of coffee prices in theinternational markets, the Fair Trade price guarantees that direct producers willreceive $1.26 per pound FOB.24 In exchange, Starbucks, Safeways and otherparticipating companies are licensed to use the “Fair Trade Certified” label onthe coffee bags they sell to consumers worldwide.

One of the problems faced by TransFair is checking compliance, although itis less daunting than in the case of, say, campaigns to eradicate child labor,which require a continuous (and costly) monitoring of small shops and enter-prises scattered across the globe. Moreover, the volume of trade handled byTransFair is a relatively low at $400 million per year, yet its effects are broaderthan the figures involved, if only because it has a visible impact on directproducers living on or below the poverty line. Like all campaigns around sociallabels, it serves to exert moral pressure on business conglomerates to adjust theircommercial practices to ethical codes of conduct, and to foster a semblance ofmoral conscience among consumers whose overriding preoccupation with max-imizing benefits is a strong disincentive for spontaneous altruistic behavior.

Initiatives to Expand the Public Sphere

There are many indicators of the growth of supranational initiatives and arenas.Keohane and Nye speak of complex interdependence in the global age, in thesense that we are witnessing the multiplication of the channels between soci-eties, and of the number and the diversity of issues and participants in globalnetworks. They point out that the number of international NGOs increased from6000 at the beginning of the 1990s to 26,000 by the end of the decade.25 Otherindicators are multilateral financial institutions, transnational professional asso-ciations, drug cartels, scientific and religious communities, loose coalitions ofthose sharing lifestyles or cultural consumption, and so on.26 In a setting of

23 Margot Hornblower, “Wake up and Smell the Protest,” TIME, April 17, 2000, p. 37.24 See Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye Jr., “Globalization: What’s New? What’s Not?

(And So What?),” Foreign Policy 118 (2000), pp. 115–116. Numbers alone should not blindus to the fact that NGOs often compete among themselves for the end-users of theirservices—the oppressed, the persecuted, the sick, and the hungry—and intervene withtheir own agenda in the recipient country.

26 Beck, What is Globalization?, op. cit., pp. 12–13, 36.

16 Benjamin Arditi

complex interdependence, the initiatives of NGOs, social movements, and inter-national advocacy networks also contribute to transform global politics from thestandpoint of civil society.27 They organize campaigns to stop torture and otherhuman rights abuses, lobby governments to introduce stricter environmentalregulations and ratify the Kyoto protocol on gas emissions or to suspendmilitary aid to repressive regimes, and struggle to open up the projects ofmultilateral lending institutions to public scrutiny. Organizations like Médecinssans Frontièrs, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, ATTAC, the Bretton WoodsProject, and Public Citizen are good examples. All this runs counter to the ideathat politics is enclosed within the nation-state or that whatever takes placeabroad must fall under the heading of foreign affairs.

In a way, these networks of non-traditional players bear a family relationwith viral direct action, at least in the sense that they have low levels offormalization, membership is based on normative and strategic trust, exchangeinformation, have fairly open mechanisms of entry and exit, and set up jointinitiatives. They are, then, imaginary communities of people who want tochange the world. On the one hand, they seek to modify the public agenda andinfluence political outcomes, but more importantly, they contribute to changethe terms and the nature of the debate and to shape the political arenas in whichthey intervene.28 On the other hand, they presuppose a global public and aim toexpand its role. Their initiatives spread through the printed or electronic mediaof countries where they act, but also through global information networks likeCNN, and now the Internet, used so effectively by the Zapatista guerrillas inMexico at least since 1996 to build international support for their cause anddisseminate information about human rights abuses in indigenous communities.We have already seen some examples. Networks also take advantage of the newtechnologies of communications and the aforementioned fall in the cost of airtravel to get together, organize protests, engage in lobbying, or set up otherdomestic or international networks. This facilitates the tasks of activists likethose who coordinated the 1999 campaign against the WTO in Seattle, but alsoof militants from a host of international terrorist organizations.

The combination of a physical presence as pressure groups (acting on theirgovernments, on other governments, or on multilateral agencies) and a virtualpresence in the media contributes to create a global public opinion. Like anypublic opinion, it gives visibility to issues that are overlooked or ignored bydecision-makers. It serves as a moral counterweight for the actions of govern-ments and multilateral organizations, and as an informational input to fosterdeliberation among citizens and modify their cognitive maps. Its “moral” statusdoes not make it extra-political. As Manin says in relation to representativegovernment, public opinion seeks to counteract the partial autonomy of electedrepresentatives, for once in office they might not be compelled to follow that

27 See Craig Warkentin and Karen Mingst, “International Institutions, the State, andGlobal Civil Society in the Age of the World Wide Web,” Global Governance 6 (2000),pp. 237–257.

28 Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Without Borders: Advocacy Networksin International Politics (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1998), pp. 2–5, 14–15,34, 36–37.

From Globalism to Globalization 17

opinion, but they cannot ignore it either—or ignore it at their own risk.29 Globalpublic opinion is no different. Perhaps its distinctiveness is that it operates as ade-territorialized moral force, or rather, as one that is largely unconcerned bynational borders.

Initiatives Seeking Accountability and Public Scrutiny of Multilateral Organizations

Critics of globalization insist on the democratic deficit of the international order,particularly in the case of technical agencies like the International MonetaryFund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), and the WTO. They point out that policyrecommendations of these agencies affect the lives of millions of people, shapethe behavior of governments, and put an effective limit to the autonomy ofpolitical leaders in the elaboration and implementation of domestic policies.Their decisions, however, are not subjected to public scrutiny, and there are fewmechanisms to make them accountable for their consequences. Full transparencyis, of course, unlikely, as many of the negotiations into which they enter are bydefinition opaque. Yet the question of scrutiny refers more specifically to the factthat gross errors of estimation of a country’s reliability and risk—as happenedin the 1996–1998 Asian crisis—have little or no consequence for these agenciesor their resident experts.30 They need to be submitted to public scrutiny tocounteract policy recommendations that often amount to a thinly disguisedunilateral imposition on governments. Indeed, coalitions like those pieced to-gether for the Seattle protests coalesce around the conviction that the democraticdeficit of the world order is neither necessary nor acceptable, and that we mustcreate rules capable of regulating international actors so that those who mustlive with their decisions can hold them accountable.31

There are many proposals. Those by Jeffrey Sachs focus on the IMF.32 Heclaims that it is too powerful and that no single agency should have responsi-bility for economic policy in half of the developing world. That is why he asksthat its executive board do its job of overseeing rather than rubber-stampingstaff proposals, consult with outside experts and canvas international opinionand that its operations should be made public to guarantee professional debateand review. “Global Trade Watch,” a division of Public Citizen, advocates aseries of changes to modify the WTO dispute settlement system. Wallach, itsdirector, cites two reasons for these changes. First, because the consultationperiod involves a costly process of litigation in Geneva, something that poorcountries are in no condition to afford. And second, because if the consultationis unsuccessful, the affected country must ask for the formation of a specialpanel of people ill-suited for judging on issues concerning the social costs of

29 Bernard Manin, The Principles of Representative Government (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1997).

30 Zincone and Agnew, op. cit., pp. 15–16; Stiglitz, op. cit., pp. 89ff.31 Wallach, op. cit., pp. 35, 47, 54; also Richard Falk, “Meeting the Political Challenge

to Globalization,” Meeting Point, 2000,; Fred Halliday, “Getting Real about Seattle,” Millennium: Journalof International Studies 29:1 (2000), pp. 123–129; and the Bretton Woods Project(, the watchdog organization set up for monitoring andinfluencing the projects, policy reforms and overall management of the IMF and the WB.

32 Jeffrey Sachs, “IMF is a Power unto Itself,” Financial Times, December 11, 1997.

18 Benjamin Arditi

trade policy or legislation. Its three members are selected from a roster made upof previous employees and national delegates to the GATT, people who haveworked in ministries of finance or economics, or private attorneys specializing ininternational trade.33 Wallach adds that their discussions, proceedings, anddocuments are confidential, they are not obliged to seek outside expertise to dealwith issues of public health or genetically modified foods, and their decisionsenter into effect immediately. Contrary to what many would think, PublicCitizen does not propose a return to protectionism or the elimination of theWTO, but rather to reform the latter so that social indicators are also taken intoaccount when they make decisions and more favorable terms of exchange fordeveloping countries can be secured.

Somewhat paradoxically, the defense of developing countries might alsoprompt these critics to side with the WTO, if only to counteract the negativeeffects of US-sponsored bilateral trade deals. Bhagwati and Panagariya point outthat by the end of 2002, the WTO had been notified of agreements to create 250Free Trade Areas, which are exempted from the most favored nation rule thatensures equal treatment within the WTO. By reaching one-on-one agreements,they say, the US undermines the bargaining power of Third World countries inmultilateral negotiations, and by linking these bilateral agreements to the agendaof domestic groups in the US, trade liberalization becomes an alibi for “thecapture, reshaping and distortion of the WTO in the image of Americanlobbying interests.”34 One can see this at work in the negotiations for a FreeTrade Area of the Americas (FTAA); the US pressured Colombia and Peru toleave the alliance led by Brazil, effectively weakening its bargaining power.35 Inthe face of an unconditioned pole that wishes to impose the rules of the globaltrade system, activists who do not oppose trade per se might find themselves inthe position of defending the WTO as a multilateral arena for scrutinizing andcontesting the policies of the sole remaining superpower.

Initiatives to Advance Democracy at a Supranational Level

Despite the lack of accountability of supranational actors, or precisely because ofit, democracy is a recurrent yet contested issue. Advocates of radical and viral

33 Lori Wallach, “The WTO’s Slow Motion Coup against Democracy,” MultinationalMonitor 20:10–11 (1999), pp. 27–29.

34 Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya, “Bilateral Trade Treaties are a Sham,”Financial Times, July 13, 2003,� � StoryFT&cid � 1057562355896. They illustrate this withtwo examples. One is that Mexico was forced to accept provisions for intellectualproperty protection to close the deal on NAFTA, which placed the US in a position todemand the same from other countries or face retaliatory tariffs. Eventually, it enabledthe US “to insert the trade-related intellectual property regime (TRIPs) into the WTO,even though no intellectual case had ever been made that TRIPs, which is about royaltycollection and not trade, should be included.” The other is that while even the IMF doesnot reject capital controls per se, the US conditioned trade agreements with Chile andSingapore to the ban on capital controls. Both countries gave in to this demand, makingit more difficult for others to uphold capital controls in future multilateral tradenegotiations.

35 Tim Padgett and Andrew Downie, “Lula’s Next Big Fight,” TIME, November 24,2003, pp. 46–47.

From Globalism to Globalization 19

direct action, together with those who aim to make international agencies moretransparent and accountable, demand more democracy in the global order.Looking at the literature, one can see that mainstream thinkers tend to empha-size the liberal-democratic components of governance and representation,whereas global activists are less troubled about the link between elections andpolitical participation. While Schmitter talks of the need to develop an institu-tional setting to strengthen citizen participation in the European Union (EU),Held and others who speak of “cosmopolitan democracy” advance one of themore cited projects of reform.36 They claim that the idea of autonomouscommunities with their own endogenous agendas can no longer be reduced tothe territorial space of national states. In the past, the history and the practice ofdemocracy was based on the idea of locality, whereas the future of democracydepends on its reorganization on a global scale because the site of effectivepower no longer lies only in national governments. It is now shared by a seriesof economic forces and regulative agencies outside the nation, as well as NGOs,new regional blocs like the EU and MERCOSUR in South America, and a hostof other actors that must be taken into account in political calculation. Held isaware of the deficit of supranational democratic institutions and insists in theneed to rethink the charter of the UN and other institutions to boost theprospects of democracy on a global scale.37 That is why he invites us to rethinkthe national criteria of democracy by adding to it regional parliaments, thescrutiny of international organizations, and a greater influence of internationalcourts. His cosmopolitan democracy does not seek to create a Kantian league ofstates but to secure greater public accountability, and thus to enhance thedemocratic component of that order.38

One possible shortfall of this cosmopolitanism is that with the exception ofthe experience of the EU after Maastricht, which allows citizens of member statesto vote and to be candidates in local elections of the country where they havesettled, the institutionalization of a genuinely supranational mode of citizenshipis incipient. Moreover, Schmitter and others argue that we still lack realmechanisms of democratic representation outside the national state. The list ofinstitutions of cosmopolitan democracy, he says, is rather limited and theevidence supporting the tendency toward it is based largely on functionalequivalents of both governance and democracy.39 With the notable, yet limitedexception of UN-sanctioned human rights and of some political rights in the EU,we lack institutional arrangements outside the state capable of enforcing rights

36 Philippe Schmitter, “The Future of Democracy: Could it be a Matter of Scale?” SocialResearch 66:3 (1999), pp. 933–958; David Held, “Democracy, the Nation state and theGlobal System,” Economy and Society 20:2 (1991), pp. 130–172, and “Democracy: FromCity-States to a Cosmopolitan Order?” in Held (ed.), Prospects for Democracy (Stanford:Stanford University Press, 1993), pp. 13–52; Daniele Archibugi, David Held and MartinKöhler (eds), Re-imaging Political Community: Studies in Cosmopolitan Democracy (Stanford:Stanford University Press, 1998); David Held, “Regulating Globalization?” in D. Held andAnthony McGreen (eds), The Global Transformations Reader (Cambridge: Polity Press,2000), pp. 420–430.

37 David Held, “Democracy and Globalization,” in Archibugi et al., op. cit., pp. 25–26.38 Held, “Democracy: From City-States to a Cosmopolitan Order?” op. cit., p. 41;

Archibugi et al., op. cit., p. 4.39 Schmitter, “The Future of Democracy: Could it be a Matter of Scale?” op. cit.,

pp. 939–940.

20 Benjamin Arditi

and obligations associated with citizenship. To be fair, though, Held speaks ofcosmopolitan democracy as a political project to reform the international orderand not as an actually existing reality, so it is perhaps premature to expect theinstitutional framework demanded by critics. Having said this, we should adda note of caution about the prospects of such democratization given the obstaclesit faces, especially when considering the refusal of the US to endorse theInternational Criminal Court or its willingness to go to war in Iraq without theendorsement of the UN Security Council.40

Supranational Arenas, Informal Global Citizenship and a Progressive Agenda

The range of these initiatives tells us something about the current state of apolitics of resistance. As they reactivate the question of globalization, the newinternationalists spearhead a “second great transformation”—less as a modelthan as a horizon—that puts into play the ground rules of globalism champi-oned by neoliberal rhetoric. I will draw from the preceding discussion to suggesta set of coordinates that map the political contours of this horizon, and also fuelthe return of a progressive agenda to counteract conservative complacency. Thefirst and more obvious one refers to the expansion of the political frontierthrough the creation of supplementary supranational arenas. The literature usu-ally cites the case of the EU or agreements concerning international tribunals,but the initiatives developing from below the intergovernmental level seek toboth modify the current forms and rhythms of globalization and to expand theidea of citizenship beyond the framework of the nation-state. Global actors oftendisregard the assumption that ties politics to a state-centered political cartogra-phy and therefore dispute the liberal enclosure of politics within the physicalsetting of the nation-state. That is why Virilio suggests that we are now moreexposed to the end of geography than to the end of history.41 They are carvingup supranational spaces of political exchange, new sites for the enactment ofcollective forms of resistance, confrontation, negotiation, and innovation thatmay (or may not) become formalized as legally sanctioned institutional domains.Yet even if they do not, the challenge to globalism effectively destabilizes thefrontiers between the public and the private, and between the political and thenon-political.

Second, let us concede these initiatives and organizations can be politicalwithout always being democratic, either because they fail to represent any actualconstituency, lack participatory decision-making mechanisms, or are run byself-perpetuating cliques that are not subjected to public scrutiny by the mem-bership. They would merely reinforce Roberto Michels’ iron rule of oligarchy.However—and this is an important qualification—those that are democratic andseek to expand democracy do so without always invoking the electoral formatof liberal democracy. This is not because elections are outdated or have beensuperseded by other forms of political participation. Elections at a supranationallevel are very much at the center of the debate on democratic participation and

40 For more on this point, see Arditi, “Resisting an Unconditioned Pole: Global Politicsin the Aftermath of the Iraq War,” op. cit.

41 Paul Virilio, “Fin de l’histoire ou fin de la géographie?”

From Globalism to Globalization 21

accountability, notably in the case of the European Union, but they do not exhaustthe multiple forms of participation and accountability in the global setting. This isbecause involvement in public affairs at a supranational level deepens the gapbetween the concept of democracy and the position of citizen-voter. Bobbio onceobserved that from the late 19th to the mid-20th century the thrust of thedemocratic demand was reflected in the phrase “who votes,” whereas todaydemocracy has undergone a transformation whereby the key question is “on whatissues one can vote.”42 While voting seems to remain as the independent variablein this shift from “who” to “what,” it is no longer restricted to the election ofrepresentatives as it now refers to the issues that are open to discussion andparticipation. This might be Bobbio’s way of telling us that “representation” doesnot exhaust the semantic field of “democracy,” or rather, of reminding us of theexcess of participation over elections without endorsing a model of direct democ-racy. Activists want to have a say in political decisions, scrutinize the practices ofmajor global players like multilateral organizations or business conglomerates,and hold them accountable for their policy recommendations. Yet they want to doso primarily by instituting mechanisms to control and regulate their field of actionrather than by subjecting them to electoral scrutiny. That is why participation insupranational arenas can be democratic and post-liberal.

Third, a model of citizenship restricted to the nation-state is being challengeddaily even if it is premature to claim that we are already on the threshold ofglobal citizenship. The idea of citizenship was born in the struggle againstmonarchical absolutism to set up the rules defining the relations between theindividual and public authorities in the secularized territory of the nation-state.It empowered city dwellers by gradually legitimizing what Arendt calls “theright to have rights” or, in Balibar’s more politically charged language, by givingbirth to the idea of subjects who resist their subjection and therefore performtheir own emancipation.43 This has lost none of its political or intellectualpurchase among global warriors. The point of contention is whether the absenceof non-state mechanisms to validate rights and redress wrongs prevents us fromtalking about supranational citizenship. My view is that it does not, or ratherthat this absence does not stop people from exercising it in an informal or de factomanner with a real impact on outcomes. Even within nation-states, we findsubjects who are not always authorized yet are often acknowledged as actors inthe public sphere even though they fall outside the legal framework of citizen-ship—undocumented migrants, Roma people, and so on. Moreover, the nom-inal, state-sanctioned idea of citizenship itself is no guarantee for the respects ofthe rights associated with it. Outside pressure often contributes to validate themor at least curbs blatant forms of repression. This is precisely what promptedhuman rights activists to create Amnesty International. Campaigns set up byactivists in different countries have been decisive to get governments to modifytheir treatment of dissidents or respect women’s rights. Thus, one should notconfuse the informal status of supranational citizenship with its ineffectiveness.

42 Norberto Bobbio, Democracy and Dictatorship: The Nature and Limits of State Power(Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989), pp. 156–157.

43 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harvester, 1973); EtienneBalibar, “Subjection and Subjectivation,” in Joan Copjec (ed.), Supposing the Subject(London: Verso, 1994), pp. 8–9.

22 Benjamin Arditi

Fourth, in addition to their efforts to expand the scope of publicness andparticipation, the new global warriors reintroduce the socialist preoccupationwith social justice and solidarity into the political agenda. They do so bydrawing from the Marxist heritage, yet without following a Marxist politicalscript. By and large, the identity of cross-border coalitions and protest move-ments is not posed in terms of working-class resistance, their logic of collectiveaction is not framed in terms of class warfare, and their effort to counteract theunequal exchange between North and South does not aim to suppress free tradeor private enterprise. The specter of socialism, or of the imaginary fostered bythe socialist tradition, is re-entering the public scene in the shape of a new,loosely assembled internationalism that seeks to counteract the weight of itsconservative counterpart in order to address questions of equality and solidarityon a global scale. The new internationalists are concerned with North–Southinequality, with the standing of borders with regard to immigrants from thecapitalist periphery, and with AIDS, gender mutilation, child slavery, and so on.As Derrida put it, this new internationalism calls for a solidarity “of which nostate, no party, no syndicate, no civic organization really takes charge,” for it ismade up of all those “who suffer and all those who are not insensitive to thedimension of these urgent issues.”44 The new internationalists, then, are firingthe opening salvos of the political phase of the second “great transformation” bymoving things beyond the ideology and the practice of globalism.

Finally, the emerging supranational arenas and initiatives are neither thedestiny of politics nor the replacement of liberal democracy. Instead, they are themore recent symptoms of the migratory arc exhibited by politics since the dawnof modernity. This migratory arc manifests itself through a continual coloniza-tion of new territories, and its itinerary is marked by three salient moments.45 Itbegins with Leviathan, the metaphor of the sovereign state coined by Hobbes todescribe a model in which the state seeks to become the sole subject of politics,that is, to hegemonize the political. The second moment is the offspring ofdemocratic liberalism in its drive to displace politics into the field of electionsand partisan competition. Here the political is no longer hegemonized by thestate but by territorial representation. The third, ongoing moment, consists of adouble migration, first into the supposedly apolitical space of civil societythrough the endeavors of new social movements, and then toward arenasoutside the nation-state through the initiatives of the new internationalists. Thecorollary of this continual displacement of politics is that instead of a liberal endof history, contemporary politics is starting to look more like a post-liberalarchipelago of interlocking tiers. In this archipelago, the liberal format ofelectoral politics and partisan competition within the nation-state coexists witha second tier of social movements (and organizations) and with the suprana-tional arenas that are being opened up by the new internationalists as they claimand exercise an informal global citizenship.

44 Jacques Derrida, “Intellectual Courage: An Interview,” Culture Machine, 2000, Also J. Der-rida, Specters of Marx (Routledge: London and New York, 1994), pp. 85–86.

45 This migratory arc and its three moments is developed in Benjamin Arditi, “TheBecoming-Other of Politics: A Post-Liberal Archipelago,” Contemporary Political Theory 2:3(2003), pp. 307–326.

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