Peoples' movements and protests
The Formation of Global Political Will
By Tord Björk
One can look at the issue of globalisation and political parties both from a historical diachronic perspective and from a synchronic functional point of view. To avoid essentialising, one can look at all political formation while also specifying what defines parties in relations to other organising of political will. Here I will claim that characteristic to political parties are their generalist agenda in contrast to single-issue protests, NGOs or other forms of organising. I will also see parties as a specific kind of organisation, as permanent membership organisations and not as networks with self-selected key personalities at the core.
To avoid domestic analogies one might look at global conflicts and how political will is emerging to overcome those conflicts. The separation of the domestic and the global realm is coming from the establishment of the Westphalian world order with the sovereign national state at its core. At the very beginning of the process towards separating the national state as the sovereign power, the main conflict was between the body and the head - rather than between different territorial regimes. When Christianity was in crisis in the beginning of the 15th century it was stated that not only the head - the pope, the emperor and the princes but also the members - the people had to be allowed to participate in summits of all Christianity to solve the problems. Two professors in Paris demanded a reform of the church and a general council claiming that that not the Pope, but the totally of the faithful reprsented the will of God. This conciliar theory gained support and councils were arranged with participants from different factions for and against reform. At the second council in Constance, the discussions went on for so long that the tents were different delegations stayed were turned into more permanent head quarters named nations. Thus probably for the first time, the name nation was used in a political sense.
The conflict between the members and the head was solved by beheading the body on the second year of the council that took place between 1414 and 1418. The criticism promoted by the invited Jan Hus and his mass movement followers against the Pope was shared in large parts also by the princes. But it was clearly felt among the princes, the coming leaders of national states, that nobody else than they were allowed to put forward such criticism. The emperor had assured safety to Jan Hus when he was invited. But the princes claimed that they could kill Hus for giving voice to the same concerns they had voiced, as it was the emperor and not the princes that had assured him safety. Hus and Hieronymus of Prague were burned and the nation state was born. In 1648 in Westphalia, the secret system of international diplomacy that excluded any other than state representatives from the formation of political will across borders was established.
In other words: hidden under the layer of territorial conflicts lies a conflict between a privileged elite and the majority of people. This majority of people continued to organise itself also across borders and in opposition to the privileged. In the 15th century, an employer in Helsingborg in Denmark - which is today Southern Sweden - could be banned all through Northern Europe by the workers through the guilds. Spreading of religious protest material and organising occurred all over Europe. In 1789 a universalistic world revolution started in Paris soon followed by Haiti. The third estate and soon people in the third world overthrow the privileged from their commanding positions in society and the world.
Third Estate and Third World Revolution
The emergence of a democratic state with citizens instead of subjects to the king presented itself as universalistic but it soon became the opposite. When the Haitians believed that what was said in Paris about human rights for all also meant their rights, France and England sat their war against each other in Europe aside and united their interests in the Caribbean. They used as many forces as they could in a war against the believers in universal human rights on Haiti. In spite of this military aggression, a ban on trade and a ban by the pope, Haiti was able to gain freedom at the cost of an extreme debt burden and diplomatic refusal of recognition to make make the life of the new nation as hard as possible. Thus a new global conflict evolved between states in Europe and North America promoted by the white third estate and the rest of the world. In the third world it were the slaves of Haiti who took the lead and finally liberated themselves in 1804. In other words, from a global point of view one can see liberated national states in the third world as a formation of political will with global relevance against Western national states and their companies.
Another form of social invention was the permanent membership organisation. This took place in Ireland in the 1830s when Catholics started a mass movement with functionaries against the British imperialist oppression. A model for forming political will was born. This model was later copied by political parties, starting with Social Democrats. The earlier elite parties whether conservative, liberal, Jacobin leftists or others are gradually replaced by the membership popular party built on internal democracy, at least as an ideal.
The global conflict between the imperialists and the colonised continued during the 19th century. In the third world, all protests are successfully oppressed with all means possible by the Western powers. In industrialised countries, the formation of international political will takes place at first primarily among trade unions in the 1st International in 1864 and later primarily among social democratic parties in the 2nd International in 1889. These parties promote social revolution and are against militarism and war. The successful Australian struggle for 8 hour working days starting in 1856 inspires anarchist trade unions in the US to follow suit. This results in violent repression and in 1890 May 1st is declared Global Action Day for 8 hour work a day, the most successful international action day since then used to promote a wide range of issues. This takes place during a period when globalisation intensifies.
Mass participation in politics after European defeat
In 1905, Japan successfully defeats Russia in a war - the first time in 100 years that a European power lost a military conflict. This results in the emergence of mass participation in politics, first in Moscow and St Petersburg, which inspire new political thinking on the formation of political will. In South Africa, Indians defeat the British Empire through the means of civil disobedience based on mass participation. In the US, together with socialist working class organisations, the populist mass movement among farmers is replaced by professional advocacy combined with violent destruction of organisations. In Mexico, farmers organised a revolution in 1910 and formulate the Ayala plan for agrarian reform. In Ireland, the liberation struggle finally comes to an end. Previous violent rebellion methods are now replaced with a whole range of new or further developed sets of non-violent action built on mass participation like the boycott, tax strike and permanent membership organisation.
For the international party alliance, the intensified globalisation period ends with betrayal of the goals of the 2nd International and support of each nations' war against the others. The reformist German social democratic party also acts against their own members in alliance with right wing groups to establish order and disobedience toward the party leadership. The peace movement is drastically reduced and together with most reformist parties they back the League of Nations as the solution to global conflicts. At a meeting in Zimmerwald in1915, social democrats who opposed the war begin to demand both social revolution and an end to the war. A split between revolutionaries and reformists becomes open and internationally manifested in the first international party, the Comintern, established in 1919. This party is strongly hierarchically organised but there are indicators predicting that, in principle, a global party may not be impossible. Moscow tended to interfere in all other sections of the party in the world and dictate or make proposals of what they whished to see done. When Moscow told the Norwegian member party that next time they should not send Erling Falk as a delegate to the Comintern meeting, the Norwegians did exactly that. Confronted by these stubborn people, Moscow backed totally. It was not, at least for the first two years, impossible to have a democratic relationship within the party. The mechanical hierarchic organisational rules, which were adopted later, made things worse. In spite of this, the Comintern was useful during the first challenge against regular Nazi troops in Spain 1936, against the Japanese aggressions against China as well as in suporting colonial liberation.
Overcoming the East-West Divide
The fascist regimes in revanchist nations was the greatest threat on a global scale after World War I. Dating from the end of World War II and until 1989, the West-East conflict overshadowed this subsequent period. This period sees a lot of formation of international parties among liberals, socialists, conservatives and christian democrats. None of these international parties bridges the gap between East and West as they are not allowed to organise members in the East. But these parties also many times oppose bridging the gap between East and West and thus any global formation of political will across this divide. When such a political organisations are formed, like the World Federation of Democratic Youth, WFDY, in 1945, and the International Students Union, ISU most non-socialist organisations soon leave the organisation and the headquarters of the organisation are banned in the west.
Formation of a global will becomes very difficult. The US president divides the world not only in the free Western world and the communist oppressed world but also in developed and underdeveloped nations. Capable of bridging both gaps were the World Youth Festivals organised by the WFDY since 1947 with tens of thousands of international participants and up to 8 million visitors. When the organisers tried to bridge the gap and for the first time arrange a world youth festival in Western Europe this created a total ban from the press and all non-communist parties in Austria 1959. Next time in Finland the opposite took place. A broader coalition of parties supported the festival, and soon the World Peace Committees could move to Helsinki, a true global organisation making it the first bigger such organisation that could establish headquarters in the west thus breaking the ban since WFDY and ISU had to move to the east. Finland became the key country in bridging the gap between east and west resulting in the Helsinki process and treaty 1975. The World War II could finally be settled and human rights made into something of international importance in all European countries, something the dissident movements in the communist countries would soon use. In Eastern Europe, the way was paved for changes and the Berlin wall fell in 1989. In 1975 third world countries hope for a New Economic World order which gains wide support in the UN General Assembly.
At the same time neo-liberalism stating that the market has to become regulated in such a way that is promoted by the US and Great Britain as an alternative to en international political will to promote global justice and detente. 1980 the American president rejects the idea of a New Economic World Order. The debt crisis becomes immanent when Mexican economy is about to collapse. The UN is marginalised to take care of issues less central to power while the Bretton Woods institutions, IMF, the World Bank and free trade agreements becomes more central.
Global Political Intiatives from the Third World
After the fall of the Soviet Union, other global conflicts have taken over, primarily the South - North conflicts. This has been challenged primarily by third world popular movement initiatives like Via Campesina, the Zapatistas and the international meetings against neo-liberalism in Chiapas, the renewal of World Youth festivals, Peoples' Global Action and the World Social Forum. Party formation of global will has been slow. It is primarily through the WSF process that the small trotskyist 4th International as well as many center and left parties have found each other. However, these groupings cannot take full responsibilities within the WSF as they are excluded from formal participation at WSF events and organising committees. Another global conflict is the environmental crisis. In response to this, a kind of a global green party has been established although the different environmental organisations each have important large international counterparts. Gender issues have only resulted in some few feminist parties at national level, maybe most successfully on Iceland while participation at the UN Women's conferences is very wide.
Thus one can say that parties in relation to global conflicts have a somewhat mixed record. If Jacobin organisations are seen as parties, their universalistic revolution soon ended in excluding the black from liberation. Initially, the socialist 2nd International had some smaller better role but in the end failed completely.
The synchronic situation is how parties are placed in the present system of forming global political will. In many ways, it seems that political parties have lost their social movements character and thus become organisations aiming merely at gaining political posts. The creation of an independent sphere of influence by producing newspapers and building alternatives through cooperatives and volunteer organisations is fast disappearing, at least in the industrialised countries. In the slums of the third world, but also in many rich countries, where there are underprivileged suburbs there is no or very little presence of secular parties. Instead Pentecostal and Islamic movements have taken over.
It is hard to see how a globalisation of parties would solve this problem. On the contrary, it might make these problems worse. Giving up on all aspirations of being a permanent membership organisation with its democratic qualities and replace it with networks models poses some problems. Establishing different forms of NGOs, such as think-tanks and development organisations is not a solution the crisis. These solutions continuous a process were the political parties replaces their unique position as intermediary between its constituency strongly connected to communities to one were others more and more take over that role. NGOs become key factors in intermediation between the so called civil society and governments.
Yet, the generalist approach of political parties is needed. In the shift from state to market sovereignty there are some real problems in finding ways to democratically control society.
This shift is also expressed through the present dominance of specialist organisations and experts in forming global political will. Generalists like parties and politicians experience problems in this world of turning membership organisations into global networks filled with experts on media relations and communication with other experts. Reviving the capacity of parties to make alliances with popular movements to become present in the slums and at Social Forums jointly forming a global political will with other actors might be a both more realistic and positive way ahead.
But this is not possible without challenging the present Americanisation of world politics through NGO single issue politics and donor driven agendas. There is no way back but maybe a way forward to the lay generalist that makes alliances together with like-minded people all over the world. Professional specialists and generalists is not the only way to organise global political will.
A SCHEME OF FORMING GLOBAL POLITICAL WILL
700 BC - 700 AC Religions based on universalistic claims are formed spreading widely and with significant impact on the political structure of society.
1400 - 1648 Separation of the state sovereignty in Christianity from other competing groups in society and especially people in common. Ends with state monopoly on the forming of political will with global impact through the interstate system established by the Peace treaty of Westphalia 1648. A system dynamically changed by the combination of the capitalistic borderless logic and political territorial logic. At first developed by the Italian city-states in the middle between emperor and Pope, then strengthened by the relationship between the two Iberian kingdoms and the Genovese banking network. In the next development cycle economics and politics were integrated in the same territorial organisation by the Dutch gaining its maximum of influence by establishing the interstate system built on state sovereignty at the Westphalian peace. A modern state evolves in the Netherlands with a capitalist class able of controlling financial networks and a prince introducing a military exercise model that made Europeans capable of conquering the world, together with a calvinistic popular movement claiming freedom.
EMERGING ELITE PARTIES
1700s Political parties starts to become common in modern European states as networks of influential members of parliament or secret clubs, often subject to influence from foreign agents. The idea that different interests can exist in society and within its different estates starts to become recognised and the idea of politics as a body were internal differences not are allowed rejected. The notion of making information on government open to public scrutiny except for foreign affairs becomes popular. But the process is slow, often reversal and the parties made up of competing elites.
A new model emerges to gain global control when Great Britain and France compete with the Dutch. The maritime imperialism is supplanted by English and French colonisers, capitalistic slave economy and economic nationalism were Great Britain can get the upper hand due to its capability to focus solely on the sea having no land border to protect. Together with political parties also other new forms of organising political opposing political interests emerge. They build on the idea that public opinion can be influenced by organising opposing ideas in society and the impression that there are many supporting these ideas. Direct action and confrontation with authorities to get food or refuse the collection of taxes does not seem to be the only or even the dominant solution for political protest any longer in the most advanced states. A new way of forming political will is emerging stimulated by transatlantic relations. On the one hand slaves, indians and creoles starts more and more political rebellions, on the other hand a set of new political methods emerge.
1760 Slave rebellion on Jamaica.
1760s the demonstration as a carnival easily turning into a riot is developed for the first time in London as a tool for the democratisation movement.
1764 is the first boycott organised in New England.
1766 the freedom of expression is included in the constitution of Sweden.
1768 The first modern conservationist programme
starts on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean when theories
linking deforestation to erosion and climate change leads to practical
tree planting projects. The initiators were also anti-slavery
activists. Scientists on tropical islands all over the world starts
to establish societies and promote popular
1770s quakers and other starts a long-term campaign in Great Britain against slavery by organising petitions and printing political posters illustrated by the tight placement of black slaves on a slave ship.
1779 is Yorkshire Association established, the first long-term organisation with a political goal to end the colonial war in North America.
1780 - 1781 Indian political rebellion in Peru and Bolivia going further than the limited protest against taxes or starvation.
1788 the first organised pamphlet campaign is organised in Paris and the first public mass meeting to demand justice is invented in Grenoble. A whole set of methods for expressing political will is established.
1776 - 1791 Revolutions in the English colony of North America, in France and in the French colony of Haiti. The Englishmen in America liberates themselves from nobility and the king but do not include black slaves and organises genocide of many red Indian nations for a century. As a response to small farmers rebellion in 1886 a system of checks and balances is set up to prevent the masses from having possibilities to gain democratic control of society. The revolution in France is at the beginning more universalistic and claims everyone in the world can become a citizen making nobility equal to everyone. When confronted with followers among the large black slave population in Haiti, the universalistic revolution turns racist and starts a war together with other Western states against the black citizens in the South. The three revolutions end on a global scale in a continued and sharpened conflict between Western imperialism and oppressed people. In rich Western countries the third estate is soon separated into bourgeoisie and a 4th estate of working men starts to gain influence in society.
1792 The idea of unlimited number of members is formulated as the first rule in the London Corresponding Society. Thus the universalistic idea enters politics challenging the rule that only belonging to specific groups with different privileges counts as a possible way to influence state power. The society is initiated by businessmen, shop-owners and mechanics to promote parliamentary reform giving electoral rights to the broad masses.
1804 Haiti is finally liberated and becomes the only non-European nation in more than one hundred years capable of defeating the West and gaining independence.
1815 The Congress of Vienna restores order again
to prevent any social change. Great Britain becomes the key state
in this power balance due to its globally strategic position.
Their programme combining territorial imperialism expanding globally
and free trade of interest to the bourgeoisie in many countries
making London the global center of capital in the hands of private
banks makes Great Britain the hegemonic state for a
EMERGING MASS MOVEMENTS AND PARTIES
1819 First demonstration displaying discipline by marching together showing the strength of the democracy movement is organised in England.
1823 First permanent membership organisation is invented, Catholic Association. It was established against British imperialist oppression of Catholics on Ireland as a single-issue mass organisation with functionaries. This becomes the most important tool for forming political will for 150 years. The catholics are followed by many other permanent membership organisations, especially trade unions, later also political parties.
1830 Barricades are invented as a toll for political rebellion in Paris.
1850s trade unions are spread in Europe, North and South America, Australia and China. In Australia successful struggle for 8 hour work day starts. The same decade international NGOs like Young Men's Christian Association, YMCA, are established.
1864 1st International - International Working Men's Association established primarily by trade unions organising international strike support and starting to question social inequality and promoting solidarity with oppressed nations. Although dominated by trade unions intellectuals and organisations with broader aims participate. This makes the 1st International to function as generalist institution. YMCA and an atheistic organisation applies for membership but are not allowed as only secular organisations becomes members.
1885 Indian National Congress founded, the first generalist anti-imperialist organisation in the third world.
1887 a conflict arises within the British trade union movement regarding the strategy for 8 hour work day. On the one side was successful trade unionist that was able due to disciplined local campaigning to negotiate with their employers 8 hour work week. On the other side those that wanted a national campaign to influence parliament to make the same decision. Teh conflict finally ended when those proposing national campaigning formed the Labour party and in 1909 could win the struggle by a parliamentary decision giving everybody the right to 8 hour work day.
1889 2nd International with socialist parties and popular movements, including some members from the third world. The organisation is against war, but unclear on the issues of colonialism and racism. Social democratic parties becomes the first mass parties and as such the first generalist permanent membership organisations.
1890 May 1 celebrations internationally to promote 8 hour work day and commemorate the violent oppression against anarchist workers 8 hours protest in Chicago originally inspired by Australian trade unions. The first international action day that soon becomes a day claiming a wide range of demands making it a generalist political event except in the US.
5 MODELS OF NGOS, PARTIES AND POPULAR MOVEMENTS
1898 Single-issue campaign to provoke war is successfully organised by a New York newspaper owner using questionable information claiming Spanish attacks against a US naval ship in a Cuban harbour and grossly exaggerating facts about the Spanish oppression of the Cubans. Spain is defeated by the US and Cuba becomes dominated by its Northern neighbour. An US imperialism is established based on close cooperation between civil society and government and economical, military and political means. During the same period generalist permanent membership organisations are under attack in the US. Socialist and populist mass parties are replaced by a system of advocacy and lobbying specialists separated from the mass movements and especially the Socialists are violently repressed. A system of specialist NGOs dominated by professionals and electoral rally campaigns sometimes supplanted by repressed single-issue civil disobedience movements is established instead of generalist permanent membership organisations in the form of class-based political parties or multi-issue popular movements.
1899 1st Peace conference takes place in The Hague, with governmental negotiations on disarmament, arbitration of international conflicts and conduct of land warfare. Peace movements were also present at the conference.
1905 Japan defeats Russia, mass manifestations in
Russians cities inspiring mass participation and radicalisation
of politics in Europe, India and elsewhere. Tsarist repression
makes open political work hard. The organisation of professional
generalists under democratic centralist principles to promote
unity and solidarity becomes a model for the revolutionary party
seeking state power. Popular movements are excepted as
1906 Civil disobedience built on mass participation in non-violence is invented by Muslim and Hindu Indians in South Africa in the struggle against colonial oppression and British imperialism. This model is spread to India and the rest of the world becoming a global model of forming political will through single-issue mass campaigns interacting with multi-issue popular movements and generalist political parties.
1910 Mexican farmers make revolution. The Ayala land reform plan was formulated.
1914-1918 World War I. 2nd International and the peace movement fails in stopping the war. Social Democrats split in antimilitarist together with revolutionaries and reformists that supports war credits and their own government. Russian revolution establish planned economy under one-party rule in Soviet union after civil war and imperialist intervention from most Western colonial states. Pacifists split in anti-militarists, radical pacifists and reformist NGOs supporting lobbying governmental negotiations. Soviet Union appeals for world revolution liberating all oppressed nations and proclaims the rights of nations as more important than the right of property. At the same time the secret diplomacy between the former Russian Tsarist regime and other Western states are made public showing how the established powers planned to split up countries according to their own imperialist plans after World War II. The Soviet Union initiative to liberate nations from colonial dominance causes an American reformist response proclaiming national development and redistribution of wealth without changing the social system or threatening property. Reactionary and conservative states like Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany prevent both reform and revolution.
1919 - 1943 Comintern is established, the first international party. Ends after two years under strict global hierarchic rule according to the Moscow thesis. At the meeting in Baku 1920 the anti-colonial struggle became important to the organisation.
1922 Fascist parties are established in Europe based on denying the idea of political parties and popular movements representing different interests and instead reversing political thinking back to the age of politics as a body. Dictatorships maintaining capitalism are soon established in Italy and Portugal based on fascism, Eastern Europe based on anti judeo-communist ideology and later in Germany based on nazism.
As a result of the formation of anti-colonial and socialist political will, 5 different models emerge. Two models at the opposite end are the specialist professional American NGO model fragmenting different social and global interests and the generalist professional Russian party model acknowledging social and global different interests. The alternative is the South African - Indian lay popular movement model combining generalist and single-issue qualities. In Europe and partly Japan two further models are developed. First in Europe the combination of professionally dominated parliamentary generalist party and single-issue lay popular movements.
Second the refusal of recognising different social
interests were the party, the army and the popular movements embody
the same will. During this period 1880 - 1920 a political party
system is built up in industrialised countries along four cleavage
structures, center and periphery, state and church, agrarian and
industrial communities and capital and work. As the system still
is unfinished but ends with general suffrage in many countries
those entering as parties first gets a privileged position. They
can adjust political rules in their own favour, influence the
political agenda to avoid new political parties and establish
ties to stronger social groups with stable significance that have
electoral importance. After the system has been established almost
no new political parties emerge until 1970s.
1931 - 1945 World War II starting when Japan building on similar ideas as fascism in Europe attacks China 1931 and ending when Japan surrenders 1945 after the US atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
1932 Salt march in India starts mass civil disobedience campaign sending 100 000 Indians to prison until the British empire surrenders and shows to the world that colonial powers cannot any longer suppress their subjects wishes to become free.
1936 Democratically elected Spanish republicans are confronted by a fascist rebellion supported by regular German nazi and Italian fascist troops. Comintern supports the republic against the fascist attack and sends weapons. Fierce internal conflicts arise during the fascist attack between the non-socialists, anarchist, socialist and communist supporters of the democratic republic. Other democratic capitalistic governments are not willing to help the democratically elected Spanish government. International volunteers going to Spain to fight fascism are criminalised by liberal, conservative and social democratic governments. In China the Japanese attack continuous met by similar disinterest in seriously stopping the aggression from democratic capitalistic governments. Comintern remains also here the foremost international force in the struggle against militaristic fascism while the Chinese Kuomintang government sometimes sees the communists as the main enemy and only reluctantly joins forces with the communists against Japan. 1936 Germany and Japan establish the Anti-Comintern Pact one year later joined by Italy.
1939 Fascism defeats democracy in Spain and Germany starts World War II in Europe helped for a while by a Soviet-German non-aggression treaty.
1942 Japan defeats the US in the Philippines, the British at Singapore and the Dutch colonial army in Indonesia. The year after Japan declares Vietnam, Burma and Indonesia independent. After this the Dutch are never effectively capable of reconquering their colony and anti-colonialism gains importance.
1943 At Stalingrad the global fascist expansion is finally defeated by Soviet Union. Comintern is dissolved the same year to please Western allies.
1944 - 45 The Allies encircles and defeats nazi
Germany and Japan. At a meeting at Yalta Europe is divided in
interest-zones to be respected after the war. The United Nations
is established in San Francisco built on the idea to promote equal
relationships between state, decolonialisation and the right to
a decent living for everyone. Conservative and reactionary states
like Great Britain, France and Germany loose influence and Soviet
union and the US gains. Colonial nations in the third world have
contributed many soldiers to the allied armies on the presumption
that they either becomes citizens or gains independence.
1945 On the day of peace in Europe Algerians are
massacred in Setif when France meets demonstrators with bombs
killing more then ten thousand.
1947 Cold war between communist planned economy
states and liberal capitalist states starts divide the world in
an East - West state-centered gap with both side promising welfare
state for all.
1948 America rejects its ideals when UN was established. Rather than bringing welfare to everybody through international cooperation an agenda that concentrates on controlling global financial and military means is established. A doctrine of cold war against communism is proclaimed as well as a doctrine separating the world into developed and under developed, later developing nations declaring a single path to modernity for all nations to follow. Soviet Union strengthens its control on states under its territorial control. Dictatorships are strengthened in Eastern Europe and a split among socialist states and movements occur. The competition between the two American and Soviet systems promotes decolonialisation and inclusion of people through distributing welfare better within industrialised nations, promoting discipline through cold war competition and solidarity within institutions.
1951 Socialist International starts bringing Social Democratic parties together. ISU is forced to move its headquarter from Paris to Prague by France after also WFDY was forced earlier by Great Britain to move from London to Budapest.
1955 Bandung Conference establish non-aligned, mainly third world countries as an important power in world politics.
1959 Vienna World Youth Festival provokes close cooperation between CIA, social democrats, conservatives, liberals and the press against the event. The first Conservative-Christian international student organisational efforts takes place to influence the participants of the festival.
1962 Helsinki World Youth Festival continues to provoke CIA and conservatives. But it also becomes part of a center-left party alliance on foreign policy supported by young radical popular movements. This alliance makes Finland able to break the ban on having headquarters of global organisations including communists as important in the West when World Peace Committee is established in Helsinki 1967-8. It also makes the country able to build other important political bridges between East and West.
1970s New political parties start to emerge in industrialised countries after a long period of a stable system. Many focusing on different local issues, soon environment in many countries stimulates new Green parties and in a few countries like Iceland successful feminist parties. Later nationalist and xenofobian parties gain influence in national parliaments.
1972 The UN Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm becomes the first time when popular movements confronts a Summit with demonstrations, counter conferences and third world participation while interaction between the official and popular meetings also takes place. This model becomes later standard at Summits whether organised by UN or others. The Stockholm conference was also the first time that Communist China entered modern UN diplomacy. The encounter between different forces ends in a stalemate and the rejection of the environmental movement built on popular participation to become integrated in the official system.
1975 Detente reaches a climax with two separate agreements. At the global level UN general assembly endorse a new economic world order that will give more justice to North-South relations. At Helsinki the European East-West conflict reaches as solution in the acceptance of the present border thus establishing finally peace after World War II and more important than many believed at that time, the inclusion if human rights in all European countries into an international treaty. This opened up for politicizing issues of human rights in European communist countries.
1977 The first international single-issue action network is established, Internatioinal Baby Food Action Network, IBFAN, soon followed by others on rain forest, health, pesticides etc. Simultanously protest starts in many countries against IMF and World Bank demands on third world countries.
1980 At Cancun America declares that it will never accept any New Economic World Order as demanded by the third world and many other countries. Neo-liberalism replaces state sovereignty with market sovereignty (backed by governments and their violence monopoly). Global multilateral power is shifted more from UN towards IMF, World Bank and trade agreements.
1981 CIA reevaluate its strategy as too successful. It has the capacity of orchestrating destruction of governments unfavourable to the US interests. But 30 years later this might provoke a counter-reaction in civil society like in Iran that brings a mass movement seeing America as an enemy to power. The solution is to divert resources from CIA to democracy promotion in civil society. Whenever a siuation becomes uncertain for an authoritarian or dictatorial regime the US can interfere with funds and experts to help organisations that are willing to promote a system of neo-liberal economy and competing elite parties and NGOs. At the same time US can interfere economically, politically and militarily by official or secret material means to promote the change it wants.
1983 International Democratic Union starts with conservative parties as members. In Malaysia Third World Network, TWN, starts as a generalist action network closely linked to single-issue movements and other political actors, especially all over the Third World.
1985 In the innermost of the Amazonian rain forest global political will is amalgated when rubber tappers, land workers trade union, Workers party, Indians and other forest people starts to build alliances and gets support from the environmental movement globally. This alliance contributes to the first victory against a World Bank funded project, the only governor victory of the Workers party in the Brazil elections 1989 (in the state of Acre and general strengthening of popular Indian and other movements on the presumed marginal of society. This unique combination brings together an alliance across nations in Latin America and the world, across ethnical groups and across the divide between political parties and popular movements in a way that is pioneering new relationships and political possibilities. But this uniqueness is suppressed by Northern NGOs and academics excluding the crucial trade union and political party dimension overestimating the role of Northern environmental NGOs.
1987 A model of Global Governance is promoted by the report "Our Common Future" and the first UN Conference to integrate at a global level a single-issue movement into the hegemony of Western development strategy. This is a New York conference on disarmament and development. Neo-liberalism as the main strategy is replaced by neo-liberalism plus civil society as the solution to global problems. Political parties, and especially the new ones, becomes less and less dependent on their members and more on state or other external funding not depending on the number of members. Both the political decision to give more power to the market and to make many important political decisions in closed negotiating rooms creates democratic problems and a crisis for the parties.
1989 The fall of the Berlin wall. The East-West conflict fades away as a main conflict in world politics. In Asia popular movements Starts Peoples Plan for the 21str century, PP21. These meetings on general issues soon spread to Central America and other parts of the world.
1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro becomes the great launching event for global governance and its legitimizing ideology sustainable development. 118 heads of states, transnational corporations, NGOs and popular movements unite their efforts under the hegemony of accepting free trade as the solution to the environmental and social crisis. Compared to 20 years earlier were popular movements united their efforts and confronted the official meeting this time the movements were fragmented into NGO sectors unable to accumulate common strength. Thus accumulation of the strength of the global majority is excluded together with all persons and groups lacking a strong identity or lucrative cause fitting into the professional models. A global NGO system is established. Outside of this professionalised global civil society La Via Campesina is established as a global popular farmers movement with leadership in the south and similar interest among its member organisations in all parts of the world. In Americas Indians, mostly farmers, separate themselves from left dominated actions commemorating 500 years of resistance against European conquest. They organise their own long marches and direct action to confront the official celebrations.
1994 Zapatistas, mostly Indian farmers, in Chiapas starts an armed rebellion against the North American Free Trade agreement on the day it is set in action. This rebellion is capable of avoiding escalating military conflict by mobilising solidarity in the whole of Mexico and the rest of the world. 1996 the first International meeting against neo-liberals is held in the Lacandón Jungle with 4 000 participants. The professional civil society NGO consensus to not confront the present world order is challenged and a global political opposition is formed.
1997 World Youth Festivals are restarted again after the fall of the Berlin Wall by the third world. First in Havana and later in Alger and Caracas with more than 10 000 international participants each time.
1998 In Geneva Peoples' Global Action Against WTO and "Free" Trade is established to confront the ruling global institutions and rejecting NGOs while promoting non-violent civil disobedience. The initiative soon broadens its agenda becoming generalist. It is dominated by mass movements from the South and farmers from all over the world. The clear No helps Southern NGOs in making most advocacy NGOs to reject the Multilateral Agreement on Investments, MAI and opposing further extension of WTO. A radicalisation and broader cooperation takes place also in the North with the South as a driving force.
1999 The radicalisation and broadening of popular movement cooperation is demonstrated at the WTO meeting at Seattle 1999.
2001 World Social Forum is initiated in Porto Alegre as one more third world initiative for popular movement and NGO discussion. It becomes a success with some 100 000 international and domestic participants only after two years as an open generalist forum addressing most issues but not making common decisions on action. In spite of a formal exclusion of political parties they have a key position in mobilising resources to make the event possible. The formal exclusion of liberation movements carrying weapons is a controversial issue. The same year Global Greens is proclaimed as an international party. US starts its war on terrorism rejeting the Westphalian order and UN principles.
Political parties become less and less democratic. The old gets less and less members and their democratic influence is reduced when the leadership needs free room for national and international negotiations. In some new parties democracy is ruled out as a way to organise politics and instead franchise and other forms of selecting from above is established. Intellectual life is more and more separately organised outside the party in self-selected think-tanks or closely related PR-companies or NGO campaigns.
Published by Folkrörelsestudiegruppen: email@example.com