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Le Pen dan Bumerang Politik SARA di Prancis

Le Pen OK

TEMAN saya, warga negara Indonesia, yang telah bekerja di Kota Paris selama lebih dari lima tahun menjadi sangat khawatir dengan hasil pemilu dua minggu lalu di Prancis, khususnya karena keunggulan Marine Le Pen dari Partai Front Nasional. Marine Le Pen, menurut dia, dipandang sebagai kandidat yang tidak punya jalan keluar atas masalah yang ada di Prancis, tetapi pandai menggunakan sentimen antiminoritas, anti terhadap imigran, dan anti terhadap EU dalam setiap diskusinya.

Le Pen menggunakan isu SARA dan menunjuk para imigran, khususnya umat muslim, sebagai penyebab dari pelambatan ekonomi dan peningkatan pengangguran yang relatif tinggi. Provokasi semacam itu sulit dibendung karena dalam beberapa tahun terakhir ini Prancis memang diserang oleh aksi teroris yang berafiliasi kepada ISIS. Meskipun ia kalah dari Macron pada putaran pertama, secara umum agenda para kandidat telah cenderung bergerak ke kanan dan intoleransi semakin menguat di antara warga Prancis.

Siapakah Marine Le Pen? Apakah beda model politik Marine Le Pen dari pemimpin Partai Front Nasional terdahulu dan partai-partai mainstream di Prancis? Marine Le Pen adalah putri Jean Le Pen, pendiri Front Nasional, satu di antara partai politik sayap kanan di Prancis yang didirikan pada 1974. Jean Le Pen sangat populer karena ia selalu mencoba keberuntungan untuk menjadi calon presiden dalam setiap kesempatan pemilihan presiden sejak 1974, 1988, 1995, 2002, hingga 2007.

Kemenangannya terhadap Jacques Chirac dari Partai Konservatif yang fenomenal pada putaran pertama pemilihan presiden pada 2002 membuat ia semakin percaya diri walaupun akhirnya ia kalah pada putaran kedua karena partai Sosialis dan partai kecil lain bekerja untuk memenangkan Chirac dan mencegah Le Pen menang. Jumlah pemilih pada putaran kedua tahun itu lebih banyak dibandingkan putaran pertama sebagai hasil mobilisasi penuh partai-partai yang sudah mapan. Meski demikian, popularitasnya pada putaran pertama itu pun tidak dapat menyelamatkan dirinya dari kudeta yang dilakukan oleh putrinya sendiri pada 2011. Marine Le Pen tidak menyukai sikap ayahnya yang sangat provokatif, intoleran, dan tidak diplomatis, serta dianggap membuat suara partai tidak tumbuh. Sebab itu, ia menyingkirkan ayahnya dan tampil sebagai pemimpin partai di Front Nasional yang baru. Tindakan politik tersebut tepat dan menguntungkan bagi Front Nasional.

Marine Le Pen membawa Front Nasional jauh “lebih moderat” dalam ukuran sayap kanan sehingga dapat menghimpun para pemilih yang tidak suka terhadap gaya kepemimpinan Jean Le Pen. Marine melakukan pembenahan di dalam partai. Ia mengurangi figur-figur yang dianggap sebagai tokoh sayap kanan ekstrem, bigot, pendukung NAZI atau anti-Yahudi. Ia melakukan strukturisasi partai dengan mengisi kepengurusan dengan orang-orang yang lebih muda, modern, berpendidikan, dan santun.

Ia bahkan memilih Florian Phillipot sebagai wakilnya yang berusia 31 tahun dan baru tamat dari perguruan tinggi elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration. Perubahan ini terutama untuk menyasar pemilih muda dari sayap kiri dan kanan.

Strategi untuk membawa Front Nasional lebih “moderat” tidak berati mengurangi garis politik partai yang sangat populis dan kanan ini. Secara politik, kebijakan Front Nasional adalah menolak keanggotaan Prancis dalam masyarakat Uni Eropa (EU), menolak Eurozone, menolak Schengen Area, pendekatan yang keras terhadap pelanggaran hukum, dan penolakan terhadap kebebasan bergerak bagi pendatang baik yang berasal dari negara-negara anggota EU dan khususnya pendatang di luar EU.

Marine hanya mencoba untuk mengimbangi garis politiknya populis kanan, tetapi berusaha untuk mencitrakan partainya sebagai partai yang peduli dengan kelompok masyarakat lain, modern, dan progresif. Ia bahkan tidak segan-segan mengancam membawa ke pengadilan apabila ada orang yang menuduh Front Nasional sebagai partainya sayap kanan ekstrem di Prancis.

Strategi itu berhasil. Marine Le Pen mengikuti jejak ayahnya untuk menjadi calon presiden setiap kali ada kesempatan untuk mengikutinya. Ia adalah kandidat dengan perolehan suara banyak ketiga di bawah François Hollande dan petahana Presiden Nicolas Sarkozy pada 2012. Ia memperoleh 17% atau sekitar 6,42 juta suara. Perolehannya lebih tinggi dari yang dicapai oleh ayahnya pada 2002. Jean Le Pen saat itu hanya memperoleh 4,8 juta atau sekitar 16,8%. Bintangnya pun terus bersinar hingga menempatkan diri sebagai unggulan kedua di bawah Emmanuel Macron dari sayap tengah pada putaran pertama presiden Prancis dua minggu lalu.

Kemajuan demi kemajuan yang dicapai oleh Front Nasional bukanlah sebuah kejutan. Para pengamat sudah sejak jauh-jauh hari meramalkan bahwa Front Nasional akan berhasil mengubah dirinya dari partai gurem menjadi partai mainstream di Prancis. Kemenangan Marine dan Macron dalam Pilpres Prancis 2017 ini juga telah menjadi catatan sejarah penting di Prancis. Dalam pilpres tahun ini mereka telah mengalahkan dua partai besar dan mapan yang selalu ada dalam sejarah pemilu yaitu Partai Sosialis dan Partai Konservatif (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire-UMP).

Mengapa Front Nasional dapat membesar dan mengalahkan ideologi dua partai besar di Prancis? Mehdi Hasan, seorang jurnalis di Washington DC, mengatakan di The Intercept bahwa penguatan Front Nasional bukan hanya karena reformasi internal yang dilakukan oleh Marine sejak 2011, melainkan juga karena politisi dari Partai Konservatif dan Sosialis yang ikut memainkan isu SARA sejak lama untuk mendulang suara dan dengan dalih membendung Le Pen agar tidak mendominasi suara anti-imigran yang sedang berkembang.

Politik SARA yang Jadi Bumerang

Contohnya adalah Presiden Mitterrand (Partai Sosialis) yang mengatakan bahwa Prancis telah melampaui “ambang toleransi” terhadap imigrasi. Meskipun kemudian Mitterand menarik pernyataannya tersebut, Perdana Menterinya yang juga dari Partai Sosialis, Edith Cresson, memunculkan kegaduhan ketika menyarankan agar imigran ilegal dideportasi dengan dipesankan pesawat khusus.

Wartawan dari Uni Eropa Cathryn Cluver menjelaskan bahwa pernyataan Mitterand pada akhir 1980-an itu mengejutkan karena selama sepuluh tahun sebelumnya Mitterand dikenal sebagai presiden sosialis pertama di Prancis yang memberi nuansa kemanusiaan pada kebijakan imigrasi di Prancis. Antara 1981-1986 justru ada banyak peraturan imigrasi yang mendukung imigrasi secara legal.

Penerus Mitterand, Jacques Chirac, mantan perdana menteri Prancis pada 1991, rupanya bertugas mengembalikan suara Partai Sosialis yang tergerus oleh Front Nasional. Karena itu, Chirac mengamini pernyataan bahwa seluruh pekerja Prancis sudah lelah dengan imigran yang “malodorant et bruyant” (berbau dan berisik).

Kaum imigran di Eropa, yang umumnya dari Arab dan Afrika, dikonotasikan bau karena aroma masakannya dan berisik karena kerap berkelahi dengan polisi. Pada masa itu pula mantan Presiden Valery Giscard d’Estaing (Partai Konservatif/UMP) memperingatkan masyarakat akan “bahaya invasi” imigran.

Isu SARA diangkat lagi oleh Nikolas Sarkozy yang meluncurkan “Debat Nasional tentang Identitas Nasional” pada 2009. Ia mengumumkan larangan berkerudung yang sebenarnya hanya berlaku pada 2.000 perempuan dari total 2 juta perempuan muslim di Prancis pada 2010, juga berkoar bahwa daging halal adalah “isu yang paling dibincangkan di Prancis” pada 2012. Sarkozy pula yang menyebut Partai Front Nasional sebagai partai demokratis dan menyebutnya “cocok untuk Republik”.

Kondisi di atas mengingatkan kita pada situasi yang dihadapi juga di Tanah Air. Politisi yang mapan dari dua partai besar di Prancis tidak pernah membayangkan bahwa strategi mereka untuk memainkan isu SARA ternyata justru melapangkan jalan bagi Le Pen untuk menjadi lebih populer.

Diskriminasi dan konflik sosial di antara warga Prancis dan imigran semakin tajam. Bibit radikalisme dan terorisme tidak hanya subur di antara warga imigran muslim, tetapi juga warga Prancis. Kekerasan seperti lingkaran setan yang semakin lama semakin rumit dan kompleks untuk diuraikan.

Perkembangan politik SARA di Prancis patut menjadi pertimbangan politisi dan pemilih di Indonesia saat pilkada, pemilu legislatif, dan pemilu presiden. Memenangkan suara mayoritas hari ini bisa jadi bumerang bagi stabilitas sosial pada tahun-tahun selanjutnya.

Dinna Wisnu, Pengamat Hubungan Internasional;

KORAN SINDO, 03 Mei 2017

Geliat Anti globalisasi dalam Pemilu Eropa

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Tahun 2017 adalah tahun yang penting bagi Benua Eropa. Pasalnya, tahun ini akan ada berbagai pemilihan umum yang akan menyoroti perseteruan antara politisi mapan (political establishment) dan politisi oportunis yang bergerak karena ketidakpuasan masyarakat. Ada pemilihan presiden dan parlemen di Prancis, Hungaria, Slovenia, dan Jerman; pemilihan umum di Belanda, Norwegia, dan Republik Ceko; serta pemilu lokal di Portugal dan Irlandia. Ada tiga negara yang penting untuk diperhatikan karena akan memengaruhi arah perkembangan Eropa, yakni Jerman, Prancis, dan Belanda.

Prancis menjadi penting karena negara tersebut adalah salah satu pemegang hak veto di Dewan Keamanan (DK) PBB. Bayangkan apabila negara pemegang hak veto di DK PBB dikuasai pemerintahan yang sangat kanan dan populis. Saat ini sudah terjadi pada Amerika Serikat dan Inggris. Jerman dan Belanda juga penting bagi Uni Eropa karena perekonomian mereka yang stabil dan besar di antara negara-negara anggota Eropa lain selain Inggris. Pemilihan umum di Eropa tahun ini menjadi menarik dibandingkan periode sebelumnya karena beberapa partai populis di negara-negara tersebut semakin meningkat perolehan kursinya.

Brexit dan Trump adalah fenomena yang telah menginspirasi partai kanan populis di Eropa untuk bergerak maju, tetapi sekaligus bisa mengubur inspirasi itu apabila belum ada dampak signifikan yang dihasilkan dari Brexit dan kebijakan proteksionis Trump dalam jangka waktu dekat. Belanda adalah negara yang akan mengadakan pemilu pada Maret.

Ipsos Mori, sebuah lembaga survei di Belanda, melaporkan awal bulan ini bahwa Party for Freedom (PVV) yang dipimpin oleh Geert Wilders akan memenangkan kursi legislatif apabila pemilu diadakan pada saat survei dilakukan. Pemilu di Belanda akan membicarakan tema-tema tentang bagaimana mengurangi atau berhenti menolong negaranegara EU yang melemahkan euro seperti Rumania, Yunani, dan negara dengan perekonomian kecil lainnya. Partai ini mungkin partai yang secara terang dan terbuka menentang keberadaan muslim di Eropa dan khususnya Belanda. Partainya telah membuat manifesto deislamisasi Belanda denganbeberapausulnya, antara lain menutup pusat peng-ungsian, menutup sekolah-sekolah muslim, menutup perbatasan dan melarang seluruh migran dari negara berpendudukmuslim tanpa kecuali, dan seruan-seruan provokasi lainnya.

Prancis adalah negara yang akan mengadakan pemilihan presiden pada 23 April 2017, dan akan dilanjutkan pada 7 Mei 2017 apabila tidak ada di antara para kandidat yang menang satu putaran dalam pemilihan pertama. Presiden Prancis saat ini François Hollande yang berasal dari Partai Sosialis sebenarnya masih punya jatah untuk maju dalam periode ke-2.

Hak ini terpaksa ia tangguhkan karena popularitasnya semakin menurun dengan semakin tingginya kasus-kasus terorisme yang terjadi belakangan ini dan dukungan Partai Sosialis atas kebijakan Uni Eropa yang mengizinkan pengungsi untuk masuk. Benoit Hamon yang telah memenangkan nominasi dalam Partai Sosialis akan menggantikan Hollande. Kemungkinan Prancis akan mengikuti jejak Inggris dan Amerika dalam menerapkan kebijakan yang proteksionis dan antipendatang (baik pengungsi atau bukan) bisa menjadi kenyataan. Survei yang dilakukan oleh Kantar Sofres tahun lalu mengumumkan Marine Le Penn dari Front Nasional, partai yang Far-Right akan memenangkan putaran pertama, namun ia akan dikalahkan oleh Francois Fillon dari Partai Konservatif yang diprediksi akan memenangkan putaran kedua.

Emmanuel Macron dari Partai Tengah juga berpeluang untuk memenangkan putaran kedua apabila ia berhadapan dengan Fillon. Tema pokok yang menjadi materi kampanye dan pertanyaan masyarakat di Prancis adalah apakah nilai-nilai sekuler Prancis cocok dengan penduduk muslim di Prancis (Wall Street Journal, 16/11/2016). Marine Le Penn saat ini berada di atas angin Partai Konservatif dan Liberal berkat kampanyenya untuk menolak pengungsi dan globalisasi. Sebaliknya, Partai Sosialis yang mendukung globalisasi dan pengungsi, semakin hari semakin turun popularitasnya. Pertanyaannya kemudian apakah partai yang berhaluan sosialis, konservatif, dan liberal akan bergerak ke tengah untuk mengimbangi suara Le Penn atau tetap pada prinsipnya.

Angela Merkel akan memasuki masa kepemimpinan ke- 4 sebagai kanselir Jerman apabila ia tidak mengundurkan diri. Jerman tidak memiliki batas periode kepemimpinan sebagai kanselir. Masyarakat Jerman masih mempercayai kepemimpinan Merkel. Survei mengenai popularitas dan elektabilitasnya tetap tertinggi, walaupun menurun dalam beberapa terakhir karena prinsipnya untuk tetap menerimapengungsidari Timur Tengah.

Popularitasnya saat ini telah sedikitnya menyelamatkan Jerman dari semakin menguatnya Partai Alternatif untuk Jerman (Alternative for Germany) yang dipimpin oleh Frauke Petry yang berhaluan populis kanan dan skeptis terhadap EU. Menurunnya popularitas Merkel menguntungkan buat kompetitor terdekatnya, Partai Sosial Demokrat yang dipimpin Martin Schulz.

German broadcaster ARD mengungkapkan hasil polling-nya minggu lalu yang menempatkan Schulz sebagai kandidat yang berpotensi menggantikan Merkel karena terus secara konsisten mendapat tambahan suara. Apabila kecenderungan ini terus berlanjut hingga pemilihan umum September nanti, posisi Schulz akan kuat.

Rangkaian pemilihan umum baik presiden maupun parlemen akan menjadi ujian bagi Masyarakat Uni Eropa apakah mereka dapat bertahan dalam menghadapi gelombang politisi oportunis yang menunggangi ketidakpuasan massal masyarakat terhadap struktur politik saat ini. EU dianggap sebagai lembaga supranasional yang terlalu mengintervensi politik dalam negeri masing-masing negara anggota.

Sama halnya dengan seruan yang dilontarkan oleh Trump, kelompok-kelompok antikemapanan menuding globalisasi menjadi sumber dari ketimpangan di dalam negeri. Nilai-nilai solidaritas yang menjadi dasar dari terbentuknya Masyarakat Uni Eropa dipertanyakan karena dibenturkan dengan fenomena menguatnya terorisme dan radikalisasi yang mengakibatkan beberapa negara rentan dengan serangan aksi-aksi kejahatan teroris.

Perubahan yang terjadi di Eropa dapat berdampak langsung dan tidak langsung terhadap perekonomian kita. Perdagangan EU dan Indonesia saat ini masih berada di bawah perdagangan regional ASEAN-EU dan belum ada perjanjian bilateral langsung.

EU selama ini mendorong dalam kampanye perdagangannya menginginkan sebuah kerja sama yang saling menguntungkan dan bersama-sama menghilangkan efek negatif dari globalisasi dengan cara memastikan keuntungan yang didapatkan oleh negara-negara berkembang yang terlibat kerja sama dengan mereka.

Nilai-nilai ini mungkin akan menjadi terkompromikan apabila EU cenderung untuk mendorong proteksionisme untuk melindungi dampak negatif globalisasi bagi kepentingan dalam negeri mereka sendiri.

Dinna Wisnu, Pengamat Hubungan Internasional;

KORAN SINDO, 08 Februari 2017

Uni Eropa di Persimpangan Jalan

Uni Eropa di Persimpangan Jalan 03KEMENANGAN Alexander Van der Bellen dari Partai Hijau di Austria mengalahkan Hofer, seorang politisi dan pemimpin Partai Kebebasan dari sayap kanan pada minggu lalu belum dapat membuat para pejabat tinggi Di Uni-Eropa bernapas lega. Karena di hari yang sama saat Perdana Menteri Italia, Matteo Renzi, mengalami kekalahan dari referendum yang menuntut pengurangan wewenang parlemen di Italia. Sejatinya apabila Matteo Renzi dapat memenangkan referendum untuk mengurangi wewenang parlemen dalam keputusan-keputusan eksekutif, maka Perdana Menteri dapat mengambil kebijakan ekonomi-politik yang lebih mendukung penguatan Uni Eropa. Di sisi lain, hal itu juga dapat mengurangi tekanan dari kelompok sayap kanan yang selalu mengerem kebijakan-kebijakan yang Pro-Uni Eropa di Parlemen.

Gejala-gejala Eropa yang akan berubah haluan menjadi lebih Kanan telah terjadi dalam sepuluh tahun terakhir. Kemenangan-kemenangan kecil partai dan organisasi sayap kanan di satu negara dikhawatirkan akan memiliki efek menambah kepercayaan diri kelompok sayap Kanan di negara lain.

Uni Eropa di Persimpangan Jalan 01

Sayap Kanan di Eropa saat ini cenderung mendukung kebijakan ekonomi yang lebih proteksionis, lebih nasionalistik dalam ranah politik dan cenderung anti-imigran dalam mengatasi masalah krisis pengungsi. Selain Italia dan Austria yang secara formal menunjukkan penguatan sayap kanan, negara-negara lain di Eropa juga memiliki kecenderungan sama dilihat dari meningkatnya proporsi jumlah kursi dari tahun ke tahun untuk partai Kanan. Contoh adalah Front Perancis Bersatu di bawah pimpinan Marine Le Pen yang meningkat perolehan kursinya dari 4,3% di tahun 2007 menjadi 13,6% di tahun 2012. Perolehan kursi yang meningkat itu terjadi setelah Marine Le Penn mengurangi kampanye “rasisme dan xenopobia” sehingga mendapat tambahan suara dari golongan kiri-tengah.

Di Belanda, Party for Freedom yang dipimpin oleh Greet Wilders juga mengalami pertumbuhan kekuatan parlemen yang signfikan. Walaupun perolehan kursinya sempat menurun pada tahun 2010 akibat perselisihan di dalam partai, Party for Freedom Belanda ini meningkat perolehan kursinya dari 5,9% di tahun 2006 menjadi 10,1% di tahun 2012.

Di antara dua negara tersebut, Hungaria, Polandia dan Swiss adalah negara-negara yang memiliki partai sayap kanan yang cenderung menguat dalam beberapa pemilihan umum terakhir selain Inggris yang sudah keluar EU. Saya sendiri secara pribadi belum berani untuk menyimpulkan mengapa Eropa saat ini cenderung bergerak ke Kanan. Dari sisi indikator ekonomi, Uni Eropa (EU) secara umum mengalami peningkatan. Pendapatan perkapita negara-negara EU secara rata-rata adalah 28.800 Euro di tahun 2015. Dengan catatan, ada negara dengan penghasilan sangat besar seperti Luxemburg dengan pendapatan per kapita sebesar 89.900 Euro hingga Bulgaria yang terkecil sebesar 6.300 Euro.

Ada asumsi yang mengatakan bahwa sayap Kanan menguat karena hilangnya pekerjaan akibat masuknya para pengungsi. Namun, apabila kita lihat datanya, dari sisi pengangguran, negara-negara yang memiliki kecenderungan menguat sayap Kanannya sangat bervariasi dalam tingkat pengangguran.

Sehingga belum tentu pengangguran yang tinggi menjadi faktor pemicu tumbuh dan berkembangnya partai sayap Kanan. Contoh, secara berturut-turut tingkat pengangguran terhadap angkatan kerja berdasarkan EuroStat, 2015: Jerman (4,6%), Inggris (ex-EU 5,3%), Prancis (10,4%), Italia (11,9%), Belanda (6,9%), Spanyol (22,1%) dan Portugis (12,6%). Sebagai perbandingan, angka pengangguran terhadap angkatan Kerja di Indonesia pada tahun 2015 adalah 6,2%.

Tingkat pengangguran yang cukup tinggi di Prancis dan Italia mungkin menjadi penyebab menguatnya sentimen anti EU. Tetapi hal ini tidak terjadi di Spanyol dan Portugis yang bahkan memiliki tingkat pengangguran lebih tinggi dari dua negara tersebut. Demikian pula, Jerman dan Inggris yang memiliki tingkat pengangguran paling kecil tidak menjamin kebal dari virus pengaruh gagasan Sayap Kanan. Inggris bahkan keluar dari EU akibat pengaruh tersebut.

Kesimpulan sementara yang dapat diterima saat ini terhadap menguatnya Sayap Kanan di Eropa adalah gagasan khayalan (delusional) tentang akan lebih sejahteranya negara-negara Eropa bila berdiri sendiri. Atau bila negara-negara anggota mendapatkan kembali wewenang mereka untuk memerintah.

Seperti kita ketahui bersama bahwa EU bukan sekadar forum atau asosiasi seperti ASEAN. Namun EU telah menjelma menjadi Super-State yang memiliki tujuh lembaga sebagai tempat untuk menghasilkan keputusan bersama yang kemudian wajib dilaksanakan oleh negara-negara anggota EU.

Tujuh lembaga tersebut adalah European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, dan the European Court of Auditors. Para pemimpin Sayap Kanan berkampanye dan menyakinkan bahwa apabila mereka mengurangi wewenang atau kapasitas EU atau bahkan keluar dari EU, masyarakat akan lebih sejahtera.

Partai-partai sayap kanan di Eropa mungkin masih membutuhkan waktu 1 atau 2 kali periode pemilihan umum untuk dapat memimpin di negaranya masing-masing. Namun secara politik kemungkinan politik dalam negeri di kawasan itu akan bergerak dari Kiri Tengah menjadi Kanan-Tengah demi mencegah Partai Sayap Kanan (Far-Right) semakin menguat. Apabila hal itu terjadi ada beberapa skenario yang mungkin bisa terjadi di dalam jangka pendek.

Skenario pertama adalah ketika terjadi resistensi dan pembatasan bagi pencari suaka padahal solusi konflik di negara-negara yang bermasalah belumlah terbentuk. Inggris yang sudah tidak terikat pada EU misalnya merasa tidak perlu lagi membuka garis perbatasannya bagi para pencari suaka.

Namun EU juga harus menelan pil pahit dari Turki yang mengancam akan membuka perbatasannya bagi para imigran untuk masuk ke Eropa. Pertentangan kebijakan berujung pada pengabaian masalah HAM dan kemanusiaan, bahkan stigmatisasi pada kaum imigran dan pendatang. Hal ini akan menyebabkan masalah atau krisis kemanusiaan di Timur Tengah akan semakin mendalam dan membutuhkan kepemimpinan baru untuk menyelesaikannya.

Skenario kedua adalah mengingat bahwa di Austria sudah tercetus pernyataan oleh partai sayap kanan bahwa Political Islam adalah fasisme baru. Jika para elit politik dapat mengelola isu dengan baik, maka pernyataan seperti itu akan ditentang melalui mekanisme pemilu, antara lain dengan menguatkan kelompok-kelompok politik di jalur Kanan-Tengah agar kelompok-kelompok Kanan kehilangan pendukung.

Tetapi jika isu seperti ini tidak dikelola dengan baik, benturannya lagi-lagi akan berkembang di tataran masyarakat, mengoyak stabilitas relasi antarkelompok-kelompok masyarakat. Pertentangan politik yang menggunakan retorika agama adalah awal dari destabilitas sosial yang kerap berujung pada ketegangan bahkan kehancuran rezim berkuasa.

Ini tantangan besar untuk mendidik publik agar perkembangan negatif di belahan dunia lain tidak sampai diimpor juga ke dalam negeri.

Dinna Wisnu, Pengamat Hubungan Internasional;

KORAN SINDO, 07 Desember 2016

GLOBALIZATION: PRO OR PHOBIA?

March 23, 2013 Leave a comment

cofee & Wall street JournalJustin Rosenberg, “Globalization Theory: A Post Mortem,” International Politics, vol.42, 2005, pp.2-74.

Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert, The New Individualism: The Emotional Costs of Globalization, Routledge, London and New York, 2006. ISBN: 0-415-35152-9, 232 pp.

Steven Flusty, De-Coca-Colonization: Making the Globe from the Inside Out, Routledge, New York and London, 2004. ISBN: 0-415-94538-0, vii+235 pp.

In January 1848, 160 years ago, Karl Marx added the finishing touches to a remarkable document, The Communist Manifesto. Umberto Eco has recently commended the admirable literary style and poetic qualities of this, probably the most influential political pamphlet ever written. But more than this, we should note again its author’s amazing prescience – prescient in terms of anticipating the main points of contemporary analyses of globalization, though not in terms of foretelling globalizing trends themselves, since they were clearly evident – to Karl Marx at least – by the time he wrote. All four of the authors whose work is to be reviewed here acknowledge some degree of theoretical indebtedness to Marx, so it is worth reminding ourselves briefly of Marx’s main points regarding globalization.

In The Communist Manifesto Marx analyzed succinctly the globalizing tendencies inherent within capitalism: “The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.”[1] He described how this process of globalization produced a leveling and loss of distinct local cultures, superseding the claims of parochialism, regionalism and nationalism: “The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country” (83). He observed how established national industries were being destroyed and new industries created, which used not indigenous raw materials but materials imported from remote regions of the globe; while the products themselves were consumed all over the world. New wants were being generated, which could be satisfied only by the products of distant countries. This globalizing movement affected not only the production of goods, but intellectual production as well, so that, for example, “from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature” (84).

Marx also identified many of the social and psychological concomitants of globalization. For instance, he noticed the high value placed upon constant change in the name of innovation; and he was sensitive to the accompanying, ever-present human anxiety:

Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air… (83).

Among the many social changes that capitalism brought with it, Marx noted, for instance, the trend for expanding urban centers to dominate rural areas; the accelerating concentration of ownership of productiveresources in a few hands; and the increasing employment of women since, under the imperatives of the market, “Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity” (88).

Marx emphasized that under the sway of capitalism social relations tended to degenerate into brutal competition and callous exploitation. Social relationships come to be based solely on the cash nexus, leaving “no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest” or “egotistical calculation” (82). The ramifications of these changes extend through the whole spectrum of social life. Previously honored professions and occupations, whether those of doctors, lawyers, priests, poets or scientists, are no longer respected but, disciplined by market forces, are reduced to the position of wage laborers of capitalism. Even within the private domain, the intimate relationships of the family are disenchanted of sentiment and affection and reduced to financial contingencies.

Marx also wrote of the inevitability of these globalizing trends, the impossibility of resistance to or avoidance of the global expansion of capitalism, effected by means such as threats of competition and the inducements of cheap prices: “It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image” (84).

Thus the first section of The Communist Manifesto provides a brief, highly evocative summary of Marx’s analysis of the reasons for and consequences of capitalist globalization. One question we could ask when looking at recent work on globalization is: what, if anything, have current analyses added to the understanding of globalization we can derive from Marx? In fact, as will soon become clear, many of the significant themes in recent work on globalization were foreshadowed by Marx in The Communist Manifesto and more recent studies to a large extent merely repeat and elaborate upon his seminal ideas.

Rosenberg

In “Globalization Theory: A Post Mortem” (2005) Justin Rosenberg pronounces both globalization theory and in many ways the phenomenon of globalization itself to be corpses, fit only for autopsy. This is a very long journal article (72 pages), equivalent to a short book, and for that reason included in this review of recent works on globalization. The article is divided into three parts, moving from the more abstract to the more concrete. In these three parts, Rosenberg develops three main lines of argument:

  • a critique of the concept of globalization as it was used in the foundations of Globalization Theory;
  • the construction of a methodological bridge between social theory and empirical history in order to tap the useful possibilities of an historical sociology; and finally
  • a conjunctural analysis of the 1990s to show how a temporary combination of historical factors made globalization the ruling Zeitgeist of the age.

Some of these ideas were previously raised by Rosenberg in The Follies of Globalization Theory (2000). This previous publication was a very short book, equivalent to a very long journal article which, as the title suggests, focused on critique of some of the most prominent exponents of globalization theory, in particular Jan Aart Scholte, Rob Walker and Anthony Giddens.

(8) In the first section of the article, Rosenberg argues that Globalization Theory always suffered from serious and fundamental flaws, which were indeed inherent to the undertaking. Many of the ideas that Rosenberg canvasses in this first section were developed at greater length in The Follies of Globalization Theory, though, it must be said, with less clarity. In the literature which developed around the concept, the manifestations of globalization were taken to include the transnational integration of the world to form a single social space and the rise of new forms of deterritorialized social relations. Furthermore, Globalization theorists contended that the term “globalization” identified the causality involved in these fundamental transformations of social existence. Rosenberg argues, however, that the term “globalization” is fundamentally descriptive and empirical – thus an explanandum rather than an explanation. This error, according to Rosenberg, was “the founding inversion of explanans and explanandum which launched the giddy trajectory of Globalization Theory” (66).

The more ambitious Globalization theorists then attempted to use the concept of globalization as the basis for a wholesale reorientation of social theory grounded in the spatio-temporal dimension of life. But this placed a greater explanatory weight on the phenomenon of space-time compression than it could bear. As a result, these theorists were forced into cumulative qualifications and equivocations, which finally amounted to retraction, of their theoretical edifices: “the epochal predictions of Globalization Theory could suddenly dissolve in a sea of qualifications” (18). The results, in Rosenberg’s view, were theoretical follies, analogous to architectural follies, where the structure necessarily remains incomplete. “This phenomenon of the folly recurred so regularly in these writings that, in the absence of other explanations, it seems reasonable to conclude that it reflected a systematic flaw in the entire enterprise of Globalization Theory” (14). Thus, as Rosenberg argues persuasively, from the very beginning Globalization Theory lacked every sign of intellectual vitality: D.O.A. On the question of causality, Rosenberg concludes that the dramatic spatio-temporal phenomena of the 1990s were the result of processes of social change – and not vice versa.

Looking more specifically at the relations between globalization and state sovereignty, Rosenberg draws attention to historical difficulties with accepting the myth of the Westphalian System: the inter-state system of territorially-defined sovereign states supposedly inaugurated in Europe in 1648 at the conclusion of the Thirty Years’ War. Drawing on Marx, Rosenberg argues that under capitalism the separation of politics and economics, the domains of the state and of civil society, means that there is no necessary contradiction between state sovereignty and proliferating transnational economic linkages.

This is a shrewd argument about the relation between state sovereignty and international economic connections. But in this section of his thesis Rosenberg is in danger of slipping into intellectual folly himself. Although the putative separation of politics and economics is an essential part of capitalist ideology, as Marx pointed out, politics and economics cannot be separated, as Marx also pointed out. Nor is the state separate from civil society. As a recent wave of the feminist movement taught, even the personal is political. And there is no international political equality. Just as workers do not share equal power with their employers, so poorer nations cannot exert the same power as rich ones. The sovereignty of poorer, weaker nations is placed in jeopardy by economic pressures whether they originate from multinational corporations or the governments of dominant states (or both).

In the second part of his argument, Rosenberg explores the relation between social theories and historical explanation, demonstrating the possibility of an historical sociology as a mediating link between the two. This second section of the argument contains Rosenberg’s admirably clear reflections on bridging the gap between theory and the empirical data of history. He also explores how such an historical sociology might relate to the field of international relations through use of the theory of uneven and combined development, à la Leon Trotsky. Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development enables an historical sociology which incorporates international dynamics as integral to the historical process of social development.

In the final section of the argument, Rosenberg shows that globalization became the Zeitgeist of the 1990s, the spirit of the age, as a result of a conjunction of circumstances, including most importantly the end of the Cold War and the rise of neo-liberal politics and neo-classical economics, combined with the latest communication technologies. According to Rosenberg, the Soviet collapse in the East between 1989 and 1991 and the deregulation drive in the West produced a socio-political vacuum, the rapid filling in of which created a sense of irresistible momentum, which turned out to be merely temporary. But if globalization was merely a passing Zeitgeist, what does this say for the role of its theorizers? “Globalization Theorists were led to do the opposite of what social theorists are supposed to do. Instead of acting as interpreters to the spirit of the age, they became its ideological amplifiers” (6-7). Instead of globalization, Rosenberg advocates a theoretical return to classical social theory, which in his view is solidly grounded in the work of Karl Marx.

The idea that globalization is already past its use-by date is a theme that has been developed by other writers as well, notably John Ralston Saul in The Collapse of Globalism: And the Reinvention of the World (2005). Perhaps this should be seen as an illustration of the accelerating rate of ideational turnover in the twenty-first century: “All that is solid…” But this would not be fair to Rosenberg and others, who never believed it for a minute. Saul’s periodization differs from Rosenberg’s; he dates the era of globalization from the early 1970s through to 1995. Saul contends that despite some successes, globalization failed to deliver on its core promise of promoting world-wide economic growth, leaving in its wake the chaotic interregnum we now inhabit, characterized by a lack of clear direction for the future. To end the post-global confusion, Saul advocates positive nationalism, a revival of the humanist notion of belonging to a community, with government to provide leadership, not management, in the service of the public good.

Rosenberg’s is a dense and brilliant argument, and summary cannot do justice to its richness. Nevertheless, a few points of criticism can be raised. The claim by Rosenberg and Saul that the age of globalization is over seems prima facie to be contradicted by the continuing flow of books and articles with “globalization” in their titles (this one included). If globalization is merely yesterday’s Zeitgeist, as Rosenberg contends, why the sustained academic fascination?

What is lacking in Rosenberg’s otherwise detailed exposition of the historical conjuncture of the 1990s is consideration of the role played by globalization as an ideology. Outstanding here was the use of globalization by governments and corporate interests as a threat to discipline and tool to demoralize workers and labor movements in Western countries; and its use as a threat to constrain and control non-Western governments. Trotsky wrote of “the whip of external necessity” and that whip could be heard cracking all over the world during the 1990s, wielded by neo-liberal politicians, neo-classical economists and managers of international organizations alike. What was global about the 1990s was the world-wide dissemination of this dismal discipline, dubbed by Saul “crucifixion economics,” and its (no doubt reluctant) acceptance by many left-leaning politicians, left-leaning voters, social-democratic parties, trade union movements and individual workers. It is arguable that globalization was especially useful and effective as an ideology because the term did not appear on the surface to have political origins or commitments – it could give the appearance of political neutrality, but at the same time imply “non-political” forms of coercion and irresistibility. The ideological separation of politics and economics under capitalism, to which Marx called attention, comes into play here.

Another deficiency of Rosenberg’s article is that it focuses specifically on the perpetrators of the high theory of globalization. He does not examine the far larger body of literature dealing with “theories of globalization” rather than Globalization Theory. Nor does he address the large literature on globalization which treats the subject discursively and/or from particular points of view. Rosenberg’s approach is rigorously analytical and focused on questions of causation. His work concentrates only on the small range of texts which attempted to elevate globalization into an overarching social theory and to argue that globalization by the 1990s was playing a causal role in social development. This is both the strength and a weakness of Rosenberg’s analysis.

But what is to be done about globalization? Other than recommending a return to Marxian methods of dissecting it, Rosenberg has no answer to offer. But this is no doubt a deficiency of Marxian analysis generally, rather than specific to Rosenberg. Before the coming of class revolution, it is not clear that Marx could envisage any strategies available to resist capitalist globalization that are not doomed to failure.

 

Elliott & Lemert

The New IndividualismA recent book, first published in 2005, which works from the premise that globalization is still very much alive, is Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert’s The New Individualism: The Emotional Costs of Globalization. Not only is globalization still alive, but according to Elliott and Lemert it is set to intensify in its effects, which on the whole they see as negative and damaging for people’s well-being. Under the broad sign of globalization, the authors include, for instance, “the speed of travel, the ease of communication, the multicultural politics of the world, the new transnational economic markets” The study concentrates mainly, though not exclusively, on the impact of globalization in the United States and Britain.

The focus of this study is to trace the sociological and psychological impacts of globalization. The book therefore ranges between the level of overarching social theory and generalizing social analysis, and the level of the individual’s experience of recent social developments. Whereas the orientation of much mainstream psychology has been towards individual issues and responsibility, in effect often blaming the victim, Elliott and Lemert’s mix of sociology and psychology studies the ramifications of wide social movements for the psychological experiences of individuals. The authors adopt an anecdotal approach, reporting in depth several case studies based on reality, but altered to protect the subjects’ anonymity and also to heighten the impact of the stories. In most cases the lives of these individuals have in some way been damaged by the cluster of social changes which the authors include under the umbrella of globalization. This study thus has some elements of methodological individualism – the method or approach within the social sciences which explains social phenomena in terms of the interaction of innumerable decisions and actions of individuals – but it straddles the divide between social theoretic analysis and individual reportage, and hence between the abstract and the concrete.

When it comes to sociological analysis, the authors identify three major socio-structural changes in the Western world that have impacted upon individuals’ lives and personalities. These are: commodification; the new culture politics of the political Right; and privatization. It is worth probing this section of the analysis in some detail because of the insights it can give us about where the authors are coming from in terms of their social and political commitments. Under commodification, Elliott and Lemert acknowledge the contributions of Marx, Lukacs and Habermas and write of the advent of monopolies and multinationals on the one hand, and the promotion of individualist consumerist values on the other. They portray the penetration of market logic into the fabric of social relations as profoundly damaging. As they see it, consumerism undermines the ability of individuals to be aware of their own needs and desires, and more importantly damages our capacity to make meaningful emotional connections with each other. In the end even the consummation of consumerist objectives – returning home with a haul of stuff from the mall – can simply turn to dust, leaving only a sense of vacuity and despair.

Elliott and Lemert also discuss the implications, for individuals and for individualism, of the political shift towards a new conservatism and a reactionary intellectual milieu. In their view the politics of the radical Right in Western societies, initiated by Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in Britain, has destroyed human communities and social cohesiveness on an unprecedented scale. Transnational capitalism has promoted individualism with all the ideological means at its disposal and achieved a rapid remoulding of private and public values.

The third socio-structural feature addressed by the authors is privatization, a process associated with a worldwide transformation of the barriers between public and private spaces. “The intimate connection, forged over many years in the collective psyche, between the domain of government and the public good is today rendered a fantasy of a bygone era, as the world is remade according to capital mobility and the selling off of governmental assets to the private sector” (39). Massive privatization and deregulation have led to social exclusion for many, who are denied access to basic social provisions such as medical care and education, or even water supply. The sometimes deadly effects of the failure to provide basic facilities are masked by the rhetoric of individual freedoms. Elliott and Lemert argue that the infiltration of neo-liberal economic doctrines into the tissue of our social practices has spread the values of the market into personal and intimate life, producing calculating, isolating and deadening forms of life. “What we are suggesting is that people today increasingly suffer from an emotionally pathologizing version of neoliberalism” (41).

Most important, perhaps, is to address what Elliott and Lemert identify as the most effective strategy available for individuals to respond to and cope with the oppressive forces of globalization impinging deleteriously on their beings. They present their prescriptions in the last chapter of the book, entitled “Surviving the new individualism: Living aggressively in deadly worlds.” The conclusions they reach are surprising, and at first more than a little disconcerting. One is reminded of the shock that Jean-Paul Sartre felt when he first read in The Wretched of the Earth

Franz Fanon’s exhortations to violence on the part of the black man in order to overcome the extremely demoralizing internal psychological effects of continuous denigration within the imperialist ideologies of the white colonizers. As in so much of Elliott and Lemert’s book, the argument is presented by means of anecdotal histories of individuals. The authors present two contrasting potted biographies of two leading academics: the famous sociologist, C. Wright Mills; and the not-so-famous, but reportedly formidable, Phyllis Meadow. As Elliott and Lemert tell it, during his life C. Wright Mills was increasingly troubled, worn down and finally, it is suggested, died as a result of the stress of public opposition to his work. Phyllis Meadow, on the other hand, worked as Mills’ research assistant in the 1940s, became a prominent psychoanalyst and continued to flourish during a long life until she died of cancer in 2004 at the age of 80; among her many achievements was to found the Institute for the Study of Violence in Boston. What conclusions do the authors draw?

Elliott and Lemert underline the ubiquity of violence in the globalizing world: “Deadly worlds are violent worlds. They may not lead immediately to the death of the body, but when violence is pervasive, either in the neighborhood or across the world, that violence is experienced and has its effects” (177-8). They see the answers to the problems of globalization as emerging in the realm of psychology.

According to Elliott and Lemert, “Phyllis’s aggression was rooted in her willingness to know the worlds for what they so messily are – impossible and aggressive and violent” (191); and more generally, “We will never come to terms as individuals with the new global realities if we begin with any sort of innocence about just how deadly these new worlds are” (192). In a line of argument reminiscent of Nietzsche, the only answer seems to be to get in touch with the aggressive animal instincts, which these authors regard as inherent in human nature. In the end, Elliott and Lemert see the New Individualism as the necessary hard and aggressive work of recognizing, comprehending and surviving the deadly social worlds being engendered by globalization.

The problem is that, unfortunately, Elliott and Lemert provide little or no guidance about what “living aggressively” would entail in practice. The concept remains vague and hedged about with qualifications about aggression needing to be “balanced against the love of others and the constructive desire to join them working to build a better world;” or having to be mixed with the “drive to form creative relations with others.” Does this qualify as another intellectual folly, with such prevarications amounting to retraction? Unlike Marx, who exhorted the international working class to unite and lose their chains, or Fanon, who advocated united resistance by colonized peoples against European imperialism, Elliott and Lemert’s advice to live aggressively is in danger of descending in practice to the level of occasional individualist dummy-spits.

The book is written in a relaxed, rather folksy tone, with what seems at times a lackadaisical, self-indulgent dilatoriness: one wonders if this is a sign of a New Individualism within academia. Perhaps another sign of that trend, the text has been inadequately proof-read and typos and grammatical mistakes proliferate; provoking some answering aggression on the part of the reader.

Whether or not “living aggressively” is the answer to the very real psychological pains of globalization, this book has the merit of opening up a significant field of research: the psychological effects on individuals and societies of the social, economic and cultural changes summed up by the term globalization – in particular escalating levels of anxiety associated with constant threats of global competition and the concurrent dismantling of welfare safety nets. This book will certainly not be the last word on the subject, far from it, but this is an area of research of the most pressing importance.

 

Flusty

De-Coca-ColonizationFar more upbeat in tone is Steven Flusty’s De-Coca-Colonization: Making the Globe from the Inside Out, a very hopeful book about the possibilities for popular resistance to globalization. Or, more correctly, it is a reinterpretation of the nature of globalization to show that it is produced, rather than needing to be resisted, by people at the local level. At the same time it also throws into dispute the accepted distinction between the global and the local. As is already becoming clear, this book puts into question so many of the taken-for-granted assumptions of the scholarly discourse surrounding globalization that it becomes difficult to characterize its argument using the accepted terminology.

(30) It is no doubt partly for this reason, and also because of the author’s self-confessed penchant for terminological inventiveness, that neologisms stud his prose. In the course of her perusal, the reader becomes familiar with “flexism,” the “metapolis,” “globalities” and “de-coca-colonization” itself, to name but a few; as well as such neo-phraseology as the “new world bipolar disorder,” and “prickly space.” Though a little disturbing at first, such neologisms quickly register as both novel and lively, apt as well as challenging.

This short book packs a powerful emotional impact. Its tone of buoyant optimism is infectious, so the effect is uplifting and energizing. This is not to say that the book is naïve or Pollyannaish. The author writes about the darker side of the globalizing world, the prevalence of gated communities in the United States and elsewhere, of the increasing official surveillance of everyday life, about September 11 in New York and terrorism. But the emphasis remains on the creative potential for people to shape and reshape globalities for themselves.

Essentially, Flusty’s argument is that globalization is created by the activities of myriad individuals, acting either as individuals or within groups. Thus agency and the power of creation reside in the hands of individuals, and individuals can make and remake globalization according to their own desires. This study thus shares some elements of methodological individualism with Elliott and Lemert’s work in The New Individualism, but the use made of individual experiences is very different. By focusing on the individual and the local, Flusty counters the dominant conceptualization of global processes as by nature, big, inevitable, irresistible, overwhelming and imposed from above. What Flusty is arguing for might be characterized simply as “globalization from below” instead of “globalization from above.” This aligns his work in some ways with that of Richard Falk, as in Predatory Globalization: A Critique (1999), with its stress on the need to build transnational civil society as a foundation for democratic global governance.

Flusty’s argument raises some interesting methodological issues. The theoretical basis of his approach to globalization could be described as methodological individualism, where social phenomena are explained in terms of the interaction of countless decisions and actions of individuals. This approach can be contrasted with methodological collectivism, which instead explains developments in society in terms of the behavior of collectivities such as classes, ethnic groups, or genders. The interesting thing about the dominant discourse on globalization is that it has been closely connected with the concepts of economic rationalism, neo-classical economics and the ideology of the free market – all of which are theoretically grounded in methodological individualism. What Flusty has managed to do is to turn methodological individualism against that dominant globalizing discourse. Flusty engenders a sense of individual empowerment by placing decision-making about the future course of globalization into the hands of individuals all over the globe. This “detournement” (a Flustyism), or reworking of individualism against the oppressive forces of “plutocratic corporatism” (another Flustyism) is one of the reasons why this book is so intellectually stimulating as well as emotionally satisfying.

Flusty’s relationship with various systemic analyses of globalization, such as Marxist approaches or neo-Marxist dependency theories, is therefore difficult; and this is something he grapples with continually, but inconclusively, throughout the book. He characterizes his own approach as “discursive materialism.” This could easily be criticized as fence-sitting, but Flusty believes it “elegantly bridges the material/discourse divide” (p.12). It might be replied that there is nothing as inelegant as attempting to straddle a fence. The theoretical problems of the relationships or conflicts between individual freedom, discourse, and materialism are not so easily disposed of. The theoretical importance of these issues should not be minimized, but neither should the difficulty of resolving them. They have tangled up more famous thinkers than Flusty: Jean-Paul Sartre and Edward Said spring to mind. Flusty finally relies on Marx’s well-known dictum that individuals make their own history, but not in circumstances of their own choosing. Flusty also gestures toward Michel Foucault’s notion of micropolitics, seeing power not so much as external and sovereign but as immanent in and emerging through day-today thoughts and actions. Thus the dark forces of globalized plutocraticcorporatism do exert undeniable power, but Flusty emphasizes repeatedly that even these forces themselves are the result of countless individual daily actions, and their dominance is neither inevitable nor permanent:

There are multiple versions of the world at play on the global field, and there are inarguably winners that claim the lion’s share of the spoils…All remain engaged in continuous, polyvalent, and dislocated struggles for control over symbolic and literal terrains, all work to be concretized as globalities with the power to influence (or refuse) the order of the world…It remains instead a persistently viscous planet, an arena where all manner of institutions and other hybrid social collectivities advance incommensurable globalities, plutocratic and otherwise, of their own devising (131).

Strictly speaking, Flusty does not put forward globalization from below as an alternative to globalization from above, but as a counterpart.

According to Flusty, the social work of constructing globalization “is done by the stuff of everyday life – its persons, spaces, artifacts, and, most important, the practices that constitute their relationships” (4). Such quotidian minutiae become the stuff of his analysis. To underline global interconnectedness, he tells stories about items of everyday life (or at least his everyday life): a barong shirt from the Philippines, ordering a suit from Damascus, and the intriguing Meiji Yogurt Scotch candies, redolent of the Silk Road. “At its broadest my claim is that globalization is only because it is woven through the planet’s social fabric from the ground up (or, much more correctly, from particular grounds outward) by everyday life’s hyperextension – the increasing spatial reach of emplaced social relations” (4). To highlight the possibilities of resistance, he describes in depth, for example, international opposition to Nike as a corporation, and provides a fascinating account of the Zapatista uprising in Mexico from 1994 as a movement against neo-liberalism and globalization.

(36) No doubt Flusty’s method and line of argument, his eclectic and rather haphazard approach to theoretical underpinnings, will give little satisfaction to committed theory builders who wish to explain the phenomenon of globalization as a whole. For as Rosenberg comments in the course of the methodological reflections in his article, while noting the limited success of attempts to create a dialogue between the fields of International History and International Theory, “contrasted idioms talk intelligently but unproductively past each other.”

Nevertheless, of the three books reviewed, it is Flusty’s that gives the reader most hope for the future. His inspiring anecdotes of multicultural mixing, his cheerful upending of the methodological individualism of economic rationalism, provide a vitally needed tonic against the psychological pains of life within what are often deadly and deadening globalizing worlds.

Transnational Trends: Middle Eastern And Asian Views

January 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Ellen Laipson & Amit Pandya

This volume presents views from disciplines as varied as science, journalism, economics, epidemiology, and on issues as diverse as fisheries, climate change, public health, and terrorism. It seeks to fill the gap in Americans’ understanding of global security challenges by sharing the views of experts and activists from the Middle East and Asia.

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