March 2018 issue of the Socialist Standard
Think globally — obviously. Global warming, world poverty, globalization, the threat of world war — their very names show that we are faced with world problems. It ought to be equally obvious that these problems can only be solved on a global basis, by action at world level.
So, who coined the phrase 'act locally'? Whoever imagined that these problems could be solved by a mass of scattered actions at local? But this is what has been put forward by Greens, socially-minded Christians and others as a serious political strategy.
Some of those involved in these puny, isolated local struggles have begun to realise the inadequacy of this approach. They have organised regular demonstrations on the occasion of meetings of international organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the European Union.
But many of them have still not got hold of the right end of the stick, and still see the answer as lying in a retreat behind the protective tariff walls of national states and even smaller units.
If global warming, world poverty and the other problems facing humanity are to be solved, then world structures must be created to deal with them. We must act globally. The resources of the Earth must stop being the property of multinational corporations, national states and rich individuals and become instead the common heritage of all humanity.
Within this framework of a world socialist society without frontiers appropriate institutions can be set up at world, regional and—yes—local levels to tackle the problems that are caused, not by globalization as such, but by the fact that globalization is taking place under a system where the uncontrollable economic imperative is to make profits and accumulate more and more capital, regardless of the effect on people or the environment.