The Seattle Manifesto also says: "Just as we realise that no question is isolated, be it the exploitation of labour, the economic ruin of farmers, the "development" programmes that evict indigenous populations or the destruction of our environment, we are also aware that we must act together and unify our struggles against the social, political and economic institutions of the capitalist system" in order to "construct a better social order founded on a grass-roots organisation [back translated from an Italian translation]".
It is therefore clear, at least to the most radical component of the movement, that "individual questions" cannot be solved in isolation but require a new and united global social order capable of replacing capitalist disorder. Furthermore, our struggles against capitalism can (and must) come together because they not only have a common enemy, but also the common objective of communal liberation. But what is this "better order"? We call it by its real name: socialism, an integrated worldwide society based on a collectively planned production designed to satisfy human needs rather than make profits.
We will return to this later in an attempt to explain what we mean as much as possible, but we would first like to point out that the immediate vision of many of the "Seattle people" concentrates on this second weak and contradictory point. They say that the response to dictatorially centralised capitalist globalisation should be "a decentralised economy and political structure founded on the rights of communities to the resources and autonomous planning of their development on the basis of the fundamental values of equity and self-sufficiency". Decentralisation, autonomy, "self-sufficiency" of and for "single" communities.
We think differently. Capitalist globalisation is certainly an evil (because it is capitalism!), but also contains the seeds of its possible and necessary dialectic overthrow, which lies in the globalisation of the movement for world emancipation. Capitalism does not limit itself to "depredation"; it also socialises (in its own and worst way!) production and producers, and unifies (under its own dominion and in a combined and inequal manner – as we Marxists were the first to point out, if you will forgive us for recalling it) the world’s productive potential and the people responsible for it (the proletariat or "proletarised" masses of the entire planet). This means that it also creates the basis on which world society as a whole can re-appropriate what its work has produced over the centuries (but of which it has been deprived) and thus make a global leap forward.
We are of course also indignant about and fight against any kind of oppression of individual communities expropriated of everything they have, but we certainly do not dream of a future "better order" that takes them back to their past separateness, backwardness and a miserable self-sufficiency enclosed within its "own" boundaries -just as Marx was indignant about and fought against the methods and content of the expropriation of the time of free direct producers living and working in individual bourgeois states, or against the birth of international colonialism, but never dreamed of suggesting that the exploited should go back to the "good old times". He exhorted them to unite in the increasingly broader struggle for a socialist life.
If the expansionist drive of capitalism flattens all of the great walls of China, we have no intention of attempting to rebuild them: our goal is to unite the forces created by this destruction in order to construct a world society without walls of any kind.
Ever since its beginnings, capitalism has destroyed all of the pre-existing forms of social life it has found on its way and, by doing so, has also destroyed a certain type of "community". It has done so with its characteristic brutality and exquisitely in its own interests, which are anti-social by definition. We agree. But it is also true that these old forms themselves hindered the development of a more advanced community. We cannot mourn their disappearance and, even if we wanted to, there is nothing we can do to resuscitate them: human history does not allow the eternal preservation of existing forms, but reflects the movement towards the broadening and unification of society. In one direction or another: in the direction of capitalism or socialism; in the direction of the appropriation of human social production as a whole for the benefit of private profit (i.e. only the exploitative part of society), or the direction of its collective management for human social purposes.
It is one thing to say, for example, that we must defend the right of the most isolated Indian tribe to resist capitalist oppression, the violent unhinging of its (totally integrated) economic and cultural forms of its albeit primitive community life, which we recognise and agree is more directly human than that "proposed" by the dollars and shells of capitalism; but it is another thing to say that the same tribe has the "right" to remain confined to its own miserable degree of development and thus be excluded from the best results achieved by human activity in the world -frozen in a sort of "self-sufficient" and eternally changeless reserve. No, this we cannot accept.
We communists are prepared to defend each and any community threatened by capitalism, and join their struggle because it is also ours. But we do so by trying to educate them (and ourselves) that it is necessary to create a united battle aimed at the conquest of a space that is more open to common human social activities. An aborigine women expressed this "concept" in Seattle using the words:
"If you have come only to help me, you can go back home. But if you consider my struggle as a part of yours for survival, we can perhaps work together [back translated from an Italian translation]".
Communists do not go to "help" others in the expectation of "colonising" them for "their own" aims, but to take part in a common struggle during the course of which they and us (in accordance with our different needs, histories and cultures) will necessarily have to come together in order to construct a new social organisation to which we can both belong. Defeating capitalism also means fighting against "indian" and our own ultra-privileged "white" reservations.
Furthermore, it is precisely when we come to considering how each single community can be assured the "right" to its "own" self-determination and self-sufficiency that we discover a contradiction inside the movement itself. Many of the proposals speak about the need to halt the capitalist logic of globalisation in the sense that there should no longer be any invasion of the territories of others, their economies and environments should be respected, as well as their cultures and so on… and this in a world that capitalism has already made borderless (an objective that socialism will pursue with even greater vigour although for opposite reasons). This is nothing more than a utopia looking back to the past and seeking a "non-capitalistic" capitalism: it cannot lead to any positive result, but only contribute towards the implosion of the struggle in course and its fragmentation into a thousand melancholy parts.
One contradiction leads to another, and the members of the "anti-globalisation" movement is no exception: albeit unconsciously, they mourn the old world dismantled by the advance of the capitalist turbine but then seem to be hegemonised by those who knowingly propose the "alternative" of entering into a bargain with the capitalism of today that is simply aimed at imposing some limits. The often generous dream of re-establishing an irremediably old world thus opens the way to the miserable realism of certain false "objectors" against the royal highness of the market, who suggest "negotiating" with the great capitalist powers in order to ask them to respect some "rules". But they forget that capitalism acknowledges only one rule: the satisfaction of its boundless hunger for profits.
We know certain "objectors" well from the fact that they go (or they would go if they could) on bended knee to the supreme authorities of Western capitalism, humbly begging them not to exaggerate in exploiting the peoples of the third and fourth worlds, to put a brake on territorial occupation and the destruction of the environment, and even to "give aid" to the "unfavoured". But this is all noble talk designed to ensure that the unfavoured remain increasingly isolated from the common struggle and that their so-called defenders can here carve out a place that they can "freely" exploit as parasites clownishly disguised the "opposition". These people belong to the category of those who a part of the Monde Diplomatique itself identifies as the professionals of a "new policy" of agreement with large-scale capital aimed at taking advantage of diverting the course of the existing movement to its own ends and purposes. They are clearly welcomed with open arms by the people who have every interest in blunting the force of the collective struggle and are therefore ready to give something to anyone working to the same end from the inside.
They are the famous "moderate reformers" with whom "negotiations" are possible (from the spokesmen of Porto Alegre and going institutionally downward to those of the anti-social Centres of North-East Italy); the people that who should not have their heads broken – unlike the "extremists" of the movement – but be invited into the anterooms of power in order to encourage the the others to stay at home (spontaneously or with the help of "other means"). We have recently seen some of these "representatives" in Trieste – a city-fortress in which the forces of (capitalist) order outnumbered the demonstrators – personally invited, accommodated, received and coddled by the holders of powers, with their presumed "acts of rebellion" rewarded by Ministerial money and live television coverage. And we will see again in Genoa, beginning with ex-Ministers of the Olive Tree government, such as Melandri or Turco, who have on their conscience the indelible crime of the bloody destruction of Yugoslavia and the demolition of many of the "guarantees" won by workers in long years battle and sacrifices.
We have no need of these accomplices of capital, who should be expelled from the movement on the spot. The emancipation of the exploited can only be achieved by the struggle of the exploited themselves. We and our united force are the only spokesmen of our interests, and therefore the only "spokesman" we acknowledge.
Likewise, we must reject and eliminate from the movement a political line which, while apparently respecting the "rights" of the oppressed, actually deprives them of their only real right of fighting together for the global transformation of human society, rather than attempting to replace this struggle with a series of impossible "guarantees" granted by capitale in order to allow each "local reality " to survive in isolation and hypothetical "self-sufficiency". A hand-out instead of an outstretched hand, a shared agreement and a common programme of emancipation. If we isolate the "others" from this common programme, we are do nothing but isolate ourselves by making ourselves accomplices of a system in which we can only hope to enjoy "autarchically" the crumbs received from the greater potential for growth of our own "local reality": in a word, the greater potential for exploiting the labour of "others" that a given affluent "local reality" (such as Europe, for example) has over the other "local realities" that are excluded (sich as Algeria or the Chiapas).
We must fight for the very different objective of moulding the future and not preserving the past: the destruction and not an impossible reform of the system of exploitation established by capitalism. The creation of a real human community without frontiers by means of the globalisation of the struggle and organisation of the exploited of all the world.