Reaction Paper- Reclaiming the Commons

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Reaction Paper - 1

Written By: Maisha Samiha
500 337 823

Submitted to: Dr. Abbas Gnamo
POL 601-01

Date: February 16, 2011

Reaction Paper # 1
My paper is based on the article entitled “Reclaiming the Commons”, by Naomi Klein. In this article the author defines what anti-globalization movement means in her own words. The meaning and origins of the term anti-globalization movement is disputed amongst various socialists and economists, but Klein says that anti-globalization movement can mean different things to different people based on their interests in a particular issue. It is therefor the movement of many movements. Before going in depth about the article, it is important to know from where the idea of anti-globalization comes from and how the movement came into being. Some argue that is all started from Seattle, but a lot of them are unaware of the fact that AGM has gone through three waves. The first wave was back in 1970, when oil prices skyrocketed due to economic downturn, which lead to strikes, protests and demonstrations. The second wave erupted with the end of the cold war, during the early 1990’s and the third wave democracy spread like wild fire. The third and most important wave was during the 50th anniversary of Bretton Woods when the WTO emerged from the GATT. The third wave lead to many activist groups to rise and this lead to overlapping emphasis on various issues like; anti-capitalist groups, women’s rights groups, global inequality groups, and many others. Klein mentions that people join the AGM because of similar interests and ideologies, which might be different from the regular mass. I personally think that people who do not agree with the common norms of society join these groups in an attempt to show their rebellious attitude towards the big corporations and political powers. It is a known fact that one individual cannot tackle an entire organization and therefore, they form these individuals come together and make an organization of their own. They work together against the elites who turn almost everything into commodities; from education, to health care, to natural resources, even we are commodities since we “sell” our labor, it is considered a commodity. The basic things we need to survive are being privatized by these multinational corporations, because of their greed for power and profit. In our hegemonic society, most of the people are almost brainwashed by powerful individuals who build leadership and consensus in the face of great inequality. They frame and spin the truth in such a way, that it seems to be in the best interest of the citizens. People who realize this resist to the changes that are implicated on them and the society. These people with similar interests also form a group to protest against these big corporations and their immoralities. So we can see how different groups emerge because of different issues that they face. As Klein mentions in the article, activists who want change are not waiting for a revolution to happen, they are acting right now because what can be done today should not be left for tomorrow. Another reason is that the global economy and infrastructure keeps changing so rapidly, that it is sometimes hard to catch up to it and if they do want to make a difference, then they need to act quickly. As a result, these activists create their own anti-privatization campaigns and most of the times these campaigns get under way on their own. Sometimes, other activist groups join in together and even though it seems that these organized groups work together, each participate because of their own benefits as I have mentioned above. For example, there can be an alliance between the women’s right group and the movements of small farmers. Each have their own motifs but if they work together they can get more attention and make their voices heard in a larger scale. These are more local campaigns...
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