Alter-globalization (also known as alternative globalization or alter-mundialization—from the French alter-mondialisation
—and overlapping with the global justice movement
) is a social movement
whose proponents support global cooperation and interaction, but oppose what they describe as the negative effects of economic globalization
, considering it to often work to the detriment of, or to not adequately promote, human values such as environmental
and climate protection
, economic justice
, labor protection
, protection of indigenous culture
and civil liberties
The name may have been derived from a popular slogan of the movement, namely "another world is possible", which came out of the World Social Forum
. The alter-globalization movement is a cooperative movement designed to "protest the direction and perceived negative economic, political, social, cultural and ecological consequences of neoliberal
globalization". Many alter-globalists seek to avoid the "disestablishment of local economies and disastrous humanitarian consequences". Most members of this movement shun the label "anti-globalization
" as pejorative and incorrect since they actively support human activity on a global scale and do not oppose economic globalization ''per se''.
Instead they see their movement as an alternative to what they term neo-liberal globalization
in which international institutions (the World Trade Organization
, World Bank
, International Monetary Fund
and the like) and major corporations devote themselves to enriching the developed world while giving little or no attention to what critics say are the detrimental effects of their actions on the people and environments of less developed countries, countries whose governments are often too weak or too corrupt to resist or regulate them. This is not to be confused with proletarian internationalism
as put forth by communists
in that alter-globalists do not necessarily oppose the free market
, but a subset of free-market practices characterized by certain business attitudes and political policies that they say often lead to violations of human rights.
The term was coined against accusations of nationalism
proponents of globalization, meaning a support of both humanism
and universal value
s but a rejection of the Washington consensus
and similar neoliberal policies. ( is Latin
for 'other', as in 'alternative' and French .) The "alter-globalisation" French movement was thus opposed to the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
" on the grounds that it only advanced neoliberalism and an Anglo-Saxon economic model
Originally developed in French
as , it has been borrowed into English in the form of ''altermondialism'' or ''altermondialisation''. It defines the stance of movements opposed to a neoliberal globalization
, but favorable to a globalization respectful of human rights
, the environment
, national sovereignty
and cultural diversity
Following the French usage of the word , the English counterpart ''alter-globalist'' may have been coined.
The term ''alter-globalization'' is derived from the term ''anti-globalization'', which journalists and others have used to describe the movement. Many French journalists in particular have since ceased using the term ''anti-globalisation'' in favor of ''alter-globalisation''. It is supposed to distinguish proponents of alter-globalization from different "anti-globalization" activists (those who are against any kind of globalization, such as nationalists
and so on).
Economic integration via trade, financial flows, and investments had been occurring for many years, but the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999
brought significant attention to the outcry against neoliberal economic integration through media coverage, support groups, and activists. Though this opposition first became highly popularized in the 1999 Seattle WTO protests
, it can be traced back prior to the 1980s when the Washington Consensus
became a dominant development in thinking and policy-making.
The movement was later helped by Internet communications.
The 1970s and Southern resistance
The 1970s saw resistance to global expansion by both government and non-government parties. U.S. Senator Frank Church
was concerned with the role multinational corporations were beginning to play in global trade, and created a subcommittee that reviewed corporate practices to see if they were advancing U.S. interests or not (i.e. exporting jobs that could be kept within the United States). The results prompted some countries in the Global South
(ranging from Tanzania to the Philippines) to call for rules and collective action that would raise or stabilize raw material prices, and increase Southern exports.
Issues and activities
Alter-globalization activists fight for better treatment of developing countries and their economies, workers' rights, fair trade, and equal human rights. They oppose the exploitation of labor
, outsourcing of jobs to foreign nations (though some argue this is a nationalistic rather than alter-globalist motive), pollution of local environments, and harm to foreign cultures to which jobs are outsourced.
Aspects of the movement include:
# Attempts at an alter-globalization movement to reform policies and processes of the WTO
include: "alternative principles of public accountability, the rights of people and the protection of the environment" through the theoretical framework of Robert Cox.
# Labor movement and trade union
initiatives have begun to respond to economic and political globalisation by extending their cooperation and initiatives to the transnational level.
# Fair trade
initiatives, corporate codes of conduct, and social clauses as well as a return to local markets instead of relying too heavily on global markets.
# "Alter-globalization activists have promoted alternative water governance models through North-South red-green alliances between organized labor, environmental groups, women's groups, and indigenous groups" (spoken in response to the increase in privatization of the global water supply
# "The first current of the alter-globalization movement considers that instead of getting involved in a global movement and international forums, the path to social change lies through giving life to horizontal, participatory, convivial and sustainable values in daily practices, personal life and local spaces. Many urban activists cite the way that, for example, the Zapatistas in Mexico and other Latin American indigenous movements now focus on developing communities' local autonomy via participatory self-government, autonomous education systems and improving the quality of life. They appreciate too, the convivial aspect of local initiatives and their promise of small but real alternatives to corporate globalization and mass consumption."
Groups and conferences
Advocates of alter-globalization have set up an online global news network, the Independent Media Center
, to report on developments pertinent to the movement. Groups in favor of alter-globalization include ATTAC
, an international trade reform network headquartered in France.
The largest forum for alter-globalization activity is the annual World Social Forum
. The World Social Forum
is intended as a democratic space organized in terms of the movement's values.
* Razsa, Maple. ''Bastards of Utopia: Living Radical Politics After Socialism''. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015
* Graeber, David. ''Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology'', Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2004
* Klein, Naomi. ''No Logo''. London: Fourth Estate (2010)
"Henrietta L. Moore review of "Alter-Globalization. Becoming actors in the global age"
Cambridge, Polity, 2011.
from Dollars & Sense
The other world
Photo-documentary on the alter-globalization movement 2003–2005.