What is "anti-globalisation"? I prefer not to say



Publication Details

Buchanan, I. 2002, 'What is "anti-globalisation"? I prefer not to say', The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, vol. 24, no. 1-2, pp. 153-155.


What did Carlo Giuliani die for?1 If the “antiglobalization” movement is not to annihilate itself, it must never answer this question, except in some evasive, Bartleby-like way—“I prefer not to. . . ”

The success of the “antiglobalization” campaign is, I want to suggest, directly proportional to the vacuity of its position—the emptier it is, the more potent it is. Indeed, I would go so far as to say whatever success the “antiglobalization” movement might hope to have is entirely conditional on it keeping at bay the one question that would spell its certain death: what does ‘anti-globalization’ mean? The sheer lack of an affirmative dimension to the form of protest calling itself “antiglobalization” is not to be construed as a fatal weakness, as some would have it, but precisely its strength. The instant it comes to stand for some definite thing is the instant it will die—one might speculate that this is the very reason Carlo Giuliani did die: vague, ambiguous dissent suddenly materialized itself as a direct threat and the trigger was pulled.

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