Globalization, Militarism, and 9-11
Gwyn Kirk and Margo Okazawa-Rey
The trend toward a neoliberal global economy and the prevalence of militaries and militarism worldwide
are often treated as separate and unrelated. Many activists and scholars who critique and challenge the
negative effects of global integration emphasize economic factors (e.g. Bales 1999; Chossudovsky 1997;
Greider 1997; Mander and Goldsmith 1996; Sassen 1998; Teeple 1995):
-Workers in one country are pitted against those of another as corporate managers seek to maximize
-Systems of inequality based on gender, race, class, and nation are inherent in the international division of
-Nation states are cutting social welfare supports;
-Women and children experience superexploitation especially in countries of the global South;
-There is increasing polarization of material wealth between rich and poor countries, as well as within
richer countries; and
-The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization increase hardship
for many people by requiring structural changes to make economies more profitable for private investors
and to open markets for so-called free trade.
Activists and scholars who are concerned primarily with militarism and de-militarization critique the
prevalence of war or the threat of war to resolve disputes between or within nations (e.g. Reardon 1996;
Hague Appeal for Peace 1999). They point out that
-Bloated military budgets take resources needed for socially useful programs in many countries;
-Civilians make up the vast majority of the casualties of contemporary warfare;
-Massive numbers of people are displaced 90% of them women and children as a result of wars;
-The international trade in arms is extremely profitable; and
-Militarism involves violence against women, human rights violations, and a culture of violence.
We are not suggesting that these analysts and commentators see no overlap between these two clusters of
issues. However, in critiquing and challenging neoliberal economic integration, it is essential to take
account of militarism as an intrinsic element. Conversely, in analysing militarism, war, and armed conflict,
it is also necessary to consider global economic forces and institutions. Neoliberalism and militarism
are inextricably linked. The central place of militaries worldwide means that much outside the military is
also militarised. Enloe (2000:3) defines militarization as 밶 step-by-step process by which a person or
a thing comes to be controlled by the military or comes to depend for its well-being on militaristic
ideas. This includes all who produce, advertise, sell or buy war toys, military-chic fashions, war
movies, and militarised advertising images, for example.
We draw on the following theoretical points:
-Systems of privilege and oppression based on gender, race, class, and nation affect peoples opportunities
and life experiences. The interaction among these systems of inequality may vary from one context to
-As an economic system, capitalism cannot provide for the needs of the majority of the worlds population,
or safeguard the physical environment. Also it negatively affects the political and cultural processes.
-There are historical and contemporary interconnections among economic domination, militarism,
colonization, and imperialism.
-Militarism is a profoundly masculinist institution--although with some variation from nation to nation
and draws on deep-seated patriarchal assumptions about womens roles, capabilities, and sexuality.
-It is crucial to make theoretical and practical connections between US domestic and foreign policy
often thought of separately.
Steven Staples (2000:18) argues that globalization and militarism are two sides of the same coin.
On one side, globalization promotes the conditions that lead to unrest, inequality, conflict, and, ultimately,
war. On the other side, globalization fuels the means to wage war by protecting and promoting the
military industries needed to produce sophisticated weaponry. This weaponry, in turn, is used or
threatened to be used to protect the investments of transnational corporations and their shareholders.
Worldwide military spending totalled a massive $839 billion in 2001. Five countries together account for
over 50%. The US accounts for 36%, Russia 6%, and France, Japan, and Britain about 5% each
(Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 2002). The United States has had what Seymour
Melman (1970, 1974) termed a 뱎ermanent war economy since World War II. A Department of
Defense website currently describes the Pentagon as 뱊ot only Americas largest company, but its busiest
and most successful, and boasts a budget considerably larger than that of ExxonMobil, Ford, or General
Motors. See 밄ig Business Are Us (http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/dod101/largest/html) Around 50
per cent of US federal discretionary spending is directed towards the military. President Bushs military
budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2003 is well over $400 billion, the biggest increase since the US war in
Vietnam (War Resisters League 2002).
Addressing CEOs of major US corporations in October 1998, William Cohen, then the US Secretary of
Defense, expressed the relationship between economic investment and military activity in the most basic
Business follows the flag . We provide the kind of security and stability. You provide the kind of
profits that guarantee investment and profit for the local communities who in turn will buy our products .
We need to continue to have this relationship where we provide the security and provide the investment.
Speech to the Fortune 500 Forum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, broadcast on C-SPAN, October 1998.
Transcription, Gwyn Kirk.
As Friedman (1999:40) wrote:
The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonalds cannot flourish without
McDonnel Douglas, the builder of the F-15 warplane. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for
Silicon Valleys technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
The current integration of the world economy into a neo-colonial system of capitalist production,
consumption, and reproduction requires access to and control of resources including labor so that
transnational corporations can maximize profits. Corporations need the assurance of political stability
and protection of their investments. As part of the nation-state apparatus, the military is on hand whenever
necessary to intimidate and repress popular resistance to exploitative working conditions, to structural
adjustment programs, or to the privatisation of resources in aid of profit making.
Military budgets, bases, and operations have negative effects on communities in many parts of the world,
as well as in the United States. Military spending has been increased while socially-useful spending on
US education, health, job training, social services, and welfare supports has been cut. This
disinvestment disproportionately affects poor communities. Together with automation and the movement
of manufacturing jobs overseas, it has led to high unemployment for young working-class and poor
African Americans and Latinos. Their main choices are to join the military, to take minimum-wage,
service jobs, or to participate in the informal economy, often ending up in jails and prisons. In the United
States, military recruitment and the criminalization of people of color are two aspects of increasing
economic integration. Women, children, and young people are disproportionately affected by these
THE CORPORATE-MILITARY STATE
Securing Scarce Resources
Colonial expansion and the quest for control of strategic locations, scarce resources, and exploitable labor
have been a central justification and impetus for military intervention for centuries. The 1991 Persian
Gulf War was fundamentally about access to oil, as made clear in the US catchphrase 뱋ur oil is under
their soil. In Afghanistan, a consortium of US companies led by Unocal made a deal with the Taliban in
1998 to construct a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. Vice President Cheney
was the CEO of Halliburton at the time, the company that was to be the lead contractor and project
manager for the drilling project in Turkmenistan (Flanders 2001). The consortium decided not to go
through with this plan when the United States attacked Afghanistan later that year in retaliation for the
bombings of US embassies in East Africa. In order to exploit the region, US-based oil companies need a
political regime in Afghanistan that is more in sympathy with US corporate interests.
Staples (2000) uses the term 밹orporate-military complex, rather than former President Dwight
Eisenhowers 뱈ilitary-industrial complex, as more accurate for contemporary times. In an early draft
of his speech on leaving office in 1961, Eisenhower used the phrase 뱈ilitary industrial congressional
complex, but was advised to drop the reference to Congress in the public version (Nelson 2000:6).
Lockheed Martin, the largest weapons maker in the world, provides a current example of the connections
among nation-states, militaries, and corporations. The company received over $18 billion in US
government contracts in 1999, $12.6 billion from the Pentagon and over $2 billion from the Department
of Energy for nuclear-weapons activities (Fischer, Sredanovic, and Massen 2000). When Lockheed
merged with Martin Marietta in 1995, US taxpayers paid $1.2 billion for merger-related costs such as
employee relocation and plant closures. Lockheed Martin has given over $1.6 million in Political Action
|committee (PAC) contributions since 1997, plus another $500,000 in soft money to Democratic and
Republican Party committees; it also spent $10.2 million on lobbying in 1997 and 1998. Key Lockheed
Martin company associates are involved at top levels of the Republican and Democratic presidential
campaigns and in foreign-policy decision making.
According to journalist John Pilger (2002):
The day the Wall Street stockmarket opened after the destruction of the Twin Towers, the few companies
showing increased value were the giant military contractors Alliant Tech Systems, Northrop Gruman,
Raytheon꿢nd Lockheed Martin. As the US militarys biggest supplier, Lockheed Martins share value rose
by a staggering 30 per cent. Within six weeks of September 11, the company (with its main plant in Texas,
George Bushs home state) had secured the biggest military order in history: a $200 billion contract to
develop a new fighter aircraft.
Commentators and scholars vary in their analyses of the role of nation-states in the increasingly integrated
world economic system, where decentralized production is organized by transnational corporations that
are often more powerful than governments. We argue that nation-states continue to maintain favorable
conditions for capital accumulation. Financing, recruiting, and training the military is a crucial state role.
In some societies this also means generating strong popular support for it, by invoking patriotism,
ethnocentrism, or national security.
Profitability of War and Preparations for War
The military is both a state agency and a highly profitable sector within industrialized economies due to
weapons manufacturing and the international trade in arms. Governments of countries with arms
industries pay for weapons production twice over. Public funds underwrite the often decades-long
development process for complex weapons systems, and governments then buy the finished products.
Steven Staples (2000) argues that the large US military budget 밿s for all practical purposes a corporate
subsidy siphoning public money into private hands. It is protected under Article XXI of the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), first negotiated in 1949. Every trade agreement has a security
exception that gives governments the freedom 뱓o take whatever action necessary for national security
including building or buying arms and providing for a military establishment (Staples 2001:2). Staples
(2000) argues that with global economic integration the 뱖eakened state no longer has the ability to rein
in weapons corporations, and is trapped increasingly by corporate interests: greater military spending,
state subsidies, and a liberalization of the arms trade.
Tamar Gabelnick and Anna Rich (2000) emphasize potential contradictions between security policy and
international arms sales. They note that 밬S arms export policy was established to protect national
security, but has become increasingly focused on commercial interests such that 뱎roposed export
reforms will lead to further loss of control over conventional arms proliferation. An outcome of
international sales is that militaries can find themselves facing an enemy armed with weapons provided
by their own governments if political and military alliances change. This happened to the United States in
the Persian Gulf War.
Many countries are involved in arms trading. Most people are killed by small arms that are cheap and
easily available worldwide, rather than by highly sophisticated weaponry. A good deal of the cross-
border trade in small arms is illegal, but extremely profitable for manufacturers, dealers, brokers, shippers,
and financiers (Lumpe 2000). This trade is an important way for poorer countries to earn hard currency to
repay foreign debt. Staples (2000) notes that 밼oreign embassies and trade missions abroad are used to
aid arms sales. Karen Talbot (2000) argues that 밷ombing and missile strikes, are, more than ever,
giant bazaars for selling the wares of the armaments manufacturers. The Persian Gulf War and the
bombing of Kosovo and Afghanistan allowed stocks to be displayed, tested, and reduced somewhat.
There is no technical reason to update US weapons the most sophisticated in the world except for the
need for continued profits (Greider 1998). Greider notes that the biggest enemy of future US weapons
production is the copious supply of weapons already in existence. It is necessary to use them in order to
justify continued production. Strategic sales of sophisticated weapons bind political/military alliances and
mean that the US no longer has exclusive ownership of particular weapons. This is another justification
for producing newer models.
Militarization of Borders
In contrast to the neoliberal imperative for the transnational movement of goods and profits, borders
between countries of the global North and South have become increasingly militarised to control the
movement of workers. The US-Mexico border keeps workers available for low-paid production in
Mexico although the North American free trade agreement (NAFTA) signed by the United States, Mexico,
and Canada has reduced the impact of borders for the movement of goods and capital. Where countries do
not share a land border, immigration policies in countries of the North are closely linked to their labor
needs. The current detention of people of Middle Eastern or South Asian ancestry, or 뱎eople who look
like Muslims supposed 뱓errorist suspects following the attacks of September 11 and the
establishment of military courts to 뱓ry them, is another example of connections between militarism
and immigration policy.
Contradictions in Economic and Military Policy
The relationship between economic and military policy is not always a smooth fit, of course. There are
significant contradictions underlying US policy in East Asia, with the US seeking to open up new markets,
especially in China, while still pursuing Cold War foreign policy objectives in the region through the
continued presences of US bases and military operations. John Feffer (2000: 45) notes:
The U.S. struggles to maintain the Cold War in Asia on the basis of 100,000 troops, considerable
hardware, and sizeable contributions from Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. At the same time,
particularly in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the U.S. government has consistently pushed
for neoliberal reforms that involve the privatisation of state assets, the lowering of barriers to trade, and
the elimination of restrictions on the transnational movement of capital . Certain military imperatives,
such as a regional missile defense system, have driven wedges between countries that neoliberals want to
unite through free trade. And certain economic trends, such as the deregulation of financial markers,
have weakened some of the very countries that U.S. troops and battleships are pledged to uphold.
The fall of the Berlin wall precipitated a crisis of legitimacy for the United States military with the demise
of its long-term Soviet adversary. Peace organizations, liberal policymakers, and New York Times
editorial writers all called for reductions in the military budget but the Pentagon was quick to find new
military adventures to justify high military spending and continued contracts to suppliers. Examples
include the Persian Gulf War, the militarys self-imposed international policing role supposedly to
maintain human rights, and the 뱖ar on drugs. However, as long as there is high demand for drugs in
wealthy countries like the United States and a lack of viable economic options in poorer countries like
Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, the trafficking of illegal narcotics will continue to thrive, driven by systemic
inequalities in wealth and living standards. Like the trade in arms, the drug trade is a lucrative earner of
hard currency for producers and those who procure and sell drugs.
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, provided a renewed
opportunity for US military expansion in a 뱖ar on terrorism, seemingly without limits. Instead of
treating these horrific acts as crimes, the Bush administration called them 밶cts of war, and called for
the American public and overseas allies to support immediate military action, saying, 밳ou are either
with us or against us.”
Distortions in US Media Reporting of Conflict Situations
US media reporting and mainstream discussions rarely focus on economic factors that underlie violent
conflict. Instead, many conflicts are characterized as ethnic and cultural conflicts based on old enmities
and aggressions as in much US reporting of violence in the former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, and
the Middle East. An emphasis on ethnic tension or religious strife masks
-the importance of class inequalities, and
-the role of military intervention and harsh police measures in neoliberal economics.
Such explanations may be particularly effective in the United States where national discussions highlight
racial and ethnic divisions and downplay the significance of class divisions. This focus on ethnic and
cultural conflicts has been widely accepted because
-most people in the US are very poorly informed and do not have enough information to understand the
complexities of conflict situations,
-economic explanations for conflicts between or within nations are not familiar, and
-people want to believe that the US government is genuinely concerned with human rights.
In contrast to such ideological explanations, a focus on economic factors helps one to see the connections
between globalization and militarism. Karen Talbot (2000) emphasizes economic reasons for the break
up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the NATO bombing of Kosovo in 1999. She details the mineral
and oil wealth of Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo, as well as the significance of the current and proposed
transhipment of oil and gas from the Caspian Sea region through the Balkans to Europe. Talbot argues
that the push to expand the role of NATO eastward is both political and economic. It comes from
corporate interests in selling arms and other products to Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary,
admitted to NATO in the mid-1990s. For US companies alone, this expansion is worth an estimated $8
billion to $10 billion in sales of fighter planes and $35 billion in total weapons sales over 10 years
(Lochbihler 1999). The expansion will also have the effect of stretching US political and military
domination further eastward, as the United States is the strongest and most influential member of the
Talbot (2000) also emphasizes the profits to be made from rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by the war
in Yugoslavia. Companies began to maneuver for building contracts as soon as the bombing stopped.
Neoliberal imperatives mean that peace agreements do not address the root causes of conflict or make
provisions for meaningful reconciliation or reparations (Lipschutz and Jonas 1998). Rather, their goal is
to provide short-term efforts to patch up and 뱊ormalize the situation so that 밷usiness as usual can
resume as quickly as possible. The Oslo peace accords are entirely based on neoliberal assumptions that
are shared by the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli state, and follow prescriptions of the World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund (Samara 2000).
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) saw the defeat of the Taliban as an
opportunity for a genuine peace treaty that would lead to true democracy, womens rights, and freedom
from brutality and civil war. RAWA appealed to the world community not to support the return of the
Northern Alliance (NA) to power in Afghanistan.
The world should understand that the Northern Alliance is composed of some bands who did show their
real criminal and inhuman nature when they were ruling Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996. The retreat of
the terrorist Taliban from Kabul is a positive development, but entering of the rapist and looter NA in the
city is nothing but a dreadful and shocking news for about 2 million residents of Kabul whose wounds of
the years 1992-96 have not healed yet.
The interim coalition government, which includes the Northern Alliance, is unlikely to be able to create
The corporate-military complex is a major employer of military personnel, weapons designers,
manufacturers, sales staff, and many others who work for companies that produce and sell vehicles,
uniforms, foods, equipment indeed, everything that military needs. In North America and Western
Europe, public spending on the military is often justified in terms of job creation. Since it is highly
capital-intensive, however, military spending is a poor investment in the job market. According to the
National Priorities Project, an investment of one billion dollars in the US would create 47,000 jobs in
health care, 41,000 in education, 36,000 in housing or 30,000 in mass transit, compared to 25,000 jobs in
military-related employment. National Priorities Project, Seven Reasons Why We Should Cut Military
Spending, cites a 1990 study by Employment Research Associates
(http://www.natprior.org/archives/html/talking_points.html). In contrast to these other forms of public
investment, military spending generates far greater profits. Taxpayers subsidize militarism directly by
funding research and the production of weapons. They also pay for it indirectly in lost investment for
socially useful programs.
Given the widespread recruitment of young people into militaries around the world and the lack of
civilian jobs, many boys are much more likely to know how to use weapons that to have a paying job.
Latino youth in the US have been specifically identified as potential enlistees and recruited heavily, even
in their high school.
One of those schools is Roosevelt High [located in inner-city Los Angeles], and it is꿼nder-funded and
overcrowded. Today's students face the same bad options as those that came before them: enlist in the
military or apply for the next non-living wage job. For every college counselor at Roosevelt High, there
are five military recruiters. "The recruiters prey on immigrant students trying to get citizenship, senior-
class students lacking credits to graduate, and anyone they can persuade that the army will train them for
the real world," reported Lester Garcia, a Roosevelt graduate and youth organizer.
Between 1992 and 1997, the number of high school ROTC programs more than doubled from 1,600 to
3,500 nationwide. With a "drop-out" rate of over 48 percent, many Latinos view military enlistment as the
only viable opportunity for economic survival. They are wooed with promises of college money and
And, like car salesmen, military recruiters dont take no for an answer. (Sanchez, 2002)
DEVELOPMENTS SINCE 9-11
The US-led war against Afghanistan marked a new approach to combating terrorism: the use of military
force. There is likely to be an increase in world military spending in future, as a result. Also, many
states are increasing their spending on internal security and domestic measures against terrorism.
The complete human, environmental, and financial costs of the war against Afghanistan will not be
known for some time. Early estimates of the monetary cost range from $1 billion to $2 billion per month
(War Resisters League 2002). President Bush and the US Congress authorized $29 billion in Fiscal Year
2002 emergency money to pay for the war, and Bush wants to spend another $10 billion.
Further costs of the war on terrorism are lost civil liberties in the United States and around the world. US
spending on 밾omeland security is estimated at about $38 billion. This includes increased airport
security, disaster response, and an improved medical crisis network. It also includes budget increases
for security agencies like the CIA and FBI, increased monitoring of communications, and arrests of
people suspected of terrorism. The USA Patriot Act, which became law on October 26, 2002, greatly
increases the governments powers. Among its most troubling provisions, according to the American
Civil Liberties Union (2002), are measures that:
-Allow for indefinite detention of non-citizens who are not terrorists on minor visa violations.
-Minimize judicial supervision of federal telephone and internet surveillance by authorities.
-Expand the governments powers to conduct secret searches.
-Give the Attorney General and the Secretary of State the power to designate domestic groups as terrorist
organizations and deport any non-citizens who belong to them.
-Give the FBI access to business records about individuals without having to show evidence of a crime.
-Lead to large-scale investigation of US citizens for 밿ntelligence purposes.
In the highly patriotic atmosphere following September 11, many were reluctant to criticize US military
policy. Several university professors were censured for speaking out against the 뱖ar on terrorism or
for participating in educational programs that criticized the government. A student at Bell High School
in Southeast Los Angeles reported 밪ince 9-11, if we dont agree with Bush and question him publicly at
my school or refuse to pledge allegiance, we get sent to the administration and are threatened with
suspension (Sanchez, 2002). Under the banner of patriotism, young people decided to enlist in the
military and parents were encouraged to support them. The Bush administration called on the
Hollywood film industry to make more pro-war movies. Walt Disney corporation distributed a State
Department ad nation-wide, 밅an you trust your neighbor?, that urged people to report any 뱒
uspicious activity to the police.
The earlier Pentagon strategy of preparing to fight on two fronts at the same time has shifted, as the
United States, the sole superpower, now prepares to counter any supposed threat to US dominance
anywhere in the world. The goals of the 뱖ar on terrorism have expanded. National Security
Adviser Condoleeza Rice announced that 뱓he policy was not just to go after terrorists, but to prevent the
accumulation of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of irresponsible states (Hallinan 2002:1). As
part of this strategy, the US is now providing weapons and military training to many countries, including
some with the worlds worst human rights records. Over 150 institutions in the US and abroad are
involved in training about 100,000 foreign troops each year. 밬.S. Special Operations Forces alone
train foreign soldiers in more than 100 countries (Foreign Policy in Focus 2002). US forward bases
are now in place at 13 locations in 9 countries around Afghanistan (Arkin 2002). 밊rom Bulgaria and
Uzbekistan to Turkey, Kuwait and beyond, more than 60,000 U.S. military personnel now live and work
in these forward bases (Arkin 2002: 2).
The US has used economic incentives to encourage several nations to support the war on terrorism, again
showing the intimate connections between economic and military policies. For example
Washington has lifted its remaining economic sanctions against Pakistan. It also approved pending trade
agreements with Jordan and Vietnam, and extended new trading preferences to exports from Indonesia,
the most populous Muslim nation. U.S. negotiators helped secure World Trade Organization
membership for China and Taiwan, and top officials flew to Moscow to advance the WTO ambitions of
Russia, another key ally (Iritani, Smith, and Vieth 2001: 1).
Bushs election in November 2000 was strongly contested. The attacks of September 11 gave President
Bush the excuse he, his executive team, and right-wing Republicans had hoped for: to expand the military,
to roll back civil liberties at home, and to secure the legitimacy of his presidency.
In a cynically calculated move, the Bush Administration deployed women and traditional feminist issues
to justify military intervention in Afghanistan. Laura Bush, the wife of George W. and not known as an
advocate of womens issues, vocally opposed the Taliban and al-Qaeda and called for their removal. In a
radio speech to the nation on November 17, 2001, Laura Bush stated:
Civilized people throughout the world are speaking out in horror not only because our hearts break for
the women and children in Afghanistan, but also because in Afghanistan, we see the world the terrorists
would like to impose on the rest of us.
All of us have an obligation to speak out. We may come from different backgrounds and faiths - but
parents the world over love our children. We respect our mothers, our sisters and daughters. Fighting
brutality against women and children is not the expression of a specific culture; it is the acceptance of our
common humanity - a commitment shared by people of good will on every continent. Because of our
recent military gains in much of Afghanistan, women are no longer imprisoned in their homes. They can
listen to music and teach their daughters without fear of punishment. Yet the terrorists who helped rule
that country now plot and plan in many countries. And they must be stopped. The fight against terrorism
is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women.
Other women and men used the rhetoric of 뱇iberating Afghan women as justification. It is crucial to
note that before 9-11, the US government ignored desperate pleas from Afghan women, as well as women
from the US and other parts of the world, to oppose the misogynist practices of the Taliban government.
In 1998, for example, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California sponsored a Congressional briefing in which
speakers from the Fund for a Feminist Majority testified about the effects of the Taliban government on
women and girls in Afghanistan, to an unresponsive audience.
The US military response to the 9-11 attacks has led to increasing militarization around the world. The
US is back in the Philippines, despite losing bases there 10 years ago. The US governments
commitment to world dominance economically and militarily is very transparent. At the same time
there has been an outp[ouring of opposition to US militarism and consumer culture around the world.
We acknowledge the courageous role of South Korean activists in this: workers who continue to oppose
worsening working conditions due to the forces of globalization, and those who oppose US militarism,
especially Bushs portrayal of North Korea as part of an 밶xis of evil.”
Globalization has posed a major challenge to peace movements that are focused primarily on the dangers
of nuclear weapons, or those who define security in national terms (Muto 2000). The concept of
security is virtually synonymous with military security in mainstream political discussions. This idea of
security is so entrenched that it is taken for granted by most people. The UNDP Human Development
Report (UNDP 1994) introduced the concept of human security, shifting 밻mphasis to personal,
economic and social security, which, given the destructive effects of the globalisations process, certainly
address the issues and aspects of peoples everyday lives that are totally neglected in national security
discourse (Muto 2000: 138). Muto argues for a demilitarised 뱎eoples security. Repudiating the
nation-state as an intrinsically military institution, he argues that people must 밻nsure their
comprehensive security through their struggle, movement, and initiatives, while also engaging with and
intervening in state, regional, and international politics. He notes the need for
-strong peoples alliances across borders,
-a 뱎eoples discourse free from the nationalism of state discourse, and
-a transformative process toward equality and social justice, rather than compromises that retain 밺
ominating/dominated and exploiting/exploited relationships.
This process should involve the past as well as the present, acknowledging and rectifying the legacies of
injustice caused by war and colonialism.
In June 2000, the East Asia-US-PR Womens Network Against Militarism issued a statement at an
international womens gathering in Okinawa, timed to precede the G-8 Summit meeting there. The
purpose of this Womens Summit was 뱓o challenge the principle of national security on which the
economic policies of the G-8 are based. We argued:
The current economic system depends on deep-seated attitudes and relationships characterized by greed,
fear, domination, and the objectification of 뱋thers expressed through racism, sexism, imperialism, and
the desire to control the physical environment. Vested interests, routine ways of thinking, prejudice,
ignorance, and inertia also play their part in maintaining entrenched systems of economic, social, and
Women and children throughout world suffer the greatest negative effects of the conventional definition
of security: wars and armed conflicts have caused massive displacement, loss of life and livelihood, and
devastation of communities. In the aftermath, women bear the heaviest daily burden of reconstructing
families and communities, and rebuilding relationships.
We affirmed that genuine security is based on the following principles:
The environment in which we live must be able to sustain human and natural life;
Peoples basic survival needs for food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education must be met;
Peoples fundamental human dignity and respect for cultural identities must be honored; and
People and the natural environment must be protected from avoidable harm.
This paper shows the need for understanding the inherent connections between neoliberalism and
militarism and for addressing this linkage through activist efforts. Opposing neoliberalism also means
seeking effective strategies toward demilitarisation, dismantling the permanent war economy, and
working for economic justice in a world of limited resources. It means opening up public discourse on the
economic reasons for war, the profitability of arms sales, and the costs of militarism in human,
environmental, and economic terms. Steps toward demilitarisation include:
Decommissioning weapons of mass destruction and opposing the militarization of space.
Reducing weapons production and sales. Promoting initiatives for conversion of military-based
industries to provide for civilian needs.
Developing non-military forms of strength to counter military threats; expanding and promoting
current knowledge and experience of peaceful resolution to conflicts.
Developing renewable sources of energy.
Stopping the glorification of war and warriors. Supporting initiatives like the Hague Appeal for Peace
and UNESCOs 밅ulture of Peace, and defining adventure and heroism in non-military terms.
Broadening notions of conventional masculinity and femininity, and de-linking masculinity and
Developing genuinely democratic processes and structures for political and economic decision-making
at community, national, and transnational levels.
Redirecting public spending to meet human and environmental needs.
The increasing integration of the world economy requires and has given rise to new political movements
across national and regional boundaries. It is clear to many people around the world that neither
capitalism nor militarism can guarantee genuine security for the majority of the worlds population or for
the planet itself. The thousands of labor activists, environmentalists, human rights activists, indigenous
peoples, feminists, and students who came together in November 1999 in Seattle and in Washington DC,
Windsor (Ontario), Melbourne, and Prague during 2000 show a growing ability to integrate issues that
have been kept separate in the past (Brecher, Costello, and Smith 2000). Progressive people must support
visions of genuine security that is global and based on sustainable environmental and economic
principles; political systems accountable to the people; and sturdy connections among people that
acknowledge and transcend identities and territories.