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The following article appeared in Left Business Observer #71, January 1996. It was written by Doug Henwood, editor and publisher. It retains its copyright and may not be reprinted or redistributed in any form - print, electronic, facsimile, anything - without the permission of LBO.


Since the heavily advertised death of socialism, if there's an idea that unites much leftish economic thought today, it's that globalization is the root of many evils. It's a strangely amorphous enemy, one at odds with the usual progressive celebration of diversity, and an interesting shift for a tradition that was once deeply cosmopolitan.

An excellent laboratory for studying antiglobalism was assembled in New York in November by the International Forum on Globalization, "a project of El Bosque." El Bosque is a project of Doug Tompkins, cofounder of Esprit. The one delightful thing about the conference was the attendance -- 2,000, with a pleasingly low median age. Many more of these conferences are promised over the next few years.

The opening plenary, held in Riverside Church (a project of the Rockefeller family), assembled a long night's worth of speakers -- Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians), John Cavanagh (Institute for Policy Studies), Barbara Dudley (Greenpeace), David Korten (author), Ralph Nader, Carl Pope (Sierra Club), and Vandana Shiva (Third World Network). The MC was adman Jerry Mander, who believes that TV, which he hates, will soon implode of its own contradictions. Mander is on the board of El Bosque and is the program director for Tompkins' Foundation for Deep Ecology, whose funding was acknowledged, along with that of the Goldsmith Foundation.

Korten's book When Corporations Rule the World embodies a lot of the antiglobalist thinking common am