A surprising concern has arisen recently on Wall Street: markets are becoming socialist. The culprit is passive investing, the use of quasi-automated vehicles that provide access to broad stock indexes with minimal cost and effort. The rush into such products – and the decline in human stock-picking – recalls, to some, a form of socialism.
On 4 April 1967, Dr Martin Luther King Jr took to the pulpit at New York’s Riverside Church, and warned that ‘a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death’. Fifty years on, the US is arguably closer to a ‘revolution in values’ today than at any time since King’s assassination. At the very least, the scale of the problem is widely grasped. What we face is not a glitch in the system of US politics and economics, but a systemic problem – a madness. And not just because of who’s in the White House.
As the world's most powerful corporate leaders and richest individuals gather at the exclusive World Economic Forum in Davos, TNI offers a visual insight into who is dominating the planet at a time of systemic economic and ecological crisis.
Corporations don't just shape our politics or economics, they also seek to change public opinion to serve their interests. Which corporations play the biggest role in shaping knowledge and news? What do they fund? Who do they represent? What role have they played in the rise of authoritarian populists? This infographic for State of Power 2017 exposes those 'manufacturing consent'.
India has strongly entrenched power hierarchies that have historical roots but have also been exacerbated by inequalities and injustices that have deepened with economic globalisation. However grassroots political movements are emerging in India that could signal a gradual shift to direct or radical democracy, coupled with making representative democracy more accountable and ecologically sustainable
Experiences and experiments in Spain, Brazil, Istanbul and other cities suggest that a transnational municipalism, based on concepts of an open source city (free online tools and active citizen participation), has the potential to regenerate democracy and build a geopolitics of the commons against neoliberalism.
The international bank transfer system, SWIFT, is a form of contemporary digital colonialism and surveillance capitalism as it is run by US firms and provides data to US government agencies. Drives by governments and philanthropists to increase use of digital money will only strengthen it further.
Worldwide, countless activists are engaged in challenging unjust financial power on a daily basis. Few are financial experts or economists but citizens who through their struggles have gained an understanding of financial power that few academics can rival. TNI had the privilege of talking to three warriors against the international banking cartel – a theatre director in Spain, a tax justice leader in Kenya and a local government campaigner in the UK – to hear about their struggles and the insights they have picked up that have relevance to all of us.
To introduce TNI’s State of Power 2018 report on counter-power, we interviewed three women activists who have displayed incredible courage, determination and creativity to confront corporate power and state violence.
José Luis Fernández Casadevante Kois, Nerea Morán, Nuria del Viso - Fuhem Ecosocial
04 January 2018
The main feature of power is that it inevitably creates resistance, a process Foucault studied in detail. There are no harmonious societies. Conflicts of interest between different social groups have been a constant throughout history, and are probably the main driver of social change. Counter-power emerged as a means of collective action whereby the injustices suffered by subordinate or oppressed social groups become politicized, either in the form of silent rebellions that remain latent in everyday life or through challenges that are publicly and openly declared.
This essay focuses on the murky financial realm known as offshore finance. It shows that offshore finance is not solely about capital moving beyond the reach of states, but involves the rampant unbundling and commercialisation of state sovereignty itself.
In order to understand power, we have to look not just to the fields of extraction and their ruined landscapes, nor only at the immediate effects on water, air, wildlife, and the nearby communities that rely on all three. We also have to look up and down the commodity chain. Attention is currently fixed downstream, at the politics and power manifesting in decisions about who and what is expendable in order to get the bitumen to market.
This essay explores the language challenges facing transnational grassroots movements, and their strategies for meeting them. What initiatives might make social movements more linguistically diverse and inclusive? And what are the major obstacles to achieving more ‘language justice’ in transnational activism? The paper is based on online sources about the movements and organizations discussed, a series of Skype, email and face-to-face conversations with LVC members, regional staff and volunteer interpreters/technicians from different world regions, and a small online survey with solidarity interpreters.
This essay offers a critical examination of the Filipino mall culture by tracing its historical roots and analyzing its interplay with economic power. It explores how shopping malls have become the symbols of structural inequality against the backdrop of widening wealth inequality and crippling poverty.
After more than a decade of processes that brought hope to the progressive world, several developments in Latin America in 2016 suggest we have reached the end of a cycle of left-wing victories in the region. This is a crisis that offers pointers and important lessons for us all, about the dynamics of social transformation and about ourselves as activists.
This infographic illustrates some dimensions about why we believe the World Economic Forum is fundamentally about increasing corporate profits and rewarding political elites rather than “improving the state of the world.” It is an undemocratic, unaccountable and illegitimate institution that, far from improving the world, has over decades reinforced the global crisis of inequality, poverty, and environmental destruction.
States are not only handing over more of the economy and policy-making to corporations at national level, they are also doing so at international level. Harris Gleckman summarises the Global Redesign Initiative that has come out of the World Economic Forum and represents the best summary of corporations' vision of what they want global governance to look like. What are its principle features? What dangers does it pose to democracy?
119 of the Fortune 500 list of the world’s largest companies are now Chinese, just behind the US (121). How does a Chinese transnational differ to a Western one and what are the implications for movements that confront their impacts?