Corporate Globalization and God’s Good Creation

The "Golden Bull" at Occupy Wall Street

The “Golden Bull” at Occupy Wall Street

I have contributed several times to Tikkun Daily, an Interfaith online blog.  I was recently invited to be one of their regular authors.  Here is what I wrote to introduce the topics I will cover:

As a new Tikkun Daily author, this is an introduction to the themes I will cover in my postings to this blog.  Many of these themes are covered in detail in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell:  Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization, which makes the case that today’s dominant global economic system, based on unrestrained free market capitalism, is damaging the human family and destroying the earth.  The book is a call to action and a call to spiritual renewal.  It proposes a way for people of faith and conscience to join together to resist corporate domination and to work for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.   My blog postings to Tikkun Daily will touch on these themes and will relate to the following three  aspects of globalization:

1)  Corporate Globalization:  This is the current system of global economic integration, dominated by transnational corporations and based upon the ideology of Market Fundamentalism.  The U.S. military/industrial complex enforces this interlocking network of political, economic, military, and ideological institutions, which Walter Wink calls the “Domination System.”

2)  The globalization of harm:  The outward effects of corporate globalization include climate change, loss of biodiversity, pollution, shortages of food and water, increasing inequity, violence, terror, and endless war.  The inner, spiritual effects include moral confusion, a sense of futility, loss of hope, and relinquishment of moral agency.

3)  Globalization from below:  The antidote to the harm caused by corporate globalization is a “peoples’ globalization” or “globalization from below.”  There is an emerging paradigm of values that include sustainability, justice, equity, diversity, community, peace.  Around the world people are rising up in nonviolent resistance, sharing in community action and in the hope for a transformed world.

I believe that success in these efforts will require a widespread awakening to what is at stake and to the need for spiritual empowerment and divine aid.    For this reason, my writings usually address or imply the question, “Where does faith fit into these real world issues?”  While I often refer to my own (Christian) faith, my purpose is to challenge people to go deeper into their own faith traditions to find the inner resources that will revive their hope and motivate them to action toward a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

I write on a variety of issues, but this is where they all tie together:  Corporate domination of the world’s cultures, economies, and political systems is harming God’s good creation and we human beings, with God’s help, are the only ones who can turn this around.

Drones and Space Warfare

Drones use space2

People who are concerned about the increasing use of unmanned drones by the United States point to the immorality of killing people without due process, the loss of innocent life, and the illegality of targeted assassinations.  I raise an additional concern:  the use of drones as an integral part of a plan by the United States to dominate the earth from space.

Drone warfare is space warfare.  While drone operators are seated at their computer terminals, satellites map the terrain, guide surveillance and armed drones, and target those who are to be killed thousands of miles away.  U.S. Space Command incorporates drone warfare into its overarching strategy, outlined in its Vision for 2020.  The plan is to dominate the earth from space and to protect the global economic order by establishing a global satellite surveillance and positioning system and space-based weapons including lasers, not only for defensive but also for offensive purposes.

According to Vision for 2020,  this strategy will enable the United States to gain the “ultimate high ground” of space in order to enforce its will. The goal is: “Dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investments. Integrating Space Forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict.”

I included information about Vision for 2020 in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell, because this vision is directly at odds with the vision of a more hopeful future and because the U.S. military-industrial complex is the primary enforcement mechanism for corporate globalization.

The overarching goal of U.S. military planning is not simply the defense or protection of U.S. citizens. The current push toward U.S. political, economic, and military dominance is directly related to the goal of an integrated capitalist global economic system.   As Thomas Friedman said (although the references are somewhat outdated):

“The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. And these fighting forces and institutions are paid for by American taxpayer dollars.”

Contact me for a free download of  “The Iron Fist:  Enforcing Corporate Globalization,” which is Chapter 14 of Shaking the Gates of Hell.

Global Agreement from Hell

Shaking photo

The Trans-Pacific Partnership:  

A Global Agreement from Hell:

In Seattle in 1999 and again in Cancun in 2003, I joined in nonviolent direct action to shut down the meetings of the World Trade Organization, one of the most powerful and anti-democratic global institutions this world has ever seen.  Public opposition has taken its toll on the WTO, but the US government is working around this problem by negotiating bilateral and multilateral “free-trade agreements” with various countries.

The latest of these is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a secretive system of rules for government to follow.  It masquerades as a trade agreement, but is actually a corporate bill of rights.  Of its twenty-six chapters, only two have to do with trade.  The TPP would give corporations more power over governments and continue the movement toward the global consolidation of corporate power.

I describe this top-down form of globalization in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell:  Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization, and I join with others in proposing as the remedy a “people’s globalization” or “globalization from below.”  Such a remedy would require a widespread awakening of the earth’s people to the damage of the current global system and to the hope of transformation.

The TPP, like the WTO and NAFTA, would give corporations more power over governments by restricting the ability of member nations to enact domestic health, safety, environmental, or human rights laws that could infringe on corporate profits.  With the WTO, corporations must convince their home governments to file disputes against other countries, but the TPP (like NAFTA) would allow foreign corporations to directly file disputes against governments that have such laws, and to claim reimbursement for lost profits, past, present, and future.  The position of the US government, which initiates and promotes such agreements, is that we will change our laws in order to comply.

As Lori Wallach from Global Trade Watch explains in this video, “Leaked TPP Draft:  Corporate Dictatorship,” the TPP at present includes only nine Pacific countries, including the United States, which initiated this agreement, but it will be left open for other countries to join.  Once fully instituted, it could essentially replace the WTO, becoming a binding global agreement of corporate rules for governments to follow.

The text of the TPP is shrouded in secrecy.  While corporate leaders have access to negotiations and have helped to draft it, members of Congress, even those with security clearance, have not been allowed to see it.  Why?  In the words of US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, “In the past…, when the text was revealed, we couldn’t finish it. ” They “couldn’t finish it” because global civil society successfully organized against agreements such as the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the WTO.  Trade negotiators don’t want us to have time to get organized against this one.

The negotiations are secret because the negotiators are aware that the TPP, like all bureaucracies, can only function with the consent of the people.  They want to consolidate their rule before we awaken to what is at stake.

There are many ways that we can respond to this underhanded attempt to push through a binding global agreement that will have such profound impacts on federal, state, and local governments.  First, find out more.  Watch this video with Lori Wallach, learn more and take action at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. 

Need I say that this is a spiritual issue?  Everything we care about is at stake.  Consent to the current direction being taken by this idolatrous global system is spiritual death.  Spiritual awakening and organizing ourselves for nonviolent action is a direction toward transformation.

The TPP threatens to consolidate corporate power on a global level.  Now is the time for us to awaken to what is at stake, step fully into our humanity, and take responsibility for what is going on in our name and with our tax dollars.  The corporate domination of cultures, economies, and governments can only happen with the consent of the people.  Join with me in withdrawing your consent.  Keep current on these issues by following my blogs or by “Liking” the new FaceBook page for Shaking the Gates of Hell.  Don’t buy corporate rule.