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  • Writer's pictureJohan Söderström

A world without borders is more equal

#132 Entitled | Johan Söderström

The nationalism and resistance to immigration that creates concerns and protests in many places around the world, and often shares an arena with the anti-globalist movement, are not necessarily racist and therefore cannot be combated with anti-racist tools. It is not a belief in the right to own privileges that drives this, but it is merely about survival, a desperate struggle for the crumbs from the rich's tables. Still, the demands for closed borders are misguided and have an opposite effect to what the grassroots in these protests want. It will not affect the multinational companies and in the long run, erode the working people's opportunities to achieve fair living conditions and self-determination.

Global capitalism has a powerful weapon against any attempts by national states to limit its ability to maximize profits. Opportunity to move their business, and thereby take away jobs and tax revenue from the country. The threat of this has been effective in forcing individual states into free trade agreements. The fear of falling on the outside if these have created a race to the bottom. Lowest possible salaries, the lowest taxes, the least regulations. But the anti-globalization movement's answer, on both the left and the right, to retreat to an imaginary nationalist and pre-industrial landscape is futile.

There is only one realistic and future-oriented response to the freedom of movement that global capitalism holds. That is to give the workers and the workers' movement the same freedom. We must transcend the national boundaries of labour and trade unions. Strikes and negotiations must take place at an international level. People cannot be kept imprisoned in low-wage countries and free trading zones but must be given the same permission as companies to move to where their opportunities for life and growth are most favourable. Only then can we build a power that measures with the neoliberal forces and nation-states regain the power to create their own rules for domestic industries and markets, and set proper tax levels. Thus, it is not too much globalization that threatens the individual states self-determination. It's too little. It may seem paradoxical, but it is only freedom of movement for workers and transnational trade union cooperation that can create political leeway for nation-states.

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