Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Local Resistance in the Era of Capitalist Globalization: Clash of Cultures in the 21st Century

Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Local Resistance in the Era of Capitalist Globalization: Clash of Cultures in the 21st Century

Article excerpt

Introduction

Today, we find a rising threat to the daily life of people from terrorism and anti-terror activities by governments. Yet the only organized resistance to global development exercised by transnational corporations, drug gangs and death squads and the nations from which their power has risen, is increasingly seen by the poor and dispossessed of the world as al-Qaeda or similar entities. Similar local offshoots like ISIS/IS have also appeared, though remnants of Maoist movements persist in some areas as in India with the Naxalites.1,2 Other guerrilla groups are remnants of states failed in the Cold War struggle as in the case of Somalia and Yemen. Yet around the world, from the uprisings in India by traditional people against the Vedanta mining and development schemes,3 the Ngobe-Bugle Indian tribe in Panama, to the recent massacre in the Amazonas province of Peru, native people are striving to protect their lands from resource extraction and environmental pollution.4 We have entered an era of global conflict between traditional people and corporations where one way of life is being exterminated. While it is in general a continuation of the assault of western colonialism, today's indigenous rebels, instead of being considered devil worshipers as they were in the past, are now often seen as minions of terror. The roots of contemporary terror are not just seen in the disorder created by colonialism, but in the very form it has taken. Saudi Wahhabism was brought to power by the British in their support of Abd al-Aziz or Ibn Saud with arms and advice before the First World War to undermine Ottoman attempts to suppress the violent fanaticism of Abd alWahhab and Muhammad Ibn Sa'ud that followed their uprisings after 1746.5,6 What is contradictory is that while the west concentrates on militant groups in various Islamic countries that are fighting for Sharia law and an Islamic state, this is what Saudi Arabia has now and has promoted abroad through its donations, foreign aid and educational foundation activity. But as Doran7 notes, the Saudi government has a long history of promoting conservative Islam, trying to balance its role in a secular and Christian dominated world and yet attempting to limit the role of Shia Islam.

The consequences of this support have stemmed from the creation of the totalitarian state of the Saudis and the spread of fanatic Wahhabism by the use of oil money. In the past two decades, international confrontations and competition for resources have escalated. Current assaults on national territories from Yemen to Columbia in search of a pacification of activities that are seen as "terrorist" and inconsistent with global capitalism often reflect a process of repression of local political resistance to development. Actors are frequently left little recourse to peacefully resist after corrupt legal processes deny their standing to block development. These pressures are bound together as in the case of Saudi-based Wahhabi proselytizing and regional (e.g., Egyptian bombardment of Sa'dah) and international intervention (Soviet and American client support).8 Yemen was divided into north and south portions between the British (south) and Ottoman (north) at the beginning of the 20th century. Main resistance to outside control, whether Ottoman in the 16th and 17th centuries or British, has been from the Zaydi. Yet Zaydi influence has been contested by Sunni Wahhabi from Saudi Arabia and that conflict has continued to the present.9 The present Houthi rising can be seen as a continuation of this conflict. And the Saudis have not escaped the consequences of this export fanaticism, as Hegghammer10 notes, the rise of the Sahwa movement in the early 1990s, especially after the arrival of US troops in the Gulf Wars, led to rising tensions and violent confrontations.

The negative effects of culture change attendant to colonialism have long been recognized. Bodley11 has published an effective cross-section of these effects of interventions. …

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