are we nearly there? By Liz Allum, Barbara Lowe and Louise Robinson
A self evaluation framework for Global Citizenship.
The Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) has produced this well resourced and well produced book as an important teaching and learning aid for this subject. Global Citizenship is an attempt to lead to feelings of solidarity with the people of other nations, an essential basis for understanding and co-operation between us all in tackling the immense challenges faced by mankind. The book can help those participating in the Global Schools Award and is suitable for Key stages 1 to 5.
One often neglected area discusses is terminology. To quote one example: use of the term "Third World." It is suggested that a better expression is, "Majority World." This is more than a niggle and is much more important than it may seem. The ideas and mindset revealed by words go to the heart of the whole problem of stereotyping and prejudice, the root of much social (and sometimes violent) strife. Finding the appropriate term can help in arousing feelings of solidarity with those so often maligned.
There are many other approaches to the subject, detailed in a thorough and thoroughly helpful way. The book concludes with an outline of methods for assessing progress in knowledge, skills and attitudes. It is part of a package of material which presents a powerful aid to teaching and learning in a subject literally of world importance.
ONE WORLD – READY OR NOT by William Greider.
This is a challenging work, challenging both socialists and pro-capitalists. Greider is a widely travelled and internationally respected American economist. He has produced a detailed, minutely referenced and devastating exposure of the human tragedy produced by Global Capitalism. At the same time he rejects any fundamental change in the profit motivated basis of our present system. Socialism either wouldn't work or is unnecessary to cure the ills of capitalism. Marx is now merely a "ghost" and ".... Labour and the left are in retreat..."
The author looks back nostalgically to some Golden Age typified by The Welfare State and nationalisation and believes that it is globalisation which has destroyed this beneficent world. His answer is to return to the system of regulations; drastically curtailing the freedom of capitalists to seek profits at the expense of people's needs, which can guarantee a decent life for all.
As the blurb on the jacket-cover has it: "... are we doomed to return to (the horrors of) the world depression in the early 20th Century? "... (Not if) we recognise the dangers ... to middle class lifestyles .. (and) social peace ..(and if) national governments (will) reassert their powers to regulate the players in the global market and protect communities and the rights of workers." Note the "reassert".
The author ignores the fact that at the height of prosperity and the introduction of maximum regulations, millions went hungry, ill-clothed and ill-housed with a glaringly obvious gulf between the haves and have-nots. Then, along comes a Thatcher ("democratically" elected) and starts to destroy workers' gains painfully won in struggle, such as the right to organise trade unions to take action to advance and defend their living standards. The Press barons were still able to influence public opinion at will. Regulate them? The cries of "censorship", "state dictatorship" etc would have been heard throughout the world.
Native capitalists had great power and influence, even when their system was less global. Globalisation has certainly increased that power and put it beyond the reach of national authority. Shrinking it back, however, will not fundamentally solve the people's problems. Only united struggle will do that.
It is worth recalling that, 150 years ago, Marx predicted the worldwide accumulation of power into fewer and fewer hands as the result of creeping monopolisation. Perhaps the bearded old Prophet still has something to teach us today. But read this informative book and take part in the debate.