This is my comment on Dr. Dae-Hwan Kim's Paper of "The Accumulation and Labor under Globalization" at the International Conference of Rosa Luxemburg ,Chicago, May 2, 1998)

The Theory of Capital Accumulation by Rosa Luxumburg and The Contemporary Capitalist Globalization: Comment on Dr. Dae-Hwan Kim's Paper

Dr. Kim (South Korea) treats a new trend of capitalism, namely, the Globalization.

He related it to the theory of capital accumulation by Rosa Luxumburg, but I think it should be also related to the theory of Imperialism by Vladimir Lenin and the theory of Ultra-imperialism by Karl Kautsky.

Thus, I would like to comment Dr. Kim from my understanding of the contemporary capitalism.

First. Dr. Kim characterized the globalization not only from the territorial expantion but also from the intenification of the world market, so to speak, the commodification of every thing, every area. It means perhaps one critique against the theory of capital accumulation by Rosa Luxemburg which talked about the necessity of the existance of non-capitalist territory for the reproduction of capital. I basically agree with him.

But if it is true, how about the theory of imperialsm by Vladimir Lenin or the ultra-imperialist theory by Karl Kautsky? In my opinion, Lenin's theory treated the final stage of the 19th century national imperialism which colonized the non-western areas and proved the emergence of the imperialist war among western superpowers. But he said it the final and the highst stage of capitalism and drew the conclusion of socialist revolution in underdeveloped Russia from the imperialist war, a kind of niche (small space crevice) revolution among the superpower conflicts. But if there is no more space of territorial redivision of the earth, and every area of the human life (or in German, das Lebenswelt) has been already commodified, has Lenin's theory or the concept of imperialism any meaning now?

Furthermore, the critical issue of the debate between Lenin and Kautsky was the so-called ultra-imperialsm. Lenin insisted that the conflicts between imperialist powers must be only solved by the world war, but according to Kautsky, it could reach a kind of peaceful coalition among the big powers.

Dr. Kim said that the contemporary globalization means the dominance of the world market by the G7 countries led by the USA. I agree with it, but is it not similar to the perspective of ultra-imperialism by Kautsky? Or, are we living at the essencially new stage of post-imperialsm, or, someone will say, post-revolution? It is my first point.

My second point is the relationship between the Transnational Corporations (TNCs, although I prefer to the term Multi-national Corporations=MNCs, I here use the TNCs accprding to the Dr. Kim's paper) and the nation state.

Dr. Kim pointed out three factors which accelerated the globalization, namely, the neo-conservative or neo-liberal market, the post-fordism or neo-fordism production, and the existance of international financial capital. I of course agree him that these three factors which characterize the so-called borderless economy are very important . But what I would like to know is who does govern or control this system or the world order? The automatic balance of free market?  The Flexible production system of TNCs? Or, the big maney holders of banks and stock-companies? Or ,they all belong yet to the nation states of big seven countries?

Today in Japan, by the name of the introduction of "global standard" or "world standard," the total economic system faces the restructuring, and even some individual transnational corporatins or banks are in crisis. But some other TNCs can get more advantage from the world free market and their behavior seems sometimes against the so-called national interest. Honestly speaking, the so-called "global standard" is not really global, but it is the "IMF standard" , the "OECD standard" or sometimes even the "American standard". Thus, yesterday, one of our Japanese friend asked us, is Japan a second wife or a mistress of the USA ?

My point is that Japan is the second biggest GNP Country shared the world hegemony with the USA (they produce the 40% of the total GNP in the world) , but is not as an equal partner but as a junior partner in the international system. And at the relativelly differnt level of the world market, many transnational corporations and banks not only in the US, Japan or EU, but also in Korea or even in India, act sometimes freely from their original nationality. How can we explain such situation of contemporary capitalism ? Is this a kind of ultra-imperialism, neo-imperialism, or something far from the marxist theoretical traditions? I would like to know Dr. Kim's opinion about it.

The last, final question, I raise quickly. It is of course the future of social revolution in the 21st century. If Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, or Kautsky have failed in their perspective to grasp the contemporary capitalism or the globalization, where can we find the possibility and the actors of "the revolution".

My opinion is very simple and clear that the 20th century was the time of the worldwide passive revolution in the sense of Antonio Gramsci. Thus, in my perspective, all kind of anti-system movements, or more exactly speaking, of anti-passive revolution in the world, should be taken as the agents of revolution. It means that not only workers movement or socialist oriented movements but also feminist movements, ecological movements, anti-North movements in the South developing countries, local people's movements in everydaylife to make their own living standard and rules are all important parts of the revolutionary actions in the 21st century. It might be not the socialist revolution, but the permanent process of democratc revolution, or the democratization. There might be no center, no core power, or non-existance of the so-called vanguard party. There might be no tree-type hierarchy of the organizations, but networks or mediated associations.

Thus, I would like to ask Dr.Kim about his perspective. He mentioned that the globalization must be a favorable condition to reestablish a firm international solidarity among the trade unions worldwide of the same TNC. It sounds good, and might be one potential possibility. But How about its real experiences? And how about the other kind of social movements for human liberation and emancipaton? As far as I know from my Japanese information sources, the attitude of trade unions of Japanese TNCs are very similar to the attitude of the second International before the first world war to which Rosa Luxemburg strongly reacted, and the TNC workers look like the so-called labour aristcracy explained by Lenin. How do you think about it? This is my last question to Dr. Kim. Thank you.