Finally, many have cautioned against a framework that blames the "external" West for everything, thereby relieving African and other local tyrants of their responsibilities for this state of affairs. We maintain that there are integral interrelationships between the global context and the lack of accountability of governments to their peoples. The system works differently from the periods of colonialism or cold war patronage, but the common element is that the structure builds in rewards for elites that respond to external pressures more than to the demands of their own people.
Global apartheid is not only an appropriate description of the current world order; it can also help in efforts to transform it. Protests in the "Seattle" series have most commonly been framed in race-neutral terms that obscure the differential impact of global inequality. We maintain that it is only by understanding globalization in terms of race as well as markets that we can accurately probe the foundations on which the current global system is built and develop a transnational culture of solidarity against a clearly defined enemy.
Our success should be measured by the extent to which we can compel the governments of rich countries, as well as multilateral institutions, to reduce the hemorrhaging of resources from South to North; dramatically increase investment in global public goods to redress current inequalities; and accept that realizing fundamental human rights for all is an obligation--not an optional charitable response. Some priority steps are clear and immediate: Address the AIDS pandemic through adequate funding for treatment and prevention, cancel the illegitimate debt, stop imposing catastrophic economic policies on poor countries and stop trade rules that value corporate profit over human life. And, as both an indispensable means and an end in itself, democratize the institutions that make such decisions and eliminate their policies and practices of discrimination by race, gender and HIV status. The US Congress should reserve 5 percent of the anticipated budget surplus each year to fight the AIDS pandemic and to support related global health needs. In addition, Washington can require the full cancellation of the debts owed by African countries to the World Bank and the IMF as a condition for future US appropriations to those institutions. And finally, the Administration should uphold the rights of African nations to insure access to lifesaving medications--including generically manufactured drugs--at the lowest cost for their citizens and should drop the US pressure against Brazil at the WTO, as it forms part of a strategy seeking to undermine those rights.
Our language, moreover, should make it clear that we hold global institutions and those who run them responsible. Allowing the defenders of privilege to monopolize the term "globalization" for their own vision too easily allows them to portray themselves as agents of an impersonal process and to paint advocates of global justice as narrow nationalists or naïve opponents of technological progress. If we do not intend to surrender the globe to them, then we should not surrender the term globalization. Thus, it should not be necessary to explain that "antiglobalization" protesters are not against the "widening of worldwide interconnectedness," trade with other countries or advances in science but rather against "corporate globalization" or "neoliberal globalization." It is also not enough to counter with proposals for "people's globalization" or "globalization from below."
Rather, we should make it clear that genuine globalization requires that global democracy replace global apartheid. Despite the apparent diversity of issues, this is precisely what the emerging movement for global justice demands. We look not to some imagined past of national autonomy but to a future in which growing interconnectedness means justice and diversity rather than continued inequality and discrimination. Moreover, the last few years show a potential for greater impact that is just beginning to be felt--in protests from Seattle to Johannesburg to Quebec, in passage of the international landmine treaty and in shifting the debate on poor-country debt from "forgiveness" to "cancellation" to "reparations."
AIDS makes it plain. The fight against global apartheid is a matter of life and death for much of humankind and for the very concept of our common humanity.