The Deglobalisation Paradigm: A Critical Discourse on Alternatives

[Dorothy Grace Guerrero] 


The continuing and intensifying global economic crisis that started in the Eurozone and the United States (US), and has reverberated in India, China and other developing countries, is a concrete manifestation of the depth reached by globalisation. The world has experienced a number of financial crises before. However, the combination of the economic and ecological crises, the impacts of drastic reforms being put in place to respond to the crises, as well as the magnitude of globalisation have made the challenges more daunting than previously experienced in history.

This chapter will discuss the link between deepening neoliberal globalisation, the role played by international financial institutions (IFIs) and transnational corporations (TNCs) as agents of globalisation, as well as how the global trade and investment regime that they influence produced the global climate and environmental crises that is threatening our very survival now. The resistance against neoliberal globalisation and the movements created by such resistance have pointed to the limits and downside of such globalisation. Many are promoting the strategy of deglobalisation, an alternative to neoliberalism, and are working for the realisation of social, economic, gender and climate justice. Development and political education, known in the global South as conscientisation or popular education, organising and networking are crucial elements in building collective and transformative efforts and solutions needed to respond to the challenges that the world is now facing.

The Washington Consensus

Neoliberal policies also known as the ‘Washington Consensus’, a set of economic policy prescriptions that constitute a ‘standard’ reform package prescribed for countries deemed to be in crisis by Washington DC-based institutions such as the International Monetary Bank (IMF), the World Bank, and the US Treasury Department (Williamson, 1989; Stiglitz, 2002) started the dismantling of social protection in the US and Europe. At the same time, neoliberal policies put developing countries under structural adjustment programmes to systematically squeeze resources from them to feed the global economy dominated by the IFIs since the 1980s. Former US president Ronald Reagan and former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher were the major architects of such policies. Like Thatcher and Reagan, the supporters of neoliberalism occupy influential positions in the sectors of education, the media, corporations and financial institutions, government institutions, as well as international institutions that regulate global trade and finance (see Albo, 2004; Harvey, 2005; and Altvater, 2009).

Recent neoliberal policies and reform measures, packaged as austerity programmes to address the lingering crisis, were set to do the demolition job to the remaining thread of social protection. The attack on hard-fought rights and entitlements that were born out of long struggles by social movements in the global North, which have produced the safety nets that many in developing countries are still fighting to achieve, are eroding and as a result, breaking people’s sense of security and dignity.

Globally, and especially in developing countries where biodiversity is rich and vital to people’s livelihood and survival, the increasing assaults on the lands, forests and waters by transnational corporations and local businesses are severely threatening nature and ecosystems (Guttal and Manahan, 2010). Excessive and devastating extraction of minerals and resources, indiscriminate logging and fishing, and massive conversion of productive farmlands and forests to huge plantations, golf courses and industrial parks are altering nature and destroying its carrying capacity to sustain life in the planet. These unsustainable and damaging economic activities conducted in the blind pursuit of economic growth without regard to the limits of nature by big capital are causing climate change, which has now become the greatest challenge faced by humanity (Guerrero, 2012).

Despite the vast amount of wealth produced by the globalisation process and the rise of emerging economies like the BRICS countries composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, it has become more concentrated in fewer hands as poverty and inequality continue to grow and deepen across the world (UNDP, 2013). Injustice is also widening as states increasingly lose their power to regulate society and protect people and the environment (Bello, 2009). The increasing impacts of climate change, which is producing extreme weather changes, out-of season super storms that are causing floods, longer droughts, colder winters, rising oceans and the melting of the ice in the polar regions are affecting the poor more, notwithstanding the fact that they have made the least contribution to climate change (Solon and Bello 2012).

Globalisation and Deglobalisaion

More than a decade ago Walden Bello proposed his alternatives to the dominant economic growth paradigm in his book Deglobalisation. Bello defined deglobalisation as a comprehensive paradigm to replace neoliberal globalisation (Bello, 2002).   In 2003, Focus on the Global South elaborated the strategy of ‘Deglobalisation’ as the guiding paradigm for its programmatic work in response to the growing clamour for alternatives to the current system of global economic governance. Many movements and groups saw the logic of the strategy and adopted it as a principle guiding their collective actions of resistance against the global system of trade and financial governance. It was used in education and mobilising work in the pursuit of building social and economic justice groups.

Considering the magnitude of the problems created by neoliberalism, the lingering dominance of actors and institutions that are reproducing disempowerment and the emergence of new concepts like the Green Economy, carbon trading, etc., that are promoting an even more destructive and disempowering version of the old development model, deglobalisation, together with other empowering concepts like buen vivir are tools for resistance and building. Deglobalisation addresses the worldwide climate crisis, militarisation, globalisation, human rights violations and other increasing assaults to social justice and democratic principles. As an alternative it strengthens resistance to the oppressing system and structures of neoliberalism to build unity, hope and reciprocal solidarity.

Globalisation has made it possible for science to realise the leap and bounds in scientific and technological breakthroughs that advanced understanding of our world. Medical research and experiments are now yielding promising results that could lead to a significant breakthrough in diseases formerly considered incurable. What we only used to imagine and see in science fiction documentaries and films are now features of the gadgets we use in our daily lives. The advancements in communication are simply spectacular and the now widespread use of the Internet has made it possible to learn in an instant what is happening everywhere in the globe and to keep in touch with faraway relatives and friends. Even global organising and networking is aided by modern communication infrastructures and services and becoming increasingly creative through various forms of social media. The caveat though is the increasing level of incursion into people’s privacy and how personal information is sometimes used without our knowledge and consent. The use and manipulation of data is more Orwellian than many of us are aware of.

There is a growing understanding now that the majority is not benefiting from neoliberal globalisation and being harmed by the political economy it has produced. The first World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) or Earth Summit, which was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992, produced a set of principles called Agenda 21 that acknowledged society’s need to balance the pursuit of development and protection of the environment to achieve sustainable development. In 2002, the Rio+10 summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, at which social movement activists and representatives from various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from inside Africa and beyond drew attention to worrying trends that were already emerging from the globalisation process, particularly the acceleration of neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism and Global Dissent against Globalisation

Neoliberalism is a set of political economic practices supported by institutional frameworks that favour strong private property rights, free markets and free trade, which have become widespread in the last 40 years or so. ‘Liberalism’ can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas while the prefix ‘Neo’ means we are talking about a new kind of liberalism. Neoliberalism is a set of rules and mechanisms that encourages total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services by: eliminating barriers to encourage economic openness of international trade and investments; cutting social expenditure for social services; reducing government regulations that could diminish profits especially profits of transnational corporations; and privatisation of state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. Supporters of the neoliberal way occupy influential positions in government, business and society, many of whom attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland ‘to shape global, regional and industry agendas’ (

These gatherings of key proponents of neoliberalism such as the WEF, the ministerial meetings of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialised countries have been mirrored by the increasing mobilisation in civil society of social movements and non-governmental organisations. These movements have emphasised that neoliberal globalisation has caused increased poverty, conflicts, human insecurity, unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, dispossession, de-industrialisation of many developing countries, and an increasing abandonment by governments of their responsibilities to provide even basic services to their people because of privatisation and deregulation (see for example the World Social Forum Statement of the Climate Space, 2013). Civil society organisations have regularly gathered at international conferences like Rio+10 in South Africa and Rio+20 People’s Summit in Brazil, World Social Forums and other global events to organise parallel conferences and debate alternatives to neoliberalism. They have challenged the entrenchment of neoliberal policies, especially the global trade regime implemented by the WTO which was compared by Ha Joon-Chang to the act of ‘kicking the ladder’ away from under developing countries to prevent them from growing their industries and achieving development (Chang, 2002).

The increasing capture by large transnational corporations (TNCs) of various policy spaces and decision-making processes posed big challenges to democracy in both developing and developed countries alike. Before the opening of the Rio+20 Summit, representatives of big transnational corporations that participated at the business meeting claimed that the said meeting, which was attended by chief executive officers (CEOs) of global companies, was the real event where decisions were made, while the Rio+20 discussions by government representatives were in reality the side event! In UN summit parlance, side events were spaces for the sharing of information, analysis and opportunities for education where no decisions of importance are made or followed.

It was no secret that the Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff had brought the draft text of the Rio+20 Agreement to the G20 meeting in Mexico before resolutions were reached in Rio. During a public debate held on 16 June at the People’s Summit between the director of the UN Environment Programme Dr. Achim Steiner and Mr. Pablo Solon, executive director of Focus on the Global South, the latter argued that the decisions for the future of the planet in Rio+20 were made not in the UN meeting but at the G20 in Mexico. The 20 richest and most powerful countries had decided on humanity’s future. ‘An outcome that makes nobody happy’ (Bradley, 2012) was how Sha Zukang of China described the results of Rio+20 — and he was the Rio+20 secretary-general.

The December 2013 ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), to be held in Bali, Indonesia is expected to produce a decisive result aimed at closing the current Doha Round of negotiations of the WTO to achieve a multilateral trading system. Parallel to the WTO process, more ambitious and comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) are also being pushed aggressively by dominant economies to developing countries despite strong resistance from civil society in these countries. In India and Thailand, movements are blocking the EU–India and EU–Thailand FTAs. In both negotiations, the EU pushed for more comprehensive and stronger provisions on intellectual property rights, especially on the manufacture of medicines, compared to the WTO provisions (FTA Watch Thailand, 2013). Members of the different groups in India and the FTA Watch network in Thailand know that when applied, people will lose their access to cheaper medicines being produced by local companies and that the agreement will eventually lead to the demise of local pharmaceutical companies.

What the global movements against FTAs and International Investment Agreement (IIA) treaties are concerned about is that despite the economic crisis, which has been caused by the current laissez-faire system of wealth accumulation, more of the same export-led and resource extractive growth patterns are being pushed by the new and stronger treaties. The new agreements are also giving increased powers to TNCs and strengthening further the already debilitating culture of impunity that takes away possibilities for governments to use their powers to regulate industries and use policy measures to protect local economies, people and the environment from abuses of business. The investment provisions of new and ongoing Free Trade Agreement negotiations (for example EU-India, EU-Singapore, EU-Thailand, EU-Philippines, etc.) are giving increased powers to corporations in the State-Company Disputes Settlement wherein corporations can sue governments in special courts under the WTO and the World Bank if they deem that government actions will curtail their operations.

When the interests of people to protect their lands, water, forests, livelihoods, culture, social and economic rights clash with corporate interests, people normally lose because their governments are generally not supportive of their causes. Even if there is inclination to do so, government powers are already curtailed by the commitments they have agreed to under FTAs and investment treaties. They can no longer implement their existing laws and social standards legislation against corporations. International Financial Institutions and regional development banks, share a capacity to enforce agreements and contracts and punish governments in the event that the latter deviate from these contracts.

Moreover, the increasing and systematic violation of human and labour rights and what can be considered as economic and environmental crimes by corporations go unabated (Bassey, 2012). In many cases, TNCs are directly or indirectly involved in assassinations, persecutions and threats against trade unions, community and indigenous people’s leaders that are resisting their actions and operations (Middleton and Pritchard, 2013). In the context of the global financial and environmental crises, this violence has intensified through the complicity of states and their role in the design and implementation of trade and investment agreements, as well as land and forest laws.

New Global Power Relations: New Actors, Old Play?

It is commonly said that the world is entering a multipolar phase in global governance with the ‘rise of the South’ or the growing powers of emerging economies, notably the BRICS and the strengthening of their relations as seen in the annual BRICS Summits since 2009. Many believe too that with the economic stagnation in the Eurozone and the US, BRICS countries are gaining more wealth, expertise, consumption power and the political clout to influence and re-arrange the global system to their advantage. The lingering economic crisis in the US is also seen as a signal of the beginning of the end of US hegemony and that among the new powers, many consider China to be the most likely challenger to US dominance (Ikenberry, 2008).

The results of recent attempts to reform global institutions (e.g. addressing the balance of voting powers in the World Bank and elect a non-American president of the Bank), however, prove that the North will resist efforts by the BRICS to assume a leadership role in global governance. It is still to be seen whether the new actors actually intend and have the capacity to provide alternative leadership. It is becoming increasingly clear however that the BRICS are advancing a similarly unsustainable and unjust development paradigm that facilitates accumulation of wealth by a few while resulting in the dispossession and pauperisation of the already marginalised and powerless (Bidwai, 2003; Globalreboot, 2013).

China and the other new actors have yet to present a new and better model of development and, importantly, a more equitable partnership paradigm with other developing countries. What is more troubling as observed by activist academics, is that they are gravitating toward ‘sub-imperialism’ that is offering similar or even more intense practices of exploitation and extraction of natural resources from poorer countries to enrich themselves. Patrick Bond defines sub-imperialism, as new powers, such as the BRICS, playing deputy-sheriff to advance rather than challenge the current system while controlling their own angry populaces as well as their hinterlands (Bond, 2003). The continuation of the ‘maldevelopment’ model throughout the BRICS works very well for corporate profits. Movements and concerned groups within the five countries started discussions and information sharing about their respective resistances, and found opportunities to start solidarities among themselves and others in various activities during the recent ‘BRICS from Below People’s Summit’ held in Durban, South Africa on 25 and 26 March 2013.

The Climate Change Challenge

Global warming, which was predicted by scientists in the 1960s and 1970s as a consequence of increasing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) concentrations, produced by human activities in the earth’s atmosphere, is advancing at a rate of 0.16 degrees centigrade per decade according to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the UN Inter-government Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. What is also disturbing is that the actual impacts of climate change are happening at rates that are faster than the IPCC forecasts. New studies show that the rise in sea level is sixty percent faster than previous predictions with an increase averaging at 3.2 millimetres per year instead of 2 millimetres per year (Edwards, 2012). At this rate, we can expect the sea level to rise by 3.25 feet at the end of the century. Given that eighty percent of the world’s population lives within 200 miles of the coast, the prospect of seeing hundreds of millions of people becoming climate refugees as the sea envelops the land is a stark possibility.

The dismal outcomes of the negotiations of the 18th Conference of Parties (COP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Doha in 2012 do not match the urgency of the situation. The reluctance of Annex I countries (composed of 37 industrialised countries and in addition the European Union) to commit to deep cuts in their emission levels and agree on appropriate financial and technology transfer to developing countries to help the latter bear and adapt to the impacts of climate change caused the world to pass up a significant opportunity to address the climate change issue. Results of negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, Cancun in 2010, Durban in 2011 and Doha in 2012 resulted in a diluted Kyoto Protocol and a laissez faire regime wherein only ‘voluntary pledges’ for emissions reductions would happen until 2020 (ibid. Solon and Bello, 2012). Likewise, the BRICS countries also want to avoid discussions that will bind them to commitments despite the fact that some of them are already major polluters. Worse still is the fact that a number of countries like Japan and Russia have withdrawn their commitment to the Kyoto Protocol altogether.

We are in an accelerating and deepening ecological crisis as a consequence of the growth-at-all-cost economic approach, promoted by IFIs and trade treaties, and due to human activities that have no regard for the carrying capacity of the environment and for the rights of people. The International Energy Agency has already added its voice to those that are saying that failure to reduce fossil fuel consumption would put the world on a path toward at least 6 degrees centigrade of global warming (IEA, 2012). The Asian Development Bank Report for 2011 attributed the current widespread poverty to severe environmental degradation affecting the livelihood of people who depended on the environment (ADB, 2012). Likewise, the World Bank also came up with the report ‘Turn Down the Heat’ that warned of projected climate impacts of a 4 degrees centigrade average temperature increase (World Bank, 2012).

The most intense discussions in the preparatory process for Rio+20 were around the ‘Green Economy’ agenda promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Green Economy is a concept that can replace ‘sustainable development’ as the dominant discourse. In February 2011, UNEP launched a 631-page ‘Green Economy’ report. The report argued that the environment could be saved if people saw the value of environmental services by putting a price to it. It also said that faster growth would be achieved if governments cut environmentally damaging subsidies to fossil fuels and fisheries, etc. and used these funds to invest in new technologies as a response to climate change. Massive investment could then enable the transition from the ‘brown’ to the ‘green’ economy, according to the report (UNEP, 2011). The UN estimates that investments in infrastructure and technology to mitigate the effects of climate change will total as much as $130 billion a year by 2030.

Despite the many attractive ideas that are included in the ‘Green Economy’ concept like the need to recycle and use renewable energies, climate and environmental non-governmental organisations and social movements heavily criticised the report. Those who are criticising and opposing it understand that the real purpose of Green Economy is to set a new stage in the reconfiguration of capitalism by treating nature as capital. This kind of solution to the climate crisis is a denial of the essential and deeper causes of the ecological problem (Focus on the Global South, 2012). Neoliberal capitalism is the problem and commodification of the services of nature in a reconfiguration of capitalism, which can lead to dangerous results.

Another myth is the idea that Green Economy is a way to grow sustainably without destroying the environment and that this can be achieved through technology and market-based approaches. The prominence given to market-based approaches is not surprising given the background of the Special Adviser and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, Pavan Sukdhev, who is lead author of the UNEP report ‘Towards a Green Economy’. Sukdhev spent over 20 years as a senior banker with ANZ and Deutsche Bank, one of the biggest derivative traders in the world. Green economy promoters rationalise that nature must have monetary value. By putting a price to nature, good environmental policies can be implemented effectively through the more ‘efficient’ ways of the market. The ideological battle is expected to intensify with this framework, as it is even beyond business as usual and in fact a reconfiguration of capitalism. The ethical, political and economic arguments against commodification of nature’s services show however that it could even be worse than the growth model since the power to manage, use, allocate and decide on the use of nature will heavily favour the business sector. In the past, solving the climate crisis meant reducing emissions, today discussions are concentrated on how to involve the market in the process. Investors are therefore putting money into businesses that will create profits as the planet gets hotter.

Globalisation of Resistance and the Task to Change the System

An ideological battle has emerged on how to solve the crisis. On one side, the pro-market elite seeks a central role for corporations that will further erode the capacity of governments to regulate capital. On the other side are the growing movements that see the direct role of the dominant economic system in the creation of the crisis and are espousing alternatives to the system and the dominating structures of neoliberalism. The main contentions are in the treatment of capitalism: progressive social movements, NGOs and academics that are blaming it for the crisis and looking at counter-processes and practices vis-à-vis the elite that are pushing for business-as-usual ways and finding increasingly profitable market-based solutions.

The increasing condition of powerlessness brought about by the loss of rights and spaces to engage as political subjects in the ever-deepening phase of capitalism is producing intensifying social and political resistance across the world and in some instances bridging differences across many sections of societies (Mertes and Bello, 2004). The negative impacts of development projects in the global South and the brutal austerity plan in Europe and the US are bringing about massive and assertive initiatives to build a more just world and increase support for deglobalisation.

The later part of the last century saw extraordinary forms of collective action such as the People Power in the Philippines in 1986 and Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic in 1989 among others. In the early part of this century, we witnessed global anti-war protests against the US actions in Iraq, the Arab Spring that toppled dictators and governments in the Middle East that started in Tunisia and has spread to Egypt and other neighboring countries. The stream of collective actions has also echoed in the very heart of capitalism. Anti capitalists and anti-system groups in the US ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement and other business districts as a protest over the ways the US government managed its financial and debt problems by bailing out banks and big finance corporations and cutting basic services like health and education. There have also been massive protests in southern Europe against governments and the so-called Troika (the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank) that imposes austerity programmes to manage failing economies.

The huge economic problems and the failure of the system to address them shows that we need an alternative development paradigm to neoliberalism. As long as this does not happen, economic and development planning will forever be at the service of growth, policies will be written to please corporations, and governments will repress social movements and groups that question why poverty and inequality are rising and the planet threatened by climate change. More than a decade ago, Focus on the Global South proposed global, regional and national movements and networks to support the collective work of deglobalisation, which rests on two pillars or two logics that are in synergy: deconstruction and reconstruction or recreation. Both are mutually dependent on the other. Deconstruction refers to the dismantling, paralysis, or drastic reduction of the power of the current structures and institutions that support neoliberal global governance. This is an imperative in order to provide space for alternatives.

The powers of the WTO, the IFIs, the TNCs and other agents of exploitative finance capital must be confronted and their schemes must be continually exposed. Collective demands for change and people’s empowerment must be creatively shaped through organizing, political and development education and solidarity strengthened by campaigns based on goals that reflect existing political conditions, but at the same time firm on the goal of putting life and the environment first in order to build an alternative world. The structure and institutions of neoliberal capitalism have perfected the art of sustaining the status quo and leadership of hegemonic powers, not only through their control of the policy process, but more importantly in presenting themselves as knowledge-bearers and experts on what are the needs of the time, be it in solving the economic crisis, poverty, climate change or upholding social and economic rights. The impressive protests in the Maghreb and the Middle East, the expression of collective indignation by the people of southern Europe and the act of occupying targets and spaces in the global South, be it in major financial centres, or rural barricades and roadblocks to resist projects that symbolise the capitalist growth model, such as environmentally destructive power plants or mines, have managed to link the crises/problems to the capitalist system up front.

The tasks of reconstruction or re-creation processes or the collective effort to articulate and popularise the need for alternative systems of national and global economic and political governance are more challenging, but at the same time a task we could and should not turn away from. The idea that responses and alternatives must also be diverse, like nature, is gaining support and acceptance. The concept that the law of nature and the processes of the ecosystem articulated as the ‘rights of Mother Earth’ (Cochabamba Declaration, 2010) must be respected as much as we respect the principles of our rights as humans, is also gaining ground. There have been good discussions and agreements by movements for alternatives on what constitutes the principle of living well or ‘Buen Vivir’ (see also Heinrich Boell Foundation, 2011).

The above principles, in order to be properly piloted and to flourish, need an alternative system of local and national economic governance that respects the diversity of societies. What needs to be globalised is the principle of reciprocal solidarity, the struggle for de-commodification and collective action against all the bad solutions being presented as a way out of the economic and ecological crises. The work requires consciousness-raising or conscientisation through political, development and popular education to reach the grassroots and various communities or collectives. Development and political education encourages collective action and organising that will take back social, welfare, economic, labour, cultural and other basic rights, public services, as well as our governments.

A summary from Focus on the Global South’s 2003 paper and 2012 Statement for the Rio+20 People’s Summit outlines that in practice deglobalisation and the means to protect the planet means:

  • Changing the framework of political economy by protecting and prioritising domestic economies and local needs. Instead of overproducing for export, reorient the economy and support small, local, peasant and indigenous community farming. Big agribusiness that deforests, destroy soils and indigenous crop species, heats the planet and pollute rivers and air must be dismantled. We should promote local production and consumption of products by reducing the free trade of goods that travel long distances and uses millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide;
  • Reduce asphyxiating Greenhouse Gases that are causing global warming by steep decreases of extractivism and end society’s addiction to fossil fuels by leaving more than two-thirds of the fossil fuel reserves under the soil. The exploitation of tar sands, shale gas and coal must be stopped. We should develop safe, clean and sustainable energy production through more subsidies to renewable energy development;
  • Instead of geo-engineering and expensive technologies that are aimed at altering the natural course of sunrays, behaviour of oceans and change the ecosystem, we should significantly increase and develop public transport systems and services to reduce and discourage the unsustainable dependence on cars;
  • Wars are not just killing people, destroying civilisations and culture, they are also greatly contributing to emissions and environmental damage. Promote peace by pressing governments to avoid warfare and dismantle the military and war industry and infrastructure.

To realize these goals, there must be a fundamental transformation in the economy, democracy, the legal system, media, popular culture and habits, and so on. Development education plays an important role in the task of transformation. A growth-driven and market-dependent system is incompatible with the reality of a finite world and life of dignity and rights. The need to rethink the way states and society values nature and how resources are allocated and managed must be done now and decidedly by those who believe in a meaningful and productive life.

There is no alternative to resist the decapitating grip of exploitative capitalism. It is a responsibility to educate oneself and be a conscious political subject, to organise, mobilise, forge unities and strike a blow to avoid further harm to the planet and all beings. Political and development education plays a big role in building a collective voice and sense of agency and this is the primary reason why Focus on the Global South stands with the poor and their movements. The work of questioning reality and concepts, asking the question who wins and who loses in certain social arrangements and what actors and institutions dominate and gain from injustice is a key component of the deglobalisation process. Through education work by means of organizing local, national and cross-border workshops and conferences we critique institutions and processes the perpetuate exploitation and injustice, at the same time we help build common visions and strategies for another realities or a better world. It is a complex and challenging task, it is not a task that can be comfortably waged.   It is a task where unity of allies, the expansion and forging of new alliances beyond usual partners, is needed. We have our planet and our humanity to lose if this is not achieved.



Dorothy Grace Guerrero is coordinator of the Climate and Environmental Justice Programme of Focus on the Global South. She joined Focus’ Bangkok office in 2005 and worked as coordinator of the organisation’s China Programme until 2012. She has an MA degree in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies, University of Rotterdam. Originally from the Philippines, Dorothy is an educator, writer, researcher and organiser. She can be contacted through or



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SOURCE: The Deglobalisation Paradigm: A Critical Discourse on Alternatives” in Development Education in Policy and Practice, Stephen McCloskey ed., Palgrave Macmillan, Dublin, 2014