Globalisation Backlash

October 28, 2008

The backlash against globalisation reached a peak in 2001.  That was the year that one young Italian protestor died and more than 200 others were beaten and tortured by the Genoa police at a G8 summit.  That was July.  Two months later an even more violent protest against globalisation took place in New York and Washington (overshadowing Genoa and as a result making it even harder to get justice for the people injured).   As a book entitled Globalizaton / Anti-Globalization co-authored by an LSE academic describes the globalisation backlash: “Representing a diverse range of social movements and non-governmental organizations, from anarchists to social democrats, the anti-capitalist movement has evolved as a powerful reaction against corporate-driven and state promoted globalization.” (Held and McGrew 2003: 64).

Today, I’m suffering from a far more personal sort of globalisation backlash.  It is not anti-capitalist in its nature, but would be more accurately described by the term homesickness.  Despite my global life, every once and a while, a creeping sense of homesickness overwhelms me, and I want to go back to the US.  I don’t even know where I would like to go home to (though as I am missing the fall colours in particular, I guess it would be the East Coast of my adolescence and not my parent’s home in balmy Texas), but I am missing home big time.

It’s partially because of the election.  I can’t read enough about it, and have an acute sense of helplessness at not being able to pick up and go to Pennsylvania or Ohio for the last week of the race.  I thought about making calls to Colorado voters (on the campaign’s request) but would they really take a woman calling from London urging them to vote seriously?  Or would I just hurt That One’s chances of winning all the more by confirming that he is an elitist foreign socialist?  It occured to me the other day that I have lost touch with the way that Americans discuss politics – something I realised talking to an American friend by phone.  I wouldn’t even know how to begin talking to an undecided Colorodan voter without coming across as, well, elitist, foreign and socialist.

The other reason I’m feeling homesick is Halloween.  Our 11 month old son is not growing up the way I did.  There are no pumpkin patches to take him to this week (“like in Charlie Brown?” my Italian husband asked), and though there is a local website that says it is organising a “trick or treat parade” on Friday in our neighbourhood, I think it’s going to be lame.  After all, I’ve lived in that neighbourhood for several years and no little ones ever rang my doorbell.  I’m debating whether to even suit him up as a pumpkin at all, and feel crushingly disappointed by the whole lack of Halloween spirit.

There’s no warm apple cider to drink or haystack mazes to get lost in, nor is there the stunning fall foliage of New England flashing before me on the way to work.  And to rub salt in my wounds, the British are preparing for Christmas while I’m missing Halloween and mourning the lack of Thanksgiving prep. At least it’s cold and crisp and there’s a blue sky and some yellowish leaves outside my office window.  It’s not enough to stem my own globalisation backlash, but it’s something.

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7 Responses to “Globalisation Backlash”

  1. Kathryn said

    Hi Lauren!

    I miss you and am sorry you’re homesick. Are you a member of MoveOn.org? If not, check out their website — there are still 2 days of calling left you can do while online. You call MoveOn members in swing states urging them to get out and canvas/call, and I know people would be tickled to hear from a woman in London; people in Ohio were amazed to hear from me in sunny Tucson, in the middle of a red state.

    It is getting pretty exciting. I just wish the election were today and I could relax…

  2. Lauren said

    Hey Kat – I am a member, and am giving some thought to making calls after a number of people said I shouldn’t be afraid of saying I’m calling from London. Now the only problem is finding a state when the call hours coincide with hours I’m awake…

  3. Kathryn said

    Yes, the timing is tricky. Good luck if you get to it, though!

  4. […] 30, 2008 I did my part today to globalise the American election.  For those of you who read my previous post where I lamented not being able to do anything for the election, I got over my fears of talking to […]

  5. Mrs. Coach Austin said

    Lauren, I hear your pain about missing traditions. It’s the down side of living internationally. Evenso, you can have a private Halloween and Thanksgiving for several years before he’ll notice. And don’t forget that Guy Fawkes Day is coming up. Also, I want you to know that the people who live in your former residence on FHD have the correct political sign in the front yard! I do enjoy your blog!

  6. […] year, I shouldn’t be thinking of Christmas at all, I should be thinking of Thanksgiving.  As I mentioned in a post several weeks ago, this whole European thing of starting to prep for Christmas before Americans […]

  7. […] get into Christmas in early November (and yes, I’ve written about how this provokes my homesickness on this blog […]

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