In 2004 Brandeis University hosted the
third North American GSA conference on Globalization, Empire and
Resistance. It was a progressive conference embracing a variety
of critical, and radical perspectives on globalization. Many leading
scholars from all over the world explored the many effects of globalization-as
well as alternative visions. Featured speakers included:
Seymour Melman - One of America?s most respected
scholars on capitalism and U.S. militarism from Columbia University
spoke on ?The Permanent War Economy?.
Leo Panitch - Canada Research Chair in Comparative
Political Economy at York University, Toronto, co-editor of the
Socialist Register, and co-author of Global Capitalism and American
Empire spoke on ?Global Capitalism and American Empire?.
Sam Gindin - Packer visiting Chair in Social
Justice at York University, Toronto, former head of research and
assistant to the President, Canadian Auto Workers? Union, and
co-author of Global Capitalism and American Empire spoke on ?Labor
Resistance in the Era of Globalization".
William Tabb - Professor of economics at Queens
College, New York, Monthly Review contributor and author of "The
Amoral Elephant" spoke on "The Global State and Economic Institutions".
Jose Maria Sison - Former senior research
fellow and professor at the University of the Philippines, co-founder
of the Communist Party of the Philippines spoke via video satellite
from Holland on ?War, Imperialism, and Resistance from Below?.
Leslie Sklair - From the London School of
Economics, and author of "The Transnational Capitalist Class"
spoke on ?Globalization, Imperialism and the International System?.
Edna Bonacich - Professor of sociology at
the University of California, San Diego, and co-author of "Behind
the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry" spoke
on ?Labor, Immigration and Global Production?.
University of California - Santa
May 1 - 4, 2003
Towards a Critical Globalization Studies: Continued Debates,
New Directions, and Neglected Topics
In May of 2002 the very first annual conference of
the North American GSA was held at Loyola University in Chicago.
Jointly sponsored by the GSA and the department of sociology at
Loyola University, the conference theme was ?Globalisation and Social
Justice?. It proved to be a highly successful event with over fifty
papers and workshops, covering a broad spectrum of themes concerning
issues of global social justice. The keynote speakers were also
excellent and included Leslie Sklair, one of GSA/UK?s vice presidents,
who played a prominent role at the conference as a whole.
The quality of the papers was extremely high and they generated
many hours of intensive and exciting discussion and argument. Academics
from an impressively wide range of disciplines and research areas
came from far and wide across the United States. However, there
were also a number of speakers and participants who were political
activists, such as current or former trade union organizers or people
presently involved in various fair trade campaigns linked partly
to student protests around the campuses of the US.
Despite the clearly focused sense of realism among the conference
participants concerning the vast problems of social division, social
exclusion and conflict that are currently only too evident in the
world at the present time and the anxieties about the quality of
world political ? and especially American ? leadership, an encouraging
atmosphere of guarded optimism in relation to the real possibility
of increasingly effective alliances and political struggles against
global poverty was also quite evident.
It was gratifying to encounter quite a number of GSA members who
managed to attend the Chicago conference including three from Britain,
one from Canada and three from the USA. One of the key events scheduled
at the conference was the inauguration of the North American
chapter of the GSA. The first GSA branch or chapter to be established
outside the UK. More than twenty people attended this special meeting
and after some discussion the new branch was duly set-up. What was
particularly encouraging was the number of postgraduate students
who were prepared to become involved in helping to establish the
new North American branch of the USA and, moreover, presence among
these postgraduates and other participants who were people living
in the USA but who had strong links with countries in Central America
and South East Asia. They quite rightly insisted that right from
the outset the new branch must concern itself as deeply as possible
with the problems and themes of Southern peoples and countries if
be a truly global association are to have any meaning.
From the Global Studies Association Newsletter, Issue 2, July
Paul Kennedy, GSA Secretary