That two-letter word – ‘if’ – attached to the popular slogan of the worldwide social justice movement, makes Susan George’s intention clear from the outset. Idealism needs realism. The huge energy of hope, expressed at such events as the annual World Social Forum, needs to be harnessed to practicality.
‘It’s all very well,’ as the author writes, ‘to have inspiring watchwords, no political movement can live without them; but the moment we abandon rhetoric and become cooler, more critical and analytical we must ask under what conditions is another world possible? Is it just another phrase to keep up the morale of the troops or is it a serious proposition?’
With extraordinary clarity, this book signposts us through the seemingly complex thicket of economic globalization – and the resistance to it. True to her promise, George amply suggests what we must do to make sure that our lives are not ruled by the whims of corporations and financial markets. Her proposals range between levels – from international tax reform to tips on how best to organize a public meeting.
Some of her views will stoke controversy within the movement – her insistence that Europe can and should provide a counterbalance to US power, for example. Or her scathing critique of the ‘guilty consumer’ syndrome (Everything would be okay if only we, as individuals, consumed ethically. It would not, says George. The structures that endlessly feed the greed of the rich and powerful, need to be dealt with.).
Lucid, intelligent, inspiring – Another world is possible if? deserves to be high on your reading list, whether you are novice or old hand. Its wisdom and humanity make it especially welcome.Susan George