Localization: A Response to Resist Globalization

By Rajagopal P V on July 20, 2014 in Perspectives


Globalization and its impact can be seen and felt in every nook and corner

of India. Adivasis have already lost their control over land, forest and

water as the mining industries are aggressively moving into their regions.

Farmers are losing their land everyday for industrialization and

infrastructural development. Water sources are drying up as the cities are

demanding more water and the industries are sucking up every drop of water.

Rivers are completely polluted by sewage from cities and effluents from

factories. Of course this is one side of the picture. Promoters and

propagators of the present day development paradigm will show the other

side where everything is glittery. Ekta Parishad critiques this model of

development and as a result is focused on resisting globalization through

action at the grassroots.

Ekta Parishad begins its work from a statement of Mahatma Gandhi where he

says "the focus of all your activities should be poorest and weakest" and

his larger philosophy of Sarvodaya  is about building a

bottom-up socio-political-economic order that puts the well-being of the last as the first priority.

This is the driving philosophy whereby we want to begin at the bottom and

slowly empower and organize people socially, politically and economically.

Ekta Parishad has adopted a two-fold strategy in its approach. On the one

side, we are trying to resist the onslaught of global forces through

struggle and dialog and on the other hand we are constantly in a process of

coordinating and strengthening the economy of the people so that they can

make a living based on their skills, capacities and resources without

migrating into cities and slums. A statement like this may sound easy but

it is an ongoing battle almost everyday.

Having worked at the national level for policy change for so many years, we

now feel that a lot more energy needs to be spent at the grassroots level

to create the economic power that will allow people to stay on and resist.

This is the thinking behind our strategy "Back to the Roots" This strategy

was adopted also because of the impact of our struggles: many people have

got control over land as a result of policy shift at the top. Hence

retaining the land, developing the land and making it productive enough in

a sustainable way is the next stage of our struggle. To advance this agenda

we have created an Arthik Manch or Economic Forum, which is a forum that

focuses on the economic dimension of rural India. The forum is now

exploring various possibilities like strengthening the economy through land

related activities, forest and forest produce related activities and also

cottage industry based activities.

There is an interesting realization in the organization that it is not only

important to create wealth but also important to plug the leakage of money

from villages i.e., the money that is leaving the village due to consumption

of unnecessary goods. In the coming days, Ekta Parishad will be conducting

important studies in relation to plugging leakages. We have also realized that

there is a lot of limitation if we want to play in the market place. Market being so

aggressive, every penny that people earn, gets spent on items that may not

be their real need but are perceived as important needs. The desire to show

the world that we are advancing by acquiring objects that are not

necessarily based on need but are based on greed and to establish a social

standing is causing money to go out of the village. We know that this is a

deeper area of analysis and in a world where media is powerful and

television has reached every village it will be difficult for most people

to truly understand this. We believe that it is only through greater levels

of understanding and enlightenment, we can really plug the outflow of money

from the villages.

Arthik Manch will be working on 3 levels: 1) providing necessary resources,

skills and capacities to organize the village economy based on local

resources and local capacities 2) empowering people to understand the need

and methods to plug the leakage 3) to have a greater understanding of

global economy and market forces and think of strategies to deal with it.

We believe that if we are able to work at these three levels, we will be

able to introduce the idea of local currency. The larger goal of this

process is to strengthen Localization to resist Globalization. Even though

Mahatma Gandhi spoke about this in his idea of Gram Swaraj (Village

Autonomy), these ideas are today finding greater acceptance and resonance

in the international development discourse.

Criticizing global process or analyzing global process will have its own

place but what is more important is to strengthen local economy and help

people to resist the global process in order to protect their own social,

cultural, economic and political freedom and space. In the coming years,

Ekta Parishad would like to work in this direction. At the moment, we are

exploring partnerships with as many organizations and individuals who are

interested in this process. The idea of localization process gives

tremendous scope for all kinds of organizations and individuals to get

involved: localization of education, food, culture, agriculture, industry

etc. Each one can find a field according to their interest and Ekta

Parishad would like to keep our doors open for all kinds of

experimentations.

Photo credits: Ekta Parishad website

First Published on Ekta Parishad website

Books, Reports and Newsletters on Economics & Technologies published by Ekta Parishad and others on this website



Story Tags: land acquisition, secure livilihoods, rural economy, globalisation, localisation, grassroots movement

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