Anti-Globalisation: Who is The Real Opponent?

Anti-globalisation movement has become the popular jargon since years ago. According to Giddens (2003, p. xx), “The activities of Anti-Globalisation movement have grown apace since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meetings in Seattle on 30 November 1999”. However, the manifestation of this jargon is sometimes not really clear since some anti-globalisation movement supporters do not really know what they are fighting for as Giddens (2003, p. xxxiii) argues, “When the anti-globalisers blame inequality on globalisation they normally have in mind narrow interpretation of globalisation. They identify it with the growth of market competition and free trade”.

In Indonesia, for example, some supporters think that globalisation is simply equal to Westernisation and Americanisation. Thus, they often held a demonstration in front of the franchise store of McDonald’s (McD) and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). It is not an entirely wrong understanding, indeed, but it is not fully correct either. Giddens (2003, xxii) contends, “Globalisation today is not a simple recapitulation of the past and it is not identical either with Americanisation or Westernisation.” It is far more complex than that. Globalisation is as complex as a can of tuna that contains tuna from South Australia but packaged in Thailand, then distributed in Indonesia and eaten by Italian tourist who had vacation in Bali. Certainly, “globalisation is multidimensional, non-territorial, polycentric and involve multiple intentionalities and cross-crossing projects on the part of many agents” (De Block & Buckingham, 2007, p. 3).

By this I mean, some activists who ruin KFC in the name of anti-globalisation, in Palu, Indonesia, on January 8, 2009, are barely know what globalisation really is. They do not even know the franchise system, which makes KFC Palu, is ahistorical in terms of Americanisation. The chickens in KFC Palu are locally produced. KFC gets the chickens, spices, and other herbs from local sellers. Despite the fact that maybe there is a conspiracy behind it, KFC in Palu still has local element in it, which cannot be easily ignored. Thus, if they do want to fight back globalisation, and they do really believe that KFC in Palu is a symbol of globalisation, it is far better to empowering the local fried chicken sellers so the suppliers as well as the customers will have another choice other than KFC.

Additionally, according to The Economist (2001, p. 86) globalisation and Americanisation often come in one package, however, if we see it closely, the role of America in global market is not quite dominant. Bollywood, for instance, makes more movies each year than Hollywood, and nowadays, China is more powerful in terms of market share as we can see in Australian fashion in which only Supre and David Jones as the fashion labels that are made in Australia.

However, anti globalisation movement are surely right to emphasise that the divisions between rich and poor in the world today are unacceptable (Giddens, 2003, p.xxvi). Globalisation should enhance more access not only for the elites but also for common people so local sellers or local cultures can build power to face the global competition. In the case of KFC, instead of ruining the franchise store, the anti-globalisation activists can help the local sellers to improve the quality of their product, improve the marketing strategy and improve the knowledge of global competition. There is a success story of local chips seller in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, who uses Twitter to market her product so it become more popular than before. This is a proof that globalisation can be maintained differently in order to achieve better results. In my opinion, it is the democratic system that should be assigned in globalisation. That is why some scholars like Eschle (2005, p. 32), finds that the term ‘pro-democracy’ seems more sufficient to raise awareness of globalisation issues rather than ‘anti-globalisation’.  She argues, “Democracy has to be nurtured within the movement itself” (Eschle, 2005, p.32).

Hence, even tough anti America is a common sentiment around the world (Giddens, 2003, p. xix), giving too much focus on America may lead to some fallacies that decrease the meaning of anti-globalisation itself. As The Economist (2001, p. 58), suggests, “some sceptics have recently started to argue that the movement against globalisation dwells too much on what it is against; it must grow up, and start to say what it is for.” For that reason, I personally believe that overgeneralisation of globalisation will not come with solution. Instead, we need to re-structure the concept of anti-globalisation especially the concept on who and what exactly we are opposed to.


De Block, L., & Buckingham, D. (2007). Global children, global media: Migration, media and childhood. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Giddens, A. (2003). Runaway world: How globalization is reshaping our lives. New York: Routledge.

Eschle, C. (2005). Constructing ‘the anti-globalisation movement’. In C. Eschle & B. Maiguashca (Eds.), Critical theories, international relations and ‘the anti-globalisation movement’: The politics of global resistance (pp. 17-35). Oxon: Routledge.

The Economist. (2001). Globalisation. London: Profile Books Ltd.

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