The following quotations are from:
Subcommandante Marcos, “The Fourth World War Has Begun,” from The Zapatista Reader
“As a world system, neoliberalism is a new war for the conquest of territory.” 271
“[T]he fourth world war is being conducted between major financial centers in theaters of war that are global in scale and with a level of intensity that is fierce and constant.” 272
“Globalization is merely the totalitarian extension of the logic of the finance markets to all aspects of life. Where they were once in command of their economies, the nation states (and their governments) are now commanded—or rather telecommanded—by the same basic logic of financial power, commercial free trade. In addition, this logic has profited from a new permeability created by the development of telecommunications to appropriate all aspects of social acitvity. At last, a world war which is totally total!
One of its first victims has been the national market. Rather like a bullet fired inside a concrete room, the war unleashed by neoliberalism ricocheted and ended by wounding the person who fired it. One of the fundamental bases of the power of the modern capitalist state, the national market, is being wiped out by the heavy artillery of the global finance economy. The new international capitalism renders national capitalism obsolete and effectively starves nations’ public powers into extinction. The blow has been so brutal that sovereign states have lost the strength to defend their citizens’ interests.
The fine showcase inherited from the ending of the Cold War—the New World Order—has shattered into fragments as a result of the neoliberal explosion. It takes no more than a few minutes for companies and states to be sunk—but they are sunk not by winds of proletarian revolution but by the violence of the hurricanes of world finance.
The son (neoliberalism) is devouring the father (national capital), and in the process, is destroying the lies of capitalist ideology: In the new world order there is neither democracy nor freedom, neither equality nor fraternity. The planetary stage is transformed into a new battlefield in which chaos reigns.
Toward the end of the cold war, capitalism created a new military horror: the neutron bomb, a weapon which destroys life while sparing buildings. But a new wonder has been discovered as the Fourth World War unfolds: the finance bomb. Unlike the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this new bomb does not simply destroy the polis (in this case, the nation) and bring death, terror, and misery to those who live there; it also transforms its target into a piece in the jigsaw puzzle of the process of economic globalization. The result of the explosion is not a pile of smoking ruins or thousands of dead bodies, but a neighborhood added to one of the commercial megalopolises of the new planetary hypermarket, and a labor force which is reshaped to fit in with the new planetary job market.” 273
“Unlike nuclear bombs, which had a dissuasive, intimidating, and coercive character in the Third World War, the financial hyperbombs of the Fourth World War are different in nature. They serve to attack territories (national states) by the destruction of the material bases of their sovereignty and by producing a qualitative depopulation of those territories. This depopulation involves the exclusion of all persons who are of no use to the new economy (indigenous peoples, for instance). But at the same time the financial centers are working on a reconstruction of nation states and are reorganizing them within a new logic: The economic has the upper hand over the social.” 274
“The world’s new masters have no need to govern directly. National governments take on the role of running things on their behalf. This is what the new order means—unification of the world into one single market. States are simply enterprises with managers in the guise of governments, and the new regional alliances bear more of a resemblance to shopping malls than to political federations. The unification produced by neoliberalism is economic: In the giant planetary hypermarket it is only commodities that circulate freely, not people.
This economic globalization is also accompanied by a general way of thinking. The ‘American way of life’ which followed American troops into Europe during the Second World War, then to Vietnam in the 1960s, and more recently into the Gulf War, is now extending itself to the planet as a whole, via computers. What we have here is a destruction of the material bases of nation states, but we also have a destruction of history and culture.
All the cultures which nations have forged—the noble past of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the brilliance of European civilizations, the cultured history of the Asian nations, and the ancestral wealth of Africa and Oceania—are under attack from the American way of life. Neoliberalism thus imposes the destruction of nations and of groups of nations in order to fuse them into one single model. The war which neoliberalism is conducting against humanity is thus a planetary war—the worst and most cruel ever seen.” 275
“In the cabaret of globalization, the state performs a striptease, at the end of which it is left wearing the minimum necessary: its powers of repression. With its material base destroyed, its sovereignty and independence abolished, and its political class eradicated, the nation state increasingly becomes a mere security apparatus in the serve of the mega-enterprises which neoliberalism is constructing. Instead of orienting public investment toward social spending, it prefers to improve the equipment which enables it to control society more effectively.
What is to be done when violence derives from the laws of the market: Where is legitimate violence then? And where is illegitimate? What monopoly of violence can the hapless nation states demand when the free interplay of supply and demand defies any such monopoly? Have we not shown, in Piece 4, that organized crime, government, and finance centers are intimately interlinked? Is it not obvious that organized crime has veritable armies on which it can count? The monopoly of violence no longer belongs to nation states: The market has put it up for auction.
However, when the monopoly of violence is contested not on the basis of the laws of the market, but in the interests of ‘those from below.’ Then the world power sees it as ‘aggression.’” 280
“… a contradiction inherent in the process of globalization, and one of the core realities of the neoliberal model. The elimination of trade frontiers, the explosion of telecommunications, and information superhighways, the omnipresence of financial markets, international free trade agreements—all this contributes to destroying nation states and internal markets. Paradoxically, globalization produces a fragmented world of isolated pieces, a world full of watertight compartments which may at best be linked by fragile economic gangways—a world of broken mirrors which reflect the useless world unity of the neoliberal puzzle.
But neoliberalism does not merely fragment the world which it claims to be unifying: it also produces the political and economic center which directs this war. It is urgent that we embark on a discussion of mega-politics. Mega-politics globalizes national politics—in other words it ties them to a center which has world interests and which operates on the logic of the market. It is in the name of the market that wars, credits, buying and selling of commodities, diplomatic recognition, trade blocs, political support, laws on immigration, breakdowns of relationships between countries, and investment—in short, the survival of entire nations—is decided.
The worldwide power of the financial markets is such that they are not concerned about the political complexion of the leaders of individual countries: What counts in their eyes is a country’s respect for the economic program. Financial disciplines are imposed on all alike. These masters of the world can even tolerate the existence of left-wing governments, as long as they adopt no measure likely to harm the interests of the market. However, they will never accept policies that tend to break with the dominant model.
In the eyes of mega-politics, national politics are conducted by dwarfs who are expected to comply with the dictates of the financial giant. And this is the way it will always be—until the dwarfs revolt.” 281
“[I]t is necessary to build a new world. A world in which there is room for many worlds. A world capable of containing all the worlds.” 284
“If you cannot have both reason and strength, always choose reason, and leave strength to the enemy. In many battles, it is force that makes it possible to win a victory, but the struggle as a whole can only be won by reason. The strong man will never be able to draw reason from his strength, whereas we can always draw strength from our reason.” 284-285