The globalization of the world economy, as it has developed over the past twenty years, is creating a globally integrated borderless economy where finance capital and transnational corporate power increasingly dictate their terms to national governments and parliaments, political parties and national trade union organizations, that is, to all instruments of democratic control that function at national level.
The principal social consequence of the globalizing world economy, the emergence of a global labour market, is heavily influenced by State violence in its different forms, one major function of the State that has not declined. In this way, the lowest common denominator of the global labour market is kept artificially low, at near slave labour levels, which in turn means that the terms of world competition become incompatible in time with the survival of a democratic political order responsive to basic human needs.
Before this new situation in history, the labour movement has to learn to play by new rules – not those which applied within the framework of the nation-state where it traditionally exercised its influence. It has to learn to think and act globally. It has to marshall all its resources, dispersed as they are among a multitude of organizations and institutions, to focus on a single, overriding goal: to tilt the global power balance in its favour.
The GLI will be a facilitator and a catalyst in this process. Its close connections with the international labour movement, as well as its independent position, will enable it to help connect what is disconnected, to help unite what is disunited, to help organize what is disorganized. Its frame of reference is the international democratic culture and the methods of representative democracy that have evolved historically in the labour movement and which make it the only democratically organized force in civil society.