That's the thing, though. While there is a contingent there of people who at least have an arguably-legitimate point of view about WTO/WTAA problems, overall there is no major complaint of these people, only protesting for protesting's sake. These protests are agglomerations of all sorts of ragtag groups, who only can agree on a lot of protesting and a dislike of The Man, whatever that might be to each of them. They all get together and create coldly calculated activities, planned as far ahead as the events they are protesting, that reek only of Being Anti. All of this makes it very hard for the average person to look upon it as anything but a big-ass media event.
And they can't even agree on the activities. The Quebec protests have intentionally split into three distinct groups: The ones who are protesting legitimately, the ones that want to intentionally create disobedience "within reason," and an "anything goes" contingent that really wants to wreak havoc. (There was a news article about this intentional split somewhere in the last week or so, but I misplaced it. A link would be appreciated.)posted by aaron at 2:01 PM on April 20, 2001
Intentional property destruction and physical violence against innocent people is fine because multinational corporations exist?posted by aaron at 2:25 PM on April 20, 2001
A vast minority is far more than enough to destroy the effectiveness of the entire thing, especially when the rest of the protesters are explicitly working with that minority. (See the NYTimes article I linked above.)
Well, we're talking about it, aren't we? This stuff is on the news, isn't it?
It only came on the news when the violence started. And that's all most people are going to see: A bunch of rioters intent on impeding the activities of democratically-elected leaders. Thugs with the balls to cry "democracy!" while actually using mobs to attempt to force their minority viewpoints onto everybody else. You may not agree that's what the protests are, but that's exactly how the average person is going to interpret them when they see the pictures on TV.posted by aaron at 2:45 PM on April 20, 2001
The WTO cannot take effect in a given country unless the democratically-elected leaders ratify it. And a given country could pull out anytime it wanted to do so.posted by aaron at 2:49 PM on April 20, 2001
But, as someone who has worked in network news, I have no trouble saying you're dead wrong when you claim "the people relating the news to us have the most to lose by all of this." Many there are actually sympathetic to these people at one level or another, but at no point do they ever sit around and think, "Gee, one day these people could be a threat to our livelihood. Let's make them look as bad as possible!"
I do agree there's no incentive for them to show anything but rioting, but I think that's because there is no one message at these events. When there's too many protesters advocating too many things in too many ways, it's inevitable they'll only be seen as a mass mob causing trouble.posted by aaron at 3:07 PM on April 20, 2001
"Capitalism is . . . the genius behind so very much of what is right with the world we live in."
On one hand, two hundred years largely characterized by slavery, genocide, imperialism, and environmental ruination.
On the other hand, a wide range of consumer products for the home and office.
You be the judge!posted by jbushnell at 9:23 AM on April 21, 2001
This thread started out depressing — with a bunch of ideologically-opposed people banging heads in somewhat predictable ways — but then it transformed into something interesting: an actual, honest-to-God dialogue about the issues. Metafilter has a tendency to do that, which says something about the quality of the discourse here.
Those of you interested in an alternate history of how markets form and operate may enjoy Manuel DeLanda's A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History, which takes a complexity-theory approach towards the matter, to rewarding results.posted by jbushnell at 9:59 PM on April 21, 2001
I don't really believe in looking at corporations as evil/good ... but as collectives of people.
The only problem I see with that is that corporations (generally) aren't collectives, they're (generally) hierarchies.posted by jbushnell at 10:12 PM on April 21, 2001
Yes, corporations are hierarchies. But in their defense ... [p]ure hierarchies are largely very outre.
I suspect that's true. Even as early as the Twenties the straightforward organizational hierarchy was on the wane: Fritz Lang's 1926 film Metropolis, a great film about the gap between workers and bosses, documents the death of the pure hierarchy and the birth of — middle management.
"There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator."
Now, I don't feel that middle management alone fully eradicates the hierarchy at work— and whether it has truly served as the corporate "heart" is highly questionable — but between that, widespread acceptance of labor unions, and the general decentralization of workplaces, you're right that "pure hierarchies" don't truly exist anymore.posted by jbushnell at 10:03 AM on April 22, 2001
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