September 10, 2000
3:53 PM Subscribe
posted by feckless at 7:28 PM on September 10, 2000
was injured and an ambulance officer was roughed up and the keys to his ambulance were stolen in confrontations between the protesters and security officials, officials said.
posted by murray_kester at 7:41 PM on September 10, 2000
You must have a rather dim view of your fellow Australians, murray_kester. The fact is, if you dislike violence, you should love s11, which is demonstrably committed to nonviolent protest. And I daresay more people are aware of this fact than you might imagine.
posted by johnb at 8:40 PM on September 10, 2000
posted by murray_kester at 8:54 PM on September 10, 2000
posted by dhartung at 11:57 PM on September 10, 2000
posted by wiremommy at 12:20 AM on September 11, 2000
posted by sudama at 12:30 AM on September 11, 2000
"State police undercover agents posing as demonstrators infiltrated activist groups planning the protests at the Republican National Convention, search-warrant documents made public yesterday showed. The undercover operation was detailed in legal documents filed Aug. 1 by Philadelphia police seeking search warrants for a raid that day on a so-called "puppet warehouse" at 4100 Haverford Ave. in West Philadelphia. The documents were under a court seal until yesterday....During the convention, Police Commissioner John F. Timoney repeatedly denied that police had engaged in infiltration. "We had not infiltrated any group," he said the day after police raided the warehouse that had become one of several gathering spots for demonstrators during the convention. A spokeswoman for the commissioner said yesterday that he would have no comment...."
"When protest becomes effective, governments become repressive." -- Tom Hayden
posted by johnb at 1:16 AM on September 11, 2000
Police seem to be going above and beyond thier role to stifle protesters. The small number of fanactics that end up causing the violence seems enough to warrent hysteria when reguarding protests, anti-social teenages, and whatever the crisis of the moment is.
posted by john at 8:30 AM on September 11, 2000
I seem to remember hearing a report of a protest at a genetics conference where 10% of the protesters arrested turned out to be police infiltrators. Anyone remember the details, and whether this is true or just another urban legend I picked up somewhere?
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:05 AM on September 11, 2000
I used to be idealistic too. Then I decided to join the real world and conduct myself in a civil and decent way. There are just some things over which I can have absolutely no control. ALL I can do is make the best individual decisions I can make individually.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:35 AM on September 11, 2000
(I'm dying to hear what terms Johnb will use to patronizingly label me as a tool of the corporate media.)
posted by norm at 11:33 AM on September 11, 2000
posted by alana at 11:48 AM on September 11, 2000
posted by dhartung at 11:54 AM on September 11, 2000
It isn't really possible for things to go "the way the movement wants." This movement is a conglomeration, made of such a hodge-podge of varied one-issue interests - today, it included Trotskyists, anarchists, students, gay rights activists, environmentalists and even Falun Gong supporters - that if they ever were to get any sort of break their way, the "movement" would almost instantaneously fall apart as everyone started fighting for their One Issue Uber Alles. The only thing they have in common is that they hate the status quo, whatever that is. Without the status quo, they'd collapse. And what would jump in to fill the vacuum? More status quo, most likely. The status quo is what the vast majority of people want.
>>the WTO collapses, etc. Then what?<<
Probably nothing. True "globalization" has been going on for over a century. It's only relatively recently that specific organizations like the WTO have sprung up with any sort of power to facilitate such things. If the WTO were to fall apart, it would probably slow the progress down a bit, that's all.
posted by aaron at 12:06 PM on September 11, 2000
You seem to think we're opposed to a "global rules-based trading organization." Perhaps that's your misconception. What we want is a global orgainzation whose rules not only protect profits but also the environment and human rights. So, you ask, why not simply reform the WTO? Answer: we would if you could, but the WTO is an undemocratic institution, effectively unaccountable to the demands of nonshareholders. Got it?
So what's the alternative? One suggestion would be a "World Economic Parliament", with democratically elected representatives, as well as a "World Economic and Environmental Court", to resolve trade related disputes. This approach is described in detail in CAIS (A Common Agreement on Investment and Society).
The point is, when you globalize capital without globalizing democratic institutions, the vast majority of the world's people get screwed. After decades of increasing liberalization, we now have more than enough evidence of this.
Let's assume all the protests go exactly the way the anti-free trade movement wants, the WTO collapses, etc. Then what? Why won't the economy collapse and the world go to hell?
First of all, remember: the corporations are the ones opposed to free trade, not the protestors. The protestors are protesting corporate managed trade, and they have no problem with (e.g.) an open-borders immigration policy.
Secondly, remember that the WTO is only a few years old, and has done nothing to improve the global economy in those few years, to put it mildly. If it were to collapse, that would be a very positive development.
>(I'm dying to hear what terms Johnb will use to patronizingly label me as a tool of the corporate media.)
I wouldn't want to beat a dead horse :)
posted by johnb at 12:25 PM on September 11, 2000
Aaron, the "one uniting issue" is called democracy - heard of it? Different kinds of people can be in favor of it, yes?
And what would jump in to fill the vacuum? More status quo, most likely.
This strikes me as an unintelligible remark.
The status quo is what the vast majority of people want.
Wow, you have absolutely no moral qualms about making shit up, do you? Or, if you're right, let's see the survey data.
posted by johnb at 12:39 PM on September 11, 2000
Please explain this. I have read this doublespeak from you too many times to not understand it. What free trade do you advocate? Also, see my Shiva post elsewhere. You refer to the "we don't oppose free trade" argument all the time. I call bullshit. Most of the movement is squarely against free trade (farmers, labor, etc.).
"Secondly, remember that the WTO is only a few years old, and has done nothing to improve the global economy in those few years, to put it mildly. If it were to collapse, that would be a very positive development."
1. Due to the WTO, the majority of the tariffs are gone. Do you need a historical primer as to the effect of tariff policies?
2. How quickly will the countries of the world act to re-establish tariffs if the WTO is either abolished or becomes irrelevant?
3. Who do you suppose will set the rules without a global rules-based trade organization? Let's face it -- the only groups with global reach and global organization ARE THE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS.
Ok, and as for the "global democratic pie in the sky economic forum?" PLEASE. Join the real world. Look, what warrant do you possibly have for claiming democracy as an ideal method for global governance on any issue? I barely can support an American representative republic. Each country has the same opportunity to send delegates to the WTO that we do. It's up to their governments to make sure their interests are represented.
Thanks for keeping your patronizing ad hominems to a minimum. . . . .
posted by norm at 12:49 PM on September 11, 2000
Democracy is what we have now. The majority, who are not you, like the way things are. In a democracy, there is a losing side. You are on it. And it seems this fact is making you very angry. Perhaps one day you will not be on the losing side. But I doubt it.
Survey data: Voting results for the last 225 years.
posted by aaron at 2:21 PM on September 11, 2000
As for why the WTO sucks, haven't we been over this before? The WTO is accountable to NO ONE and they have the power to overturn ANY trade-related law if the WTO decides it's a "barrier to free trade". In other words, if tomorrow the WTO decides that meat inspection and labeling is a barrier to free trade (because sellers of substandard meat can't freely compete with sellers of quality meat due to labelling), they can overturn the laws. Consumers will get E coli infections and die, but "free trade" will be upheld.
Sound unlikely? Think again. Through NAFTA, the US ban on carcinogenic asbestos was overturned and asbestos is being used again. Asbestos contamination is killing an estimated 1,000 Americans per year. (Source: Ted Rall.)
If we value what influence we do have in our democratic republic, we can't dismiss the WTO as just "a rules organization" that's part of the "status quo". It's not-- it's new, it's dangerous, it answers to no elected body and it renders government subservient to corporate interests, not just in function, but in fact.
posted by wiremommy at 3:41 PM on September 11, 2000
de·moc·ra·cy (n., pl. de·moc·ra·cies.) - 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
Due to the WTO, quite a few significant environmental protection & labor regulations are gone as well. Do you need a historical primer as to what happens when businesses are not obliged to pay attention to human health and safety?
2. How quickly will the countries of the world act to re-establish tariffs if the WTO is either abolished or becomes irrelevant?
Not very quickly, since the idea is not to abolish the WTO and leave a vacuum, but to establish a democratic institution in its place. Such an organisation would be responsible to concerns about human life, the environment, social justice, and other things slightly more important to the world at large than the bottom line of some multinational.
3. Who do you suppose will set the rules without a global rules-based trade organization?
A global rules-based trade organization established and maintained via democratic processes, accountable to the people affected by its decisions. That being, of course, the objective of this anti-WTO protest movement.
Let's face it -- the only groups with global reach and global organization ARE THE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS.
All the more reason to fight like hell against them. Do you really think Monsanto, Arco, GM, or any of the rest care about you, your health, your freedom, your job, or anything else besides how much money they can get from you? Why should they get to run the world? Why do you accept the idea that the tiny fraction of the world's population who run the major corporations should get to make decisions for the billions of us who don't? That's the very definition of oligarchy. Rule by the elite is a miserable way to run a country, so why do you think it would be any better a way to run the entire world?
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:25 PM on September 11, 2000
Too bad everything can't be as simple as a dictionary definition, which tends to leave out small but important details like soft money, kickbacks, PACs, horse trading, pork, lobbyists...
And perhaps you could explain how your dictionary definition of democracy accommodates an entity like the WTO.
You might also want to address how your "Survey data: Voting results for the last 225 years" is woefully inaccurate, since for the better part of those 225 years the results were biased-- seeing as how the statistical sample excluded women, people of color, and non-landowners.
posted by wiremommy at 6:39 PM on September 11, 2000
Mexico has lost a major NAFTA investor lawsuit that could have serious implications for Canada's ability to pass environmental regulations and may even affect the way that Toronto disposes of its garbage. An independent tribunal under the North American free-trade agreement ruled this week that Mexico must pay California-based Metalclad Corp. a total of $16.7-million (US) as compensation for a Mexican municipality's refusal to allow the company to run a hazardous waste dump. The decision is proof that NAFTA and the environment are at odds, and that municipalities will have a tough time turning away garbage if foreign corporations are involved, said Michelle Swenarchuk of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. "NAFTA is saying, you can have your local rules for dumping, but if a foreign company wants to dump... it can force you to pay," Ms. Swenarchuk said yesterday. "This case is a terrible example of how necessary environmental controls can become near impossible for local communities."
I have tremedous respect for protesters these days. I don't know if I could face the kind of brutal police actions that have been coming their way. I been to the hospital after a fight before and it ain't fun. I wouldn't want to know how it feels to have pepper spray in your face to spice up the pain.
posted by john at 8:06 PM on September 11, 2000
processes, accountable to the people affected by its decisions. **That being, of course, the objective of this anti-WTO protest movement.** (Stars mine)
Oh, that fiction. Will someone not answer my claim that the majority of the movement has no desire for any sort of "rules based trade organization?"
(quote ibid) "Due to the WTO, quite a few significant environmental protection & labor regulations are gone as well. Do you need a historical primer as to what happens
when businesses are not obliged to pay attention to human health and safety?"
Well, not to get TOO repugnant, but I seem to recall this thing called the industrial revolution that happened. . . that may not be the best thing in history to some, but it sure increased the scale of economy towards those that did it as opposed to those that didn't. It seems like protestors want to freeze the status quo to prevent countries that would like to develop industries from doing so. Seems a bit patronizing: "Oh, we've done this development thing before and TRUST US. You don't want to be like US." I agree that we do need the ability to make genuine environmental standards, or at the least truth in labeling requirements. It is rather imperialist to establish environmental standards on countries that have never had them simply because they aren't a postindustrial society yet, however. You don't hear the countries you want to protect cry out about lax environmental standards: only the rich can meet them.
posted by norm at 10:04 PM on September 11, 2000
posted by capt.crackpipe at 1:00 PM on January 4, 2001
posted by norm at 1:36 PM on April 24, 2001
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That's funny. I was under the impression they are the ones working to create the problems.
From their own PR:
"The World Economic Forum has played a leading role in the economic globalisation process... at the beginning of the eighties it played a major role in launching the Uruguay trade negotiations [which led to the creation of the WTO]. The foundation has made a contribution to the process and negotiation of financial services liberalisation."
Oh, but the WEF says it does good things too. Really? I challenge anyone to name one concrete human rights or environmental proposal to have come out of a WEF meeting in the last three decades.
Indeed, whenever such a proposal is put forward by an academic or an NGO, members of the WEF waste no time lobbying against it. Take the Tobin Tax Initiative. It is clearly a win-win proposal, benefiting both third world nations and western investors, and has wide support from prominent mainstream economists such as Lawrence Summers (Secretary of the Treasury) and Joseph Stiglitz (former chief economist at the World Bank). Unfortunately, although support by economists, individual investors, and people in the third world was impressive, it was financially insufficient to outweigh the lobbying efforts of the large investment firms, who profit from irrational, economically destructive currency speculation.
The WEF is a networking club for fat cats, nothing more. As such, it has done much to make this world a more violent and polluted place, and absolutely nothing to improve things.
posted by johnb at 5:43 PM on September 10, 2000