who elected the anti-capitalist convergences?
April 24, 2001 3:52 AM   Subscribe

who elected the anti-capitalist convergences? What is behind the mass demonstrations by ngo's (non-governmental orgainzations), and what does it mean for the future?
posted by Postroad (9 comments total)
Holy crap, look at all that advertising. I am so glad I normally use Opera on a machine with a modified host file.
posted by Witold at 5:32 AM on April 24, 2001

That's a fairly entertaining first paragraph.

I'm sort of confused why the article contains a link to a16.org, but not a20.org.
posted by tingley at 7:29 AM on April 24, 2001

What does the a[0-9]+.org thing mean anyway?
posted by rodii at 9:29 AM on April 24, 2001

They're shorthand for the dates of planned protests; a20.org centered around the April 20 activities in Quebec.
posted by harmful at 9:35 AM on April 24, 2001

Given that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was largely a creation of the government of the United States of America, sorta like these various NGOs, does that mean we can force the group to shut its trap at election time and that Slate, et. al. can remind of us the interest group's foundations? Could we force the chamber to keep its nose out of, say, various state judicial elections? Could we prevent similar actions by the dozens upon dozens of interest groups created with government assistance? That would be nice, but unfortunately unconstitutional.
posted by raysmj at 9:47 AM on April 24, 2001

Applebaum is wrong. NGOs have an useful role to play when it comes to discussing international issues. They typically represent what I would consider a community perspective, sometime multilateral, that has grown up around a shared concern or field of study. Most NGOs are more participative and sensitive to inclusion than government bureaucracies.

Contrary to what a lot of folks on the right are saying these days, democracy is not just something that happens every four years. It is an ongoing process of discussion, consultation, and participation, one that involves those who have ideas and concerns about specific issues and the government.

One can make a broad distinction between NGOs, like Amnesty International and the North-South Institute, and "protest groups" like the Anti-Capitalist Convergence. But it is a distinction that gets quite fuzzy near the middle, because there will always be an attempt to stifle unpopular or uncomfortable political speech no matter what the source.
posted by tranquileye at 11:33 AM on April 24, 2001

The protesters are not simply protesting because Quebec is a nice place to protest in, although trendiness is certainly in the air.

And while they are right about the motives of multi-national corporations who hope to escape, for example, the labor and minimum-wage regulations of New York City or the environmental restrictions of Canada, they are wrong about the consequences.

Bill Clinton, George Bush and Vicente Fox all agree that free trade has roughly tripled the wages of factory workers in Northern Mexico.

Brazil, whose economy is nearly the size of China's and which has not recently taken any of our air crew hostage, would presumably make a trading partner equally as effective as Mexico.

Rapacious corporations and tin-horn dictators (both the communist and non-communist kind) will continue to exploit the world's poor.

But free trade at least holds out the promise of some increased national wealth to be shared, just as exploitation of previous generations in the United States ultimately created the huge bonanza of middle-class wealth after 1945.
posted by steve_high at 2:26 PM on April 24, 2001

Surely not everyone protesting is actually against economic growth. Most of them are more concerned about workers' rights, environmental protection, and the anti-democratic features of these trade pacts. Those shouldn't be traded away for dollars.
posted by dhartung at 4:59 PM on April 24, 2001

When thousands of farmers, union workers, and other groups of regular people take time off to successfully and peacefully march and protest, but don't receive media coverage, did they really make a sound?

Mayhem gets ratings and small radical groups again steal the spotlight. This article is just a bunch of crappy generalizations based on older news stories. I'm tired of all this news on news - reporters need to stop regurgitating and get their lazy asses into the field.
posted by roboto at 5:22 PM on April 24, 2001

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