Even the WTO’s own web site doesn’t leave much doubt as to the reason of its existence: “enjoy secure supplies and greater choice of (…) raw materials and services.” – “Producers and exporters know that foreign markets wil remain open to them.” It is suggesting that indeed it has the means of solving problems that otherwise could or would lead to armed conflict and instability. What this means is clear, the emphasis is on freedom of the market as opposed to people, to a radical disregard of the needs of workers and the environment in the view of profits of multinationals. A new world order that guarantees the free circulation of capital, unhindered access to raw material and cheap labour.
Maybe the actual function of the WTO and other similar organisations of global calpitalism become clearer if we look at the way the socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile – come to power by entirely ‘democratic’ means (elections) was toppled by a military coup d’etat led by the CIA and backed by multinational companies in 1973 (bringing to power Pinochet and his regime of torture and terror). One of the main sins of the Allende government had been to nationalise the copper mines previously controlled by US based multinationals.
Today the difference is that the use of weapons and fascist military stooges isn’t necessary anymore – a good example is the dismantling of the “socialist” seed-distribution program of the Indian government. Instead of receiving subsidised seeds from the government Indian farmers now have to buy them from multinationals like Monsanto, who may have stopped their “terminator-gene” (the seeds you buy produce plants that are sterile, so you have to buy seeds again from the same company next year), but are still up for whatever fills their pockets. For example the combination of genetically modified seeds and pesticides that will only work with those seeds.
Governments are not only encouraged to leave these things up to multinationals, they are forced to do so with the threat of losing credits with the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund that are stricly tied to following “free trade” guidelines, guidelines under which only big traders are “free” and whole countries are newly colonised and forced labour is globally reintroduced.
This ruthless and barbaric system where the sweat and blood of billions living close or below the minimum is drained by a few million people at the controls has been introduced step by step over the last decades, perfecting the capitalist nightmare.
Recently there has been a regrouping of the forces of dissent, and as we could see particularly well in Seattle they represent a broad coalition, from Trade Unions to Christians to Anarchists and Environmentalists. Despite this broad alliance with every step – especially the focal points June 18th and Nov. 30th – things have started to clarify bit by bit. It has also become clearer to many people what the function of the state is in this context – enforcing the “free” trade and forced labour, be it in the ‘third’ world or in the prison industry.
“Parliamentary democracy”, the system to be enforced onto the world by the US and Western Europe is a representative system, that has in its more ‘developed’ stage ensured the absence of fundamental opposition in most Western states. The choice of voters is reduced to a choice between two types of artificial sweeteners, to slightly differing modes of administering capitalism. While the more ‘developed’ democracies are executing the political will of multinational corporations and national capital, less ‘developed’ ones are under direct influence of various mafias and ruthless power elites.
As this situation is becoming clearer to critical minds in the East and the West, the North and South, strategies of resistance are differing substantially. There are two major differences:
1. Between national and international resistance. One response to the so-called globalisation has been and is a re-emergence of nationalism. This is a blind and unanalytical response: It locates the problem wrongly in the internationalisation of capital and especially finance capital. It is merely regurgitating ‘national-revolutionary’ rhetoric without a criticism of national capital and without analysis of capitalism.
2. Between the proponents of non-violence and those who don’t agree to principally exclude violence against property from the vocabulary of their actual resistance. This has come to the foreground again in Seattle, but the problem has a long history. Again and again have pacifists and self-proclaimed anarchists actively worked for the security services in pointing out ‘violent’ protesters. Activists in London will remember the ‘Keep it Fluffy’ campaign (during the movement against the Criminal Justice Bill/Act) that advocated marking ‘violent’ elements with colour for the police to arrest them, or joining hands and sitting down around ‘violent’ elements. Similar is a group calling themselves ‘Keep the Peace’ mobilising not to protect activists from police brutality but supposedly from violent agitators.
Needless to say violence is not a good thing per se, but such desperate attempts to enforce the State’s monopoly on violence by so-called anarchists are as sickening as the neo-fascists maskerading as anti-imperialists we just mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Obviously a lot has to be clarified yet, and the powers that be will do everything through legislation, legal and illegal policing, and their massive propaganda machinery through the media to prevent the movement to find coherence in its critique and actions, to find realisation on a mass basis.
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