Re: “another movement resisting WTO domination” [Marjaleena]


Richard Moore

09 Nov 1999, Marjaleena Repo wrote:
    "Activists  are realistically bypassing the bankrupt
    national political process and targeting attention where
    real power lies."

    This sentence stood out for me, as it declares that the
    "politics of the street" (demonstration, alternate
    conferences etc.) is more "realistic" than participating in
    the "bankrupt national process." Real perhaps, but not
    necessarily realistic, I think, in terms of affecting
    changes, passing laws, rules, regulations in support of
    those alternative politics and economics. If one is not
    aspiring to implement one's position on what needs to be
    done, I wouldn't call that "realistic"  at all, more like
    wishful thinking.

    I wrote a piece sometime last year discussing this very
    issue, of "taking on the corporations" and by-passing the
    political process. I want to submit it to this list for
    further debate.

Dear Marjaleena,

Thanks for sending in your article, and thanks to Jan for posting it.

I do actually agree that ultimately it is our electoral process that can
and must save us.  But because of the way the mass media works (and it's
getting rapidly worse in Candada) and because of the way the political
parties operate, it is next to impossible to accomplish fundamental reforms
at this time.  Instead, as in Ontario, things seem to be getting worse
rather than better.

The anti-MAI campaign defintely had a success of sorts - and the heroic
activists are to be praised.  Yet the final lesson from that episode is a
discouraging one.  The movement was unusually massive and well-organized,
and had exceptional success with its objectives - and yet what happened?
Those who were pushing MAI - the WTO types - simply shrugged, went back to
the drawing board, and launced intitiatives through several other channels
to get the same provisions implemented other ways.  Such is the fate of
reform these days.

The only scenario I can think of which could actually work out in our favor
goes like this...  somehow the people of the world - most particularly the
West - need to worked up just as much as the anti-MAI people were in
Canada.  But they need to be aroused not about a specific treaty, but
rather about the whole issue of corporate control of economics and politics
- and the destructiveness of the growth/development paradigm.  Only when
such a massive movement arises, would there be sufficient unity of purpose
to bypass the media and the party system and put forward a slate of
progressive candidates and get them elected.

If you have another specific scenario that could work I'd love to see it.

This is why I applaud movements which focus on the WTO.  They are correctly
identifying what needs to be overthrown - the global corporate system.  And
by focusing on an international institution, that helps build solidarity
across national boundaries.  I see this as one of the necessary seeds which
together can enable the kind of movement which could ultimately triumph at
the ballot box.

in solidarity,