Dear Marty, Thanks for sending us your article. I found much to agree with, and it is important that we develop an understanding of what this movement means and how it can be successful. I also found much that I disagree with and I hope that my comments are received in the spirit of collaborative problem solving. 5/1/2000, Marty Jezer wrote: The best thing about the recent protests in Washington against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was that the people who emerged as leaders are virtually all publicly unknown. True enough, but I liked even more the fact that 'leaders', of any variety, did not seem to be the theme of the demonstrations. At one level, we do need leaders, but at another level too much emphasis on leaders is counter-democratic. True democracy, as I see it, involves lots of people and groups working together for common objectives, without any 'white knight' leader setting the pace and agenda. I'm not saying you necessarily disagree with me, but I think it's important to emphasize this distinction. The most intriguing aspect about this new movement is the breadth of its support. The AFL-CIO is behind it as are, at the other end of the political spectrum, Green Party direct actionists.... Again, true enough. But I find it encouraging and empowering more than 'intriguing'. ...Sustaining this kind of broad-based coalition is the key to political success. D'accord! But I wonder if we have the same understanding of what 'political success' means. More about this further down... As long as the movement focuses on its opposition to current international economic policy, it can stick together. That is indeed the focus that has brought the movement together, but I certainly hope the focus grows broader and deeper. International economic policy is the symptom; capitalism, and political control by elites, is the disease. These have always been a cancer; globalization is simply the terminal phase of that disease. I'm not a Marxist, but in this regard, as in many others, Marx's analysis was correct. The enemy is obvious; the solution isn't. There are strong arguments to be made for free trade as opposed to high tariffs, though, it should be recalled, our own country developed its industrial prowess behind a wall of protectionist trade barriers. Free trade does spur economic development, but often at the expense of the environment and the local population. Is there a way to encourage free trade that protects specific local industries and does not exploit child and adult labor, destroy communities and despoil the environment? Here we part ways. You are accepting 'economic development' as a good thing, and as long as you do that, your opposition to things-as-they are will be half-hearted and ineffective. 'Economic development' as you are using the term, and as the establishment uses the term, means the ongoing profitability of the capitalist system. In those terms, the answer to your question is "No, there is no way to encourage free trade which protects the environment, local industries, etc. etc." The conflict is _not between free trade and hight tariffs, the conflict is between corporate hegemony and democratic sovereignty. Free trade simply happens to be the corporate agenda; some degree of protection simply happens to be the rational policy of any nation which wants to have a successful economy. Free trade is nothing more or less than the transfer of soveregnty to international capital. Globalization can be a force for human rights, tolerance, and international understanding. It can subvert ugly religious, ethnic and tribal traditions. But it can also create economic tensions that exacerbate ancient tensions. A global economy needs to be based on respect for human rights, one of which is the right of working people to be paid a decent wage for their labor. Why are you putting 'global economy' forward as a central and basic 'good'? I recommend to you "The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward the Local", edited by Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith. It's the best comprehensive book I've seen on globalization. Other complex questions need resolution. Do we give priority to the economic conditions of impoverished third world people? Or do the interests of our own people come first? Ideally, a rise in the living standards in third world countries would create markets for American products. I hate to say this, but your position is basically an imperialist one. What gives "us" the right to decide the fate of the third world?.. particularly on the basis of what creates the biggest markets for 'American prodcuts'? But it's a complex issue not helped by sound-bite solutions. Rhetoric and public relations aside, the CEOs and financiers who run the IMF and World Bank (as well as the World Trade Organization) have a lousy record when it comes to caring about working people or protecting the environment. One can hardly judge a person's record on the basis of objectives which that person does not hold. The biggest challenge for the new movement will be to assert itself into the political arena. Street demonstrations are necessary to get public attention (when you don't have the money to run million dollar advertising and public relation campaigns). But the sad truth is that the new movement has no political clout in the current line-up of political power. And well they shouldn't. The current line-up of political power is elite rule pure and simple. Despite dissidents in their ranks, the two major parties -- and their presidential candidates -- are committed to unfettered globalization run by the multinational corporations. Here we agree. I would want the new movement to demand decision- making authority on international economic boards by representatives from labor and the environmental movement as well as from third world countries. I would insist on strict protocols concerning global warming, pollution, toxic material, biotechnology, and rights of workers, including the right of workers everywhere to organize labor unions. Makes sense, except that you'll never get such reforms as long as the current political system continues. We need something much more radical, namely genuine democracy. The second task is to find a way to enter the political arena. That means campaign finance reform, getting special interest money out of politics; i.e., clean money, full public financing. As long as money is the currency of political debate, the rich and powerful forces of monopolistic global capitalism will dominate the conversation. Again, sensible but half-hearted. We don't need to enter the political arena, we need to take over the political arena. solidarity, rkm ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ book in progress: http://cyberjournal.org/cdr/gri.html A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Capitalism is not the same as free enterprise - it is a very specialized ideology which holds the accumulation of wealth as the only economic value, and which demands that such economics dominate all other societal values. -- rkm Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .