Richard Moore

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

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

         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

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

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.


Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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                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

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