"Helping YOU to Connect
the Global to the Local"
The Women's International Media Group, Inc.
P. O. Box 77 Middletown, MD 21756-0077
301/432-7512 FAX: 301/432-7514
Vol. 2, Issue 6 November-December 1999
Web site: www.joanveon.com
THE SEATTLE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT THE PROTESTS AND
WHAT IT MEANS FOR AMERICANS
This report will concentrate on what occurred in Seattle as seen first hand. Because of the breadth and depth of the agenda of the World Trade Organization-WTO, a short report is not possible if you are to understand and have the necessary insight needed to analyze its affect on our Constitution and sovereignty. What I have concluded is: (1) the protests were staged and allowed to deteriorate into anarchy as the police looked the other way, (2) the agenda of the protestors was not to reduce the power of the WTO and return sovereignty to the nation-states but to have a seat at the table and use it to enforce the extreme environmental policies of the United Nations, and (3) all of this leads to the continual and virtual empowerment of "global governance", i.e. world government in which the world will be joined philosophically through a "Third Way" which is the merger between capitalism and communism. This is seen in the history behind the WTO, the players, the problems/flaws, and the conclusions which follow.
One year before the United Nations Charter was signed, over seven hundred delegates from forty-four countries met to construct a world monetary system which would be used to govern the world after the war. Sponsored by the United Nations, the Monetary and Financial Conference, now known as "Bretton Woods" (because of where it met in New Hampshire) had two objectives: (1) to reduce obstacles of international trade, and (2) to bring about the harmonization of national policies of member states.
Two key players at that historic conference were John Maynard Keynes, the British socialist who boasted that what was set up in Bretton Woods was "the exact opposite of the gold standard," and Harry Dexter White who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. White was later named by Whitaker Chambers and Helen Bentley as a covert agent for the Soviets.
Harry Dexter White drew up the plans for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, now known as the World Bank, and was also the brains behind the International Monetary Fund. At that meeting, a third organization was recommended, the International Trade Organization (ITO). Because our Congress understood that all of our trade would be merged into this new international entity, they felt it wise to hold off on it, while approving the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Those that favored the ITO basically continued to organize under a lesser agreement known as the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT).
From 1946 to 1948 foundational discussions in Havana were held which, along with a number of other meetings, would eventually lead to the formation of the World Trade Organization in 1994. Subsequent meetings were: the Dillion Round (1961) which involved 20-30 countries, the Kennedy Round (1964-67) which involved 60 countries, the Tokyo Round (1973-79) which involved more than 100 countries and the Uruguay Round (1986-94) with 123 countries. The Uruguay Round produced a significant trade liberalization package in international economic history. Whole new areas of economic activity were brought under the trade umbrella.
In December 1994 a "lame duck" Congress voted the GATT into being. Several days later on January 1 1995 it became the World Trade Organization and the United States signaled its intent to "play ball". It is not possible to digest or dissect the total contents of the 25,000-page plus agreement which gave us "free trade". The only elected representative to read or attempt to even read the WTO Summary, which itself is the size of the Chicago or New York City telephone book, voted against it. Turning the tide for Treaty ratification was Republican Senate Majority Bob Dole in the Senate and Radio Talk Host Rush Limbaugh among the populace. When I told my fellow Republicans that free trade was not free, they all responded, "But Rush says it is good for us." If a country really wants "free trade", all they have to do is write an agreement which is one sentence long, "I will trade all my products with your country."
What was in this bill which Congress recklessly passed? Nothing less than the complete integration of the whole U.S. economy to produce, manufacture, and provide services with the 189 countries of the world. Basically the WTO is the fora where the world's trade ministers meet. It is a "United Nations of trade ministers."
To put this in perspective, let us consider the 50 states which comprise the United States. We have had "free trade" between the states with no hassle, no need to have special papers to cross borders as the goods flow without state interference. What the WTO is trying to do is to drop all of the rules, regulations, and borders between the 188 countries of the world so that the system of trade as practiced within the United States is the pattern of trade for the new global economy. There are some differences. First, in order to make the playing field level, the WTO wants all countries to stop subsidizing various groups like farmers which means if they have a bad year, they either make it on their own or they go out of business instead of relying on government subsidies.
What this means is that the small businessman and farmer will no longer compete against his fellow businessman and farmer, but will now compete against all of the businessmen and farmers from around the world!
The Seattle Round
This was the Third Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization since the passage of GATT by Congress in 1994. The agenda was an extension of the previous trade meeting held in Uruguay in 1998. What made this meeting very controversial is the fact that there was no "Programme of Action" which usually sets the agenda for any UN or UN related meeting. The consensus of the Executive Committee was that they would continue to work on the Uruguay agenda. Both protestors and third world participants were greatly concerned since no written agenda opens the door for anything and everything.
With regard to the November 1999 agreement signed between the China and the United States to bring China formally into the community of world trading nations, it was expected that this meeting would formally welcome China's participation in the WTO. In a question posed to host Senator Patty Murray from Washington State, she stated that China's inclusion would have to have the vote of Congress. Overall the question of China's inclusion and participation was not an issue in Seattle. It should be noted, however, that the Group of Eight (which includes Russia), offered membership to third world countries on December 17 1999 which includes China, Mexico, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey, to name a few. This new body is called the G-20 or GX. From all of this we can see the growing position of China in world affairs.
Trade and Peace
The overall theme of the WTO is "trade and peace". This idea is that if you trade with your enemy you will be less prone to go to war with him. Interestingly enough Israel held a press briefing using this theme. When I asked their trade minister, Mr. Ran Cohen, to elaborate on exactly what this means to Israel in light of their history (Old Testament in mind), he said "We in Israel are in a new period politically as to where we are going to build the peace between us and our neighbors and have changed our total policy to do what is best for encouraging economy and trade of all our neighbors-- Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians, and others."
In doing some additional research, I have been told that the whole objective of the 1993 Oslo Peace Accord is based on trade and peace and the concept of trading with your enemies. Also, I understand that Gorbachev's most recent book promotes this new and innovative ["war"] strategy. Now let's just think about this concept for a moment. As discussed by the Israeli's, when you provide economic incentive for people, they make money and will be less prone to wage war because of the potential economic loss which would result. According to Maslow's Hierarchy, once you satisfy the basic needs of food, water, shelter, then people move on to other levels of need. As you satisfy more needs, then you start to concentrate on wants. What happens when this wonderful concept of trade and peace disintegrates because those you embellished now want what you have? Stay tuned.
It is not possible to enumerate all of the players, but let us make mention of several key players such as the non- governmental organizations, multinational and transnational corporations, the methodology, and new political philosophy.
As a result of the lobbying of non-governmental groups for the United Nations in 1945, came the understanding of the power they could maneuver. These organizations, now called "Non- Governmental Organizations" or "NGOs" are comprised of various types of groups such as the League of Women Voters, the YMCA, National Organization of Women (NOW), Planned Parenthood Federation (PPF), the Sierra Club on the left and conservative groups like The Women's International Media Group, Inc. and Concerned Women of America (CWA), to name a few.
As the power and agenda of the United Nations has expanded, so too has the need for more NGOs to carry those new agendas down to the local level. Today almost any group of people who come together under a common banner, as long as they agree with the agenda of the United Nations, can be accredited at the UN, enjoying more rights than those groups who disagree with its global agenda.
Interestingly enough, the NGOs not only reflect the goals and objectives of the United Nations but are funded and supported by major foundations such as the Ford, Carnegie, Pew, MacArthur, and Mellon Foundations.
The political views of the foundation funded NGOs basically are socialist with communist and Marxist leanings. In Seattle, the protestors were comprised of both the left and the right as they came together with common concerns to oppose the World Trade Organization. According to the literature of a number of those organizations on the left it said, "We see problems in these areas and we want a seat at the table in order to make your organization better."
NGOs present included: ActionAid (Britain), Alliance for Democracy, African Women's Caucus, (South Africa), Center for International Environmental Law, Defenders of Wildlife, Doctors Without Borders (Europe), Earthjustice Defense Fund, the Food, Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Forum (Japan) which consisted of 14 individuals and 33 organizations,` Friends of the Earth (US, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Japan), Greenpeace International, Humane Society (America, Europe), International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, International Forum on Globalization, International Workers Forum, Oxfam (England), Public Citizen (Ralph Nader), Rainforest Action Network, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund, and one or two groups which represented farmers.
In addition to the NGOs, a number of unions were present: AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, National Retail Federation, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
In an interview one steelworker, when I asked him why he was in Seattle, said he was protesting for better working conditions for his "brothers" in Mexico. When I countered with "What about protecting the Constitution?", he told me that it was not an issue but making sure workers around the world had the same kind of working conditions as Americans did was. When I tried to explain that the reason for poor working conditions is as a result of dictatorship, he could not comprehend. He repeated his mantra of "improving working conditions for his brothers in Mexico."
When The National Corporation becomes Multinational Transnational
In 1967 U.S. companies evolved into multinational companies (doing business in more than one country) from national companies (doing business in your own country) when they entered the world market to compete and sell their goods. In 1970 the U.S. economy hit $1Trillion and by 1980, there was a call for the U.S. Economy to re-industrialize to compete in the world markets. This was facilitated by the 1980 Monetary Deregulation Act which erased financial borders between countries. As the multi-national corporations continued to grow in power and size, dwarfing many small countries, they were given the name "transnational" corporations because it appeared that their trade "transcended" national laws and politics. No longer did they have any allegiance to any country as they were now "above" the countries of the world!
The power which the modern stateless transnational corporation has achieved is seen by the fact that out of the top 100 economies in the world, 52 are corporations and 48 are countries with the top 200 global corporations of the world employing only « of 1% of the global work force (Invisible Government, 4).
Basically the coming together of the NGOs from the left and organizations from the right constituted the Hegelian Dialectic (named after the German philosopher Karl Hegel) which has been around since the Garden of Eden. The Hegelian Dialectic is a method or process used to get someone, to change their opinion to agree and come to "consensus" with those who are using the process. The Hegelian Dialectic can be seen in mixing paints. If you take white and black paint and mix them, you arrive at a third color, gray. For example, the three parts of the dialectic are seen as follows: (1) thesis - thesis means truth (white paint). It is where you stand, (2) anti-thesis - this is the opposite of truth (black paint). When you combine the thesis (white paint) with the anti-thesis (black paint), the outcome is a new position which is a compromise between the two views (gray paint). In order to arrive at the third color, there had to be a movement from the original position of thesis or truth. We could say that the gray paint, is a new way or "third way".
This process is being carried out constantly and continuously in every area that you can imagine--education, politics, religion, etc. The world has abandoned its position of absolute truth and absolute values.
Globalization and Politics
In June 1989 we were told communism fell which demanded a new political form. When Bill Clinton became the Governor of Arkansas, he started the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the purpose of which is to blend socialism with capitalism. This new political philosophy has evolved and is now known as the "Third Way". In the last several years, it has gained great popularity in the House. Currently there are 64 democrats who now call themselves "New Democrats."
These "New Democrats" made their presence known in Seattle. In a special press briefing chaired by Washington State Senator Patty Murray, they heralded their policies: free trade by lowering trade barriers, fiscal responsibility, balancing the budget, passing the Financial Modernization Act, supporting Y2K liability relief [protects corporations], National Education Standards, and life long learning.
In looking to understand what these "New Democrats" were, I raised several questions to Senator Murray, one of which was if they are "something like the Third Way". While they did not answer that question directly, a gentleman came up to me, handed me his card and said, "They are the Third Way in Congress." It should come as a shock to the American people that 64 members of the House are members of a philosophical party which espouses socialism and capitalism. Third Way members are scattered across the United States: Nine from California; nine from Texas; three from Washington State, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, and North Carolina; and one from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Mississippi, Maine, Kansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, etc. In the "old days" they all would have been impeached and branded "traitors"!
This understanding becomes very important when we consider the demands of the protestors, the power they were given and the concessions made to them. In order to understand the power of the agenda, we will need to consider the problems and flaws as presented by the protestors.
What follows are excerpts from two publications which represent many of the protestors in Seattle. The first is from "Public Citizen" which is published by Ralph Nader and his organization while the second, "Invisible Government", is published by the International Forum on Globalization and written by Debi Barker and Jerry Mander.
The following is an introduction by Ralph Nader:
"In approving the far-reaching, powerful WTO and other international trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. Congress, like those of other nations, has ceded much of its capacity to independently advance health and safety standards that protect citizens and has accepted harsh legal limitations on what domestic policies it may pursue. Approval of these agreements has institutionalized a global economic and political structure that makes every government increasingly hostage to a global financial and commerce system engineered through an autocratic system of international governance that favors corporate interests. Worldwide conformity is required (Ix).
"At stake is the very basis of democracy and accountable decision-making that is the necessary undergirding of any citizen struggle for just distribution of wealth and adequate health, safety and environmental protections. The globalization of commerce and finance has been shaped by multinational companies, that in the absence of global rules, simply conducted their business to suit their needs" (Ix).
The following are the problems which they say the WTO has.
"In the WTO forum, global commerce takes precedence over everything--democracy, public health, equity, the environment, food safety and more. Indeed, under WTO rules, global commerce takes precedence over even small business. (7) In recent years, foreign direct investment has shifted dramatically away from the establishment of new enterprises and toward global consolidation through mergers and acquisitions between existing entities. As documented in the following pages, this trend has been most intense--financial services and telecommunications. This global merger mania is leading to problems with market concentration and, absent some countering force, will increasingly affect consumer prices and access to services. Indeed the explicit plan of the WTO is to bring every country in the world--ready or not--into an existing global market that has been designed by the ad hoc activities of corporations established in rich countries and now formalized in the WTO rules. In the 5 years of its existence, the least developed countries' share of world trade flows has dropped (7).
The legislation implementing the GATT Uruguay Round was approved in 1994 and was done without the support of a single environmental, conservation or animal welfare group (13).
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms created through genetic engineering that permits scientists to transplant the genes of one species to another species for the purpose of transferring desirable characteristics. For example, scientists have transplanted fish genes into tomatoes to improve their anti-freezing characteristics. Multinational corporations such as Monsanto, Novartis, Dupont and Avantis, have applied this process primarily to agricultural crops, including cotton, soya and corn, to improve resistance to disease, pesticides and herbicides, enhance nutritional value and increase yield. In the U.S. products containing GMOs are completely unregulated. Consumers have no idea which products contain GMOs. They also have no way of knowing what threats GMOs pose to human health. GMO technology raises serious public interest concerns in many areas where the WTO has proven most hostile: food security and safety, ecological sustain ability and environmental protection (87).
Three WTO agreements may make it difficult for countries to maintain or strengthen their domestic safeguards regarding GMOs: the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanity Measures (ASPS), the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPSs). The first two agreements put heavy burdens on governments wishing to restrict the entry of GMOs into their country. The SPS Agreement require that the GMO regulating nation provide scientific data proving a threat to justify a regulation, even though the lack of scientific certainty concerning GMO impacts is precisely why governments have begun to regulate them. The TBT Agreement requires governments to minimize trade impacts when setting standards regulating products, including GMO products, under the least trade restrictive rule (88).
The U.S. has not stopped at merely opposing limitations on
GMOs. It also has used the WTO to oppose mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. The U.S. claims that labels would prejudice consumers and constitute an illegal trade barrier under the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. At a recent meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Labeling in Ottawa, support for the U.S. position forbidding mandatory labeling was weak (90).
WTO Intellectual Property Rights for Corporations
Intellectual Property Rights or IPRs bestow ownership rights and legal protections on ideas, artistic creations (such as novels, music, and films) technological innovations and marketing tools (logos and trademarks). The idea underlying the creation of property rights for intellectual output is to promote and reward innovations in the field of art, science, technology, and industry. The TRIPS Agreement has tremendous implications for food security and public health and the environment (101).
When corporations patent seeds, local farmers must pay annual fees to use the seed type, even if the seed was the product of breeding conducted over generations by the very ancestors of the farmers themselves. Subsistence farmers can ill-afford to pay the cost of purchasing seed each year. The TRIPS Agreement contains no protections for indigenous communities that have been planting and crossbreeding strains for centuries to develop that perfectly adapted variety that a bio-prospector can collect and have patented to some distant corporation.
Corporations also have turned to gene technology to effectively control the "use" of "their" property by literally eliminating the ability of farmers to save seeds. Monsanto already requires farmers who purchase genetically modified seeds to agree not to save seeds for next year's corp, and it posts signs threatening investigations and legal actions against farmers breaking the contract. The next logical step in the companies' control is already under way. Monsanto has applied for and received patents for seeds that cannot reproduce, eliminating the needs for expensive investigations and legal battles. The sterile seeds, dubbed "terminator seeds" by food security groups, can be activated to grow only by use of a chemical, and the seeds that the crop produces will never germinate (106-107).
The main target market for these seeds seems to be the developing world where market concentration, combined with terminator technology, could create a stranglehold on local farmers. As a result, concerns over terminator crops accidentally pollinating non-terminator crops, potentially destroying the fertility of other seeds from plants of the same variety planted nearby, has caused Monsanto to put the development on hold for now but it still holds the patent (107).
Most seed companies now are either aligned with or have been acquired by biotechnology and pesticide giants such as Monsanto, DuPont or Dow Chemical (107).
WTO and Developing Countries
While the world's largest corporations have generated record earnings, income inequality has increased between and within countries since the WTO's implementation (131). According to UNCTAD, as a result of the implementation of the Uruguay Round accords, the world's poorest nations--the 47 least developed countries--will lose an estimated $163B to $265B in export earnings while paying $145 M to $292 M for more food imports (132). UNCTAD reports that growth in the developing world needs to reach 6% a year to close the income gap with industrialized nations. Yet proponents of the WTO argued that the only way to obtain such growth was to "modernize" by adopting the package of Uruguay Round policies that liberalized trade, deregulated service sectors and protected investors.
Given the above, the Nader group offers the following recommendations.
1. A Moratorium on Certain Trade Challenges
This objective review must include an open process with access to documents and a meaningful opportunity for NGO and citizen input at the national and international levels into determining the scale and methodology of the review. Citizens also must have an ongoing role in conducting the review (218).
- An Objective Review of the Uruguay Round
(a) Food - the basic human right to food security must be kept sovereign
- Ensure Access to Essential Goods and Services
(b) Medicines - The TRIPS Agreement must be reviewed with the goal of elevating public health above commercial interests and safeguarding consumer access to essential drugs.
(c) Services - A review of the GATT must consider how the agreement affects the right to universal access to basic services such as health care, water, education and sanitation.
(d) Safeguard Product, Food and Workplace Safety and a Healthy Environment
The SBS and TBT Agreements undercut the use of the Precautionary Principle in public health, safety and environmental policymaking. The Seattle Ministerial Declaration must commit countries to identify and eliminate those Uruguay Round provisions that can be interpreted to undermine the right of governments to take measures under the Precautionary Principle.
The Seattle Ministerial Declaration should instruct the existing WTO working Group to establish mechanisms to:
- Control Merger Mania and Market Concentration
--control anti-competitive and restrictive business practices of transnational corporations
--review patterns of market concentration and the increasing number of cross-border mergers,
5. Provide Representation and Redress
Establish new Dispute Settlement Understanding procedures for dispute settlement panels, including: a rewrite of the panelist qualification requirements to allow for a broader array of expertise and conflict of interest rules for the non-appellate panelists.
6. Ensure Investment rules Promote Financial Stability, No
Clandestine Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI). The MAI would have literally empowered foreign investors and corporations to sue directly the U.S. federal, state, and local governments for cash damages to compensate for any government action that might undermine their profitability. The MAI talks were forced to a halt by global NGO opposition in late 1998.
"Economic globalization involves the most fundamental redesign and centralization of the world's political and economic arrangements since the Industrial Revolution. The single, clearest, most direct result of economic globalization to date is a massive global transfer of economic and political power away from the national governments into the hands of global corporations and the trade bureaucracies they helped create (1).
"Economic globalization seeks to integrate and merge the economic activity of all countries on the planet within a single, homogenized model of development. The globalization process has some key characteristics: free trade, deregulation, and privatization of as much economic activity as possible, and the rapid commodification of every remaining aspect of life. These include the few remaining pristine elements of 'the commons' elements of life that have so far been outside the trading system: culture, fresh water, seeds, and the genetic structures of life. All are being privatized and commodified as part of the globalization project. The ideological heart of this model is free trade (now often called "trade liberalization") which demands the elimination of national regulations, laws, or tariffs that slow down corporations and their investments as they move across national borders. (Neither Adam Smith or David Ricardo believed that corporations should be mobile or that capital should be permitted to leave its own community) (3).
"A recent report from the Institute for Policy Studies shows that America CEOs are now paid, on average, 419 times more than line workers. The U.S. Federal Reserve reports that the top 20% of the U.S. population owns 84.6% of all the wealth in the country. And the wealth of the world's 475 billionaires is equal to the annual incomes of more than 50% of the people on earth. Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 52 are corporations, only 48 are countries. The top 200 global corporations of the world--employ only « of 1% of the global work force (4).
Agriculture, Food and Public Health
"For centuries, small-scale family farmers have provided food for themselves and their communities. Today about half of the world's people still live on the land, growing food for their families and communities. However, the self-reliant system that emphasizes local production for local consumption is being taken over by a new, globally industrialized agriculture system that is centralized and controlled by giant agribusiness corporations. Farmers are being driven off their traditional lands, communities are being decimated, and hunger is on the rise. The Global corporations operate large farms, replacing staple food production with mono-cultures of luxury items for export markets. As Eugene Whelan, former Canadian federal agriculture minister observed, "These deals aren't about free trade. They're about the right of these guys [corporate agribusinesses] to do business the way they want, whenever they want" (20).
Instead of dealing with local trade, farmers are now subject to market forces generated by giant, vertically integrated global corporations powerful enough to influence both supplies and prices at every level of agricultural activity. Since WTO policies have entered the picture, global prices for the world's major crops, such as corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice have reached their highest and lowest levels in the last 20 years. The years of low prices have ruined millions of farmers, the years of high prices have hurt poorer, developing countries that have become reliant on food imports, causing malnutrition and starvation.
"In both developing and developed countries, record numbers of farmers are being driven off land that have been nurtured and maintained by families and communities for generations. According to USDA, over 50,000 family farms have disappeared over the last five years (21).
"In addition to causing malnutrition, hunger is exacerbated by this global food production system. Around the world over 800 million people go hungry every day. The average plate of food that Americans now eat has traveled some 1,500 miles from source to table because it benefits the corporate actors who sit at the hub of the process. The international transport required by a globalized agriculture system dramatically increases the need for new infrastructure--more roads, pipelines, and airports--which is usually destructive to the environment (22).
"Another environmental consequence of the new system is an increased dependence on biotechnology. This not only shrinks the crop gene pool further, but there is growing evidence that genetically modified crops produce a new kind of "genetic pollution" as the genetically modified traits spread to neighboring crops and weedy relatives through cross pollination. In the case of plants altered to be pest-resistant this new kind of pollution has already been shown to kill un-targeted insects. This may lead to irreversible changes in plant and animal genetic structure and in ecological balances (22).
Agreement on Agriculture (AOA)
"The AOA was finalized in 1993 through the Blair House Accord which was negotiated between the EU and the U.S. The AOA was inserted into the GATT to provide a global framework for price support reductions and other measures [to benefit the EU and the U.S.]. But other countries, especially small southern countries viewed the agreement as biased and accepted it only under pressure. The concessions offered in the AOA mainly benefit huge corporate agribusinesses in the South [and not the small farmers]. The AOA is one of the most complicated WTO agreements, and its rules overlap with many elements of other WTO agreements.
"Because tariffs have traditionally helped to control the quality and volume of imported goods in order to help ensure that domestic producers are not put out of business by imports, free traders consider tariffs subversive because they inhibit the freedom of corporations to enter any market at any time. Most people in Third World countries depend on agriculture. They produce primarily for subsistence and sell small surpluses at local markets. These markets have endured for centuries. The WTO's removal or reduction of tariffs allows cheap subsidized products to flood domestic and local markets, thus displacing small farmers and destroying their way of making a living.
"Before the WTO existed, most countries maintained a balance between supply and demand with a system in which farm marketing boards negotiated collective prices for products with both domestic and foreign buyers. This system is being dismantled through the WTO's agenda of prohibiting import and export controls, leaving nations and farmers more vulnerable to the larger nations, huge vertically integrated corporations, and to currency or price speculation.
Emergency Food Stocks
"Before the WTO, many countries kept emergency food stocks to prevent famine in times of crop failure or drought. Now countries with crop failure are expected to buy what they need on the open globalized market in which price volatility can make food staples such as rice, corn or grain too expensive for the poor countries.
"The WTO rules effectively reduce or eliminate domestic agricultural price supports, a mechanism countries have long used to protect their farmer. Farm price supports were a way of sheltering traditional livelihoods, small communities, and local culture. In the U.S., the government used to give farmers payments and set loan rates that would maintain a stable price for certain commodities which ensured that farmers would receive adequate compensation for their corps. With price supports eliminated, millions of farmers from both the North and South have been forced to sell their lands to large agribusinesses and move off their lands to urban areas.
"There are many other inequities as a result of the WTO. They include: export subsidies for large corporations through the taxpayer-supported Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and Family-farm support programs which have been eliminated by the WTO.
Invisible Government Conclusions
"In its five years, the WTO has gained unprecedented powers, powers that threaten the basic freedoms of democratic societies and the rights of communities to control their environments, health, cultural, and social conditions. It has impacted many of the internal political processes of member nations at every level of government from the national level down to provinces, states, counties, and municipalities. All must now conform their political choices to the rulings of WTO tribunals. The WTO intrudes into the affairs of national governments for the clear purpose of transferring many real powers of governance away from the control of counties and their citizens to global corporations and the bureaucracies that serve them. The ultimate goal is to permanently codify trade issues and corporate profits making them the primary standards of a new form of global governance.
"The WTO has steadily expanded its purview well beyond that of its predecessor, the GATT. It has brought under its power many new aspects of agriculture and investment, and intellectual property rights, thus giving global corporations greater control of seeds, food, farming, and biodiversity. Now global corporations are pushing hard to expand the WTO mandate even further via the proposed new Millennium Round of negotiations.
"List of WTO reforms:
process, including NGO representation on WTO judicial panels and the right to appeal decisions
- Complete transparency in and public accountability for WTO decision making
- Full participation by NGOs in the dispute resolution
seeds, genes, etc. from the purview of the WTO
- One country, one vote in all WTO processes
- Remove elements of the commons such as water,
- No expansion of WTO powers or areas of authority
- No Millennium Round
- Begin an Assessment Round with full democratic participation by all segments of society
- Convene a new Bretton Woods meeting--an international convention with all segments of society at the table to work out ways to reform the WTO so that it reflects a radically different hierarchy of values above those of the welfare of global corporations: democracy, social equity, ecological sustain-ability, cultural and biological diversity, and national and regional economic and food security."
Although the list of above recommendations and solutions from both groups have some overlap, you will note that the protestors bottom line was NOT to reduce the power of the WTO, NOT to put protections in place to protect the small farmer and businessman, or to return sovereignty to countries, but solely to share power with them, the non-governmental organizations. In addition they wanted assurances from the MNC/TNCs that they would carry out the goals and objectives of the United Nations which are to incorporate democracy, social equity, ecological sustain ability, cultural and biological diversity, and national and regional economic and food security. These are all nice socialist goals which will enslave further the people of the world.
So, why was what happened in Seattle so powerful?
When I (as a journalist) went on Tuesday to gain access to the Convention Center where the press was housed by asking the police who guarded the entry way, if they would escort me in, they said no. The protestors who formed a line in front of the police and who were forbidding my access through the police lines began to taunt and jeer me. I then went next door to the Sheraton Hotel where the same thing occurred. After watching the regurgitated flower children protestors start to throw small things and then throw the newspaper dispensers into the street to destroy and set on fire, all while the police watched, I determined after five hours that it was time to leave. When I approached various policemen with regard to how long this nonsense was going to be allowed to continue, they told me that they had no orders to arrest.
What transpired? I was stripped of all my Constitutional rights which were transferred to the protestors. When I asked someone in a key position on Thursday where the orders came from for the police to do nothing, he told me the mayors office.
Who financed this melee? The foundations of the Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Mellon, Scaife, Pew, MacArthur, and Turner corporations!! The great majority of these protestors did not pay for their own transportation, food and lodging. I have seen too many staged protests at other UN and UN related conferences. I remember riding the train to Birmingham, England for the G-7 meeting in 1998 which was loaded with protestors. I struck up a conversation with one American protestor who had just arrived for one night. His purpose was to be part of the third world protest the next day for third world debt-relief which was subsequently approved in June 1999 at the G-8 meeting. When I asked who sponsored him, he said the World Council of Churches in Chicago. The purpose of any and all these protestors is to help the MNCs/TNCs achieve their desired goals. On one side they have the protestors and on the other, highly paid lobbyists. They win every time as these two meet in the middle while representative government loses.
Third Way and Reinventing Government
The political philosophy which dominates the WTO and the United Nations is the "Third Way". The United Nations General Assembly, the WTO General Assembly of trade ministers, the IMF/World Bank General Assembly of finance ministers, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) General Assembly of agricultural ministers all reflect this new form of government. Whether it is UN ambassadors, WTO trade ministers, IMF/World Bank finance ministers or FAO agricultural ministers from Russia, China, Vietnam, Colombia, France, Italy, Canada, or South Africa, all of the different "isms" meet as one with the same goal--world peace, world trade, world finance, or world agriculture. In fact, Mike Miller the WTO Secretary General noted that "[there is] an absence of conflict with the isms."
Trade and Peace
The WTO hails trade as the new peace process. It use to be-- when kings ruled the world--they married off their daughters to opposing kings to secure peace because their enemies were less likely to attack and jeopardize the life of his daughter. Today, we have a very powerful world trade organization which is amassing a great deal of power in order to control the trade of the world, making the people of the world dance to their tune as powerful multinational and transnational corporations control goods, services, assets, and "human capital" (their employees).
Recently when I watched the movie "Patton", I was struck with the reality of what happened in Seattle versus the absolutes which existed in the world just sixty years ago: friends versus enemy, freedom versus bondage, capitalism versus communism, and right versus wrong. Today, there is only gray-- the merging of the truth (thesis) and lies (anti-thesis) into the third way which is the synthesis. The battles being fought are philosophical instead of using guns and bullets. The "ground" which is seized is being won in the halls of the U.N. Security Council, the IMF/World Bank, the World Health Organization, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Trade Organization, to name a few of the venues. As a result of this new form of battle, good people are asleep instead of being vigilant.
A Seat at the Table
It is impossible for you and I, Joe and Jane law-abiding Constitution supporting citizens to get a seat at the table, nor would we want it in light of the Hegelian process which would blend our views and position with those of the left in order to arrive at "consensus." To think that our view would be heard in this new form of government is ridiculous because we would have to sacrifice our soul in order to arrive at consensus. There is no seat at the table with the devil.
The Teeth of Global Governance, AKA World Government
What we have seen and are now feeling is the "teeth" of world government, or to use their words, global governance. The U.S. government, which used to protect it citizens, has changed its form of government from one based on the Constitution to one which has been "reinvented". The core foundation for the new government is public private partnerships which is a merger between government, business and non-governmental organizations. This provides us an opportunity to see the connection between the corporations and NGOs. The NGOs are the "foot soldiers" for the global elite to inform the populace as to what the new rules of the game are. Therefore, when I realize that my Constitutional rights were transferred to them in order for anarchy to rule, the National Guard to be called out and martial law to be declared over the downtown area of Seattle, we must then ask ourselves if this signals a new pattern of behavior for those with an agenda contrary to the Constitution. Let me insert here that I found out after I returned from Seattle that the mayor is a New Democrat and a Third Way follower!
The Power of One
Lastly, we have lost the vision of what ONE person can do. We are to be an army of ONE--the INDIVIDUAL--that is what America was all about--not the GROUP or GROUP rights!! In conclusion, when General Patton thought that he was going to be locked out of participating in World War II, he exclaims in the movie named after him, "The last great opportunity of a lifetime. An entire world at war and I'm left out of it. God will not permit this to happen. I am going to be allowed to fulfill my destiny. His will be done." I hope that this is your resolve as we go into the Third Millennium.
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UN Watch! November-December 1999