GENTECH archive


RE:Don't Throw the Radicals Overboard (fwd)

 stu <>  sed:
>>Another intersting question is how much did the protest movement overall
>>cause the failure of this meeting. Given that it was also falling apart
>>from inside (due to a lot of work by many others)
ed deak replied

>The answer is: The same way the original MAI was shot down. By calling
>public attention to the proceedings. No negotiator of any kind likes public
>exposure. Virtually all union, business, political negotiations are done in
>secret. Makes no sense, but for all practical purposes these negotiators
>always consider themselves above the public's understanding of issues and
>believe that they know it best what to talk about and how to make decisions. 

AND stu replied:

I very much agree Ed - although I would add that the public scrutiny has
been going on at a number of different levels for a few years. Seattle was
a real focal point for making it clear how many were becoming aware (at
different levels of complexity) of the function and on-the-ground effects
of the wto.  For myself, I think the huge protests didn't so much as cause
the failure of the talks, but brought to the attention of many many people
what the wto is about (and for a lot of others - that it exists at all).
As you say, the MAI was probably a turning point and drew a diverse
selection of people and groups into debate on global issues. I was
interested at the time to see that FOE and WWF were so involved there, and
then came onboard many others who realised that  they also had a right to
challenge it because of its wide ranging effect - indigenous groups,
cultural organisations, unions et al.  And now we see the same thing
happening in seattle and the buildup to it.

I think a big impetus for the failure was that developing countries stood
up for once to the bullying of the US/EU etc. And it may be that, as one
commentary said, those delegates were emboldened by the corwds outside to
stand up like that. But its also that they themselves are beginning to look
at the effects of the wto /  imf / world bank liberalisations and see that
they are not getting what they expected to.
The publicity that the protests gained will help lots more people to
question critically all the bull we've been fed over the years.