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Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 7 Num. 91

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Media Blacks Out Precedent-Setting Affair
By Warren Hough
(The Spotlight, 05/27/96)

Liberal and leftist groups from around the world met recently in Washington to attack free trade, the World Trade Organization, the international banks and globalism. The meeting was blacked out by the plutocratic media.

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In a tidal wave of criticism, protests and calls to action against "international corporate tyranny," a coalition of major left-leaning reform groups, environmental movements and consumer alliances has declared war on the "unelected and unaccountable global elites who are seizing control of one-world governance."

A manifesto issued by participants at the coalition's first mass rally in Washington extolled populist themes. It denounced internationalists and especially the Trilateral Commission as the "developers" of corporate globalization. Globalization, they insisted, would devastate fragile ecologies in the Third World, further impoverish its people through exploitation of cheap labor, and destroy traditional cultures and nationalities.

It warned that the recently established World Trade Organization (WTO) demonstrated the sort of Rockefeller-sponsored agency "designed to serve as a global governing body for transnational corporate interests."

At the three-day convocation which opened on May 11, speakers from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Friends of the Earth, the Center for Technology Assessment, the Sierra Club, Ralph Nader's Public Citizen, the Polaris Institute, and more than a dozen other generally left-oriented national organizations delivered incisive indictments of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve as "amoral enforcers of the world's worst exploiters."

-+- Coalition Split -+-

Experienced observers of the coalition rally, held under the aegis of the International Forum on Globalization, were surprised to note that leading environmental organizations, among them the Rainforest Action Network, the Migratory Species Project, the Network for Safe and Secure Food and Environment and the Ecologist Magazine led the attack on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other globalist "free trade" pacts log-rolled by the Clinton administration.

"Bill Clinton has been particularly crafty -- and successful -- in dividing and confusing the opposition of these so-called Greens to NAFTA, the WTO and other so-called 'free trade' deals," explained Mark Dowie, a scholar who is writing a book on environmental protection for the M.I.T. Press.

But when Carl Pope, the youthful executive director of the 600,000 member Sierra Club, rose to deliver one of the keynote speeches of the symposium, he left no doubt about where his movement stood now.

"The Sierra Club has spent more money running newspaper ads criticizing NAFTA than any other topic in its history," Pope said. In spite of all that, the ill-conceived trade pact was adopted.

What this means is that "Pat Buchanan deserves a more serious look," Pope declared. "In this year's campaign he ended up challenging globalization, confronting the World Trade Organization, lamenting the increasing inequality of incomes in our society, and challenging the role of Wall Street financiers in shaping our futures."

In response, the "international capitalist-connected wing of the Republican Party led by George Will read him out of the party and rallied the conservative, the socially conservative, wing of the Republican party around Bob Dole, and that was the end of Pat Buchanan's presidential challenge," Pope related.

What we should note, Pope said, is that Buchanan's campaign began with "locally rooted cultural themes that led him inevitably to challenge globalization" as an ideology and as a strategy.

The strategy suggests that despite the Clinton administration's enthusiasm for "free trade and despite the adoption of NAFTA, the global economy is not really inevitable."

Many of the global economy's most powerful promoters, and "some of its top advocates and beneficiaries understand this," argued Pope. "They know that the global economy is far from inevitable, and they are quite nervous, quite anxious, perhaps even petrified that the world may wake up and realize this."

But if globalization is not the predestined wave of the future, Pope asked, "Why does it seem so irresistible, so overwhelming, and why is the public dialogue that surrounds it so one-sided" -- that is, slanted in favor of free trade?

The reason -- at least one key reason -- Pope explained, is that "we have allowed the advocates of free trade -- the economists and their allies and those who profit from it -- to capture, redefine and appropriate our language."

By taking over terms such as "conservative" ("'Conservatives are for free trade,' we read all the time") and "liberal" (as in "trade liberalization," a term that suggests globalization means more freedom) or even "common market," a concept implying that international commerce will create new communities for people, the globalists have subverted all meaningful debate over free trade and one-world elites, Pope argued.

-+- Fight For The Mind -+-

One of the most important things that Americans must do now is to recapture the real sense of such concepts, especially the genuinely positive meaning of the words "protectionism" and "conservatism" urged Pope.

Evidence that not just the meaning but the politics of protectionism and populism are gaining favor among "progressive" organizations long dominated by leftist notions of "international cooperation" emerged from talks and debates held during the two days of meetings and panel discussions following Pope's address.

"Whether our main concern is the national economy or the global ecology, we are staring catastrophe in the face," said Jean-Luc Jouvet of Greenpeace. "I used to attend the [annual] meetings of the World Bank where we heard dulcet expressions of concern for the world's poor and its wildlife."

"They were lies," he added. "There is no way any of us can ignore that reality now."

Ralph Nader, head of the Public Citizen alliance, perhaps the most eagerly awaited speaker of the conference, cancelled his appearance with the explanation that bad weather had closed down Washington's airports.

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, represented his group. She delivered a sharp indictment of the administration's "free trade frenzy" and of its most recent spawns, NAFTA and WTO.

"NAFTA's effects have not just fallen short of expectations; they turned out to be the exact opposite of its promise," Wallach declared. "It would be one thing if it had not hit the bull's eye or even the target. But we can see now that NAFTA has shot us in the leg."

To document her indictment, Wallach noted that "instead of creating 200,000 new jobs, as promised, NAFTA has led to the loss of 600,000 U.S. jobs so far."

Moreover, American workers who were not fired "saw the sharpest drop in real hourly wages on record during the first year of NAFTA," she added.

In Mexico, where NAFTA was promoted as the catalyst of a business boom, it has generated instead "deteriorating economic conditions, political instability, growing despair and rising social tensions," Wallach confirmed.

The WTO, which was created to replace the old General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) at 1993's negotiating session known as the Uruguay Round, has turned out to be an equally insidious instrument of globalized plunder, asserted Wallach.

WTO's broad new powers over commerce will "override the domestic tax, health, food, product safety and anti-pollution laws of the U.S.," Wallach explained.

This so-called free-trade pact will replace the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund "as the principal enforcer of global financial interests," she predicted.

As recently as five years ago, "many of the people here were dreamy internationalists of one sort or another," said Willard Smith of the Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union, who represented the AFL-CIO at the conference.

"But what we have seen of NAFTA, the WTO and international financial speculation has been a rough wake-up call," he added. "We will not just take a serious second look at Pat Buchanan, as Carl [Pope] said: I think quite a few of us will vote for him in the fall."

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