NOTE: The following tract was widely circulated in Seattle and
elsewhere during the November 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations.
In ancient times the word tyrant signified not simply a figure
of oppressive authority, noted for extreme cruelty and injustice,
but more precisely one who dared not appear in public without
bodyguards. The vast interlocking tyrannies of our own time
suggest that this strange period which flatters itself as "postmodern"
might perhaps more aptly be called neo-ancient, and in any
case qualifies as an example of barbarism at its goriest.
Courtesy of the "free enterprise" system, the U.S. has created the
most spied-on, billy-clubbed, tear-gassed, and locked-up society
in the history of the world.
however, it is not only top government officials, captains of industry,
mobsters and religious potentates who surround themselves with cops
and more cops (public and/or private), but also celebrities, stars
of stage and screen, athletes, talk-show hosts and hostesses, radio
personalities, brokers, bankers, gamblers, gurus, and all manner
of high-profile non-entities. So inflated has the tyrants' network
become in the past hundred years that our whole society is now afflicted
with cops everywhere: in the street, of course, and the workplace,
on the beach, and wherever young people and people of color assemble,
but also in schools, in libraries, at concerts and other places
reflections came to mind as we read media reports implying that,
at the World Trade Organization's highly publicized plot-and-plunderfest
in Seattle this month, the number of cops, soldiers and paid informers
may well exceed the combined total of WTO conference attendees and
should not be overlooked that the WTO itself is a kind of cop, or
rather a kind of tyrants' watchdoga symbolic hyper-watchdog
at the portals of the new, improved, post-colonial, multicultural,
genetically modified, low-fat imperialism. Organized in 1995 with
specifically anti-labor motives in mind, the WTO has also manifested
from the start a total contempt for even the most basic ecological
concerns, and an obsequious eagerness to obey each and every command
issued by the stage-managers of commodity fetishism.
is in fact the avowed aim of the WTO to help coordinate U.S. capital's
current scramble for Africa and Asia, as well as the restructuring
of a freshly rebalkanized Europe, now conveniently dominated by
the U.S.A.'s very own NATO. More generally, the WTO's task is to
oversee U.S. capital's worldwide campaign to lower wages, destroy
unions, restore sweatshop conditions, shield corporate polluters
and wilderness-wreckers, facilitate the commercial annihilation
of endangered species, and above all keep the profits soaring. Another
important but more covert purpose of the WTO is to prepare the way
for the globalization of slave labor.
WTO's function, therefore, is not simply to maintain existing inequality
but to expand it, indeed to globalize itin other
words, to make an already intolerable situation infinitely worse
for everyone except billionaires
us, surrealists, the WTO represents everything loathsome and disgusting
in this world, and inspires only our revulsion. Almost to the point
of caricature, it epitomizes contemporary civilization's disastrous
hatred of the Marvelous. The WTO not only exemplifies the fear of
poetry and love, the fear of human freedom, and the fear of wild
creatures and placesit also broadcasts those fears,
exacerbates them, and merges them into the Great Fear that paralyzes
such a large portion of the U.S. population today: the fear of being
"different," of being oneself, of being alive.
WTO's stupid, boring, empty apologeticsits "booms,"
options, clout, profits, Prozac, diplomatic victories, accords,
telecoms, Normal Trade Relations, "services," deals, tariffs,
"futures," deficits, rapid growth, incentives, deregulation,
ventures, market values, and "development" (i.e.,
covering the Earth with cement): all this truly makes us sick. (WTO
rhetoric, like that of its confederatesthe World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund, and President Clinton himselfcould
serve as a manual for students of the devaluation of language.)
words and phrases are no laughing matter, any more than the deeds
they document. Sixty-five years ago, W. E. B. Du Bois described
just what horror the strokes of a pen can bring: "Flames of
jealous murder sweep the earth, while brains of little children
smear the hills." Make no mistake, the WTO can sign no agreement
which is not a death sentence. Its reason for being is to make learning
and youth, poetry and desire, solidarity and joy, poverty and weakness,
wildlife and old growthindeed everything not serving the crimes
of capitalinto a capital crime.
as a bureaucratic embodiment of Patriarchy, Capital, Statism, White
Supremacy, Genocide, and Ecocidein short, the globalization
of all forms of misery and miserabilismthe WTO is a veritable
emblem of the sum of all villainies today.
there really anything to argue about here? Isn't it frightfully
obvious that the WTO is a thoroughgoing abomination? That its whole
agenda boils down to domination and devastation? That we'd all be
much better off without it?
then, are three simple, straightforward, reasonable demands: