IT TAKES A GLOBAL VILLAGE
Attention all dunderheaded journalists, look this way.
It takes a global-village idiot not to recognize the harm to the earth and all of its beings not to mention the diminishing chances of our healthy survival caused by free-trade economics implemented by a host of greedy corporate bosses and their diplomatic call-persons otherwise known as local and national political leaders. The society of the spectacle has become so spectacular its light has blinded us. We can barely see the simple truth that the increase of wealth is directly proportional to human suffering.
Con men, poets, and thinkers since Plato have held much of our citizenry in contempt. Unfortunately they may be right, that a sucker is born every day or we need a philosopher king to lead the dumb masses. I really do not subscribe to this thinking. I like to believe that if we all just got accurate information from a variety of sources we'd make decisions that resulted in a better world in which all could live democratically as well as equitably. If what I read in the newspapers and witnessed on the streets during the weekend that the World Economic Forum (WEF) met at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in midtown Manhattan is any foreshadowing we're in for about as much equitable democracy asenjoyed bythe elephants in a Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey circus enjoy.
Many journalists, whose job it is to investigate, analyze, and report the state of the world are writing that they do not understand the message of the anti-corporate globalization movement. Most accuse the activists of straying off message, having too many messages, and being violent. This is ridiculous.
In the January 29, 2002 issue of the Village Voice Richard Esposito in "Law of the fist, New York cops vow to crush violent protest at world economic forum", wrote an apology for police misconduct. Esposito's thesis is that wealthy international anarchists terrorize cities and antagonize hard-working blue-collar police officers, specifically John Timoney, ex-New York police officer and former Philadelphia police commissioner. This is ridiculous. Last time I was in Oakland I met several anarchists who travel the country like hobos by hopping freight trains and survive by dumpster diving. Timoney on the other hand is the recently hired Chief-executive officer of Beau Dietl Associates (BDA), Investigations and Security Services, an international firm specializing in protecting corporate and political leaders. Without having asked I'm sure Timoney's salary easily puts him outside of the blue-collar tax bracket. BDA was brought in to consult the New York police department on containing the anti-corporate globalization activists during WEF. Timoney's style of policing demonstrations is often covert and violent. During the Republican National Convention 2000 in Philadelphia I witnessed many plain-clothes officers as agent provocateurs, one even beat a woman with a shillelagh, an Irish walking stick. Who here is the wealthy international terrorist?
Last week I proposed to Boog City's editor that I would write a who, what, when, where, why, and how of WEF but I found that it has been described and analyzed from many points of view by many others. For the most comprehensive and no less incriminating information you need just go to your local library and log-on to www.weforum.org, the official Web site of WEF. There you will learn that "over the course of three decades, the forum has grown from humble beginnings as a European economic conference into a unique, member based institution comprised of the 1,000 most powerful corporations in the world."
You don't have to be a garment worker who is forced to take birth control pills by her supervisor and earns the paltry sum even in the global South of $ 00.38 per hour to know that rarely does a CEO make decisions that are in the worker's best interest. You don't have to be one of the 30,000 Indonesian Nike workers who earn less collectively than Michael Jordan does simply endorsing their sneaks to know that the boss even finds it difficult to provide you with economic security. Alan Greenspan will tell you that unemployment disciplines workers' demands for raises. Simply, in a dog-eat-dog world it is every dog for himself.
You can also go to www.nyc.indymedia.org for a to find out why activists are demonstrating during the WEF. "The World Economic Forum is seen by many as the corporate architect of the recent wave of economic globalization. Representatives from WEF set the foundation for the formation of the World Trade Organization. In addition, WEF's growing clout is beginning to challenge even that of the United Nations which concerns many critics since the Forum is a private entity accountable to only its members. "Should a Forum that is dominated by corporate interests be encouraged to take on the role of mapping out future frameworks for global governance?" asked Australian scholar Peter Goodman in his article "The WEF: Capital's First International?" For protest groups the answer is clearly no."
Saturday morning I went to witness International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) mass rally outside of the Waldorf-Astoria. The police created a pen for the demonstrators with barricades along the west side of Park Avenue from 50th street up to 59th Street. I continually heard officers tell demonstrators, "If you're here to protest you must get inside the designated area, get inside the pens!" De Bord, and Orwell are just laughing in heaven. You dare ask why some activists find it necessary to smash windows to be heard?
The Another World Is Possible (AWIP) rally at the corner of 59th Street and 5th Avenue was lively, fun, well-attended, and organized by really smart well-informed young people. I was thoroughly impressed. The speakers provided a wealth of information succinctly to a large receptive crowd. Where were the reporters who complain about the activists being off-message? The whole anti-corporate globalization message can be distilled to the chorus of the song that Billy Bragg sang to open up the AWIP rally, "No power without accountability!"
Ironically, the speakers at
AWIP, stood at the base of the gilded statue erected by the New York Chamber
to honor General William Tecumseh Sherman. Honor Sherman? He is one of
the world's greatest war criminals, killing civilians and burning towns
from South Dakota to Georgia. Directly beneath a gold lady liberty poised
next to a gold Sherman astride a gold horse shimmering in the crystal
clear sky, Yvonne Liu, an AWIP organizer, said, "We want true equality.
We want economic policies decided and implemented democratically not in
secret meetings by powerful elites."
--Boog City Issue 2 February 11-24, 2002