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WTO  - not needed
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Ten reasons to dismantle the WTO

In the period leading up to the WTO gathering in Seattle a list of 10 reasons for dismantling the WTO has been widely circulated on the web and in news groups.   These have been compiled by Russell Mokhiber  (editor of the Washington-based Corporate Crime Reporter) and Robert Weissman (editor of the Washington-based Multinational Monitor).   Mokhiber and Weissman are co-authors of  Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy.

They say:  "WTO critics now face a perilous moment. They must not be distracted by illusory or cosmetic reform proposals,  nor by even more substantive proposals for changing the WTO  -  should they ever emerge from the institution or its powerful rich country members.   Instead,  they should unite around an uncompromising demand to dismantle the WTO and its corporate-created rules.

Here are 10 reasons why:"


Because of these unfixable problems,  the World Trade Organization should be shut down,  sooner rather than later.   That doesn't mean interim steps shouldn't be taken.   It does mean that beneficial reforms will focus not on adding new areas of competence to the WTO or enhancing its authority,  even if the new areas appear desirable  (such as labor rights or competition).   Instead,  the reforms to pursue are those that reduce or limit the WTO's power  -  for example,  by denying it the authority to invalidate laws passed pursuant to international environmental agreements,  limiting application of WTO agricultural rules in the Third World,  or eliminating certain subject matters  (such as essential medicines or life forms)  from coverage under the WTO's intellectual property agreement.   These measures are necessary and desirable in their own right,  and they would help generate momentum to close down the WTO.


The Seattle experience

The major WTO gathering in Seattle attracted a large number of protesters,  well informed about the anti-human and anti-environment implications of WTO action,  and keen to make a noticeable demonstration of their disapproval.   These were not the small minority who used the occasion to express themselves in vandalism.   The behaviour of the protesters in no way justified the violent response of civil authorities and police.

Our web site has friends in Seattle who have been in touch with us,  letting us know what has been happening.   One of our friends drew the cartoon below,  and offered it to local newspapers with the covering letter printed underneath it.


Kindly consider for publication the attached illustration I made of how peaceful WTO protesters were treated and are being treated by police,  Seattle's Mayor,  and Washington State's Governor.   It is appalling and terrifying for the constitutional rights of citizens to be taken away and for this action to be viewed as acceptable.    Although the whole world is watching,  and so is our entire nation,  we have not received any help to restore rights.   The so-called "state of emergency" would never have occurred if Seattle's police had not started to attack peaceful protesters,  and deny them the rights to assemble and have free speech.   For hours police gas-bombed and shot supposedly non-lethal bullets at peaceful demonstrators,  driving them out of the area.   Police have steadily escalated their brutal attacks on peaceful demonstrators.   Political speech  (e.g. by civil demonstration)  is supposed to be entitled to high protection under the law.   Instead it is being denied and attacked in Seattle.   Signs and banners have been taken away from demonstrators and labelled as "potential weapons" by officials.   The right to even protect oneself with a gas mask is denied.   The current situation is a terrifying lesson about democracy for our children.   I am thankful for the press.  .  .  .

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