Free Trade Is War
Free Trade Is War
On Monday, seven antiprivatization activists were arrested in
The new gadgets work like pay-as-you-go cell phones, only instead of having a dead phone when you run out of money, you have dead people, sickened by drinking cholera-infested water.
On the same day
At trade summits, debates about privatization can seem wonkish and abstract. On the ground, they are as clear and urgent as the right to survive.
After September 11, right-wing pundits couldn't bury the globalization movement fast enough. We were gleefully informed that in times of war, no one would care about frivolous issues like water privatization. Much of the
All this nonsense ends in CancÃºn this week, when thousands of activists converge to declare that the brutal economic model advanced by the World Trade Organization is itself a form of war.
War because privatization and deregulation kill--by pushing up prices on necessities like water and medicines and pushing down prices on raw commodities like coffee, making small farms unsustainable. War because those who resist and "refuse to disappear," as the Zapatistas say, are routinely arrested, beaten and even killed. War because when this kind of low-intensity repression fails to clear the path to corporate liberation, the real wars begin.
The global antiwar protests that surprised the world on February 15 grew out of the networks built by years of globalization activism, from Indymedia to the World Social Forum. And despite attempts to keep the movements separate, their only future lies in the convergence represented by CancÃºn. Past movements have tried to fight wars without confronting the economic interests behind them, or to win economic justice without confronting military power. Today's activists, already experts at following the money, aren't making the same mistake.
Take Rachel Corrie. Although she is engraved in our minds as the 23-year-old in an orange jacket with the courage to face down Israeli bulldozers, Corrie had already glimpsed a larger threat looming behind the military hardware. "I think it is counterproductive to only draw attention to crisis points--the demolition of houses, shootings, overt violence," she wrote in one of her last e-mails. "So much of what happens in Rafah is related to this slow elimination of people's ability to survive.... Water, in particular, seems critical and invisible." The 1999 Battle of Seattle was Corrie's first big protest. When she arrived in
Thirty years have passed since that other September 11, when Gen. Augusto Pinochet, with the help of the CIA, brought the free market to
In August 1976, an article appeared in this magazine written by Orlando Letelier, former foreign affairs minister in Salvador Allende's overthrown government. Letelier was frustrated with an international community that professed horror at Pinochet's human rights abuses but supported his free-market policies, refusing to see "the brutal force required to achieve these goals. Repression for the majorities and 'economic freedom' for small privileged groups are in
The greatest enemies of terror never lose sight of the economic interests served by violence, or the violence of capitalism itself. Letelier understood that. So did Rachel Corrie. As our movements converge in CancÃºn, so must we.