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<nettime> Riots Inc.!
Bruce Sterling on Sat, 1 Sep 2001 10:45:15 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Riots Inc.!


*I love it when the net.right outs the big money behind the net.left
in the Wall Street Journal. And then an net.anarchist list outs the right.
And then it ends up on nettime.

* This is kinda some handy information, too!  Look
how busy this Okonski person has been!   She must be
hankering to be the right-wing Naomi Klein...  Here's
her little site in London, which is all about how DDT is
good for you and why Britain should have trusted the
Tories on the mad-cow problem.

http://www.policynetwork.net/index.htm

And here's Kendra *counter-protesting* in *support*
of a Starbucks!  This is just so great!  Thank you Google Image Search!

http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0301starbucks.htm

Kendra's got a site called counterprotest.net, but there doesn't seem
to by much happening there yet.  Waiting for some corporate funding,
I'd wager.  She's young, she's eager, we'll be seeing more of her...
better bookmark it...

http://www.counterprotest.net/

And check out these *fantastically scary*  Randian "libertarian
feminists* that Kendra hangs out with...  Woah!  It's enough
to make the Tute Bianche blanch....

http://www.ifeminists.com/interaction/archive/members.html

Kendra's idea that the Foundation for Deep Ecology is somehow
the financial mirror image of, say, the Better Business Bureau...
this is one of those crazed fantasies that WSJ  ideologues emit
when they're really scared.  Makes you want to run
right out to the mall and buy some ESPRIT clothes,
doesn't it?  My goodness!

bruces

 

News for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

[This is a piece of anti-activist propaganda. -- DC]

CITIZEN OF THE WORLD

Riots Inc. 
The business of protesting globalization.

BY KENDRA OKONSKI, the Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, August 14, 2001 12:01 a.m. EDT

Sweeping up the broken glass in Genoa, Italy, merchants must
have asked themselves: Who paid for this riot? After all, an
army of activists doesn't just descend on a city without
some leadership--and some money to pay organizers, rent
meeting places, print posters and so on. So let's follow the
money.

Antiglobalization protests have become a big business that
involves millions of dollars, transnational organizations
and a global agenda. Even Greenpeace--a global enterprise
with offices in London, Buenos Aires, Washington and
Tokyo--has a chief financial officer.

Indeed, the antiglobalization movement seems like corporate
dystopia, a mirror image of the business world complete with
trade associations, venture capitalists, management
recruiting and marketing campaigns. Instead of selling
T-shirts or toothpaste, the agitators are selling limits on
cross-border trade.

Start with holding companies. The Genoa Social Forum, a
constellation of nonprofits that organized a "countersummit"
to give the protesters a patina of intellectual
respectability, served as a central coordinating hub. The
Italian government provided $1.3 million to pay for
conference facilities and translation services, Genoa Social
Forum organizer Carlo Schenone told the press.

Playing the role of "business roundtable" of the
antiglobalization movement is the International Forum on
Globalization. One of the forum's associates in Genoa was
Susan George, who is also vice president of the Paris-based
Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for
the Help of Citizens, known as Attac. Other forum members in
Genoa included Kevin Danaher of San Francisco's Global
Exchange, Walden Bello of the Bangkok-based Focus on the
Global South and Vandana Shiva of the Delhi-based Research
Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology. Another
forum member, Jose Bove of the French farmers union
Confederacion Paysanne--famous for driving his tractor
through a McDonald's in France--also turned up in Genoa.
These people meet regularly under the forum's auspices.

The forum is funded largely by the Foundation for Deep
Ecology, a San Francisco-based philanthropic foundation that
was endowed with the fortune of Esprit Clothing Co. magnate
Douglas Tompkins. With assets of more than $150 million in
2000, the foundation serves as a kind of venture-capital
fund for the movement by providing seed money to groups
around the world.

Through the forum, the foundation has helped energize groups
like Attac, which was a major player in Genoa. Attac itself
is a kind of holding company of international nonprofits and
trade unions who believe that economic globalization "only
expresses the interests of multinational corporations and
financial markets." While Attac largely focuses on lobbying
for a tax on international capital transactions, it spends
much of its time building coalitions with nonprofits focused
on other issues--such as AIDS, the environment, human rights
and organic farming--to combat globalization on all fronts.
These opportunistic organizations help the movement look
like a genuine grass-roots uprising and swell its numbers.
This strategy is not unlike the alliances that firms
sometimes form to crack new markets.

Like all big businesses in Europe, the antiglobalization
movement works closely with labor unions. In Genoa, the bulk
of the marchers came from two Italian trade unions, the
Confederazione General Italiano del Lavoro and the
Confederazione Italiana Sindicati Lavoratori. These unions
were brought together with the help of the International
Confederation of Free Trade Unions, a Brussels-based network
of international unions.

And the unions also supply a lot of the money. The Federatie
Nederlandse Vakbeweging, a group of Dutch trade unions, and
other European labor groups have created "international
solidarity funds" partly to fund antiglobalization groups.
This ensures a bumper crop of protesters and a steady stream
of press releases.

These solidarity funds are, in turn, funded by European
governments. According to a report by Labor and Society
International, a British group that works with trade unions
and nonprofit groups, the Dutch unions' Department for
International Cooperation received $6.75 million in 1997
from the Dutch government. That same year, the German
government provided about $50 million to the Friedrich Ebert
Stiftung, a foundation that carries out an antiglobalization
agenda with trade unions and political parties.

In Sweden and Norway, the governments contribute 80% of the
money that makes up the union solidarity funds, which also
ends up promoting the antiglobalization movement. Canadian
social-justice funds, set up by Canada's major trade unions,
are similar. The Canadian International Development Agency,
a government entity, matches union contributions by a ratio
of three-to-one. In short, much of the money that fuels the
antiglobalization protests against intergovernmental
meetings is provided by many of those same governments.

At its heart, the antiglobalization business is a
foundation-, union- and government-funded coalition of
convenience. That's why when reporters wade into the crowds
at antiglobalization demonstrations they quickly learn that
there is no overarching philosophy, no shared ideology. If
reporters probed more deeply they might learn that a shared
interest holds the protest industry together--a fear of a
borderless, dynamic world. In that world, a shopper in Malmo
or Manchester would be as free to buy sugar from Martinique
as from the European Union.

The left is ideologically opposed to free trade. Its
philosophy requires a vast number of regulations on
everything from factory emissions to working hours. If these
regulations are not simultaneously imposed across the globe,
then some nations' businesses will benefit from a lighter
regulatory touch. 

Businessmen are quick to object when their overseas rivals
have a competitive advantage and can either relocate to
enjoy lower costs or lobby government officials to reduce
the cost of these supposedly "costless" edicts. Either way,
political resistance to regulation grows. So would-be
regulators need some way to keep out goods from nations
unburdened by questionable regulations. And that leads them
into the arms of trade unions, which are looking for
protectionist barriers to save uncompetitive jobs in dying
industries. Perhaps the EU's truth-in-advertising laws
should require the antiglobalization movement to change its
name to the "protectionist caucus."

If you are a European taxpayer or union member, chances are
you are also a passive investor in the ventures that wrecked
Goteborg, Genoa, Seattle, and the rest. The protesters hope
that you enjoyed the show, but now want you to go back to
work and pay your taxes. There are more international
meetings coming up this autumn and the activists could use
another round of financing.

Ms. Okonski is a research fellow at the International Policy
Network in London. Tunku Varadarajan returns next week.

-- 
Dan Clore
mailto:clore {AT} columbia-center.org

Lord We˙rdgliffe:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/necpage.htm
News for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

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