scotartt on 17 Sep 2000 23:29:13 -0000

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Re: <nettime> daft paper on the WTO


Yes you tell a very compelling and disturbing story. The international
insitutions are pretty reactionary. But, just like I said I believe we
should reclaim Government, we can also reclaim those institutions or forge
new ones in their place. Also existing ones like the ILO seem to me to be
under utilised. Well, actually, I would say that first we reclaim
Government, then we work on the international system; but that's not a
strict ideology of mine, just the way I believe priorities should be

Merely trying to "abolish" the WTO and others I believe is a tactical
mistake; one may achieve that aim but I think the system would then rapidly
devolve into the laissez-faire environment that actually suits the West
much *better*, before any further response could be mounted. Probably aided
by the Left's much vaunted and frequently demonstrated ability to engage in
bitter, paralysing infighting rather than working towards a common
solution. So perhaps as an issue of first tactics we should think about
what we want as a solution. Effectively I think it comes down to revolution
or reform, and unlike my younger days, in this case I am firmly on the side
of reform. I should say here I am for reform of the system of international
relations ... if the appropriate thing to do at the time is to abolish the
WTO or some other body, and replace it with another better suited to our
aims, as long as it can be managed to avoid a total breakdown of
multi-lateral trade relations, I am all for it.

Speaking of 'our aims', because without formal agreement it is dangerous to
speak collectively, in this case I will make mine clear (as many do not); I
believe it is should be our aim to spread the advantages of Western
technological and open society (ie democracy and development) to the rest
of the world with ethical means that allows the world; to mould those
social and technological means to their own local conditions, on their own
terms; to enrich all their citizens (not just some); to produce benefits
without severe environmental and social repercussions; to aid cultural
enrichment, development and diversity, and to produce as an outcome, a
rich, diverse, globalised open society that has agreed systems to resolving
international disagreements and disputes of all kinds fairly and
effectively to the general satisfaction of all its members.

But we have far from perfect societies ourselves. To do the above, we have
to transform our own societies first.


----- Original Message -----
From: Brian Holmes <>
To: Nettime <>
Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2000 8:36 AM
Subject: <nettime> daft paper on the WTO

> These discussions, as Rhonda says, are getting pretty interesting. But I
> find it strange how some people can rail against WTO-IMF-World Bank
> protesters for being simplistically "against" corporations, then say
> everything'd be rosy if the juridical definition of corps could be changed
> (in what court I don't know) so they no longer constituted legal
> individuals. Well, if you want to make 'em socialized or worker-owned
> entities, OK, but you might start a little closer to reality!
> I dream pretty actively of a total revolution, but in the meantime I am
> close to Scot when he says "its time to reclaim Government as the rightful
> enforcer of our societies shared values" and "if international bodies were
> abolished it would leave a completely laissez-faire international
> environment where the weak nations are preyed on." But you have to see what
> the gov'ts and int'l bodies actually do, before you support them.

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