The World Trade Organization has emerged as one of the most powerful bureaucracies in the world. The WTO, through its nefarious treaties and agreements, lays rules for governments to follow. These rules are set to favor the rich global powers-that-be and are fundamentally against democratic principles. Indeed, the WTO was organised for the specific purpose of undermining democratic principles that challenge the interests of business corporations.
The WTO is in an unholy trinity with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. These beasts have become notorious pariahs strutting the global stage according to a script they call “The Washington Consensus.” They set poor states in tight financial traps, while giving generous lease to giant corporations to privatise everything from water and seeds to medical and social services.
John Williamson, who coined the term “The Washington Consensus”, remarks that â€œAudiences the world over seem to believe that this signifies a set of neoliberal policies that have been imposed on hapless countries by the Washington-based international financial institutions and have led them to crisis and misery. There are people who cannot utter the term without foaming at the mouth.â€
A former WTO official was quoted in a 30th April 1998 article entitled ‘Network Guerillas’ in the Financial Times explaining the WTO: “This is the place where governments collude in private against their domestic pressure groups. Allowing NGOs in could open the doors to European farmers and all kinds of lobbyists opposed to free trade.”
The plethora of non-governmental organisations which has appeared on the scene in recent years is testimony to the failure of state governmental bureuacracies to protect the interests of the general public against corporate excesses. In fact most people are already aware that state governmental officials have sold out their public interests to private corporations, and are in collusion with them. Governments have sold their mandate. Elections in most so-called democratic states are thus a sham. Many people know this and thus do not vote. Their voting power has in effect shifted from sold-out puppet politicians and their parties to the packaged products of global companies.
According to Lori Wallach and Michelle Sforza of Public Citizen, “No democratically achieved environmental, health, food safety or environmental law challenged at the WTO has ever been upheld. All have been declared barriers to trade.” Lori Wallach and Michelle Sforza are the authors of ‘The WTO: Five Years of Reasons to Resist Corporate Globalization’ (New York: Seven Stories Press, 1999). They say:
“Our purpose is to document an insidious shift in decision-making away from democratic, accountable fora – where citizens have a chance to fight for the public interest – to distant, secretive and unaccountable international bodies, whose rules and operations are dominated by corporate interests. Ironically, the U.S., with some of the world’s most open, accountable policy-making procedures, is a leader in using the WTO to undercut democratic institutions and mechanisms around the world.” (page 14)
Wallach and Sforza argue that the world where corporate interests dominate everything, “even life itself”, is here:
“The WTO’s manic tilt toward commercial values is perhaps best highlighted by its rules seeking to commodify everything – to turn everything into a form of property – so that it can be bought and sold. For instance, the new system gives patents – and thus exclusive marketing rights – for life forms and indigenous knowledge.
“Consider what has happened in India, where the indigenous population has used the neem tree for medicinal purposes for generations. After a U.S. importer discovered the tree’s pharmaceutical properties, multi-national companies from the U.S. and Japan sought and received numerous patents on products made from the tree, leaving the indigenous populations unable to profit from knowledge they have developed over centuries.” (page 20)
In neither major U.S. political party can one find an anti-WTO position represented. The Republican Party has long been concerned about U.S. national sovereignty, while the Democratic Party has a tradition of supporting labor and human rights. They both may reasonably be expected to have a common cause in fighting the WTO and its regional relative North American Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA). Why don’t they?
Whoever wins the presidential elections thus matters little at all. As in a casino there is one winner because the house rules dictate who ultimately wins, no matter who wins the many rounds. Capital robs the prize by having the laws and rules written in its favour, while the people and their skew-whiff democracy take a hit. Though it looks to be down and out for the count even before counting begins this time around!
Voters could demand that each candidate state their position on the WTO; Or explain their relations with, and views of, such entities as dead-giant Enron, hulk Halliburton or seedy Monsanto. But if voters and candidates alike are entangled in the entrails, bellies, systems, workings and end products of such corporate beasts is it not a foregone conclusion who has won already? Is this the predestination of all nations?
Corporate piracy and stormy conspiracy theory can be understood as Cargo Cult. It has a strong hold on this world. It looks like there is choice. But business corporations, political parties, religious organisations and social groups are found to be empty containers in the END. Shipments to hell. Unless they are fully understood by free individuals who are capable of intelligently reverse-engineering them, and not be ignorantly swallowed up into the bellies of these beasts.
To retain a vote is to retain individual freewill. If we give our vote or freewill to another – a politician, a corporation, a priest or a stranger – we should be prepared for unknown consequences. What may look like piracy, conspiracy, or terrorism against us is IN FACT a result of our own actions, which we are for the most part unaware of! The unaware are those locked in the cargo holds of they know not what! Their dire situation cries out to them that something is terribly wrong. But they can’t put their finger on it. It seems to be all around, all-encompassing, like a terror in the night.
The key, the antidote, the way out, the answer for these lost souls?… That is for another “time”. Meanwhile there is a cult prostitute waiting for me… but no, I don’t think I will avail myself of her services this time around.