cj#663> Elias Davidsson re: GLOBALIZATION mini-series


Richard Moore

Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997
Sender: Elias Davidsson <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#659> Your responses to: GLOBALIZATION mini-series

Dear cj,

Although educational materials on globalization are always needed, I have
strong reservations about producing a TV-series or programme on the issue.
It has been shown elsewhere that TV is inherently a bad medium to "educate"
people to independent thinking cannot be trusted as an instrument of
emancipation. The reasons for this are numerous:

1. The passive nature of TV
2. The nature of TV programming in general, in which issues, commerce and
entertainement is intertwined in a continuous flow of information "to be
3. The connotation of TV
4. The economics of TV, which block almost by definition any programming
that might offend those who own and run the station
5. The lack of institutional follow-up after the educational process. There
is organized address which can channel the political awareness to concrete
action. Thus the information creates at most a frustration which consumers
cannot deal with.

I believe therefore that the idea of producing educational materials on
globalization should be pursued in conjunction with a wider political
agenda. Without this agenda, the focus of the educational material might
also suffer and the efforts might end by being futile.

Please read my reservations with a grain of salt. I am playing the devil's
advocate. The idea itself is of course very good by itself. The danger of
co-optation (have an institution finance a 'diluted' production), is real.

Elias Davidsson

Elias Davidsson - Oldugata 50 - 101 Reykjavik - Iceland
Tel. (354)-552-6444     Fax: (354)-552-6579
Email: •••@••.•••     URL:  http://www.nyherji.is/~edavid

Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997
Sender: Elias Davidsson <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#659> Your responses to: GLOBALIZATION mini-series

Dear cj,

An afterthought to the question of the use of media for an progressive agenda.

In a continuous struggle between The People and Power, each participant in
the struggle attempts to shift the battle to the forum in which he is

Thus in the battle for traditional public opinion, the possibilities of
dissident voices to win within the traditional forum (media, institutions)
are almost nil. One can win here and there an argument or expose a scandal,
but these intermittent victories are overshadowed by a strategical
weakening of the dissident movement, which relies on the Power-controlled
media to convey the message.

Similarly, there is no way dissident movements in the West can engage Power
on the basis of armed struggle.  Any armed struggle, whether urban guerilla
or other, is condemned to fail.

I submit that fora can be identified in which even very weak parties can
win. What is important is to identify these fora and force your enemy to
get you on your own terrain.

What are such fora ? For the first, these fora are not tangible artifacts,
they are conceptual. These include a number of moral values such as Truth,
Justice, Integrity, Dignity... These include a culture of human solidarity,
which can and should be developed....

What I am saying is not only a theoretical thesis. I do practice it in real
life and will provide one example.

I have come to the rational conclusion that the trade embargo against the
Iraqi people is in fact a criminal act, as defined both in US law and
international law. Accordingly I consider all individual political leaders
who have ordered their subjects to enforce this embargo as responsible,
either as principals or as accomplices, to criminal acts, and should be
brought to trial. On that base I have demanded the prosecution of Iceland's
foreign minister and will not withdraw my demand while he is living, as
participation in war crimes is not subject to time limitations.  My
demarche in Iceland is unique and has no precedent. It has brought forward
a number of interesting points. While most media are loathe to publicize my
charges, I have been able slowly to make these charges known more and more
by continuing at each opportunity to remind the media and the politicians
that the charges are still standing. I have moreover challenged the accused
to bring ME to trial for diffamation, if he is courageous enough. But the
response is a loud SILENCE. However as time passes, the SILENCE becomes a
liability for the accused. The charges become known, the accused begins to
feel embarassed. At one point he will have either to use coercion or give
up. One must also remember that even after the embargo will be lifted, the
guilt of the charged person will not disappear.  In such a situation, even
one person, equipped with the text of existing law, can challenge a very
powerful system. Of course, I discount here the likelihood of physical
elimination, which is always open to the Powers that be. They can just
assassinate the dissident to remove the embarrassment. But they cannot
assassinate the evidence and the truth.  This awareness can be read in
messages by numerous freedom fighters and should not be taken lightly.

Now, a part of my appeal to those in power is that by failing to apply the
rule of law, they are forfeiting their claim to legitimacy, thus giving de
facto legitimacy to legal self-help, in other words to actions by citizens
aiming at restoring basic justice.  In clear text this means that acts
which under normal circumstances would be illegal, become legal under
Customary Law, as the rule of conventional law is not any more operative.
This is the basic rationale behind the right of Peoples to armed struggle
against occupying powers and colonialism (while Colonial Powers might claim
a conventional right to a territory, such as a Treaty between them and some
Chiefs of the colonized land, this treaty would be voided by a higher legal
order, namely the right to ensure the rule of customary law (including the
equality of human beings and self-determination). This struggle for
legitimacy should not be underestimated, for one must remember that
legitimacy cannot be assured only with coercion, it must in the long run be
accepted willingly by the subjects. And when authorites are slowly
undermining their very legitimacy by refusing to apply the rule of law,
their power base diminishes.

Thus, one of the vulnerable spots of Power is its moral bankrupcy.   I do
not believe in dissidents' movements abilities to challenge The System by
using the same weapons as The System does.

Comments are welcome.

Elias Davidsson