ppi.026-Geneva Report: rkm presentation to NGO meeting


Richard Moore

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    a public service of CADRE (Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance)
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         ppi.026-Geneva Report: rkm presentation to NGO meeting
                          Richard K. Moore

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Geneva 12 May 1998

Hello from Geneva,

First I want to express my gratitude to the people at WILPF and the
"Special NGO  Committee on Development" for organizing the "round table"
and for being such gracious hosts for me in Geneva.  In particular Henry
Volken, chair of the committee, who took the time to show me around Geneva
and who invites me every morning for petite dejuner.  He is a most charming
man, a long time grass-roots activist, most of whose life was spent in
Banglore India.  I've been given a desk for the week in the WILPF office
and I must say it is a great privilege to be in the company of these people
and the spriritutal energy here is palpable.

Below is the talk which I read to the meeting in the UN building.

There were four speakers, and all were from a progressive perspective.  I
believe a document will be prepared of all the talks, which I will of
course pass on when it becomes available.  (I trust an email version will
be distibuted.)

There were about 150 attendees, which the the committee was very pleased
with.  And as we looked over the signup sheet that had been passed around,
Henry exclaimed more than once his pleasure at seeing who showed up.

The attendees were representatives of NGOs, "Non-Governmental
Organizations".  In some sense NGOs are the closest thing we have to
"people's representatives" on the UN scene.  WILPF (Womens International
League for Peace and Freedom) is an example of an NGO, and there are many
many others active in the areas of peace, human rights, workers rights,
envirnomental concerns, etc. etc.

A film crew was on hand, a respected documentary team from "télévisions
suisse romande", and they are creating a documentary, of which our session
will be part, to be broadcast in Switzerland on 25 June (8pm).  They also
indicated that it would be carried in US, UK, and on European channels.
They will be sending me a copy of the program on tape after it is

I better close now, there are many contacts I must follow up on regarding
activiites this week.

Love to all,


             Presentation to the Special NGO
                Committee on Development
                    round table on
          World Trade Organization (WTO) and its
     effects on economic, social and cultural rights
                     12 May 1998

    "History, structure and future developments of WTO"
                     by Richard K. Moore,
          Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance

1. The purpose and mission of the WTO
The postwar initiative for global trade liberalization
began in 1947, under US leadership, with the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  GATT has grown
through several "rounds" of international negotiations,
and in 1995, in the  "Uruguay round," the WTO was
created.  The creation of the WTO promoted GATT from
being a treaty to being a membership organization, and
one, I might add, that has considerable power to enforce
its decisions.

There are a hierarchy of institutions which some
describe as a de facto world government.  At the top is
the G7, which is an exclusive club of the very richest
nations.  Below that is the OECD (Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development), which is an
exclusive club of the developed nations, and which
currently has 29 members.  The OECD acts as a neoliberal
"think tank," and its recommendations have been highly
influential in determining the policies of the IMF and
the World Bank.

The WTO is at the bottom rung of this "de facto world
government,"  and it has a much larger membership, with
upwards of 127 countries participating.  In order to
understand the role of the WTO, in terms of economic and
cultural rights, and in terms of democracy, I would like
to relate to you some recent events around the MAI
(Multilateral Agreement on Investments.)

Thus far, the MAI has been promulgated under the
auspices of OECD.  The negotiations have been highly
secret -- even government ministers in the 29 member
countries have been largely in the dark, not to mention
the millions of citizens who would ultimately be
affected by the MAI.  This "stealth" approach to
international arrangements, up until recently, seemed to
be entirely successful.  It seemed that the MAI, which
some have described as the single most significant
international agreement in all of history, was going to
become operative with almost no one even knowing.

But the draft document was leaked, was posted to the
Internet, and a worldwide grass-roots opposition
movement arose.  This opposition was reasonably
effective, and the MAI is now temporarily stalled.  One
of the stratagems being considered to get the MAI "back
on track" is to move it from the OECD to the WTO  --
since the stealth attack didn't quite work, the idea is
to attempt a more traditional frontal assault.

But there is considerable hesitancy regarding this move
to the WTO.  Since the MAI has become a volatile issue,
moving it to the WTO would bring more public attention
to the WTO, and this elicits some concern in elite
circles.  Consider these excerpts from an article on
this topic in the Financial Times of 30 April last...

    "...striking the balance between wider public
    consultation and capitulation to lobby groups will not
    be easy. Some diplomats fear that if they concede too
    much they will be unable to resist demands for direct
    participation by lobby groups in WTO decisions which
    would violate one of the body's central principles.

    "This is the place where governments collude in private
    against their domestic pressure groups," says a former
    WTO official. "Allowing NGOs in could open the doors to
    European farmers and all kinds of lobbyists opposed to
    free trade.

    "He and other trade experts fear the result would be to
    paralyse the WTO's effectiveness as an engine for
    freeing trade and turn it into a happy hunting ground
    for special interests."

There we have it in black-and-white, the purpose and
mission of the WTO:
    "This is the place where governments collude in private
    against their domestic pressure groups"

Bur what are "domestic pressure groups"?  This,
evidently, means the same thing as "European farmers and
all kinds of lobbyists opposed to free trade"... in
other words anyone who isn't a free-trade advocate is a
"special interest group."

To put it simply, the "domestic pressure group" that the
WTO is designed to ignore is the public itself! In other
words, after reading between the lines, we find that one
of the "central principles" of the WTO is that it be a
place where governments get together and collude in
private against their electorates, and against the the
whole principle of democracy.  The WTO is where
governments come together to _betray the constitutions
under which they were elected!

And what is the mission of the WTO?... a mission so
important that democracy cannot be allowed to stand in
the way?...  the article tells us that as well, by
defining the WTO to be "an engine for freeing trade."

That is, the WTO is _not a place for nations to come
together and decide what they want to do about economic
matters, it's a place where nations come to _be
_engineered into adopting neoliberal policies, which
means little more than signing away their sovereignty.

2. How did things get to this sorry state?...
the Story of Globalization...
From the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) until the end of WW
II,  the world system was one of sovereign nation
states, frequently  competing for power and influence.
Among major powers competition  for spheres of influence
was the primary mode of rivalry.   Hierarchical empires
or spheres grew sometimes to worldwide  dimensions, but
the dynamics of the world system nonetheless remained
as-a-whole anarchic until 1945.

Among nation states, the democratic republic eventually
became  the norm among dominant powers.  The singular
strength and vitality  of republics came from an
implicit but effective partnership-of- interests between
capitalism and democracy: between elite interests  and
popular interests.  The partnership was beset by bitter
internal  conflict, an on-going see-saw struggle for
power, but was overall  functionally collaborative.  The
creative energy of capitalist  enterprise, combined with
popular nationalism, proved to be  unbeatable.

The year 1945 is noted for the splitting of the atom --
the  release of tremendous energy by breaking the
previously sacrosanct  bond of the atomic nucleus.  But
1945 also saw the fission of another  sacrosanct bond --
that binding capitalism to the core of the nation  state
-- and the splitting of this bond has been of far
greater  historical significance than the splitting of
the atom.  From 1945  onwards a de-facto pax Americana
military hegemony stabilized the  free-world system and
enabled the fission of the nation-capital bond  to

Globalization is largely the unfolding of this profound
fission  process.  Corporations naturally expanded after
1945 into the "Free" World generally, giving rise to
modern TNCs -- mammoth economic empires  whose interests
have increasingly diverged from those of their
erstwhile home-base nations.  Meanwhile, elite-dominated
bureaucracies, such as the WTO and the IMF, have
increasingly been  granted, by various treaties, the
power to regulate global policy for  a broad range of
economic and social issues.

The capitalist elite have evolved a coherent "class
consciousness" which is embodied in various think tanks
and other  institutions, such as the Council on Foreign
Relations, as well as in  the official global
bureaucracies themselves.  These institutions
decisively influence leading (G7) governments, and thus
globalization  is being systematically planned and
implemented under conscious elite  guidance.  The
foundations of an elite-dominated global regime have
been established, and its policies are designed to
maximize TNC  growth, at the expense of nearly all other

Strong republics, no longer required as home-base
fortresses by  TNCs, have become a hindrance to elite
objectives.  The popular power  inherent in democratic
mechanisms, often exerting political pressure  for such
"emotional" and "unproductive" values as human rights
and  welfare, has become counter-productive to elite
interests.  The  emasculation of democracy through the
destabilization of the nation  state has therefore
become an elite objective, as reflected by the
neoliberal revolution (begun c. 1980).

The term "revolution" is appropriate -- neoliberalism is
nothing  less than a grab for total power by the
capitalist elite.  Each of  the neoliberal euphemisms
(free trade, deregulation, privatization,  tax reform,
governmental reform) amounts to embezzlement from the
coffers of the nation state: the transfer of assets,
power, and  sovereignty from national/public ownership
and control into the hands  of corporations or their

The role of national governments generally is devolving
toward  those long typical in the Third World:
maintaining public order, by  force when necessary,
protecting corporate operations, and competing  with
other governments to attract corporate investments.
Governments, it seems, are to function much like
colonial  administrations of old, on behalf not of some
national imperial  power, but on behalf of an anonymous
globalist system.

 As a consequence, our erstwhile democracies are rapidly
gearing  up to function as police states, with the USA
as the trend setter.   Civil liberties are being
systematically dismantled; police forces  are being
paramilitarized; public expectations regarding civil
tranquility are being shifted.  The issues of crime,
drugs, and  terrorism have been cynically and callously
manipulated (including  even government involvement in
drug imports and terrorism) so as to  provide a
justification for the implementation of police state

Propaganda has always been an important tool of elites
in  democracies -- a counter-balance to the popular
power of the vote.  By  means of scientific persuasion
techniques and the mass-media,  propaganda has become
awesomely effective in controlling public  attitudes and
perceptions.  In their selling of globalization, the
media have displayed Orwellian virtuosity by
reprogramming public- consciousness along neoliberal,
anti-government lines.  In the US  even the Bill of
Rights has been redefined to be a joke, a crime-
encouraging technicality.

Media propaganda has been equally effective in promoting
a new  era of global military order, a regime which
history will date from  Desert Storm, and which George
Bush off-handedly referred to as the  "New World Order."
The US and NATO are managing to get themselves
installed as a de-facto elite global police force,
empowered to  utilize whatever tactics they deem
advisable in the pursuit of open- ended "authorizations"
which are typically forced through the UN by  US arm
twisting and sold to the global public by the elite-
controlled  mass-media.

The core of the modern nation state has come unbonded,
and the  economic elite have cast their lot with a
centralized successor  system.  There can be no
returning to the pre-1945 status quo, and  there are no
incremental reformist measures available to moderate the
onslaught of globalization, nor are any likely to be
attempted within  the elite-dominated political system.

This sorry state of affairs is especially galling in
light of a  rational assessment of mankind's situation.
In terms of resources,  productive capacity, and
technological capability, there is no reason  why the
Earth cannot be a paradise for all.  For centuries
prosperity  was associated with growth and expansion,
but that paradigm is no  longer workable.  Growth itself
has become the problem: sustainable  economics is a
necessity and it can provide global prosperity -- but
not  unlimited capital growth.

The gauntlet has been laid down by the elite, and the
people of  the West have two options: they can acquiesce
in globalization and  prepare themselves for the role of
disenfranchised corporate serfs,  or they can seize the
moment and rise up in peaceful democratic revolution
around a platform and strategy every bit as radical as
that of the  elite, but based on global liberation and
prosperity instead of  global enslavement and austerity.


                  "Seeking an Effective Democratic
                      Response to Globalization
                        and Corporate Power"
           an international workshop for activist leaders
        June 25 <incl> July 2 - 1998 - Nova Scotia - Canada
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