Impotence of anti-globalization protestors

They’re noisy, dis­rup­tive and some­times cause injury, but the pro­tes­tors who will gath­er at the Can­cZn meet­ing have lit­tle chance of chang­ing any­thing. Like their pre­de­ces­sors at Seat­tle and Rome and Gene­va and Mel­bourne, most of them have com­plete­ly mis­tak­en their tar­gets.
Here’s an exam­ple of cock­eyed aim from the Friends of the Earth Inter­na­tion­al (“FOEI(link to FOEI website)”:http://www.foei.org/).

Behind the rhetoric about ‘rules-based trade’, ‘lib­er­al­iza­tion’ and the ‘Doha Devel­op­ment Round’, the real­i­ty is that the WTO’s trade and invest­ment rules are con­sis­tent­ly being shaped around the inter­ests of transna­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions, con­sol­i­dat­ing their glob­al expan­sion and remov­ing any remain­ing obsta­cles,” says the report ‘_Business rules in the WTO: Who pays the price?_’ released in Lon­don Thurs­day.… “The report com­piles a num­ber of very dis­turb­ing exam­ples of what has gone wrong, and what can go wrong unless the influ­ence of cor­po­ra­tions over the WTO is halt­ed some­how.” _from_ the World”>http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?type=DocDet&DocId=MjE2MQ”>World Busi­ness Coun­cil for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment web­site

Cor­po­ra­tions have no more influ­ence over the WTO than the FOEI does.  What the cor­po­ra­tions know—and the FOEI doesn’t seem to know—is that the Orga­ni­za­tion doesn’t make the cru­cial deci­sions. All the impor­tant choic­es are made in nation­al cap­i­tals. In order to make head­way on their issues, NGOs have to stop preen­ing their “glob­al” and “inter­na­tion­al” cre­den­tials; give up the showy rough-house fes­ti­vals at inter­na­tion­al meet­ings, and get down to the much hard­er busi­ness of win­ning influ­ence with nation­al gov­ern­ments who might be pre­pared to pur­sue their caus­es in WTO. Why haven’t more NGOs done this? The answer seems to be that it’s too hard. Sin­gle issue inter­est groups—including cor­po­ra­tions, church­es and even envi­ron­men­tal lobbies—have a hard time gain­ing a promi­nent place for their obses­sions on the agen­da of nation­al gov­ern­ments. That’s because nation­al gov­ern­ments have a com­pli­cat­ed bal­anc­ing task to man­age: defin­ing and pur­su­ing nation­al objec­tives. To influ­ence this process you have to be ready to com­pro­mise.

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