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Re: [smygo] India, the WTO, & Capitalist Globalization

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  • David Graeber
    ... I thought Mr. Fast considers himself an anti-Statist. Yet here he is identifying policies inflicted on Third World workers through state violence as
    Message 1 of 3 , May 31, 2000
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      >On 30 May 00, at 21:13, Dan Clore wrote
      >(quoting the article "India, the WTO and capitalist globalization"
      >by Jaggi Singh <jaggi@...>):
      >> The official Indian government delegation to the
      >> Seattle WTO Ministerial meetings took a hard-line
      >> stance, at least publicly, against linking trade to
      >> labour and environmental standards. It was a position
      >> supported by all the major parliamentary factions,
      >> including the so-called left parties. Indeed, the
      >> government's view not only echoes that of other
      >> governments in the "Third World", but is critically
      >> supported by the majority of progressive opponents of
      >> globalization in India and the rest of South Asia.
      >>
      >> It's not that activists here are "soft" or relativistic
      >> about labour standards, the environment or human rights;
      >> nor are they naïve about whom the Indian government
      >> really represents. Rather, they see Western governments'
      >> apparent discovery of universal human values and standards
      >> as a ploy to ensure a competitive advantage for their own
      >> multinational companies.
      >
      >So how does the "progressive movement" reconcile the
      >disagreement between the utopians (and rich First World
      >industrial workers) who want to impose their standards on
      >others by force (even if it means Third World workers lose
      >jobs and starve), and "progressive opponents of globalization"
      >(and also multinationational corporations) who oppose such
      >cultural imperialism?

      I thought Mr. Fast considers himself an
      anti-Statist. Yet here he is identifying
      policies inflicted on Third World workers through
      state violence as freedom, and any attempt to limit
      that violence as something imposed.
      In fact, in election after election after
      election the Third World workers in question have rejected
      just the sort of neoliberal polcies that the US government,
      IMF and World Bank propose; time after time the
      governments have then been forced to adopt those
      policies anyway by the direct orders of state elites in
      the US and industrialized world, and through the
      medium of the coercive force of local states, with
      the inevitable mass protests against these policies
      being met with even more massive state violence.
      How can anyone not notice this? How can
      anyone assume that the actual stated desires of the
      Third World workers in question are irrelevant, and
      presume to declare that he knows better than they do
      what is good for them? I often wonder. My conclusion
      is that it is the inevitable result of their own
      utopianism (which is presumably what makes them so inclined to
      hurl the epithet at others): which is IMHO the most
      dangerous conceivable form, a kind of free-market
      version of Stalinism. It's basically the same line:
      an enlightened elite has discovered the True Science of
      Society (in this case free market economic theory)
      and since it's the only way to organise any society,
      everyone must shut up and do what they're told because
      though it'll mean horrible dislocation, misery and
      death now, somewhere down the road, we don't know
      quite when, it will lead to a paradise of prosperity
      and happiness. (Why do you think it was so easy for
      old Stalinist elites in Eastern Europe and China to
      switch over to the Neoliberal line. It's basically
      exactly the same line, except with a different "science
      of society").
      For a proponent of this sort of imperialism to
      then go on to claim to be an _opponent_ of cultural
      imperialism because he defends the rights of, say,
      Mexican workers to not be allowed to form unions without
      thugs coming to carve the flesh off of union organisers
      (as often happens there; union organizers are often
      murdered in extremely gruesome ways), or the rights
      of Pakistani 10-year-olds to be sold as debt pawns by
      their parents and end up spending the rest of their brief
      lives working 12 hour days weaving carpets, is, well,
      rather ironic.

      Now if I have to deal with the same tedious
      free-market ideology here as on the net I'm going to
      have to ask Dan to take me off the list. This shit is
      tiresome and I have _much_ better things to do with
      my day. Mr. Fast is obviously a nice guy personally,
      but for whatever psychological reasons he seems to have
      decided to become an apologist for brutality - mainly,
      it would seem, because of a wishful-thinking desire not
      to have to face up to the ugliness of what really goes on
      in the world. Whatever the reason, I don't want to know.
      I am tired of debating with such people. Could this
      please be the last?
      David
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