opposing globalization

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Robert Reno's "What Are Globalization Foes Really Searching For?" editorial needed a response, so I wrote one:

Robert Reno's editorial on Wednesday ("What Are Globalization Foes Really Searching For?") was filled with glib talk-radio-style disinformation about the anti-globalization movement; I had expected better. What Mr. Reno refers to as the protesters' "lemming instincts" are actually valid expressions of alarm as Reno's beloved "bulldozer of globalization" destroys human rights, labor laws, and environmental protections around the globe.

Proponents of globalization have attempted to occupy the moral high ground by calling their brand of economic exploitation "free trade," but this is a misnomer of Orwellian proportions. (Attaching the concept of freedom to an odious reality is often an exercise in subterfuge, as we learned in the 1980s when Central American paramilitary death squads were called "freedom fighters.") Anti-globalization protesters are carrying a torch of illumination through the streets (risking arrest, brutalization, and even death) in the hopes that the rest of us will become curious about what happens behind the closed doors of these meetings. If not for the protesters, the average American would likely be unaware that the WTO, IMF, and World Bank even exist.

If Mr. Reno is confused about what the protesters want, it is because media outlets are too concerned with preserving the status quo distribution of wealth and power to present the facts. Not discussing the underlying economic and political issues is an egregious oversight; treating the protest movement as an out-of-control circus sideshow is simply unforgivable. Why is the "Black Bloc" of (alleged) anarchists so well-publicized while the pacifists are ignored? Why is a broken window considered evidence of excessive violence - but not a protester's bullet-riddled corpse lying in the street? These are the sort of questions that need to be answered.

The world might become a safer, more "civilized" place if dissent were completely hidden behind barricades and civil disobedience crushed under the heel of a global police state - but as Ben Franklin said, "Those who would sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." If we, as citizens, continue to disregard these demonstrations while our country - and the world - devolves into a plutocratic oligarchy, we will get the kind of future that we deserve.

update: An edited version of this letter was published on 6 September.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on September 1, 2001 7:28 PM.

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