Exchange on WTO between Jim Craven and Congressman David Wu

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Nov 19 12:35:45 MST 1999

Dear Ms. Hamilton and Congressman Wu:

I'm afraid you have the wrong person. We did not share any ideas because I
was the one who walked out of that meeting in disgust. Perhaps I can share
why I did so.

I resented, Congressman Wu, not only the number of people present relative
to the serious and complexities of the issues to be discussed and the meagre
amount of time allotted to discuss those issues (partly not your fault), I
also resented your opening framing of the discussion. I resented your
indicating not being willing to hear critiques of neoliberal globalism or
critiques of the WTO and noting instead that you wanted only to hear some
"positive" suggestions for improvements in  participation in WTO. Even if
you believe that participation in WTO is a "fait accompli", at least listen
to had the participants had to say and present from their own perspectives;
perhaps you would have learned something.

Secondly, as an Economist, who knows something about economics and has
taught economics for over twenty-five years, and, as a Blackfoot Indian who
is very active in Indian Country dealing with some very serious issues--even
outright genocide going on in America as defined by the UN Convention on
Genocide--I was there to say something about the present and highly probable
future impacts of WTO on Indigenous Peoples (I was asked by the conveners to
give such submissions that I had given in other forums) and I don't do
15-second sound bites on any issue, especially on complex issues involving
life and death. I found the time not given for such serious issues to be
typical of the forms of neglect and hubris that Indigenous Peoples suffer
every day--forms of neglect and hubris that have resulted in Indian teenage
suicide rates four to five times the U.S. rate (which is by the way, "Number
One" among 22 industrialized nations). I was there to talk about several
issues: 1) Why President Clinton, the first president to visit an Indian
reservation in 63 years, spent only three hours at Pine Ridge, framed the
discussion not to include the issue of Leonard Peltier (as you framed the
discussed not to include fundamental critiques of WTO), but presumes to
travel all around the world lecturing people like the Chinese about human
rights while wholesale death, corruption and violations of human rights run
rampant in Indian country in America; 2) How WTO authorities and
transnational powers may be used to further escape national responsibilities
and trust responsibilities by the U.S. Government--responsibilities violated
daily already in America--towards Indigenous Peoples; 3) The empirical
evidence refuting the basic economic propositions, theories and purported
"axioms" governing the supposed beneficial effects of neoliberal globalism
and WTO regimes/policies (The "rising tide" may "lift all luxury yachts" but
certainly not "all boats".) 4) Specific and credibile evidence of massive
corruption by Tribal Councils, BIA and Federal Government in Browning,
Montana and elsewhere in Indian Country that bear directly on the notion of
the likely effects of WTO on Indigenous Peoples (Indian Reservations
"specializing" and having a "comparative advantage" in being garbage, toxic
waste, nerve gas and nuclear waste storage--"dump"--sites

I also resented your unwillingness to listen specifically and to respond
specifically (rather than with the party line) to the representations by Dr.
Hart-Landsberg from Lewis and Clark who is, I can assure you, a brilliant
economist who knows much from which you could have learned much. Were you as
combative and unwilling to listen to specifics and respond to specific
evidence at the meeting with the business community that you attended prior
to our meeting? As for my own credentials as an economist, I am professor
and department head of economics at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington,
my bio is given in current and past Marquis "Who's Who: in the World; in
America; in the West; in Finance and Industry; in Science and Industry" and
just perhaps some of my submissions might have given some you some pertinent
information as well.

And finally, I resent this note itself. It is obviously a form letter as we
had no "conversations" as I walked out with the disgust that I retain today.
Another form letter and "pro forma" response and "invitation" to work
further on what? Will you tell me next time the "acceptable parameters" of
discourse and acceptable types of submissions to be made? No thank you.
There is simply too much at stake and frankly sir, I have even less spare
time than you do. you see my people, the Pikanii (Blackfoot) and Indigenous
Peoples all over the U.S. are dying and suffering daily. They see treaties
broken daily; they see corrupt Tribal Councils, aided and abetted by BIA and
the Federal Government sell out the lands and resources on the cheap daily;
they see drugs being sold on the reservation and nothing done about it
daily; and they regard the "Pledge of Allegiance", in content and
expression, as sick joke and unconscionable form of naked hypocrisy.

Sorry congressman, I don't do sound bites, I am an "impolite savage" who
does not waste time in framed discussions designed to stroke the audience
and lead nowhere substantive. I am not refined in my speech or behavior and
cannot "smile with my front teeth and grind with my back teeth." But thanks
again for thanking me for the conversation we never had and thanks again for
inviting me to more framed submissions and discussions. I cannot attend
however, my People are dying.

One last question Mr. Congressman I didn't get a chance to pose: If "free
capitalism" and "free trade" and "neoliberal globalism" works so well and
will work so well for all, why, Mr. Congressman, out of 22 industrialized
countries, is the U.S., the bastion of unfettered capitalism, "NUMBER ONE"
in: rate of infants born at low birth weight, numbers of peoiple in prisons,
executions, teenage suicide, teenage pregnancies, teenage abortion, divorce,
percentage of peplulation without access to health care, homicides and other
violent crimes, percentage of the population functionally illiterate etc?
Where is the "trickle down"? Where are the "spread effects" and "wonders" of
free trade and unfetterd capitalism? And by the way, the above mentioned
rates are four to five times higher in Indian Country in America.


James M. Craven
Professor and Department Head, Economics,
Member, Blackfoot Confederacy
Biopgraphical Subject in Marquis "Who's Who in" the World, America, The
West, Science and Engineering and Finance and Industry.

James Craven
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. 98663
(360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
blkfoot5 at
*My Employer Has No Association With My Private/Protected

-----Original Message-----
From: Hamilton, Jessica [mailto:Jessica.Hamilton at]
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 1999 6:21 PM
To: 'jcraven at'
Subject: Thank you

Dear Mr. Craven,

        Thank you for joining me recently in a roundtable discussion of the
World Trade Organization.  I appreciated your taking the time away from your
families and friends to meet on a Saturday.  Your comments were greatly
appreciated, and I look forward to working with you in the future on trade

        As I mentioned at the roundtable, we are very fortunate to have U.S.
Secretary of Commerce William Daley visiting Portland prior to his trip to
Seattle for the WTO meetings.  I hope that you will be able to attend the
special breakfast event that I am hosting with the Secretary on Monday,
November 29th.

        This breakfast is an opportunity to discuss a number of the key
issues that confront our region's economic future: international trade,
e-commerce, and business development.  It is also a timely opportunity for
us to hear Secretary Daley's thoughts on the WTO Ministerial Meetings the
same day he leaves for Seattle.  As someone who serves on the President's
Export Council with Secretary Daley, I know you will benefit from hearing
his views on the Pacific Northwest and our nation.  As your Congressman, I
look forward to hearing your ideas and concerns.

        I look forward to an informative discussion and hope to see you
there.  A continental breakfast will be provided.  If you have any
questions, please feel free to contact my district office at (503) 326-2901.

Time:   7:30 - 9:00am.
Program begins at 8:00am
Monday, November 29th

Location: Portland State University
          Smith Memorial Center
          3rd Floor Ballroom

Directions: PSU is located in downtown Portland at 724 SW Harrison Street.
Enter Smith Center from SW Broadway, the Ballroom is located on the 3rd

Parking: Available in Structure I (entrance on SW 6th Avenue between Hall
and Harrison), check in at kiosk.

RSVP: Please RSVP to daley.wu at or to my district office at
(503) 326-2901. Please leave your name, organization, address, and a contact

With warm regards,
David Wu
Member of Congress

This mailing was prepared, published, and mailed at taxpayer expense.

Louis Proyect

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