anti-WTO protests

Jonathan Flanders jon_flanders at SPAMcompuserve.com
Sun Nov 28 21:03:03 MST 1999



>> The problem with the protests in Seattle is that they
do not relate to a concrete struggle where the chips are on the table. In
essence, they are demands that the aristocracy of the American trade union
movement not be sacrificed at the altar of "globalization". <<

You have to be careful not to dismiss the concerns of a $50,000 per year
aircraft machinist though, I hope. They don't feel so well off when they
are just down the street from the Microsoft millionaires.

This article is a useful starting point for discussions with workers about
the trade issue. I've been scratching my head for some handholds on this
subject that provide some leverage.

I try to stress the dangers of "economic nationalism" that find James Hoffa
Jr. and Pat Buchanan speaking off the same page. China bashing is the
biggest menace. Anyone who shops in the malls of the working class world
sees the flood of imports from that country. Fears of job losses compound
with years of anti-communist propaganda to create a pretty toxic chauvinist
brew.

We need to shine the spotlight on sweatshop and prison labor right here as
a counter-point to the anti-china hysteria. I'd like to see more facts
about investment in China. Who is the trade deficit really with, the
Chinese or the corporate titans?

I am also curious how the contradictions between the union leadership and
their friends in the Democratic Party are going to work out. It must be
pretty strange for a rank and file member of the AFL-CIO to be mobilized to
demonstrate with thousands of others against one's endorsed political
candidates. I haven't seen much evidence of this mobilization on the East
Coast, and thus I lack a first-hand view. Members of my local are more
worried about General Electric's contracting in almost half of the work in
our shop.

Jon Flanders









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