AIN'T IT WONDERFUL?
were all sorts of people clogging the streets of downtown
Seattle, telling the WTO to go home: not only trade unionists,
hippies, and people dressed as sea turtles, but also a contingent
of Young Republicans, believe it or not, and a vocal and very
visible group of Reform Party activists whooping it up for
Pat Buchanan, the only presidential candidate to stake out
a claim on this turf. Someone gussied up to look like a giant
sunflower stopped Madeleine Albright's limousine dead in its
tracks. It was that kind of a crowd: heterogeneous,
determined, overwhelmingly peaceful except for a few
bad apples and, as it turned out, very much unwelcomed
by the bigwigs who convened to decide the economic fate of
were puzzled: what, after all, could such a disparate group
have in common? But the real question is: why shouldn't
the left and the right, labor and environmentalists, blue-haired
hippies in turtle suits and preppy Young Republicans in plaid
and pennyloafers all stand united against a threat to America's
national sovereignty? For that is precisely what is at stake
in the Battle of Seattle.
premise behind the Seattle protests is simple and unambiguous:
the WTO, with its "trade tribunals" that meet in
secret, is a cabal of unelected bureaucrats that has no legitimate
authority to regulate the commerce of the world. As such,
it is a criminal conspiracy and must be politely but
firmly shut down. Just as the minions of King George III were
surprised and routed by the rebels of the Boston Tea Party,
so the would-be global economic planners were caught unawares
and embarrassed by their own inability to even make it out
of their hotel rooms.
COALITION OF MALCONTENTS
be misled by the media spinmeisters, who depict a confused
and cacophonous coalition that includes everyone from Ralph
Nader to Pat Buchanan, the Sea Turtle Alliance and
the John Birch Society. Of course the trade unionists
want to preserve their status as the labor aristocracy; the
"greens" want to preserve environmental regulations
passed by Congress and the state legislatures; farmers want
to preserve their family farms against the ups and downs of
the market while the black-garbed self-styled "anarchist"
kids so beloved by the media (CNN illustrates all its reports
of the Seattle events by showing them smashing windows and
heaving trays of Big Macs) are just striking out blindly at
anything that happens to get in their path, with no real politics
except an unarticulated rage directed at what is. These
people, we are told, are just malcontents, professional complainers
and violent troublemakers who aren't united on anything.
AGAINST THE MONSTER
all of these groups with varying degrees of effectiveness,
and whether they know it or not are in effect rebelling
against the imposition of a one-world government. No matter
what slogans they chant, whether against capitalism or in
favor of animal rights, they are objectively fighting for
the independence of the nation. Ever since the end of the
cold war, not only American sovereignty but the entire concept
of national sovereignty, anywhere and everywhere, has been
subjected to a concerted attack. The Battle of Seattle is
the first evidence that Americans are finally standing up
against the globalist monster whose tentacles encircle the
Tens of thousands of anti-globalists
peacefully blocked the entrance to the convention hall in
the best tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, yet already
a dubious "conspiracy" theory is being pushed in
the media, notably
by the London Telegraph,
which claims that the whole thing was planned in advance by
shadowy "anarchist" groups organizing over the Internet
that instrument of subversion: "The rioting and
chaos of the past two days was anything but spontaneous,"
the Telegraph breathlessly informs us, "but rather
the result of coordinated efforts over the world wide web."
This cloak-and-dagger stuff may thrill the British tabloid
writers, but hardly explains how and why a mass movement against
globalism brought tens of thousands of activists spanning
the political spectrum out into Seattle's rain-slicked streets.
A better explanation is that a mighty political and cultural
rebellion against the tyranny of the acronyms WTO,
NATO, IMF, OSCE is gathering force, and Seattle is
the first shot fired across their bow.
happening here, as the old song goes,
what it is ain't exactly clear.
a man with a gun over there,
a-tellin' me I've got to beware.
say hey, children, what's that sound?
look what's going 'round."
of my own generation will recognize the old Buffalo Springfield
song, cited above, written shortly after the 1968 Chicago
riots that marked the Democratic Party national convention.
Most of those young people didn't understand, fully, what
they were up against, or even what they believed; like the
Seattle protesters, they rebelled against the elites who thought
they knew better, against the conventional wisdom and its
enforcers, against the idea that ordinary people are powerless
to change a system controlled from the top. Yet there is one
big difference between then and now, and that is the politics
of the rebels.
depicted as a leftist phenomenon by the Tory media, the reality
is that Seattle's anti-globalist mobilization represented
a left-right coalition. In an
exchange with the weirdly uncomprehending Mary Matalin on
Crossfire, the quintessential country club Republican
dame testily declaimed to Ralph Nader that "Some of the
protesters there before they even get to their gripe on trade
object to the existence of a World Trade Organization. They
say that it's imperialistic or it's big brother or it's one
world. But all it really does is just set rules and rules
that its members agree on ultimately. So what is it that the
what is the protest, the real protest on the WTO? Isn't
it just that those who don't like the WTO want it to make
their rules, their labor rules, their environmental rules?"
Yeah, so what's wrong with a cabal of self-appointed
global bureaucrats seizing control of the world economy, anyway?
"Well," for one thing, said Nader:
not democratic. That's why liberal and conservative groups
here in Seattle as well as trade unions, environmental, consumer,
church groups are all united, because they don't object to
international exchange of goods. They just don't want to subordinate
their health and safety standards in the environmental, consumer
and worker area to the imperatives of international trade
before secret tribunals in Geneva that operate like kangaroo
courts and would be illegal in this country."
like Pat Buchanan, Nader continues:
know, this World Trade Organization is an enormous loss of
local, state and national sovereignty by our country. And
what are we getting for it other than constant foreign countries
hassling our consumer and environmental and worker safety
laws. And that's not right."
THAN A TRADE ORGANIZATION
happening here, and, for Buchanan, what it is couldn't be
clearer: As he put it in an
interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning, America
is more than a trade organization. This is an embryonic institution
of world government, which asserts the right to veto laws
democratically passed by the United States. For example, Diane,
if we Americans want to defend sea turtles and porpoises,
that is our business. Who are these international bureaucrats
to tell us we can't do it? The spirit you see rising up here
is really a spirit of independence and liberty, of nations
and peoples to decide their own destiny without having dictation
to them from global institutions."
DRUDGE VERSUS THE GLOBALISTS
Seattle rebellion, as we have seen, is not confined to the
anti-capitalist left, but encompasses the populist right:
among its most enthusiastic (and lyrical) celebrants was Matt
World is Not Enough," November 30, 1999]. Drudge
is the original cyber-journalist, catapulted into the
spotlight by being the first to break the Lewinsky story,
and became a hero to the populist right for exposing the corruption
of the Clinton administration. His take on the Seattle protests
focuses on the fury and evil of Mad Madeleine Albright, sitting
there in traffic and confronted with a giant walking sunflower,
think that she had once told students at a commencement address
at Harvard: "Those who graduate today will live global
must have been reassessing the concept, while sipping lattes,
trapped in the lobby of the Westin Hotel as anti-globalism
protesters raged outside."
WHAT A PLEASURE
it is indeed a pleasure to imagine that bloodthirsty old cow,
the preening victor of Kosovo, rendered helpless and immobile
by costumed demonstrators dressed as various plants and animals,
all of them leering at and taunting her through the car window
as she looks on in helpless horror. But aside from indulging
in a bit of good clean fun, Drudge's mini-portrait of Albright
makes an important point about the interconnectedness of the
Albright watchers have suspected for some time, that for Madam,
The World is Not Enough. Her raw lust to control on a geopolitical
scale is something beyond ego and ambition and a hot new St.
John outfit from Neiman's that makes your Chinese counterpart
forget that you bombed his embassy in Kosovo."
Matt, go a "raw lust to control" describes
what motivates the globalists and their corporate backers
to a tee. And note how he brings in Kosovo an event
that radicalized many on the right in the same way as Waco
and Ruby Ridge. Interwoven with Drudge's critique of the media
as a tool of government and corporate elites, this amounts
to as radical an assessment of the corruption of American
society as was ever made by any New Leftist of the sixties.
AND THE END OF HISTORY
get a completely different perspective on the Seattle Rebellion
Fukuyama, the audacious young neoconservative theoretician,
writing in the Wall Street Journal, who believes that
"The Left Should Love Globalization." Are we supposed
to be shocked shocked! that Fukuyama
is using socialist arguments to win over the left to the virtues
of the WTO in the pages of the Wall Street Journal,
the Pravda of Finance Capital? Well, if anyone is qualified
for the job of arguing like a leftist, then certainly it is
Francis Fukuyama, neoconservative boy wonder who not only
into the foreign policy discussion, but also famously discovered
"the end of History." This was the title of his
much-touted essay, published at the height of the turmoil
that ended in the dissolution of the Soviet empire, in which
Fukuyama caused a sensation by declaring that
we may be witnessing is not just the end of the cold war,
or the passing of a particular period of postwar history,
but the end of history as such; that is, the end point of
mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of
Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."
OF DEJA VU
many times have we heard this before or doesn't anybody
remember "The End of Ideology"? It was just before
the cultural and political upheaval of the sixties that Daniel
Bell, in The
End of Ideology, proclaimed the end to ideological
conflict in American politics. The great liberal consensus
was established, beyond the possibility of any challenge,
and all questions were settled beyond doubt. Oh sure, said
Bell, one of the original "neoconservatives," we
might want to tinker around the edges here and there: but
in essence this the world, circa 1955
is the best of all possible worlds, and anyone who doesn't
agree is a wicked "extremist" whether of
the left or the right was immaterial. Shortly after the book
came out, the first Free Speech demonstrations erupted on
the Berkeley campus . . .
WAY TO A WORLD STATE
very cleverly scolds the left for not supporting the WTO on
the grounds that it really represents the best hope of setting
up a world state that will raise up the condition of workers:
WTO is the only international organization that stands any
chance of evolving into an institution of global governance,
setting rules not only for how countries will trade and invest
with one another, but also for how they will deal with issues
like labor standards and the environment."
AND THE THIRD WAY
is "progressive" not only because it raises Third
World living standards, but also because it extends the web
of regulations that prevent business from "exploiting'
labor. Under the rubric of "free trade," Third Way
globocrats offer the left and the unions a piece of the pie
provided they get with the program. In this, Fukuyama
anticipated Clinton's address to the assembled WTO delegates,
in which the President held out the promise of getting some
of the protesters on board: "The sooner the WTO opens
up the process" of rule-making to outside groups, "we'll
see less demonstrations and more constructive debate."
Why not let the labor unions into the process of global cartelization
that flies the false flag of "free trade"? But the
labor unions aren't buying it. For as Fukuyama points out,
their power does not extend much beyond national boundaries.
As greedy, thuggish, and narrowly self-interested as many
labor leaders might be, they are not stupid: they know that
union power will fade, along with the power of nations, in
the New World Order of the future.
THE "INEVITABLE" INEVITABLE?
while Fukuyama appeals to the "traditional values of
the left," he is really making an argument of necessity.
Don't waste our time with pointless protests, he seems to
be saying, just bow to the inevitable "globalization,"
you see, "will not be reversed." As the intellectual
poster boy of a
crude Panglossian determinism, Fukuyama gives his arrogance
an intellectual gloss by invoking the usual mumbo-jumbo about
the Internet and making vague references to "technology."
Isn't it funny how these utopias are always supposed to be
somehow inevitable, the unavoidable wave of the future? But
why, then, is so much effort spent in persuading and even
coercing people to accept the "inevitable"
why don't the globalists just sit back and wait for the inevitable
"SERIOUS" GET WITH THE PROGRAM
any case, "serious people on the left," Fukuyama
avers, "need to repudiate the kooky fellow travelers
who have come to party this week in Seattle. Globalization
is too serious a business to be the occasion for a radical
nostalgia trip." Since history has supposedly "ended,"
according to Fukuyama, all radicalism, whether of the
left or the right, is necessarily a "nostalgia trip."
What an anemic and decadent worldview! Better a black-garbed
masked and hammer-wielding anarchist smashing windows in the
streets of Seattle than a smug, self-satisfied philosopher
of complacency, hailing the advent of universal stasis. And,
oh yes, any dissent from the Third Way is "kooky"
the favored epithet of the elites for any idea or group
that threatens their monopoly on power.
the Institute for Public Policy at George Mason University,
appeared on CNN's Moneyline [December 2, 1999], again
appealing to the left to support the "progressive"
WTO. What qualifies Fukuyama for the job of doing outreach
to the left on behalf of the WTO and its corporate controllers
are the views of his Marxist mentor, Alexandre
Kojeve, the obscure Russian émigré and interpreter
in 1902, in Russia and educated in Berlin, Kojeve gave a series
of influential lectures on Hegel's Phenomenology
of Spirit at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, in Paris,
from 1933-1939 [collected and edited by the poet Raymond Quesneau,
and published as Introduction
to the Reading of Hegel (1947).] After
World War II, Kojeve worked in the French ministry of Economic
Affairs as one of the chief central planners of the Common
Market. In his famous lectures, Kojeve advanced the thesis
that history had "ended" in 1806, at the Battle
of Jena. And if that isn't wacky enough for you, then
you ain't heard nothin' yet. . .
IDEOLOGY, WRONG COUNTRY
to Kojeve, and disciple Fukuyama, Napoleon's victory "actualized"
the universal principles of Western liberalism and heralded
the coming of a "world homogenous state," in which
peace and democracy would reign supreme over the entire globe.
And the punchline is: Marx had been right about the inevitable
victory of socialism, but his adherents had placed their bets
on the wrong country . . .
THE FINAL STAGE
right, all you deluded Americans: it was not the old Soviet
Union but the United States that represented the realization
of the Marxist dream. Or, as Kojeve put it:
can even say that, from a certain point of view, the United
States has already attained the final stage of Marxist 'communism,'
seeing that all the members of a classless society from now
on appropriate for themselves everything that seems good for
consumerism is communism without the bread lines, the wall
posters, and the Gulag. And so we are supposed to believe
that all disruptions of the established order, such as occurred
in Seattle, are necessarily pathological, and in any case
cannot be well-intentioned since, after all,
we are living at the End of History, the best of all possible
worlds. So just relax, and let yourself become one with the
global monoculture. Forget about those reactionary relics
of a bygone era, such as national sovereignty and local control:
the coming of the "universal homogenous state" is
inevitable. As the spokesman for such a worldview, what better
defender of the WTO than Fukuyama?
GLIMPSE OF MODERNITY
curfew imposed on the city of Seattle by the authorities,
and the declaration of a 50-block "protest free"
zone prefigures the kind of world that the WTO is building
for us in which the entire earth will be a "protest-free
zone." In the New World Order of the globalized future,
the response of our unelected nomenklatura to organized
opposition will be to militarize the streets, ban the private
possession of gas masks a law passed by the Washington
state legislature just for the occasion and demonize
dissidents as "kooky" and "violent."
single image of the Battle for Seattle, broadcast on December
1 over CNN, is seared into the cells of my brain forever;
like the afterimage of a bright flash of illumination, it
will superimpose itself on my view of the world for a long
time to come. In a story covering the Seattle events, in which
a voice-over was explaining that the "disruption"
was the fault of violence-prone "anarchists," the
camera zoomed in on a protester on the ground, his bald head
scraping the pavement with a policeman's enormous boot
placed squarely on his skull, pressing downward hard enough
to keep him prone on the ground. It conjured the famous image
in George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, 1984,
in which the author, speaking through one of the characters,
asks us to imagine the future of the human race as "a
boot stamping on a human face forever." This is
what the Battle of Seattle was all about and the good
news is that Americans from all walks of life are not about
to take it lying down.