Behind the Headlines
by Justin Raimondo

December 3, 1999


The Battle for Seattle was the opening salvo of a war for independence, a shot that will one day be remembered as having been heard around the world. That it caught the ruling elites with their pants down – heck, that it happened at all, in these anesthetized times – was a truly glorious victory.


A victory – against what? Don't be fooled by the media "spin" being given out by CNN, Fox, and the networks, that this is the work of violence-prone agitators and "black-clad anarchists": tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators thronged the streets in protest against the faceless bureaucrats of the World Trade Organization. The media conglomerates have an economic and political stake in the success of the WTO, and are not about to let a bunch of out-of-step disrupters get in the way of forging the final links in their global communications cartel. As Matt Drudge so eloquently put it:

"Who cares if CNNMSNBCFOXNEWS and all of the rest of the phony cable news channels did not have the guts to cover the globalism riots in Seattle in real-time.

"They're yesterday's way. Late-century frauds that will get washed away like a bad nightmare in morning light.

"Didn't the same channels go live – for hours – to a Seattle shooting episode last month? That story was on message, I suppose. GEMURDOCHTURNER like shootings, don't like protests against world systems – that they run."


There 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 the world.


Commentators 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.


The 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.


Don't 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.


Yet 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 earth.


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.


Something's happening here, as the old song goes,

"and what it is ain't exactly clear.
"There's a man with a gun over there,
a-tellin' me I've got to beware.
I say hey, children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going 'round."

Members 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.


Although 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:

"it's 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."


Sounding like Pat Buchanan, Nader continues:

"You 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."


Something's 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

"This 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."


The 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 Drudge. ["The 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,

"To think that she had once told students at a commencement address at Harvard: "Those who graduate today will live global lives!"

"Albright must have been reassessing the concept, while sipping lattes, trapped in the lobby of the Westin Hotel as anti-globalism protesters raged outside."


Yes, 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 issues:

"Us 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."


Go, 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.


We get a completely different perspective on the Seattle Rebellion from Francis 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 brought Hegel 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

"What 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."


How 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 . . .


Fukuyama 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:

"The 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."


Globalization 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.


But 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 to happen?


In 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.


Fukuyama, representing 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 of Hegel.


Born 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. . .


According 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 . . .


That's 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:

"One 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 them."


Egalitarian 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?


The 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."


A 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.

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