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Re: <nettime> draft article on WTO
Craig Brozefsky on 18 Sep 2000 13:54:07 -0000


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Re: <nettime> draft article on WTO


david teh <davtehaa {AT} arts.usyd.edu.au> writes:

> Quoting Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>:

David, I sent that email to you privately, not to the list, please
check headers next time before you add the list back in.  Mistakes
happen tho, so don't stress.  This is the second time in 5 days that a
private comment of mine has been sent to the list, Brian Holmes did it
previously, even mispelling my name as "Craig Borofsky".  I'm not
gonna get all anal about it, but please be careful, as there is a
reason why people choose to respond off list.  For me it's an issue of
how much time, and energy I can give a thread.

<BTW, this particular email HAS been sent to the list>

I don't have the time, nor the will, to go thru thru your non-standard
formatted response peice by peice so I'll try and summarize my
position on the WTO and the posts we have seen on the topic so far,
including yours.

You only argument as to why we should discard any illusion of removing
corporations from their position atop globalized production is that
they presently are the dominant entity for organizing globalized
social production.  Ozymandius might have made the same argument about
why we need kings to manage our kingdoms as well.  I'm not convinced
by your appeal to a imaginary pragmatism, because it pretends that we
can regulate away the pains of a system with is dependent upon the
subjugation of most of the earth's population.

The people who clamor for a strenghtening of the nation-state are in
the same imaginary space.  They pretend that nation-states are not
competing with one another to offer the best return-on-investment for
investment capital by slashing social services, providing the most
open-ended business environment, and the cheapest labor pool.  They
propose the development of international organizations to synchronize
the regulative positions of the nation-states, as if the global
economy is equalized enough that the nation-states can stand as one
against the competitive force of the global capital.  Every global
collective of nation-states, the U.N, the WTO, is either crippled by
the gross disparities in the economies of it's contituent states, or
is gearing up to be a mercenary force for the dominant nation states.

"Oh if only we can roll things back to pre-1975 and the fixed exchange
rates and capital controls which tied down the transnationals and gave
the nation-state a leg to stand on in it's negotiations with
globalized finance!", they cry, *pragmatically*.  Hey, at least it's
something we can look forward too if there is another world war, those
of who survive that is.

Despite the impossible situation the nation-states find themselves in,
they suggest that we should hand over our social power to the
nation-state.  Why should we do that?  Can we not excercise our social
power without the nation-state?  Of course the established left won't
appreciate that, since they are heavily invested in the power they get
from their proximity to the nation-state.  Like babies grasping for
their bottle, they reflexively cry for a return to the nation-state,
while global capital looks to discard the state, it's own creation.

European workers and the masses act without the unions or the left and
brings western europe to a standstill, the transport unions start
crying for an end to the wildcat strikes, the "left" parties
threatening to deploy their armed forces.  We are betrayed by the
"left" on every issue, and yet we're supposed to trust them, strive
for consensus with them, and let them sap away any social power we
have.  Why do they betray us?  Because they are scared of the social
power we can weild.  Why should we throw this away by subjugating it
to the nation-state, the same structure which threatens us with death
when we dare act upon our sentiments.

If we were to focus our social power in support of the nation-state we
are also playing with dangerous nationalist sentiments.  Considering
the precarious position of the middle class in the superpowers, the
last thing we need is a nationalist push, a strengthening of national
power and national identity.  The U.S. economy is facing a recession
in the next few years, and you can be damn sure that the
U.S. government is not going to toe the line of any international
organization which threatens it's ability to recover and attract
foreign capital.

It's true, we need consensus, we need to collaborate across borders,
to capitalize on the growing discontent within the people on the
border of the middle-class and the working class itself.  But we
should not organize this around a campaign to re-enforce the crumbling
battlements of the nation-state.  We should be working to create
international organizations of workers which can coordinate our
already demonstrated social power.

-- 
Craig Brozefsky               <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
it's alright 'cos the historical pattern has shown / how the
economical cycle tends to revolve / in a round of decades
three stages stand out in a loop / a slump and war then peel
back to square one and back for more -- Stereolab "Ping Pong"

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