Burn Baby, Burn.

Unless you live in a cave, you know that the WTO conference in Seattle has been disrupted by violent protests. After peaceful civil disobedience delayed the opening of the conference, protesters took it to the next level.

Torching police car, breaking windows, throwing rocks, leftist demonstrators have proven that RED ain’t dead.

The WTO is an international organization that regulates the foreign trade policies of its members. Want to refuse to import products made by child labor in sweatshops? Want to prevent the import of crude oil mined using out dated and environmentally deadly methods? Want to just say no to importing things made with forced labor of political prisoners? Good Luck.

Membership in the WTO is like having everyone give their keys to an alcoholic. It exists solely to promote the interests of corporations.

It destroys barriers to moving manufacturing to third world countries.

It protects companies who ditch their American operations for ‘greener pastures’ in corrupt undeveloped nations where they can buy off the government. They get to set environmental policies, labor polices.

What corporation doesn’t dream of moving to a place where 50 cents buys 12 hours of work? Where $20 in the palm of a hand can buy license to dump dangerous chemicals into rivers?

Corporations don’t just save money on wages. They save money with bribes. It’s a hell of a lot more expensive to buy an American senator than a South American ‘el presidente.’

Each step between the people and the power makes the power that much harder to control. National politics are hard to affect; an international non-governmental organization is impossible.

Now the National Guard is on the scene. A curfew has been established. The section of downtown where the meetings are taking place is closed off to protesters. A few ‘violent’ incidents are now being used to justify pissing on constitutional rights- peaceful assembly, freedom of speech, right to petition. It’s not just ‘violent’ protesters being kept out; peaceful groups are shut out.

I wouldn’t want to break the law by exercising my right to free speech, but maybe this reaction by the government justifies more violence. It’s the government that chose to escalate the conflict.

Of course, this could just be a diplomatic ploy. How better to make the trade delegate from a fascist banana republic feel at home----military police, tear gas, and coffins.

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