The only things I like are paranoid sex and childish greed,
so no one loves free trade more than I do. Nonetheless, I
think I'm standing on the side of the Communist weirdos on
this: the WTO is bad. The protests against them are good.
I believe that the best way to measure the effectiveness of a protest is by the
crackdown on it.
My logic is thus:
A government is going to do cost-benefit analysis before making a decision.
They're not going to change anything unless it's worth it. Big crackdowns are
expensive. You have to pay the various pigs, and pay them extra for the
unpleasantness of it. You have to shut down businesses. You'll probably have
to pay legal fees later on. You have to pay for arrests, and jail time. You
have to spend money to deal with the angry residents of the upper-middle-class
neighborhood shouting at the police and National Guard troops to leave. In
other words, unless you already have an active and constant protest-suppression
team in constant effect, it costs a lot of money and time and headache.
So you'll only do it if the protest is going to cost you more if left
(You, by the way, in this case, are the government. Hi government!)
So the crackdown on this protest is a BUG FUCKING crackdown. There's curfews.
There's National Guard. They're arresting all kinds of people.
So why is this protest so unpleasant for the WTO?
A few reasons:
1. It calls attention to them. The WTO is a weird shadowy and non-democratic
group. The United States press is also a weird, shadowy and non-democratic
group, but in this case, the thing they do is POINT AT THE WTO AND INCREASE THE
RISK OF LEGISLATIVE REFORM.
2. It annoys the delegates from other countries. Every delegate that walks in
will be forced to notice, "Hey, a lot of people in the U.S. hate us." Some are
bound to think, "Well, fuck the U.S., then." There's already angry trading
partner things going on - an angry crowd outside just adds more tension to it.
I mean, it's a hot sweltering summer day, tensions are high, and rioters are
everywhere. When delegations turn ugly, the diplomats might just *snap*.
Okay, it's not a hot sweltering summer day in Seattle. But it's like 36
degrees in Melbourne. And that's fucking hot.
3. It puts pressure on the U.S. WTO people not to do unpopular things. Anyone
who stands with the unpopular parts of the WTO will be associated with a Bad
Thing, while others will have an opprtunity to be heroish.
4. It annoys the Secret Masters.
5. It's fun to fuck shit up. Driving up to Seattle to protest is kind of like
a vacation, only you don't have to pay the tourist prices. Just smash and
6. It delays the WTO meeting. The meeting is ending Friday. The opening got
delayed due to protests and rioting. That gives them less time to scheme and
smirk. Hell, if the WTO meeting can be made inconvenient enough, it may not be
able to conclude its waxed-moustache-twirling, tying-a-lady-to-the-railroad-
tracks, stapling-you-to-a-passing-automobile agenda.
So, everyone! Go there now! There's still a day left, and I personally
promise that it will be JUST LIKE THE SIXTIES. Be a rioter! Sure you'll get
beat up and arrested and tear gassed and eaten by dingoes, but THINK OF THE