: There seems to be not too little in the way of distress, in regards those who attempted to cobble a freer trade agreement between the respective representatives at Seattle. As has been done on countless college campuses, the noisome antics of adolescent thugs has been used to disrupt legitimate proceedings that apparently did not enjoy the the blessings of the socialists. With the effective rabble rousing of a few key Leftist groups, the whole conference was brought to a standstill. What's a capitalist to do?
Don't be silly, Doc. The protestors didn't stop the talks; nor did they cause them to founder. What caused them to founder was the fact that the US and EU couldn't agree on agriculture; and the fact that the African nations were furious about being invited to the talks and then denied any part in the decision-making protest.
What the protests did do was to raise awareness of the WTO and its aims in the public eye across the world; and I'm glad to have had a hand in organizing the protests, even though my contribution was small.
"From the day after the opening of the conference we became aware that Africa was not being taken into account in the way the negotiations were to be conducted... The fact that Africa was not brought into the running of the conference was the subject of various criticisms and a source of frustration." - Khalifa Ababacar Sall, Senegalese Foreign Trade Minister.
"We from developing countries were...treated like delinquents...We didn't come here to sit outside and drink coffee while the decisions were taken by the richer countries." - Clement Rohee, Foreign minister of Guyana.
"We have long insisted that it is not enough for trade to be free: trade must also be fair. It is unacceptable that, in the name of hard cash, in the name of profit, certain forms of competition should be allowed which are based on total disrespect for people's rights or total disrespect for environmental values." Antonio Guterres, prime minister of Portugal.
The US negotiator, Charlene Barshefsky, also remarked that the WTO had outgrown its current method of gaining agreement by consensus.
(which leaves what; violent and non-violent coercion?)
Even if they didn't stop the talks directly, the protestors made it pretty clear that any democratic country which disregards the popular unease over the WTO's methods and goals is going to be headed for a rude shock.
For myself, I'm going to have a bit of a rest until next May Day.