WTO protesters deserve better

  Dear HCN,


I have some problems with Jon Margolis' Washington Watch (HCN, 1/31/00: Protesters raised the right questions): Some anti-WTO demonstrators' arguments might or might not have been "silly," but one adjective does not constitute a counterargument. Some of the costumes were "silly'? We readers and the protesters in the street struggles deserve more than a one-word dismissal - I rather liked those sea turtle outfits.


Concerns raised by the demonstrators did not include "pluses and minuses of corporate dominance." They were about one big minus: corporate dominance.


Margolis tells us that the West is "more dominated by government, meaning by the democratic process, than any other region." I hope this is merely an off-the-cuff cleverness, not to be taken seriously. Surely he doesn't mean to equate government and democratic process.


Casting himself as a "non-ideologue with no dog in the fight," Margolis finds it "impossible to look at the world and not conclude that more trade is better than less." Look again, the dog's there.


We're told that "politically" we needn't worry that public land might become commodified, because it's an idea pushed only by "far-fringe ideologues." Again, this strange and imaginary bar between "ideologues' and squeaky-clean others who are presumed bereft of agenda. Also, let's remind ourselves: the "center" sometimes moves fringeward.


Then there was gratuitous condescension toward the French farmer, Bové. That was not cute.


Martin Murie
North Bangor, New York


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