Klein Addresses Globablization as WTO Opens

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Canadian University Press — VANCOUVER — More than 600 people crowded into Vancouver’s Maritime Labour Centre to hear Naomi Klein speak about “Globalization in our backyards.” Those who didn’t arrive early enough to find a seat, stood five rows deep at the back of the center. Several hundred others who arrived later were not admitted.

Klein’s address focused on the World Trade Organization summit, during which trade officials announced they would begin a new round of global trade negotiations.

“[The WTO] had a problem - no one wanted to hold [the meeting],” Klein said of WTO members’ reluctance to play host to a summit that only two years earlier was stalled after the mass WTO protests in Seattle in November 1999.

“From the perspective of a trade negotiator, Qatar had some undeniable benefits. It’s not a democracy, there are no protesters on the streets and the Qatar government was willing to severely limit the number of visas issued.”

The atmosphere during Klein’s speech was upbeat, with the crowd laughing and cheering.

Avi Lewis, Klein’s husband and host of the CBC’s television show CounterSpin Sunday, sat in the front row. Chiding Klein for her cheesy jokes or controversial statements, Lewis often nodded his head in agreement while leading the audience into outbursts of applause.

Klein began her speech by commending those in the audience who attended the WTO protests in Seattle

“That was a moment that really kicked this movement into high gear. Because of you shit disturbers and trouble makers who went to Seattle two years ago, the WTO has basically been in crisis ever since,” she said,“and the developing world countries have been emboldened to stand up to Europe and the United States and resist the pressure for a new round of negotiations.”

Klein also commented on the implications of the events of September 11 for the anti-globalization movement.

“Post-September 11, we’re already seeing the ’war on terrorism’ being used, not to deepen democracy, but to systematically crack down on pro-democracy and liberation struggles around the world, whether it’s a stepped-up military presence in Chiapas, Mexico or the increased surveillance on our own local movements,” she said.

Klein argued that the erosion of public infrastructure in debt-ridden and war-torn countries, encourages support for fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden among a public discontent with the lack of basic government services, such as roads, schools and basic sanitation.

Klein added, however, that poorer nations are not the only ones susceptible to extremism, and that“Fundamentalism comes in many shapes and forms and sizes.”

“The terrorists aren’t the only ones who believe that all of life can be crammed into a set of rigid humanity-denying rules, whether they be a literal reading of the Quran, or a rigid faith in trickle-down economics. We are surrounded by fundamentalism of all kinds, and the task for those who are fighting for humanity in all of its diversity, is to resist fundamentalism in all its forms: religious, economic, ecological, cultural, and political.”

Klein also spoke about the future of the anti-globalization movement, stressing the importance of a truly global movement.

“There aren’t any fences built that are big enough to contain a movement that is actually everywhere,” she said.

“I really think that maybe we’ll look back on this day as the beginning of a new chapter, where we truly decentralized and started to surround them from all directions.”

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.