Wildcat Economics The Supramodern Shaking Uncontrollably
we are at war...
critical analysis
disemboweled poetry
street media
the movement
Search DU


Enter your email to receive DU's Dispatches from the Supramodern

Think Irresponsibly

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Economist is a rag that I love to hate. In terms of international political affairs coverage it can’t be beat. In terms of its politics, I’m inclined to throw a Molotov Cocktail—a figurative one of course—into its editorial department.

The Molotov Cocktail would create less damage than the 160-plus years of its publication has created by helping decision makers, bureaucrats and those who hold the power of the purse think responsibly.

The recent “Think Responsibly” marketing campaign is crafty, The Economist logo on a bottle cap, with a play on the phase beaten into our heads with every booze ad, “Drink Responsibly” printed underneath. It’s very good, and I’m sure they’ve sold a few more papers by showing the world what makes neo-classical economists laugh.

By thinking responsibly The Economist has espoused an unquestioning free-market ideology that creates winners and losers of the most extreme degrees, and that calls any form of defense the loser takes a barrier to trade.

The losers may be Mexican maize farmers washed out of the market with freely traded U.S. subsidized corn, or U.S. steel workers cut out of the market by an undervalued Chinese currency.

While The Economist’s distinctly wry British wit is entertaining, it lacks unique and innovative insights.

The world yet again faces a crisis bred out of capitalist greed and neoliberal economic principles, and The Economist supports the $700 billion Wall Street bail out, but with no systemic reform.

I think it’s prime time for a little irresponsible thinking.

--Nico Rahim

Posted in: Wildcat Economics

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Ma.Gnolia


Why copyleft is right (and how commercialization is wrong)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Check this out.  A six second drum loop from The Winston’s 1969 B-side “Amen Brother” revolutionized modern music, and pop culture as we know it.  From early hip hop of the late 1980’s to the UK Rave scene in the early 1990’s this six second loop created the modern break beat and changed the way people made and heard music.  The Winston’s never sought compensation for the usurpation of their beat.  The funk/soul group of the Baby Boomer Generation gave it freely to the Gen Xers.  But now, the same six second Amen break is being used by mass marketers to sucker Gen Y & Z to buy everything from Jeeps to whack-ass tracks.  The free exchange that hip hop and electronic music was built on is no more.  Under current law, we will never see a musical and cultural movement created “legally.” There will be no more DJ Shadows Endtroducing.....and there will only be more well financed labels slightly changing beats and buying up copyrights.  Anyway, check it out, it explains better than I can. 

Thanks to http://www.sp1r1t1nc.com for the link.

Posted in: Wildcat Economics

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Ma.Gnolia


Two points from Mexico: Integrating activism on both the points of production and consumption

Monday, August 20, 2007

By Nico Rahim

During a recent trip to Mexico I spoke with an acquaintance who is a gringo expat in Mexico City working for a community radio station with strong ties to La Otra Campana.  While discussing the immanence of revolution in Mexico and the lack of any coherent revolutionary movement in the US she brought up two very important points: 1) the US has vast independent media resources yet lacks a movement for it to mobilize behind, 2) in the US activism focuses too heavily on the point of consumption rather than on the point of production.

We see the first point with the great success of such programs as DemocracyNow!, publications like Adbusters, and websites and blogs such like Guerilla News Network.  There are Indymedia websites for almost every major city in the US, though it should be noted that many Indymedia sites throughout the nation are dormant, inactive, and infected with spam.  Radical print is struggling in the US with publications like Clamor, Lip, and Kitchen Sink all going under within the past year, but I will save that discussion for another article.

The problem with many independent media outlets--Democracy Now! comes to mind--is that it has taken the status quo’s practice of objective journalism and has given it a leftist slant.  This guise of objectivity has neutered its revolutionary thrust--forgive the patriarchal metaphor.  Granted, we are talking propaganda, but the New York Times propagates inaction, the spectacle of an informed citizenry, one that is able to make rational decisions within the proper political dialog.  Make no mistake, the conclusions within the proper political dialog are rational for that match its premises:  America’s reign as the sole superpower must be sustained by any means, the increase in the private wealth of a few creates benefits for society as a whole, and any infringement of an individual’s acquisition of private wealth is an infringement on one’s fundamental rights as a free individual. 

Independent media, and Indymedia specifically, does address these issues and calls into question the premises, but the void created from the missing mobilization of leftist groups recreates the culture of inaction that is propagated by the institutional media, only this time through the spectacle of dissent. 

The second point, and probably more important, is that activism in the US is primarily based around consumerism.  I am guilty of this, though my perspective on the issue is more nuanced than that of my expat friend.  I primarily buy local and organic produce, my cigarettes are organic and my coffee is fair trade.  I stay away from large chains, I do my banking at a local cooperative credit union, I stay away from Starbucks on multiple grounds, from its disastrous effect on local business to its financial support of the Israeli Defense Service.  But consumer activism will not create the radical change that is now so greatly needed.  It often seems this green consumerism is just another marketing ploy for people to live with less guilt while still fulfilling the only thing that is ever asked/demanded of them: to consume. 

To be fair, and to pat myself on the back, “ethical consumerism” does have its benefits.  The rate of growth for fair trade, organic, and sweatshop-free products are now outpacing the rates of growth within the greater economy in most developed nations.  There are quantifiable gains when one consumes with one’s ecological footprint in mind.  But by focusing on the point of purchase alone compliments the standard modus operandi.  New markets are created to appease the new breed of ethical consumers, and as we have seen with the watering down of organic standards, when ecological and social ethical standards are forced to compete with corporate, profits ethical standards lose.

It was interesting to hear Subcomandante Marcos comment on the Zapatistas’ taste for Coca-Cola, while speaking at CEDECI in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.  Some, mostly gringos, have pointed out the hypocrisy of serving, selling, and consuming Coke given the Zapatistas’ position on the privatization of public land and resources--the Coca-Cola Company loves to buy water rights in areas that thirst for clean drinking water.  For Marcos, those who dwell on the ethical dilemmas posed by enjoying Coke or not enjoying Coke totally miss the point.  Ignoring the public health costs of the sugary syrup that is heavily subsidized by the US Farm Bill, is Coca-Cola, at its point of consumption, a necessarily a bad thing?

For Marcos, all the injustices found at the various points in Coca-Cola’s supply-chain, should be addressed at those various points.  If people take back the water supply, take over the factories, and decide that they still want to produce Coke, then let them produce Coke.  But, I’m inclined to think that if people did take over the means of production, they probably wouldn’t want to use there resources producing Coke.

When looking at the two issues, independent media with no movement and consumer based activism, we are in actuality looking at the same issue presented in two ways.  Independent media makers work on the point of production, often trying to influence an audience who takes in the information at the point of consumption, while ethical consumerism works at the point of consumption to influence the point of production.  And both, at this point, are utter failures, at least when looking at them in a macro-political perspective of creating a powerful counter-project.

Posted in: Wildcat Economics

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Ma.Gnolia


Anti-G8 Fallout: Learning from Past Actions in San Francisco: An Interview with Josh Wolf

Monday, July 02, 2007

By Nico Rahim

Reposted from indybay.org

Fault Lines interviewed Josh Wolf and Gabe Meyers, the two people targeted by the federal and local authorities after the July 8, 2005 Anarchist Action Anti-G8 demonstration in San Francisco. Anti-capitalist protests and demonstrations against the G8, WTO, and other institutions that represent neo-colonial domination and corporate globalization have always been met with more aggression and hostility than normal marches for peace. Granted, these demonstrators are often much more militant. With a police officer injured and a police car damaged, the authorities felt a need to subpoena and prosecute.

Fault Lines: The consensus is you were committing an act of journalism, and were protected under the California Shield Law. In some interviews you said that the Feds were on a witch-hunt. What kind of witches do you think they were after?

Josh Wolf: It seems they were after anarchists and anarchism in general. But it also seems like a multi-level attack on civil dissent, and on anyone who demonstrates against this administration going all the way up to the US Attorneys who were fired. Which couldn’t be that much farther from anarchism.

FL: Were you surprised at the support you received from the mainstream media?

JW: Yeah, I guess pleasantly surprised would be a good way to sum it up. It didn’t seem shocking; it seemed sensible. It sort of mitigated some of my distrust around the mainstream media, and its entirely being fucked to the core.

FL: You have described your video blog as transparent journalism, transparent in that your biases are open and transparent to all. What is the significance of radical media, independent media, and other media that is not afraid about taking stands in social justice movements?

JW: When it comes to civil dissidence, the mainstream media only covers from the cops’ perspective—to reinforce the status quo. Half of the dialog is missing, so independent media and the alternative press fills in the other half of the conversation…

The mainstream news sources do serve a purpose, but if you look at it like there is a pie of information, that’s just one-eighth—one slice—out of the giant pie of things that we, as educated and informed people, should really stay abreast of.

FL: Going back to the Anarchist Action demonstration in San Francisco against the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles, it seemed like two police officers in one cop car were the catalyst of the violence, by breaking ranks and going after the protesters instead of letting it die down on its own.

JW: That’s partially right. It’s not that the two police officers broke ranks with the tactical police force covering the demonstration; they were actually on duty patrolling the Mission. They were responding to a 911 call about vandalism by people in black, which was not at that time known by the dispatch to be a part of the demonstration.

FL: Not to justify violence against the police, but was the fallout caused by the police being overly aggressive in trying to disburse the remaining demonstrators?

JW: When you look at the policemen, you have to look at Shields and Wolf, who were the police officers involved in that thing, arriving on the scene. Prior to that [the police] were almost respectively...it was weird, when they called over the loudspeakers to disperse, they were like, “The officers from the San Francisco Police Department order you to disperse. Failure to do so will result in you being arrested.” That sounded like something they don’t say, it was far different from their normal shouts. Then Shields and Wolf showed up and I guess got freaked out and decided that the best approach was to accelerate the car in the hopes it would force the protestors to disperse. Which is obviously a highly dangerous tactic. And their response to that was to chase after the two people they almost hit...was just obscene.

To give some context: The year prior there was a Reclaim the Streets demonstration on June 8, 2004, to correspond with the G8 Summit in on Sea Island. The police mass arrested 120 people. They surrounded everyone at 5th and Market and then arrested everyone who was there--there was no disperse order or anything. A number of those people did not want to give their names to the police so in a jail solidarity action about 40 people identified themselves as Jane and John Doe. The government refused to release the protesters until they gave their names.

They eventually worked out a deal that they would drop the charges, prior to them giving their names, which would be retroactively reversed if they didn’t give their names. So here we have a situation where some government entity was probably seeking the names of protesters on June 8, 2004. So this just reinforces the thought that this was again just some sort of witch-hunt to identify those who were protesting.

FL: So the reason you stayed in jail for so long was not because you didn’t want to release your unpublished video, but because you did not wish to testify in front of the grand jury about your video?

JW: They wanted the footage because they wanted all of the intelligence they could gather, but what they really wanted, which never really came out in court, was for me to testify and give the identities of those on the footage. After we had lost the fight in the 9th circuit level to protect the footage, we actually offered to show the US Attorney that there was nothing on the tape. We submitted a declaration saying there’s nothing on the tape. [My lawyers said] how about we just turn over the tape and you let Josh go. [And the US Attorney responded] “No, we need his testimony.”

FL: What do you say to those who say that your case was a waste of time because you weren’t protecting anything?

There are some things that are worth fighting for, but when you lose the fight seeing that you are only protecting the right to fight it, you might as well just show them that you have nothing in your hand. It’s kind of like when you’re playing a poker game, you might want to bluff a hand, but when it comes to all in and you really have nothing, then there’s no reason to stay all in.

FL: It seems the federal government will continue to crack down on civil dissent, especially on those who should be protected and aren’t professional journalists. Do you see anyone else being put through the ordeal that you were put through in the near future?

JW: It will probably be someone related to the something like the Wen Ho Lee case, and I imagine it will be highly unlikely that it will be an independent journalist.

Read Gabe Meyers’ interview here.
From Fault Lines #21

Posted in: Wildcat Economics

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Ma.Gnolia


It is hard to stand when your back is broken.

Monday, April 30, 2007

By Nico Rahim

I’m not a big fan of commenting on other people’s blog entries.  But, while procrastinating I responded to a blog entry on Ella Baker Center for Human Rights‘ site called “Will the socially conscious people please stand up???” I probably shouldn’t have, given the title alone plays into two of the more annoying expressions of the day, but it does ask an important question—where the fuck is everyone?

Here it is:

A social consciousness is a heavy burden. Even a trip to the grocery store is like most presidential elections where one must choose between the lesser of two evils.  Whole Foods may claim to have a negligible carbon footprint, yet it denies its workers the right to organize.  Wal-Mart is quickly becoming an industry leader in “greening” its bottom line.  The money it saves from energy efficient technologies is not funding health care or living wages for its workers, but used to increase stockholder equity.

The “green movement” has been co-opted.  Vanity Fair—with all 500 pages of fashion ads promoting merchandise made by raw-fingered South Asian and South American women—shows how the fashionable a “social consciousness” can be so long as it can be kept exclusive, and in the hands of those with the resources to be charitable. 

Activism has become a privilege.  The average student graduates with an average debt of nearly $20,000.00, which often makes it nearly impossible to support one’s self with a non-completive salary that comes a long with a job at a “socially conscious” non-profit.

One only has to look at how the revolutionaries of the 1960’s became the yuppies Reagan’s 1980’s to see how significantly a social movement can be subverted. 

A quick look at history, and of present day situations, will cause a stress fracture on the spine of anyone with a social consciousness.  But stand up we must en masse to share the burden—distributed the weight—to push to social momentum in the direction of economic democracy and in turn ecological sustainability.

Posted in: Wildcat Economics

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Ma.Gnolia


Doing it for Daddy

Monday, April 02, 2007

By Nico Rahim

America has come a long way.  Two of the top candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are a black man and a white woman, something that was unthinkable only a generation ago.  This brings to mind an idea I had a while back--a screenplay about a black man and a white woman running against each other in a Democratic presidential primary.  As it now stands, the idea has lost its timeliness.  Why go for a fictitious representation of a black man and a white woman sacrificing their gender and racial identities to appease the white patriarchal status quo when it is playing itself out right before our eyes.

Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are shaking up the presidential mold that, until recently, has been quite formulaic.  The chief executive has always fit the status quo in three categories: image, rhetoric, and economic, or, Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real to give a Lacanian spin.

In image, the president has always been a daddy, a white male patriarch, the ultimate father figure whose capacity for both wrath and beneficence keep subjects fearful, respectful, and in line with his demands.  In the US the collective power of the Daddy is absolute, but the power of the presidential daddy is not.  There is a long line of daddies behind the presidential daddy all fighting to usurp as much power as they can.

Rhetoric is the category in which the executive finds the most freedom.  Rhetoric compliments the image yet distorts the economic.  It is with rhetoric that a well coiffed man in a suit tries relate to the callused handed men and women of the United States’ industrial sector, it is through rhetorical means that he attempts to assure America’s--rich in credit while poor in capital assets--middle class that is working for their best interest.

In economic is the most concrete: state capitalism, just has totalitarian and absolute as Soviet Communism and various fascist regimes of the 20th century, but set within a pseudo-democratic political apparatus with a greater respect for civil liberties than those regimes of the past.  State capitalism is not the total free market capitalism that is too often considered the prevailing ideology of the day.  State capitalism is Big Oil, the military industrial complex, Big Agriculture, and HMOs; state protected industries that look not after the development of the people but of sustaining profitable returns.

Also falling within the economic is American imperialism.  There has never been an American president who has not looked kindly upon American imperialism.  From the early presidents’ westward march taking out indigenous and Spanish-Mexican barriers in pursuit of the Manifest Destiny, as well as the US’s long over looked attempted land grab of Britain’s Canadian territories that sparked War of 1812 to America’s current imperialist pursuits in the Middle East.

What originally sparked the idea of the screenplay was a chapter from bell hooks’ book Reel to Real (1996) entitled “Doing it for Daddy.” In the chapter hooks puts black men and white women on an equal playing field in their relation to the daddy—the white patriarch.  Because of this relationship they are forced to compete with one another for favors from daddy.

hooks says, “To become powerful, then, to occupy that omnipotent location, black males (and white women) must spend their lives striving to emulate white men.”

In image, Obama and Clinton are at a loss.  They are not daddies, they could never be a daddy no matter how much they try to position themselves as such.  To get to their current positions of power within the United States Senate Obama and Clinton have long known how to “do it for daddy,” but now with their presidential aspirations clear, daddy will be the only person they will do it for.

Because of their ever-present lack in image, Obama and Clinton must compensate within the rhetorical and economic.  That’s where they have adequate space to emulate the daddy, to distance themselves from the aspects of their racial and gender identities that don’t fit the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy,” as hooks refers to the status quo.

We see this both Clinton’s pro-war alignment to Obama’s indifference to the overt racism exposed when Katrina blew away the metaphorical carpet, both are trying to distance themselves from the political and social stances normally associated with their racial and gender identities.  Notice that I say distance--not renounce.  Their identities of being non-white men are a political asset—the patriarchal status quo is always looking for ways to palatably diversify without compromising the entrenched power structure--while being a white woman or a black man is not.

Much has been written about Obama’s blackness: he’s black, with direct roots in Africa, but is a black American?  Sure, Obama may not have roots to slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynching, and segregation, but he’s not white and lives in America, he has most definitely been subjected to the subtle racisms of the everyday that pervade American life.

Senator Joe Biden took much heat for his “gaffe” in describing Obama. “I mean, you got the first sort of mainstream African-American who’s articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” I wouldn’t call this a gaffe, it seems to be one of the first unfettered and uncensored remarks by a political Daddy on their true reaction and response to Obama’s run for president.

It reminds me of an episode of the Boondocks, where Huey Freeman and family find themselves at a white suburban lawn party.  Huey drops truth on everything from 9/11 to American racism, only to see his words are received with smiles, applauds, and comments like, “Wow, he speaks so well.” and “indeed, yes, yes…he speaks very well.”

This seems to be the Daddy’s first response to the idea of a black man taking the reins as chief executive of the world’s sole superpower, “Wow, he speaks so well.”

We see this where white (straight) men hardly ever compromise their own identities to achieve political success.  Remember John Kerry, in his finest Elmer Fudd swag, duck hunting a few weeks before the 2004 election.  Or George W. Bush off-roading in his Ford F-250 at his ranch in Crawford, Texas? 

Posted in: Wildcat Economics

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Ma.Gnolia


Divide & Conquer

Friday, October 27, 2006

By Nico Rahim

It’s the all too familiar fracture in the American Left: the rich want parks and open space, the poor want decent jobs and housing, both all too often unwilling to compromise one for the other. Granted it’s not that black and white, but looking at the various community groups and organizations that have mobilized around the controversial Oak to Ninth project it seems that those archetypes fit.

The main parties at play are the Oak to Ninth Community Benefits Coalition (CBC) and the Oak to Ninth Referendum Committee. In discussions with Fault Lines, both groups had belittling words for the other. Andy Nelsen of the Urban Strategies Council and an organizer for CBC said, “I think they [the Oak to Ninth Referendum Committee] are misguided, they are throwing everything at the wall just to see what sticks.” He later said, “Our members have no jobs or shitty jobs, public parks and open space will not change that.”

While Kate Tanaka of the Oakland Green Party said Mike Ghielmetti, of the developer Signature Properties, targeted the CBC as “weakest link,” and the easiest group with whom he could cut a deal.

The CBC—consisting of 2,000 residents of the Eastlake, Chinatown, and Lower San Antonio neighborhoods, and organizations such as East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, Urban Strategies Council, and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network—thought the fight for a better Oak to Ninth was over in late July when they reached an agreement with Signature Properties for a project that includes: 3,100 units of housing, with 465 units for low income families, along with 200,000 square feet of commercial space, and 30 acres of open space on the Oakland Estuary.

Nelsen told Fault Lines, “We are quite pleased at the deal we negotiated.” The CBC boasts that the 465 low income units are mainly multi-bedroom spaces to accommodate families who are not just moderately low income—up 120 percent of the area median—but are priced for families at 60 percent of the median, more than double what is mandated for redevelopment areas. The developer is obligated to cover the cost of career training in union apprentice programs—a 900-hour minimum—for 300 new workers.

In late July the Oakland City Council passed an ordinance, 6-0, approving the Oak to Ninth development, with two abstentions objecting to the lack of public schools in the immediate area and the other for lack of public space.

Upon city council approval, members of the Oakland Green Party, Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, and other neighborhood organizations such as the Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt (CALM), formed the Oak to Ninth Referendum Committee, to bring the ordinance to the ballot.

Tanaka told Fault Lines, “There were a number of crucial issues overlooked. The political manipulation of zoning is a crucial issue. Giving away 64 acres of waterfront property for $18 million is a crucial issue. The fact the city will not collect taxes from the development is a crucial issue.” Tanaka continued “In bringing the ordinance to the ballot the public will be able to directly respond to the crucial facts overlooked by the city council.”

They argue that under the proposal agreed to by the city council, Oakland will take the bill for the entirety of the on-site affordable housing, putting a strain on Oakland’s affordable housing budget. Furthermore, all property taxes to be collected from the proposed development will not go into the city’s general revenue account but will be allocated to the California Redevelopment Agency, with 25 percent of revenue from the project going back to low income housing in the Central City East Redevelopment Area. In light of these facts the Referendum Committee believes the Oak to Ninth project could easily be a financial burden to the city of Oakland, not a benefit.

Many on the referendum committee would like to see the city return to Estuary Policy Plan, which was passed by the city council in 1999 and would turn the waterfront area in question to 55 acres of accessible public space. Others fall back on the Port of Oakland’s original sales agreement with Signature Properties that would require them to provide 42 acres of parkland.

The Referendum Committee made headlines in the past month by collecting 25,068 signatures in 30 days to bring the Oak to Ninth project to the ballot, only to see Oakland City Attorney John Russo write an opinion invalidating the petition for failing to present the final version of the ordinance passed by the city council.

The truth is the city is probably correct in its decision. There is no documentation that a member of the referendum committee requested a hard copy of the ordinance—to which the city is by law required to keep, and the Referendum Committee has been unable to identify anyone within the city clerk’s office who gave them faulty information of taking the copy of the ordinance on the city’s website.

Erica Harrold, the spokesperson for the city attorney’s office told Fault Lines the Oak to Ninth Referendum Committee “is trying to save face with their lawsuit, they simply did not do their homework.” Harrold went on to say, “Under State Election Law a petition can be thrown out if there is even a missing comma, yet the copy of the ordinance used to petition by the referendum committee read ‘NOT ACCURATE – TO BE UPDATED’ on the Table of Contents.”

While there may be blatant errors in the Referendum Committee’s hasty attempt at bring the Oak to Ninth Ordinance to referendum, it is hard to undermine their reasons for attempting to do so. According to Harrold there is still an outside chance a judge could grant the committee another 30 days to gather the signatures needed for referendum by petitioning on the final ordinance.

The Oakland City Attorney’s Office is currently litigating two other suits filed by local groups trying to block the current ordinance. The Oakland Heritage Alliance filed suit in late June to protect the historic Ninth Avenue Terminal, and in early September the Coalition of Advocates for Lake Merritt filed suit claiming the developer provided the insufficient and faulty Environmental Impact Reports.

Without a favorable court decision in one of the three pending law suits, the Oak to Ninth Development will go ahead as decided by the city council. While the debate on Oak to Ninth may be over, it is clear that as long as significant disputes remain between those who oppose high end residential development, Mayor Jerry Brown’s famous declaration, “If you are not for gentrification, you are for slumification,” will continue to be the philosophy behind Oakland’s development.

Reposted from indybay.org

Posted in: Wildcat Economics

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Ma.Gnolia


A Positive Failure: The end of the WTO Doha Round talks

Thursday, August 24, 2006

By Nico Rahim

To the dismay of many in the corporate media, the WTO Doha Round failed in late July.  For the progressive and radical communities there was no ground lost, yet no ground gained. However, there are positive attributes to the failure.  The representatives from the Global South stood against the trade representatives from the developed nations and would not give into economic bullying. 

The Doha Round talks sprung from the early post-9/11 global sympathy for the US.  Early on, George W. Bush promoted the Doha Round talks as another front in the War on Terror.  In his 2002 State of the Union address, he closed with the words, “In every region, free markets and free trade and free societies are proving their power to lift lives.  Together with friends and allies from Europe to Asia and Africa to Latin America, we will demonstrate that the forces of terror cannot stop the momentum of freedom.”

Even with all of the rhetoric “W” used to fertilize the ground of his trade policy, he was met with resistance at the Cancun ministerial in 2002 from the G20—a group of developing nations fashioning their name from the G8—who saw corporate globalization not so much as the momentum of freedom, but as rather, exploitation.

Since the resistance toward the corporatist global agenda in Cancun, where Korean farmer, Lee Kyung Hae, took his life in response to neoliberal policy, little progress had been made in either direction.  The G20 and the Global South pressured the US and Europe to cut its agricultural subsidies that created artificially low prices for basic agricultural commodities that flood the world’s markets, forcing farmers in the Global South to sell their goods below costs of production.

The US would not budge without major concessions from the developing world.  US Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, demanded that US corporations be given 1 dollar of market access for each dollar it reduces in its subsides.

This was the stalemate that could not be overcome.  The European countries were willing to compromise by reducing agricultural subsidies and tariffs without demanding significant concessions in market access, and quickly pointed their fingers at the US for the failure of the Doha round.

Posted in: Wildcat Economics

Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Ma.Gnolia



Wildcat Economics

nico rahim
oakland, california

 recent entries

arrowThink Irresponsibly
arrowWhy copyleft is right (and how commercialization is wrong)
arrowTwo points from Mexico: Integrating activism on both the points of production and consumption
arrowAnti-G8 Fallout: Learning from Past Actions in San Francisco: An Interview with Josh Wolf
arrowIt is hard to stand when your back is broken.
arrowDoing it for Daddy
arrowDivide & Conquer
arrowA Positive Failure: The end of the WTO Doha Round talks
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.