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From License to Plunder to License to Kill

Maria Mies is an emeritus professor of sociology in Koln, Germany and leader in "subsistence economics and the Global South. "The Crisis as a Chance: Exodus from the Accumulation Logic" can be read on portland.indymedia. This anti-WTO address address is from November 2001 before the Katar round.
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Original article is at  http://vancouver.indymedia.org/news/2002/06/12706.php
From License to Licence to Kill: Against the MAI
by Maria Mies Thursday June 13, 2002 at 03:46 PM
 mbatko@lycos.com  mbatko@lycos.com

Maria Mies is an emeritus professor of sociology in Koln and leader of "subsistence economics" and the Global South. "The Crisis as a Chance: Exodus from the Accumulation Logic" can be read on www.portland.indymedia.org.

From the License to Plunder to the License to Kill

Global Free Trade and War

By Maria Mies

[This anti-WTO address from November 8, 2001 before the Katar round is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://web.utanet.at/labournet.austria/archiv6.htm.]

From November 9-13, 2001, the economic ministers of 142 member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will meet in Doha (Katar) in the Persian Gulf to discuss another round of liberalization of world trade.

It is an irony of history that the WTO that experienced a fiasco at its last 1999 summit meeting in Seattle now meets on the Katar peninsula out of feat of the protests of civil society. They probably feel more secure where hundreds of bombing missions were flown daily against the wounded land of Afghanistan from American aircraft carriers. Economic negotiations will occur in the shadows of bombers and helicopter gunships. The war against "worldwide terrorism", the struggle over expansion of global free trade and repression of democratic resistance belong together.

Since Seattle, this resistance has grown numerically and qualitatively worldwide. No summit meeting of the "global players" or the unholy trinity (as I call them), the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO, will not be disturbed by a growing number of people who have lost faith in the promises of corporate-controlled global free trade. These people resist the world becoming a commodity and the profit of a few being stylized as more important than the environment and humanity.

These promises are: global free trade creates growth and growth creates jobs and prosperity for everyone. This is the supposed prerequisite for equality, freedom and democracy.

Globalization from Below

Globalization from below is directed first against the destruction of democratic structures in one's country and everywhere in the world. Democracy and global free trade are like fire and water, said John Gray, former advisor of Margaret Thatcher. Global free trade can only function when immunized against obstructions of democratic elections.

People in the South realize that the promises of the free traders are deceit. According to the reports of UN organizations, the inequality between the countries and within the countries has increased since the introduction of neoliberal "economic reforms" (around 1990). Even the World Bank admits this. In the countries of the South, these "reforms" have led to more poverty, more hunger, more unemployment, economic stagnation, more sickness and more illiteracy. There are also more poor today than ten years ago in the countries of the North.

In addition, this policy encourages greater ruthlessness toward the environment. The US ignores international environmental treaties (e.g. Kyoto protocol). Only growth and victory in the international competition are important.

Besides these negative effects of neoliberal globalization, the license to plunder (Mies/ v.Werlhof 1998) leads almost necessarily to the license to kill. With its structural adjustment programs, the neoliberal policy of the WTO, IMF and the World Bank results in impoverishment, terror, civil war, expulsion and refugee misery everywhere in the South (for example Mozambique, Burundi among others). The wars breaking out between ethnic groups who previously lived relatively peacefully side by side and with one another are explained as deadly ethnic/ religious/ cultural hostilities that can only be pacified through "humanitarian intervention", that is war by the "civilized world community". The same pattern meets us again in the Afghanistan war. This is even described as a war of the "civilized world" against barbarism, above all Islam.

The economic interests of the western countries in these new wars are systematically concealed with this war propaganda accompanying these new wars. After the 1991 Gulf war, the American economist Hazel Henderson wrote "war is good for the economy". War creates jobs. The Gulf war pulled the American economy out of the recession of the eighties. The economies of the "Free World" (the US, EU, Canada and Japan) are all caught in a deep economic crisis that resembles 1929. Despite all the free trading, growth rates everywhere must be drastically corrected downwards. As long as capitalism has existed, it has sought to solve economic crises through wars.

On October 29, 2001, the Frankfurt Rundschau (FR) reported that the Pentagon awarded the "largest armament contract of all times" to the arms conglomerate Lockheed Martin: $200 billion for building 3000 super-fighter jets. This contract should last 30 years. The FR exclaimed: "In North Texas, the champagne corks popped." The billions represented jobs, purchasing power and prosperity for the US as a whole, not only for California. Now I understand why Bush and his vassals need a "long-lasting war". War is good for the (western) economy.

These new "de-regulated wars" (Otto Schily) are the necessary results of the globalized economy. This can already be discovered in the new Nato strategy passed after the Kosovo war (1999). Other war objectives arise in the globalized world than during the West-East confrontation, we read there. These objectives include provision security of the Nato states and defense of western values against fundamentalist currents. Fundamentalist Islam is identified as the enemy. The next trouble spots are named in the Weizsacker paper of the German army (2000): the Gulf region, the area around the Caspian sea, the GUS states, and North Africa, all areas crucial to our "provision security", our oil supply.

The WTO negotiations in Katar and the New War against Terrorism

Maude Barlow, director of the Council of Canadians, writes that the US relies on the Anti-Terrorism coalition to enforce its agenda in the WTO. US Trade secretary Robert Zoellick equates support of global free trade and the struggle against terrorism. He declared that "global free trade promotes the values making up the core of this long-lasting struggle". The US may not withdraw from its "global responsibility". This means defending free trade against the terrorist threat and against the opponents of globalization (Barlow, Globe and Mail, October 10, 2001).

A new agenda for the negotiations in Katar resulted at the end of October from this new orientation. The US has forged a new united front with the EU (European Union) analogous to its Anti-Terror alliance with Europeans. They push differences with Europeans to the side (agriculture is not on the agenda any more). The US attempts to individually break the countries of the South from the alliance of the lands of the South through offers of money, promises of debt cancellation and levying economic sanctions (Pakistan). Of 142 WTO members, 100 are countries of the South. These countries are strictly against a new "round". They demand that the results of the earlier free trade agreements be analyzed before a new liberalization round begins.

The Americans now argue that whoever resists the alliance of the "free West" strengthens the terrorists' camp. In a press conference of November 6, 2001, German defense minister Scharping even spoke of a new front line with the US, Europe and Russia (the "free West") on one side and the countries of the South on the other. The WTO negotiations in Katar will also accentuate this front.


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