Request for texts and Response to Washington Post WTO article

Lisa & Ian Murray seamus at
Thu Nov 4 21:45:03 PST 1999

Could anyone on these lists point me to any good/excellent left texts/webpages on institutional [re]design as in a "Rethinking Int'l Institutions" type stuff? I want to find some nice, relatively self-contained essay/chapters I can both read and make Xeroxes of for people in town and those coming from wherever for the WTO meeting. I/we would greatly appreciate it.

Also, here's the response I wrote to Anne Swardson regarding Hitler and Michael Moore.


Dear Ms. Swardson,

I am writing to you out of deep concern over your utter misrepresentation of the events surrounding Michael Moore's visit to Seattle. As a member of the audience during which the alleged communication about Adolph Hitler being compared to Mr. Moore took place, I find your egregious distortion of what actually happened utterly horrifying.

The discussion of Hitler took place in the context of a question posed by Mr. Larry Dohrs, who is a Seattle based expert on Asian political and economic systems, to Mr. Moore concerning whether or not the WTO would follow the lead of the ILO in removing Myanmar from it's roster of member nations. Myanmar, of course, is a nation that has approximately 10 million of it's citizens in forced labor camps as well as organizing economic production along several other lines of modern slavery. Mr. Moore then laid out what some of the difficulties are in the mechanisms of the WTO for imposing formal penalties up to and including removal from membership. Mr. Dohrs then asked Mr. Moore that, if he understood him correctly, if the WTO was in existence during the 1930's would it have moved to kick Hitler's Germany out of the institution. Mr. Moore then responded that Germany would have to agree to be removed as the WTO requires unanimous consent regarding membership matters of dispute, and that, therefore there would have been a serious problem.

In no way was Mr. Moore likened to Hitler during the course of events at the University of Washington, where the forum in question took place. The citizens of Seattle are known world wide for their politeness and cosmopolitanism, and for you or Mr. Moore to attempt to recount the above narrative in the manner expressed in your paper is either a) a serious, willful lapse of memory and judgement on Mr. Moore's part, or b)a flagrant attempt by you to discredit what, in the final analysis, is the perspective, growing amongst global civil society, that actually existing globalization will exacerbate economic and political inequality, accelerate ecological immiseration and facilitate the institutional lock-in of myriad forms of political and economic power which will preclude the possibility of genuinely democratic forms of governance emerging from the economic crisis of the [very] late twentieth century. Make no mistake, the era of predatory economic development by the wealthiest 10% of the earth's peoples must stop. Fairness and justice in trade are necessary conditions of all citizens attempting to partake in the freedom that is their birthright. Given the last fifty plus years of the Bretton Woods Institutions, citizens all around the globe are rightly concerned about the immense, unaccountable power at the WTO and it's potential to create harms every bit as destructive as the IMF and World bank.

The citizens of Seattle demand an immediate apology and retraction of your disparaging comments and a formal correction printed in the Washington Post at the earliest possible convenience.


Ian Murray

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