WTO protests as "fragile yet powerful new form of democracy"

Carl Remick carlremick at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 6 11:49:42 PST 2000

[An interesting article on the WTO debacle – “Woken up in Seattle” by Duke law professor Michael Byers – appears in the current London Review of Books.

An excerpt follows. The full text is at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v22/n01/byer2201.htm]

"The most encouraging development has been the rise in the power not of the NGOs, but of individual activists. Most of the Seattle protesters are not strongly wedded to any particular NGO. They are merely educated, informed people concerned about some of the effects of economic globalisation. Many, it turns out, are retired professionals with time on their hands and access to the Internet. This new breed of activist poses an enormous challenge to governments and corporations, for its members cannot be dismissed as lacking expertise and knowledge or as having any particular agenda. And their numbers are growing. The information age offers unprecedented opportunities for democracy and individual autonomy, while at the same time posing serious threats to those same values. Seattle was a wake-up call, not just for governments, corporations and the WTO, but for individuals everywhere, to exercise constructively this fragile yet powerful new form of democracy that has so remarkably appeared."


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