The World Trade Organisation, controlled by a new empire that still disfavors the Global South, broadens the gap between influential and developing nations. With a neocolonial system implicitly in place, if small and middle-sized countries do not 'follow the rules' as dictated by the Big and Powerful nations, then they are subjected to sanctions. Sanctions are acts of war.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is holding its tenth Ministerial Conference (MC10) in Nairobi from 15 to 18 December. This is the first of six blogs I intend to write before the conference. The objective is to analyse the ever-changing dynamics of the WTO and to raise the voice of democratic forces – from Africa and beyond – to try and influence the outcome of the Nairobi MC10. Why is that important? Because the processes and outcomes of MC10 are subject to manipulation – like all previous WTO Ministerials have been – by the big and powerful trio: the United States, the European Union and Japan.
At the November 1999 Seattle Ministerial Conference, the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) had threatened to walk out of the Conference in protest against its exclusion from the so-called ‘Green Room’ processes. These are behind-the-scenes negotiations among the ‘Big and Powerful’ to which only a select number of countries from the South are invited to give the outcome an aura of legitimacy. Small African countries are treated as if they do not matter. But the mighty do not always have their way. Seattle eventually collapsed. African voices joined with forces from the Global South and street protests by thousands of people led to its demise. The ‘Big and Powerful’ had illusions until the last day that they would win. They lost. Sometimes, the small and weak can unite to make history.
It is not the aim of this series of blogs to ‘Seattlize’ Nairobi. In fact, we want this WTO conference, the first to be held on African soil, to succeed. But it must be ‘success’ as defined by the broad democratic forces of Africa and the world and not by the ‘Big and Powerful’. The objective of this series is to define what ‘success’ means from the perspective of the former – not the latter.
The series will analyse some of the difficult technical issues in a language accessible to the ordinary citizen who want to engage in the WTO Nairobi process and its outcome. This will be done by rigorous application of logic and test of evidence, and rooted in principles of equity and justice.
So the first challenge I face is to explain why the WTO is a ‘war machine’. Is it a mere hyperbole – a rhetorical exaggeration? I think not, but at the end of the sixth blog you will be able to judge for yourself.
The tentative titles of the next five blogs are:
# 2: Solidarity and Responsibility: A New International Ethical Order (NIEO)
# 3: Dangers of WTO10: A new Round + TTIP + TPP + TISA + EPA
# 4: The march of the flowers: From Naivasha to Amsterdam
# 5: Africa draws Six Red Lines on the sands of the WTO Tenth Ministerial
# 6: Fighting WTO's culture of terror and impunity
TRADE IS WAR AND THE WTO IS A WEAPON OF WAR
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