Surely a question with an obvious answer - of course we/they are, at
;east I hope so!! So why ask it? Well I'll get onto that below, but
first, I saw last night's news report on the Seattle, London demos
against the WTO with a touch of sadness - and a great sense of deja
vu. Police charges, bricks, bottles and even a spanner flying, police
van overturned, tear gas etc. The 90% plus of news viewers who do not
fully understand the economic, environmental issues, will just see
police vs "hooligans", even if the unrest might just have been
sparked by subversive pro capitalists within the ranks, and like Jack
Straw and his USA counterpart, now support even heavier policing of
such "Workshy layabouts" as they will call them. Bet Mr J Straw is
rubbing his hands in glee after the 9pm news last night, even more
millions on the police budget! Likewise the pro WTO commentator was
so predictable, "we do not force nations to kill turtles, employ
children on long hours, reduce worker protection etc etc" Of course
they don't, nothing so crude. The WTO gives nations a real choice -
Reduce workers protn, lower wages, reduce corporation tax and pay for
this by less welfare and social services, school, health, spending,
OR we wont invest in your country, we will block your exports to the
USA, we will do all we can to wreck your economy. Quite a choice!!
So back to the title - why ask if the anti WTO people are really
democratic? Well we must recognise that quite are fwe people are pro
WTO - like eg a certain Mr B Gates (I think he works for a small
furry American double glazing company, doesn't he?). But economics is
far more democratic than politics, where you only vote every 4 - 5
years and the odd referendum. In economics you vote every time you
buy good A or B, or dont buy at all. So here is my "manifesto" for
the anti-globalist "party", that is for people who think capitalisnm
has some uses, in prodn and innovation, but that globalisation and
the submergence of everything elsde by western/USA led companies has
gone too far.
1) Groceries - if the local corner store has it, dont use the high
str kwik save. If the kwik save has it, dont use the out of town
hypermarket. that way youll keep the local stores we all miss when
2) If the store is 300 yds away, walk, dont take the car. Youll save
on petrol and wear on the car, be fitter, help the environment. If
its raining, possibly drive - but 9 X out of 10, it isnt, is it?
3) On holiday, dont just go for walls or lyons maid - theyre OK but
vanilla?strawbeery/chocloate, vanilla/strawberry/chocolate is a bit
predictable isnt it? Local cos have much more interesting flavours.
4) Booking a hotel, use local guest houses. The soulless "Boxotels"
have their uses if its 10.30pm raining and youre tired in a strange
town, but G Hses are cheaper and freindlier.
5) Likewise abroad, if you HAVE to go to disneyworld east of Paris,
use a local hotel. Youll miss out on promotions like free park
passes, but its cheaper, and you may just escape the Disnitz Gulag
and see La real France for a bit.
6) Garden centrees, use the one on the high str. not just Homebase or
do it all. Yes if you have a half to bag of cerment you need a close
by car park. But do we really need to park so close for a bag of
seeds and a trowel?
7) Looking for a cafe, dont just go for McDonalds or wimpey. They
have their uses - mcdonalds often has the only free and accessible
public toilets for miles, hidden away on its upper floor, dont
suppose theyll thank m,e for pointing that one out but its true.Use a
local cafe with a name youve never heard of.
8) Booking a holiday, if you have to drive or fly there, make sure
you are staying near a public transport hub, the WALK or use the
9) Also if on a foriegn trip, dont just use the tour operators
coaches, try the local transport. Cheaper, more interesting, and
generally goes to places the same or more interesting than those air
conditioned gas guzzlers on wheels that whisk you 80 miles into the
desert so you never meet the locals.
10) Dont waste resources and electricity sending long emails - get
out there and vote with your wallet!!!!!
Hillary Shaw, P/G Geography, University of Leeds