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Much has been going on with ZNet lately.

We had a problem with AOL which has now been resolved -- we think. For a
time no AOL users were getting any email from us. We apologize for AOL's
policies. Hopefully it won't happen again.

As usual there is much new material on our top page and throughout the
site. For example, there is Steve Shalom interviewing Noam Chomsky

And we have Robert Fisk's Congratulations American
(http://www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/fisk_congrats-america.cfm) which
employs our newly automated design and uploading mechanism (courtesy of
Brian Dominick) for most pages, including various links, source info,
dates, etc. 

And there are many more new pieces, of course, on everything from trade
unions in Italy to an interview with Jose Bove, from Pilger and Ashwari
on the Mideast to pieces on Enron, Argentina, Pacifica, Iraq, and so on.

Various Watch sites have also been significantly updated including Queer
Watch, Latin America Watch, Economics Watch, and South Asia Watch. And
of course we have had the usual updating of other subsites, of cartoons,
quotes, and so on.

So pay the site a visit -- take a look!

And here are two essays for your reading pleasure...and indicative of
the kind of material that we send out to sustainers, daily, as part of
our Sustainer Program. To find out more about the program or join please
see http://www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm 



By Walden Bello 

It is said that in politics and in war, fortune smiles all too briefly.
After allowing it to briefly savour the success of its Afghanistan
campaign, history, cunning and inscrutable as usual, has suddenly dealt
the Bush administration two massive body blows: the Enron implosion and
the Argentine collapse. These towering twin disasters threaten to push
the global elite back to the crisis of legitimacy that was shaking its
hegemony worldwide prior to September 11. 

Enron forcefully reminds us that free market rhetoric is a corporate con
game. Neoliberalism loves to couch itself in the language of efficiency
and the ethics of the greatest good for the greatest number, but it is
really about promoting corporate power. Enron loved to extol the
so-called merits of the market to explain its success, but in fact its
path to becoming the US's seventh largest corporation was paved not by
following the discipline imposed by the market but by strategically
deploying cold cash, and lots of it. Enron literally bought its way to
the top, throwing around hundreds of millions of dollars in less than a
decade to create what one businessman described to the New York Times as
the ''black hole'' of deregulated energy markets in which its financial
shenanigans could thrive unchecked. 

To make sure government would look the other way and allow the
''market'' to have its way, Enron was generous with those willing to
serve it, and few earned more Enron dollars than George W. Bush, who
received some USD 623,000 for his political campaigns in both Texas and
nationally from his friend Kenneth Lay, Enron CEO. The deep enmeshing of
Bush and a number of his key lieutenants -- Vice President Dick Cheney,
Attorney General John Ashcroft, US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick,
top presidential economic adviser Larry Lindsey, to name just the most
prominent -- in Enron's corporate web has shaken off George W's
post-September 11 image of being President of all Americans and brought
back the reality of his being the chief executive officer of corporate

The Enron scandal pulls Americans right back to the bitter
sozialepolitik of the nineties when, as Bush himself put it in his
inaugural speech, ''it [seemed] we share a continent but not a
country''. It brings back the ideological context of the landmark
electoral campaign of 2000, when Bush's fellow Republican, John McCain,
made an almost successful bid to become the presidential standard bearer
by focusing on one issue: that the massive corporate financing of
elections that had transformed US democracy into a plutocracy was
gravely undermining its legitimacy. 

Corporate-driven globalisation, we have always held, is a process that
is marked by massive corruption and is deeply subversive of democracy.
Shell was a good case study in Nigeria. Scores of transnational
corporations and the World Bank were implicated with the Suharto
political economy in Indonesia. Now Enron strips the veil from what Wall
Street used to call the ''New Economy'', which showered rewards on
sleazy financial operators like Enron while sticking the rest of the
world with the costs, not least of which is what is shaping up to be the
worst global downturn since the 1930's. Which is why we have always told
World Bank types who want to lecture us on good governance that they
should first tell Washington to get its house in order. 

Corporate corruption is central to the US political system, and the fact
that it is legal and assumes the form of ''campaign finance'' funnelled
to pols by ''political action committees'' does not somehow make it less
immoral than crony capitalism of the Asian variety. Indeed, corruption
of the Washington variety is much more damaging, because momentous
decisions purchased with massive cash outlays have not only national but
global consequences. Corrupt Third World politicians ought to be hung,
drawn, and quartered, but let's face it, the amounts of cash and the
quotient of power they deal in are peanuts compared to the scale and
impact of influence- peddling in Washington. 

If Enron illustrates the folly of deregulation cum corruption, Argentina
underlines that of another facet of the corporate globalist project: the
liberalisation of trade and capital flows. USD 140 billion in debt to
international institutions, its industry in chaos, and an estimated 2000
more people falling daily below the poverty line, Argentina is in a
truly pitiable state. 

Argentina brought down its trade barriers faster than most other
countries in Latin America. It liberalised its capital account more
radically. And in the most touching gesture of neoliberal faith, the
Argentine government voluntarily gave up any meaningful control over the
domestic impact of a volatile global economy by pegging the peso to the
dollar. Dollarisation, some technocrats promised, was right around the
corner, and when that happened, the last buffers between the local
economy and the global market would disappear and the nation would enter
the nirvana of permanent prosperity. 

Now all of these measures were taken either at the urging of or with the
approval of the US Treasury Department and its surrogate,
[the]International Monetary Fund. In fact, in the wake of the Asian
financial crisis, when capital account liberalisation was increasingly
seen by most observers as the villain of the piece, Larry Summers, then
Secretary of the Treasury, extolled Argentina's selling off of its
banking sector as a model for the developing world: ''Today, fully 50
per cent of the banking sector, 70 per cent of private banks, in
Argentina are foreign-controlled, up from 30 per cent in 1994. The
result is a deeper, more efficient market, and external investors with a
greater stake in staying put.'' 

The Argentine technocrats seemed determined to outdo their Chilean
rivals in their obeisance to the market -- interestingly enough, just as
the Chileans were beginning to question its efficacy in the volatile
area of capital flows. 

As the dollar rose in value in the mid-1990's, so did the peso, making
Argentine goods uncompetitive both globally and locally. Raising tariff
barriers against imports flooding in was regarded as a no-no. Borrowing
heavily to fund the dangerously widening trade gap, Argentina spiralled
into debt, and the more it borrowed, the higher the interest rates rose
as creditors grew increasingly alarmed at the consequences of the
unbridled market freedom they had benefited from initially. 

Foreign control of the banking system was no help, contrary to the
Summers doctrine. In fact, foreign control simply facilitated the
outflow of much needed capital by banks that became increasingly
reluctant to lend to both government and local businesses. With no
credit, small and medium enterprises, and not a few big ones, closed
down, throwing thousands out of work. 

Cap in hand, Argentina went to its mentor, the IMF, for a multibillion
dollar loan to meet payments on the USD 140 billion external debt coming
due. The Fund refused unless the government made cuts in public
expenditures and imposed a tight money policy. As Joseph Stiglitz has
noted, this was precisely the mistake the IMF made in Asia in the wake
of the financial crisis: instead of reflating the economy, you impose an
inflation-fighting programme that accelerates the contraction of the
economy. It seems that the Fund is institutionally -- and intentionally
-- incapable of learning from its mistakes, and Argentina is one more
reason for why it should be abolished. 

Reginald Dale, the doctrinaire free-market columnist at the
International Herald Tribune, worries that the Argentine debacle may
have negative consequences beyond Argentina, chief of which are the
erosion of the legitimacy of the globalisation project and a resurgence
of populism, making it impossible for the Bush administration to bring
to a successful conclusion Washington's projected Free Trade Area for
the Americas (FTAA). 

It is up to the movement against corporate-driven globalisation to prove
Dale and the Wall Street-Washington-Houston mafia right, and not only in
Latin America. The debacles of Enron and Argentina are so clear in their
causes and so easily explained to ordinary people throughout the world
that they provide the perfect handle with which the movement can regain
globally the momentum it lost on September 11. As they say in Texas,
''Let's git 'em buzzards.'' 


Terrorism As Cannibalism 

By Vandana Shiva 

Year 2001 will be etched in our memory as a year in which the vicious
cycle of violence was unleashed worldwide. Of the Taliban bombing the
two thousand year old images of peace, the Buddhas of Bamiyan. 

Of terrorists blowing up the W.T.C. on September 11, and attempting to
blow up the Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir on October 1, and the Indian
Parliament on December 13. Of a global alliance bombing out what
remained of Afghanistan after two decades of super power rivalry, and
civil war. Of Pakistan and India threatening to go to war as 2001 gave
way to 2002. 

Why is violence engulfing us so rapidly, so totally? Why has violence
become the dominant feature of the human species across cultures. Could
the violence characterising human societies in the new millenium be
linked with violent structures and institutions we have created to
reduce society to markets and humans to consumers? 

Animals of any species tend to become violent when they are treated with
violent methods. 

Pigs love to root in the fields, wallow in the mud, grunt to each other.
However when denied this freedom in factory farms where they are
confined in over crowded, steel barred crates or multiple stacked cages
known as battery cages, pigs become bored, stressed and anxious. They
start knawing cages, picking on each other, biting each other's tails
and ears and resorting to what agribusiness industry has called
"cannibalism". (Ref. Michael Fox, Old MacDonalds Factory Farm) 

Pigs are not cannibals. When they start to display cannibalism, the
normal question industry should be asking is why are pigs behaving
abnormally. The organic movement and animal liberation movement has
raised the question and found the answer in the violent methods of
factory farming. In humane farming pigs have been liberated and allowed
to roam and roll in the mud. Stopping violence against animals is the
best way to stop their violent behavior. 

Industry has a different solution to "cannibalism" induced by the
concentration camp conditions of factory farms. Operators of pig
factories chop off the tails of week old piglets without any anaesthics
to prevent other pigs from chewing them off. They also remove eight
teeth with wire cutters. Male piglets have their testicles cut off to
reduce their aggression in crowded areas. 

While removing tails and teeth is the solution offered to violent
behavior in pigs, chicken in factory farms are debeaked, and cattle are

Beaks are the most important feature of chicken. When roaming in the
open, a chicken needs its beak for eating, pecking, preening, cleaning,
grooming. When confined in battery cages, chicken start to attack each
other with their beaks. According to industry, chicken are debeaked to
protect them from one another. A day old chick's beak is pressed against
a red hot metal blade at 800oC. Often it injures the tongue. 

Chicken injured during debeaking die of starvation. What industry is
blind to is that it is not chickens beak that is the cause of violent,
abnormal and cannibalistic behavior among chicken, but the overcrowded,
unnatural conditions of their living in cages. Free-range chicken do not
kill each other with their beaks. They find worms and food for their own

The horns of the cow are its most distinctive feature. We adorn them
with bells and decorations. At Muttu Pongal, the horns of cattle are
decorated with flowers and balloons. In organic agriculture cow horns
are used to increase the potency of compost. But in factory farming,
cattle are dehorned because they attack each other under conditions of

The problem, clearly, is the factory cage - not the teeth and tails of
pigs, the beaks of chicken, the horns of cattle. It is the cage that
needs removing, not the tail, or beak or horn. When animals are denied
their basic freedoms to function as a species, when they are held
captive and confined, they turn to "cannibalism". 

Humans are animals. As a species we too have basic needs - for meaning
and identity, for community and security, for food and water, for

Could terrorism be the human equivalent of the abnormal behavior of
"cannibalism" in animals exhibit under factory conditions? 

Humans are of course, not being confined to iron cages (though in the
U.S, in Australia, a large percentage of blacks and aborigines are
behind bars). Human society is being caged and controlled through
complex laws and policies, through violent economic and political
structures which are enclosing of their spaces -- spiritual, ecological,
political and economic. 

Humans are experiencing their religious spaces enclosed when militaries
occupy sacred lands as in the Mid East. Humans are experiencing
enclosure through occupation as in Palestine. The children in affluent
America are also experiencing a closing of their lives, and are turning
to mindless violence as in the case of shooting at St. Columbines. And
across the world, ecological, economic and political spaces are being
enclosed through privatisation, liberalisation and globalisation. 

These multiple processes are breeding new insecurities, new anxieties,
new stresses. Cultural security, economic security, ecological security,
political security are all being rapidly eroded. 

Could the violence being unleashed by humans against humans be similar
to the violence pigs, chicken and cattle express when denied their
freedom to roll in the mud, peck for worms, and roam outside the
confines of animal factories? 

Could the coercive imposition of a consumer culture worldwide, with its
concomitant destruction of values, cultural diversity, livelihoods, and
the environment be the invisible cages against which people are
rebelling, some violently, most non-violently. 

Could the "war against terrorism" be equivalent to the detoothing,
debeaking, dehorning of pigs chickens and cattle by agribusiness
industry because they are turning violent when kept under violent
conditions? Could the lasting solution to violence induced by the
violence of captivity and enslavement for humans be the same as that for
other animals - giving them back their space for spiritual freedom,
ecological freedom, for psychological freedom and for economic freedom. 

The cages that humans are feeling tapped in are the new enclosures which
are robbing communities of their cultural spaces and identities, and
their ecological and economic spaces for survival. Globalisation is the
overaching name for this enclosure. 

Greed and appropriation of other people's share of the plane's precious
resources are at the root of conflicts, and the root of terrorism. When
President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that the goal of
the global war on terrorism is for the defense of he American and
European "way of life", they are declaring a war against the planet-its
oil, its water, its biodiversity. 

A way of life for the 20 percent of the earth's people who use 80
percent of the planet's resources will dispossess 80 percent of its
people of their jus share of resources and eventually destroy the
planet. We cannot survive as a species if greed is privileged and
protected and he economics of the greedy set the rules for how we live
and die. 

If the past enclosures have already precipitated so much violence, what
will be the human costs of new enclosures being carved out for
privatisation of living resources and water resources, the very basis of
our species survival. Intellectual property laws and water privatisation
are new invisible cages trapping humanity. 

IPR laws are denying farmers the basic freedom of saving and exchanging
seed. They are, in effect, enclosing the genetic commons, creating new
scarcities in a biologically rich world, transforming fundamental
freedoms into criminal acts punishable with fines and jail sentences. 

Water privatisation policies are enclosing the water commons,
transforming water into a commodity to be bought and sold for profit,
creating water scarcity in a water abundant world. 

Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer had been using his own seeds for the
past fifty years. His Canola seed was genetically polluted with
Monsanto's GM Canola through wind and pollination. Instead of Percy
being paid compensation in accordance with the polluter pay principle,
the courts fined Percy on the basis of Monsanto's IPR case which argued
that since the genes were Monsanto's property their being found in
Percy's field made him a thief irrespective of how they came to be

The violator becomes the violated, the violated becomes the violator in
the perverse world of patents on genes, seeds and living material. Such
perverse laws are transforming agriculture into police states and
farmers into criminals. They are the invisible cages which are holding
humans captive to market processes and corporate rule. 

The Privatisation of water is another threat to human freedom. 

Perhaps the most famous tale of corporate greed over water is the story
of Cochabamba, Bolivia. In this semi-desert region, water is scarce and
precious. In 1999, the World bank recommended privatization of
Cochabamba's municipal water supply company (SEMAPA) through a
concession to International Water, a subsidiary of Bechtel. On October
1999, the Drinking Water and Sanitation Law was passed, ending
government subsidies and allowing privatization. 

In a city where the minimum wage is less than $100 a month, water bills
reached $20 a month, nearly the cost of feeding a family of five for two
weeks. In January 2000, a citizens' alliance called La Coodination de
efensa del Agua y de la Vida (The Coalition in Defence of Water and
Life) was formed. 

The alliance shut down the city for four days through mass mobilization.
Within a month, millions of Bolivians marched to Cochabamba, held a
general strike, and stopped all transportation. At the gathering, the
protesters issued the Cochabamba Declaration, calling for the protection
of universal water rights. 

The government promised to reverse the price hike but never did. In
February 2000, La Coordinadora organized a peaceful march demanding the
repeal of the Drinking Water and Sanitation Law, the annulment of
ordinances allowing privatization, the termination of the water
contract, and the participation of citizens in drafting a water resource

The citizen's demands, which drove a stake through the heart of
corporate interests, were violently rejected. Coordinadora's fundamental
critique was directed at the negation of water as a community property.
Protesters used slogans like `Water is God's Gift and Not A Merchandise'
and `Water is Life'. 

In April 2000, the government tried to silence the water protests
through market law. Activists were arrested, protesters killed, and the
media censored. Finally on April 10, 2000, the people won. Aguas del
Tunari and Bechtel left Bolivia and the government was forced to revoke
its hated water privatization legislation. 

The water company Servicio Municipal del Agua Potable Alcantarillado
(SEMAPA) and its debts were handed over to the workers and the people.
In the summer of 2000, La Coordinadora organized public hearings to
establish democratic planning and management. The people have taken on
the challenge to establish a water democracy, but the water dictators
are trying their best to subvert the process. Bechtel is suing Bolivia,
and the Bolivian government is harassing and threatening activists of La

By reclaiming water from corporations and the market, the citizens of
Bolivia have illustrated that privatization is not inevitable and that
corporate takeover o vital resources can be prevented by people's
democratic will. 

The resource hunger of a corporate driven consumer culture is attempting
to enslave own and control every plant, every seed, every drop of water.

The suicides of farmers are one aspect of violence engendered by a
violent world order based on markets, profits, consumerism. Suicide
bombers are another aspect. One is directed towards the `self'. The
other is directed towards the `other'. And in a fragmenting and
disintegrating world, where everyone feels caged, everyone has potential
to become the dangerous 'other'. Like animals in factory cages, we are
attacking ourselves or each other. 

Animals have the animal liberation movement to speak for them and set
them free when the industry which has held them captive under violent
conditions perpetrates further violence to deal with the cannibalism
that captivity is causing. 

What is needed is an animal liberation movement for humans - a movement
sensitive to the captivity of consumer culture and global markets, a
movement compassionate enough to sense the deep violations humanity is
experiencing, a movement that recognises that it is not the teeth of
pigs, beaks of birds, horns of cows that need to be removed, but the

The multicoloured, diversity based movement against the structural
violence of global markets and the consumer culture has elements that
could grow to liberate the human spirit from the degradations and
deprivations of corporate globalisation. Reclaiming our freedoms and
spaces from the new enclosures is as essential to us as it is to other

Animals were not designed to live imprisoned in cages. Humans were not
designed to live imprisoned in markets, or live wasted and disposable if
they cannot be consumers in the global market. 

Our deepening dehumanisation is at the roots of growing violence.
Reclaiming our humanity in inclusive, compassionate way is the first
step to peace. 

Peace will not be created through weapons and wars, bombs and barbarism.
Violence will not be contained by spreading it. Violence has become a
luxury the human species cannot afford if we are to survive.
Non-violence has become a survival imperative. 

Michael Albert
Z Magazine / ZNet

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