New Communsit International?
By: Marc Morano
CNSNews.com | Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Several anti-WTO protesters who gathered in Cancun praised the communist leaders Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and China's Chairman Mao Zedong as "freedom fighters" for the "masses."
"[Marx, Lenin and Mao] represent the social justice movement, and they did a lot of good things for the people," said Che Lopez, the lead organizer of the Texas-based Southwest Workers Union in an interview with CNSNews.com.
Lopez, who spent last week protesting the World Trade Organization's policies, called the communist trio "freedom fighters" who battled the exploitation of the common man.
Images of the trio of communist icons were prevalent on banners, T-shirts, and signs throughout Cancun's downtown areas where the protesters camped out.
One large banner in Cancun's Palapas park stated in Spanish: "Marx, Lenin, Mao: Viva El Marxismo, Leninismo, Maoism - La Revolucion es la solucion," which translates to "Marxist Leninism Maoism lives; The revolution is the solution."
"[Marx, Lenin and Mao] thought of the people first, not the power, not the money, it was about the people," said Genaro Lopez, also of the San Antonio-based Southwest Workers Union.
"The reason you see so many of their images at these rallies is because [Marx, Lenin and Mao] were representing and looking out for the masses, not for a certain handful of people to have the power," Genaro Lopez said. "They had a way of thinking that empowered people," he added.
But one free-trade advocate was incredulous that the WTO protesters could idolize what he termed "communists murderers."
"Communist regimes murdered between 85-100 million people during the 20th century," said Paul Driessen, the author of a new book detailing what he sees as the devastating effects of the environmental and anti-capitalist movements on the developing world's poor.
"To call Marx, Lenin and Mao freedom fighters is an insult to the memory of all these people," said Driessen in an interview with CNSNews.com. His new book, due out in October, is entitled, Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.
Driessen was in Cancun to promote free trade and economic development for poor nations at the WTO talks.
"Chairman Mao and the Chinese Communists alone killed an estimated 30 million people through purges, the Cultural Revolution and mass starvation," Driessen said. "And these protesters want us to take them seriously?" he added.
But the protesters balked at any mention of Mao's reign of genocide. When asked why many of the WTO protesters hail Chairman Mao as an icon, despite the fact that historians regard him as the largest mass killer in the history of the world, Che Lopez was unapologetic.
"George Bush has killed a lot of people and destroyed a lot of cultures all over the world and many other governments have done that," Lopez said.
Lopez also said the spread of capitalism has failed to help the world's poor. "We feel we need another example of a system because even where I am from in the U.S. there is a lot of poverty," he said.
'Capitalism is causing misery'
Other protesters also mocked the idea that free market capitalism can help the poor in the developing world.
"I think that's bulls--t," said a woman from England who identified herself only as Rosie.
"Free market capitalism is causing misery, poverty and it's certainly not bringing about positive change," Rosie said.
A woman from the South African-based African People's Caucus agreed that capitalism would not help the developing world's poor.
"Those people who say that obviously have never lived in the developing world," the woman who called herself Helga told CNSNews.com.
Helga believes that European colonialism brought nothing but destruction to Africa and South America.
"Colonization and colonialism were the start of creating this developing world. There should be no such thing and there is no such thing as the developing world," Helga said.
When asked if the residents of Africa and Latin America would be better off with out running water and electricity,Helga replied, "Of course."
"In ancient Africa and in South America there were developed civilizations. It was the colonizers that brought diseases to these continents and made us dependent on chemicals," Helga explained. "The WTO does not respect the planet we live on; it has never and it will never," she added.
Another protester told CNSNews.com that the WTO's policies were wreaking havoc on the planet.
"I am against the WTO because the WTO is against people, plants and animals, you name it, they f--k everything up," said a male protester from the U.S. who went by the name of "Luna."
But author Driessen, believes that much of the environmental movement and the anti-capitalist protesters want to keep the world's poor from developing modern infrastructure in order to preserve the planet.
"The greens and the protesters want the less-developed nations mired in poverty, subsistence farming, hunger, disease and premature death," Driessen said.
"They certainly don't want them living better and having access to more, lower-priced consumer goods because that would take energy and resources," he added.
Not all of the WTO's detractors come from the left, however. Many conservatives distrust the WTO and believe it threatens U.S. sovereignty and economic independence.
Pat Buchanan's conservative foundation The American Cause, which rejects unbridled free trade in favor of "economic patriotism," has called on the U.S. to withdraw from the WTO. The American Cause, which also rejects other international institutions including GATT and NAFTA, favors tariffs on foreign imports to protect American jobs and industry.
WTO Talks Collapse
Anti-WTO forces declared victory over the weekend as the negotiations collapsed following failure of developing nations and industrialized nations to reach agreement on several key issues, including trade rules and farm reforms.
"This is the third strike, [the WTO leaders] were not able to go through in [Seattle], they were not able to go through in [the previous talks] and they will not succeed in this one," Raul Benet of the environmental group Friends of the Earth told CNSNews.com.
Other groups that took part in demonstrations against the WTO were exuberant that the talks failed to achieve organizers'expectations.
"This victory is for the working poor, family farmers, farm workers, the indigenous, the poor, and for immigrants all over the world. This victory marks the start -- another world is possible. A better world is possible!" said Anuradha Mittal, co-director of Food First, a California-based, non-profit food and agricultural advocacy group.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said the negotiations failed because the poor nations had unrealistic exceptions regarding how much wealthy nations would offer in concessions.
"A number of countries just thought it was a freebie," said Zoellick.
"Now, they're going to have to face the cold reality of that strategy and come home with nothing," he added.
The WTO talks formally ended on Sunday and it may take several years to recover from the setback in Cancun, according to U.S. trade officials.
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