Dateline: Hongkong

In a few weeks, the world focuses its eyes on Hongkong.

The city will host the 6th Ministerial of the dreaded World Trade Organization led by the most rapcious multinational companies and advanced capitalist nations. It is up to the Third World countries and mass movements to make sure the talks collapse, no agreement is made and that the reverse of what the imperialists want would be the thing that should happen.

WTO-led globalization, which many call imperialism, has been the scourge of nations and peoples. The promises in 1994 about the benefits of the WTO and its predecessor (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade have all proven to be false. We have a seemingly permanent trade and budget deficit. We remain an agrarian backwater kept that way by a combination of liberalized agricultural trade and landlordism. Our local manufacturers continue to die at the assault of subsidized and cheaper imports. Unemployment remains up.

For instance, the advanced capitalist countries and MNCs are courting a worldwide tragedy over the impending bird flu pandemic. How can the world survive when the WTO allows one or two pharmaceutical MNCs to control Tamiflu (the anti-bird flu drug) and — given the persisting poverty of most countries — make this available only to rich nations? Why can’t local drug manufacturers make generic versions of Tamiflu?

On another note, Philippine agriculture is dying due to an acute lack of genuine agrarian reform and the combined assaults of cheap, subsidized surplus farm products from abroad. Ano ba ang laban ng kawawang magsasakang Pilipino?

No one seeks to be a pariah at this time and age. But neither do we want our nation to be Asia’s sick man of Asia. What the Philippines needs is a modicum of self-reliance and self-determination. Onerous agreements such as the founding and successive GATT-WTO agreements should be set aside in favor of fair trade that respects the sovereignty and welfare of individual countries and seeks to stop the exploitative attacks of advanced capitalist countries and MNCs.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle is therefore correct and justified in saying: Junk the WTO! Raise the peoples’ resistance!

This slogan will reverberate across the world, straight from Hongkong where the ILPS will lead anti-WTO, anti-imperialist protests this December. Hopefully, the evil forces of globalization, capitalism and imperialism would sustain its third terrible loss after Seattle and Cancun.

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