Re: clarification on WTO protests

Charlie Stross (
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 14:48:40 +0000

On Wed, Dec 01, 1999 at 08:42:12AM +0000, Kathryn Aegis wrote:
> Social justice, free trade and labor concerns form the basis of many
> objections to emergent technologies, and coalitions are being formed on
> that basis.

In no small part because small organisations of protestors get less attention than honking great big coalitions, and the mainstream organisations who would have traditionally represented them (left- wing political parties, trades unions) don't exist or aren't interested any more.

(Example: here in the UK, this sort of protest group would have been represented within the fringe groupings of the Labour Party until about a decade ago. But now the Labour Party is firmly in power, in step with the other dominant political party -- and it's mutated into just another bunch of middle-aged yuppie-lawyer types in suits who have to consult a PR factory before they can fart in public.)

The wheel of reincarnation turns and we're seeing mew types of coalition forming to represent their members' aspirations for publicity or protest.

The danger here is that because these interests are largely excluded from the usual political discourse, they will increasingly turn towards violent protest as a way of getting the system to respond -- however inappropriately -- to their concerns. While we don't agree with technoluddism, I think it'd be better for everyone if we could exchange verbal opinions rather than letter bombs and tear gas grenades.