For over a year, I have been interviewing and
working alongside these activists. So why could I recognize
almost nothing I know of them in Zakaria's distorted portrait?
Fareed Zakaria's essay "The New Face of the Left" (Newsweek,
April 30, 2001 p. 32) is a confused and confusing diatribe against the
international movement opposing corporate-directed globalization.
The essay is off the mark in so many places that it is hard to know where
to begin criticizing it. Certainly its most obvious problem lies
in Zakaria's apparently comprehensive ignorance regarding the actual people
who make up this movement. Zakaria feigns familiarity with the protesters,
their beliefs, even their motivations and intentions.
Yet he gets so many things wrong that it's obvious he has had little
if any direct contact with real movement activists. For over a year,
I have been interviewing and working alongside these activists.
So why could I recognize almost nothing I know of them in Zakaria's distorted
portrait? He seems to have constructed a sort of protester piñata
out of media caricatures and misrepresentations, and then whacks away at
it with stock neoliberal cliches, backed up only by a strained, if novel,
reading of left political history. The result is an uninformative
Flippant Dismissal Ignores Serious Critics
Let me try to tease out and respond to some of Zakaria's criticisms
of the anti-corporate globalization movement. He begins with a condescending
dismissal of the movement's views, moaning about how "pointless" it is
to have to "rebut, one more time, the arguments made by the protesters
in Quebec City. " Flippant and patronizing, his tone suggests that
by now any rational person who is not either deluded, naïve, or willfully
ignorant must have come to accept the predictable free market catechisms
and boilerplate apologies for corporate neoliberalism routinely penned
by commentators like Thomas Friedman.
He completely ignores several recent economic
studies that undermine much of the theoretical and empirical grounds for
the neoliberal model of globalization.
Zakaria accuses protesters in Quebec of "misunderstanding" what he calls "basic economics," as though
what is taught as "economics" in the American academy is some sort of genuine
science, like geology or physics, instead of what most real scientists
deem it to be: a partial, rather obviously ideological depiction of human
society as viewed from the perspective of businesses and consumers. He
fails even to gesture to the spate of denunciations of the neoliberal model
issued recently by prominent business leaders like George Soros and high-ranking
economic officials like former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz.
He completely ignores several recent economic studies
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|Anti-democratic protests, eh?
||Saturday, May. 19, 2001 at 7:55 PM
|Larry George response to Zakaria
||Monday, May. 21, 2001 at 9:08 PM
|Not a violent rabble
||Wednesday, May. 23, 2001 at 10:52 AM
|In Good Company
||Wednesday, May. 23, 2001 at 2:17 PM
|of course...they need a diversion
||Thursday, May. 24, 2001 at 2:01 PM
|A Way to Get It Done!
||Tuesday, May. 29, 2001 at 2:25 PM
|Has anyone ever considered World Government?
||Wednesday, May. 30, 2001 at 2:26 AM
|Stop the "non-violent" trumpet
||A "violent" anarchist
||Friday, Oct. 19, 2001 at 1:03 AM
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