News Release

Responses Available From Supporters of WTO Protests Wecomed by Clinton

Speaking at a news conference this afternoon, President Clinton said that he is not concerned about the massive protests planned for the World Trade Organization global summit when it convenes in Seattle in late November.

The following policy analysts who support those protests are available for comment:

“It’s great that he’s welcoming protesters outside the ministerial meeting, but it would be more meaningful for him to actually push for civil society to have a place inside, at the negotiating table,” said Sarah Anderson, an economic analyst and fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. She added: “People are coming from around the world to protest because they’ve been locked out of this process.”

“We’ve joined with thousands of people around the planet to call for a reassessment of the WTO, not expansion, in Seattle — and until President Clinton respects this call, he’s not listening to the people who are raising these vital concerns,” said Juliette Beck, statewide coordinator of the California Free Trade Campaign. “He can say all he wants about caring for the environment and labor, but until he agrees to a reassessment of the WTO, he’s giving a green light to the corporate free-trade agenda that has gotten us into the social and environmental problems that we are all living with.”

Danaher is co-founder of Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based organization that is among hundreds of groups involved in planning for protests at the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle during the week after Thanksgiving. “President Clinton said this afternoon that he doesn’t think it’s a bad thing that so many of us will be going to Seattle to protest the WTO ministerial meeting,” Danaher said. “What he doesn’t seem to realize is that the public is catching on to what the WTO is really about. It is an undemocratic institution that exercises more control over the rules of the global economy than any other institution — and yet it operates in secret, with no representation of the interests of working people, small business and the environment.”

“Against the meager gains from trade, we must consider the impact of trade on the distribution of income,” said Mark Weisbrot, an economist who is research director of the Preamble Center based in Washington, D.C. “As trade has expanded over the last quarter century, the median real wage in the United States has actually fallen. There is no longer any doubt among economists that these two trends — increasing trade and falling real wages — are related.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: David Zupan, (541) 484-9167