Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anti-Globalization Movement Stays Classy, Becomes Tiny

Breaking reports of violence and mayhem in advance of the WTO's ministerial meeting in Geneva are utterly unsurprising and par for the course these days:
Anti-capitalism protesters smashed the windows of banks, shops and cafes in central Geneva and set cars on fire on Saturday during a demonstration against the World Trade Organisation.
And do you know what else is apparently par for the course for today's anti-globalization crowds? Absurdly tiny numbers. Here's the same Reuters/NYT report:
The violent protesters were a minority in an otherwise good-natured crowd of about 2,000 people, accompanied by a dozen tractors and a marching band, who were demonstrating against a three-day WTO conference starting on Monday.
Now, 2000 people might sound like a lot, but it's actually rather small when compared to earlier manifestations of anti-trade animus. As I noted a while ago, "The granddaddy of the modern anti-globalization movement - the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization's Ministerial Meeting in Seattle - drew over 40,000 protesters.... The follow-up to Seattle - the April 2000 protests against the annual World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington, DC - featured at least 10,000 protesters, summoned about 1,500 additional cops, and shut down most of DC."  Indeed, today's marchers are even less that the 4500 or so protesters that showed up to the September 2009 G20 meetings in Pittsburgh.

The large and (unfortunately) influential protests of Seattle and Washington also featured similar acts of vandalism and general anarcho-stupidity.  And while that protest-staple remains, there are far fewer attendees.  When seen through this prism, it becomes clear that, while the protesters' sorry act might be the same as a decade ago, their numbers have shriveled to the point of turning such anti-capitalist protests into nothing more than a pathetic sideshow rather than a (supposedly) eye-opening event.

Oddly, the NYT/Reuters article above fails to provide this perspective.  Gee, I wonder why?

(Ed. note: I don't  actually wonder why.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The current crop of anti-globalization protestors remind me of the Civil War re-enactors you occasionally see at Manasass or Cold Harbor. Trying to recapture a bygone era, I guess. Sad.