The World Trade Organisation and Protest Movements: Altering World Order?

Focusing on the six year period after the protests at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 1999 Seattle Millennium Ministerial Conference, the book offers a unique analysis of the impact of the alter-globalization movements on the policies and process of the WTO. The emergence of the protest movements labelled the 'anti-globalization movement' can be described as a Coxian counter-hegemonic structure. The alter-globalization movements, however, can be seen as distinct, because they demand reforming, rather than tearing down, the WTO. This book identifies and evaluates three strategies employed by the alter-globalisation movements to place their alternative values at the heart of the WTO agenda: demonstrations on the street; assisting developing states during negotiations; and submitting amicus briefs to the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). Drawing on Cox's interpretation of trasformismo as central to 'passive revolution', Paterson demonstrates how cooptation and distortion are recognized as essential policies for defending hegemonic interest at the WTO. Using a wide number of primary and secondary sources, the obstacles presented by the WTO's policy of trasformismo are analysed in detail: political elites coopting the alter-globalization movement's principles into their own rhetoric; the cooption of 'Alter-NGOs' by political elites from the developing world, and the cooption of 'Alter-NGOs' and rejection of real influence by the WTO. Informing us of the problems and obstacles faced by social movements and NGOs currently attempting to reform world order, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of politics, international relations, economics, sociology and development studies.