In suburban shopping malls across North America, moms and dads push shopping carts down the aisle of Toys "R" Us. Trailing them and imitating their gestures, their kids push pint-size carts of their own. The carts say, "Toys 'R' Us Shopper in Training."

In St. Louis, Missouri, chemical giant Monsanto sics its legal team on anyone even considering spreading dirty lies – or dirty truths – about the company. A Fox TV affiliate that has prepared a major investigative story on the use and misuse of synthetic bovine growth hormone (a Monsanto product) pulls the piece after Monsanto attorneys threaten the network with "dire consequences" if the story airs. Later, a planned book on the dangers of genetic agricultural technologies is temporarily shelved after the publisher, fearing a lawsuit from Monsanto, gets cold feet. In boardrooms in all the major global capitals, CEOs of the world's biggest corporations imagine a world where they are protected by what is effectively their own global charter of rights and freedoms – the Multinational Agreement on Investment (MAI). They are supported in this vision by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other organizations representing twenty-nine of the world's richest economies. The MAI would effectively create a single global economy allowing corporations the unrestricted right to buy, sell and move their businesses, resources and other assets wherever and whenever they want. It's a corporate bill of rights designed to override all "nonconforming" local, state and national laws and regulations and allow them to sue cities, states and national governments for alleged non-compliance. Sold to the world's citizens as inevitable and necessary in an age of free trade, these MAI negotiations met with considerable grassroots opposition and were temporarily suspended in April 1998. Nevertheless, no one believes this initiative will remain suspended for long.

We, the people, have lost control. Corporations, these legal fictions that we ourselves created two centuries ago, now have more rights, freedoms and powers than we do. And we accept this as the normal state of affairs. We go to corporations on our knees. Please do the right thing, we plead. Please don't cut down any more ancient forests. Please don't pollute any more lakes and rivers (but please don't move your factories and jobs offshore either). Please don't use pornographic images to sell fashion to my kids. Please don't play governments off against each other to get a better deal. We've spent so much time bowed down in deference, we've forgotten how to stand up straight.

The unofficial history of America, which continues to be written, is not a story of rugged individualism and heroic personal sacrifice in the pursuit of a dream. It is a story of democracy derailed, of a revolutionary spirit suppressed, and of a once-proud people reduced to servitude.

Excerpted from Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America (Kalle Lasn, William Morrow/Eaglebrook, 1999).

Source: http://adbusters.org/magazine/28/usa.html

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Centre for Research on Globalisation

The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) is an independent research and media group of progressive writers, scholars and activists committed to curbing the tide of "globalisation" and "disarming" the New World Order. The CRG webpage at http://globalresearch.ca based in Montréal publishes news articles, commentary, background research and analysis on a broad range of issues, focussing on the interrelationship between social, economic, strategic, geopolitical and environmental processes.

CRG Statement

The Centre's objective is to unveil the workings of the New World Order.

War and globalisation go hand in hand, leading, in the post Cold War era, to the destruction of countries and the impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people. In turn, this global economic system is marked by an unprecedented concentration of private wealth. The institutions of war, police repression and economic management interface with one another. NATO is not only in liaison with the Pentagon and the CIA, it also has contacts with the IMF and the World Bank. In turn, the Washington based international financial bureaucracy, responsible for imposing deadly "economic medicine" on developing countries has close ties to the Wall Street financial establishment.

The powers behind this system are those of the global banks and financial institutions, the military-industrial complex, the oil and energy giants, the biotech conglomerates and the powerful media and communications giants, which fabricate the news and overtly distort the course of world events. In turn, the police apparatus represses, in the name of "Western democracy", all forms of dissent and critique of the dominant neoliberal ideology.

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