Mort de l'AMI


Subject: Mort de l'AMI
From: Mikael Book (book@kaapeli.fi)
Date: ke 28 loka   1998 - 10:48:23 EET


Dear ecup-list subscribers,

the sudden collapse of the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI)
after France's withdrawal from the negotiations (which were to be resumed
in Paris 20 October) is a great victory for democracy and a turning-point
in the process we call globalisation. The opposition against the MAI was
and is an international movement of citizens and non-govermental
organisations, a movement which uses the internet (e-mail and the web) to
co-ordinate itself and distribute its critical information. The French
artists of the "Etats généraux de la culture" (in which the SACD [1], too, is
involved) is one of its core components. The other key element of the
movement is formed by specialists on economic development, i.e. social
scientists, journalists and activists who represent both countries which
are and which are not members of the OECD. This movement has succeeded in
building a transnational public sphere, an enlightened international public
opinion, against the secrecy-shrouded and autocratic manouevering of the
transnational corporations.

The MAI received its lethal blow from Lionel Jospin, leader of the French
"multifaceted left" (la gauche plurielle) and prime minister of the
government. This was the first important leftist political action taken by
a European government of the nineties.

Outside of France at least, the media are only reluctantly willing to admit
that anything at all has happened. The media never did inform the public
properly on the MAI in the first place. The initiators of the MAI preferred
the international negotiations and the draft agreement itself to be held in
secret. And the media, which are themselves to an ever greater extent run
in the manner of transnational corporations, have helped to keep those
negotiations free from too much public scrutiny. Therefore, it would only
be a surprise if the media would now reveal the true significance of what
has happened to the MAI.

At the roundtable in London 9 October [2] we already agreed that "L'AMI c'est
l'ennemi". So nobody who reads this list is likely to be sorry about "La
mort de l'AMI". On the contrary, we must take this as an encouragement to
continue our rather preliminary and shy critical efforts. Because, it would
certainly be naive and irresponsible to believe that the MAI is now over
and done with for ever. After all, the MAI itself is only an expression of
certain strong economic and social trends, which have by no means yet been
reverted. The negotiations on a multilateral agreement on investment will
also continue, although probably not in the OECD. Instead, the negotations
will move to the World Trade Organisation, which can be seen as an
improvement, becuase the WTO comprises all states and not only the club of
the richest ones.

In a sense, Mr Puddephatt's scepticism on the thesis that the MAI is a
threat to public libraries has proved to be prophetic.[3] The death of that
draft of the MAI which no doubt held that threat shows that Mr Puddephatt
was right in saying that the world (and even many capitalist leaders) has
already become conscious of the need of regulatory economic measures, while
the draft of the MAI represented an already outdated economic ultraliberalism.

[...]

Greetings from Poznan,

- Mikael

[1] SACD stands for "Societé des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques",
a collecting society with headquarters in Paris. The SACD has made a study
on the effects of the draft of the MAI on the economic conditions of
European cultural life an has also published the brochure "L'AMU, c'est
l'ennemi". See http://www.sacd.fr/

[2] Internet, Copyright & Freedom of Information: Problematics of the EU
Directive and MAI. Roundtable at the Finnish Institute in London, 9 October
1998. The roundtable is documented at http://www.kaapeli.fi/saveaccess/. A
report on paper is also under preparation.

[3] Andrew Puddephatt, the director of Charter 88, one of the organisers of
the 9 October roundtable.



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