China: “Billions of people affected by WTO policies”

"The problem is that billions of people are affected and the people running world trade are not even elected," says Greg Bradshaw, member of the Socialist Party (cwi Australia), who is today’s ’Protest Portrait’ in Hong Kong’s english language daily, The Standard.

Greg Bradshaw, who is in Hong Kong with the cwi’s campaign team taking part in the protests against the World Trade Organisation, told the mass circulation daily, The Standard, that "radical socialism is the most democratic system".

"Billions of people affected by WTO policies"

Protest Portrait, Andrea Chiu, The Standard, Friday December 16, 2005

Radical socialism is the most democratic system – that is, if you believe Greg Bradshaw, a 21-year-old Australian who is the national student organizer for Socialist Party Australia, a Marxist group heavily influenced by the teachings of Leon Trotsky.

He’s in Hong Kong to promote his alternative to capitalism and to oppose the World Trade Organization, which he thinks should be dismantled.

With his worn Adidas sneakers planted in the dirt and his blue eyes peaking out from underneath the brim of a baseball cap, Bradshaw is nothing if not earnest.

"The problem is that billions of people are affected [by WTO policies] and the people running world trade are not even elected," he says."We have to see the end of the WTO."

While he admits the world needs a global trade structure, he wants to see a democratically elected organization that represents all people.

In Bradshaw’s best-case scenario, the Hong Kong ministerial meeting will end without a deal – and that will hasten the collapse of the WTO.

"The world is unfair," he says. "We have a small percentage of people with a large percentage of the world’s money."

But with socialism, Bradshaw says with revolutionary fervor, the world will function for the benefit of the majority of the people rather than for a small capitalist class.

Not that he equates Marxism with anti-globalization. "I’m not anti- globalization, I’m pro-internationalization," Bradshaw says. "What I am against is capitalist globalization, the idea that things are based on profit and not on public good."

Indeed, harking back to Trotsky, his organization’s Web site ladles praise on the one-time hero of the Russian revolution and his theory of "permanent revolution" worldwide.

Trotsky, though, was too much even for his former comrades, who assassinated him with an ice axe in 1940, thus creating a martyr who still influences small Marxist parties worldwide today.

Bradshaw’s trip was funded by the Socialist Party and he came under the umbrella organization, Committee for a Workers’ International, with another Australian and two Swedes.

Despite his socialist cause, though, Bradshaw is not turned off by Hong Kong’s shopping centers and brand- name mania.

"I don’t want to stop people from being rich," he says of the territory’s reputation for materialism. "I want to stop people from being poor."

However, Bradshaw admits those ideals could sound at odds. Where do we find money to give to the poor if we don’t take from the rich?

Individuals who work hard for their money should be able to keep their money; they’re not the culprits, he says.

Instead, large corporations including Walmart and McDonald’s are to blame.

"For example, a factory doesn’t need an owner," he says. Instead, Bradshaw suggests factories be owned by communities of workers so that the majority benefits instead of one owner.

With the same of kind of ideological certainty that once drove Mao Zedong to conquer China, he gestures to the lawn where protesters are gathering.

"I think a lot of people in the world don’t know what’s going on, but they want to make things better," Bradshaw says.

"This demonstration is a sign of better things to come in the future."


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