` Columbia Journal - Media: Corporate Media Snubs Global Democracy Movement Despite Increased Activity
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Corporate Media Snubs Global Democracy Movement Despite Increased Activity

BY AILEEN PENNER & SCOTT UZELMAN - When right wing pundits gleefully proclaimed the death of the anti-corporate globalization movement following the eruption of terrorism on American soil, apparently several million people missed the funeral.

Massive demonstrations took place in mid-March, beyond the eye of the corporate media it seems, in Barcelona, in Mexico and in Italy.

A week of protest against the EU Summit in Barcelona culminated in a march of 500,000 people. Tens of thousands of Basque and Catalan nationalists were joined by a diverse crowd of opponents of neo-liberalism.

Security was incredibly tight through Spain. The Spanish government closed its borders to about 2000 protestors from Belgium and France. And an estimated 8,500 riot police patrolled the streets outside the summit.

Media coverage of the demonstration was sparse and what little there was focused on minor acts of violence on the part of small numbers of protestors. According to reports on the Independent Media Centre website(www.indymedia.org), some violence was precipitated by heavy-handed riot police.

Despite the massive crowds, the EU delegates pushed through free market policies, most importantly a plan to liberalize energy markets.

Shortly after the Barcelona protests ended, thousands of people demonstrated outside a UN conference on development financing in Monterrey, Mexico. The conference produced a document known as the 'Monterrey Consensus.'

Roundly criticized by a range of NGOs and social justice movements, the document commits industrializing countries of the global South to opening their markets in exchange for financial aid. Such 'structural adjustment' policies have a long and oppressive history throughout the South. Again, the media marginalized or ignored altogether the protestors and their concerns.

As the Monterrey Summit closed, the week was capped off by an incredible display of dissent against neo-liberalism, this time in Italy. Up to 2 million people paraded through the streets of Rome against a legislative change that would allow employers to fire workers without valid reasons.

The protest proceeded despite calls from the Berlusconi government for its suspension following the killing of a government adviser. While the government blamed the Red Brigades, a group notorious for politically motivated violence, groups on the left called the murder a 'pro-regime homicide.' Unrest in Italy looks to continue as a general strike against the anti-labour legislation is set to go ahead in April.

Wouldn't you know it, again this incredible display was all but passed over in the media. However, it is interesting to note that while CNN did mention the demo, it spun it as a 'protest against terrorism.'

The architects of neo-liberalism, the high priests of free market fundamentalism, continue to force through destructive policies with all the fervour of religious zealots. These policies have resulted in a situation where wealth is increasingly concentrated, American(mono)culture slouches towards the ends of the earth and the planetary ecosystem struggles under the weight of the global mall.

But it looks like millions of people across the planet will continue to oppose neo-liberalism even while right wing 'experts' hold media-sponsored funerals for the anti-globalization movement.

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