In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism's core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as the shock doctrine. He observed that "only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable." 12 Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the "tyranny of the status quo." He estimated that "a new administration has some six to nine months in which to achieve major changes; if it does not seize the opportunity to act decisively during that period, it will not have another such opportunity." 13 A variation on Machiavelli's advice that injuries should be inflicted "all at once," this proved to be one of Friedman's most lasting strategic legacies.

Friedman first learned how to exploit a large-scale shock or crisis in the midseventies, when he acted as adviser to the Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. Not only were Chileans in a state of shock following Pinochet's violent coup, but the country was also traumatized by severe hyperinflation. Friedman advised Pinochet to impose a rapid-fire transformation of the economy—tax cuts, free trade, privatized services, cuts to social spending and deregulation. Eventually, Chileans even saw their public schools replaced with voucher-funded private ones. It was the most extreme capitalist makeover ever attempted anywhere, and it became known as a "Chicago School" revolution, since so many of Pinochet's economists had studied under Friedman at the University of Chicago. Friedman predicted that the speed, suddenness and scope of the economic shifts would provoke psychological reactions in the public that "facilitate the adjustment." 14 He coined a phrase for this painful tactic: economic "shock treatment." In the decades since, whenever governments have imposed sweeping free-market programs, the all-at-once shock treatment, or "shock therapy," has been the method of choice.

Pinochet also facilitated the adjustment with his own shock treatments; these were performed in the regime's many torture cells, inflicted on the writhing bodies of those deemed most likely to stand in the way of the capitalist transformation. Many in Latin America saw a direct connection be­ tween the economic shocks that impoverished millions and the epidemic of torture that punished hundreds of thousands of people who believed in a different kind of society. As the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano asked, "How can this inequality be maintained if not through jolts of electric shock?" 1 5 (Naomi Klein “Shock doctrine” p.6-7)

In 1992, Gail and Jacob happened to pass by a newsstand with a large, sensational headline: "Brainwashing Experiments: Victims to Be Compensated." Kastner started skimming the article, and several phrases immediately leaped out: "baby talk," "memory loss," "incontinence." "I said, 'Jacob, buy this paper.' " Sitting in a nearby coffee shop, the couple read an incredible story about how, in the 1950s, the United States Central Intelligence Agency had funded a Montreal doctor to perform bizarre experiments on his psychiatric patients, keeping them asleep and in isolation for weeks, then administering huge doses of electroshock as well as experimental drug cocktails including the psychedelic LSD and the hallucinogen PCP, commonly known as angel dust. The experiments—which reduced patients to preverbal, infantile states —had been performed at McGil l University's Allan Memorial Institute under the supervision of its director, Dr. Ewen Cameron. The CIA's funding of Cameron had been revealed in the late seventies through a Freedom of Information Act request, sparking hearings in the U.S. Senate. Nine of Cameron's former patients got together and sued the CIA as well as the Canadian government, which had also funded Cameron's research. Over protracted trials, the patients' lawyers argued that the experiments had violated all standards of medical ethics. They had gone to Cameron seeking re­ lief from minor psychiatric ailments—postpartum depression, anxiety, even for help to deal with marital difficulties —and had been used, without their knowledge or permission, as human guinea pigs to satisfy the CIA's thirst for information about how to control the human mind. In 1988, the CIA settled, awarding a total of $750,000 in damages to the nine plaintiffs—at the time the largest settlement ever against the agency. Four years later, the Canadian government would agree to pay $100,000 in compensation to each patient who was part of the experiments. 3

Not only did Cameron play a central role in developing contemporary U.S. torture techniques, but his experiments also offer a unique insight into the underlying logic of disaster capitalism. Like the free-market economists who are convinced that only a large-scale disaster—a great unmaking—can prepare the ground for their "reforms," Cameron believed that by inflicting an array of shocks to the human brain, he could unmake and erase faulty minds, then rebuild new personalities on that ever-elusive clean slate. (Naomi Klein “Shock doctrine” p.28-9)

In a confidential report on Hebb's findings, the Defense Research Board concluded that sensory deprivation clearly caused extreme confusion as well as hallucinations among the student test subjects and that "a significant temporary lowering of intellectual efficiency occurred during and immediately after the period of perceptual deprivation." 20 Furthermore, the students' hunger for stimulation made them surprisingly receptive to the ideas ex­ pressed on the tapes, and indeed several developed an interest in the occult that lasted weeks after the experiment had come to an end. It was as if the confusion from sensory deprivation partially erased their minds, and then the sensory stimuli rewrote their patterns.

A copy of Hebb's major study was sent to the CIA, as well as forty-one copies to the U.S. Navy and forty-two copies to the U.S. Army. 21 The CIA also directly monitored the findings via one of Hebb's student researchers, Maitland Baldwin, who, unbeknownst to Hebb, was reporting to the agency. 2 2 This keen interest was hardly surprising: at the very least, Hebb was proving that intensive isolation interfered with the ability to think clearly and made people more open to suggestion—priceless ideas for any interrogator. Hebb eventually realized that there was enormous potential for his research to be used not just to protect captured soldiers from getting "brainwashed" but also as a kind of how-to manual for psychological torture. In the last interview he gave before his death in 1985, Hebb said, "It was clear when we made our report to the Defense Research Board that we were describing formidable interrogation techniques." 2 3

Hebb's report noted that four of the subjects "remarked spontaneously that being in the apparatus was a form of torture," which meant that forcing them to stay past their threshold —two or three days—would clearly violate medical ethics. Aware of the limitations this placed on the experiment, Hebb wrote that more "clearcut results" were not available because "it is not possible to force subjects to spend 30 to 60 days in conditions of perceptual isolation." 24

Not possible for Hebb, but it was perfectly possible for his McGil l colleague and academic archrival, Dr. Ewen Cameron. (In a suspension of academic niceties, Hebb would later describe Cameron as "criminally stupid.") 25 Cameron had already convinced himself that violent destruction of the minds of his patients was the necessary first step on their journey to mental health and therefore not a violation of the Hippocratic oath. As for consent, his patients were at his mercy; the standard consent form endowed Cameron with absolute power to treat, up to and including performing full frontal lobotomies.

Although he had been in contact with the agency for years, in 1957 Cameron got his first grant from the CIA, laundered through a front organization called the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology. 2 6 And, as the CIA dollars poured in, the Allan Memorial Institute seemed less like a hospital and more like a macabre prison. (Naomi Klein “Shock doctrine” p.34-5)

There are several strong indications that Cameron was well aware he was simulating torture conditions and that, as a staunch anti-Communist, he relished the idea that his patients were part of a Cold War effort. In an interview with a popular magazine in 1955, he openly compared his patients to POWs facing interrogation, saying that they, "like prisoners of the Communists, tended to resist [treatment] and had to be broken down." 38 A year later, he wrote that the purpose of depatterning was "the actual 'wearing down' of de­ fenses" and noted that "analogous to this is the breakdown of the individual under continuous interrogation." 39 By 1960, Cameron was giving lectures on his sensory deprivation research not just to other psychiatrists but also to military audiences. In a talk delivered in Texas at the Brooks Air Force Base, he made no claim that he was curing schizophrenia and in fact admitted that sensory deprivation "produces the primary symptoms of schizophrenia"— hallucinations, intense anxiety, loss of touch with reality. 40 In notes for the lecture, he mentions following sensory deprivation with "input-overload," a reference to his use of electroshock and endlessly repeated tape loops—and a foreshadowing of interrogation tactics to come. 4 1

Cameron's work was funded by the CIA until 1961, and for many years it wasn't clear what, if anything, the U.S. government did with his research. In the late seventies and eighties, when proof of the CIA's funding for the experiments finally came out in Senate hearings and then in the patients' groundbreaking class-action lawsuit against the agency, journalists and legislators tended to accept the CIA's version of events—that it was conducting research into brainwashing techniques in order to protect captured U.S. soldiers. Most of the press attention focused on the sensational detail that the government had been funding acid trips. In fact, a large part of the scandal, when it finally broke, was that the CIA and Ewen Cameron had recklessly shattered lives with their experiments for no good reason—the research appeared useless: everyone knew by then that brainwashing was a Cold War myth. The CIA, for its part, actively encouraged this narrative, much preferring to be mocked as bumbling sci-fi buffoons than for having funded a torture laboratory at a respected university—and an effective one at that. When John Gittinger, the CIA psychologist who first reached out to Cameron, was forced to testify before a joint Senate hearing, he called the support for Cameron "a foolish mistake. .. . A terrible mistake." 42 When the hearings asked Sidney Gottlieb, former director of MKUltra, to explain why he had ordered all the files destroyed from the $25 million program, he replied that "the project MKUltra had not yielded any results of real positive value to the Agency." 4 3 In the exposés of MKUltra from the eighties, both in investigative accounts in the mainstream press and in books, the experiments are consistently described as "mind control" and "brainwashing." The word "torture" is almost never used. (Naomi Klein “Shock doctrine” p.37-8)

For U.S. intelligence officials, that kind of hands-on approach was rare. From the seventies on, the role favored by American agents was that of mentor or trainer—not direct interrogator. Testimony from Central American torture survivors in the seventies and eighties is littered with references to mysterious English-speaking men walking in and out of cells, proposing questions or offering tips. Dianna Ortiz, an American nun who was abducted and jailed in Guatemala in 1989, has testified that the men who raped and burned her with cigarettes deferred to a man who spoke Spanish with a heavy American accent, whom they referred to as their "boss." 61 Jennifer Harbury, whose husband was tortured and killed by a Guatemalan officer on the CIA payroll, has documented many of these cases in her important book, Truth, Torture and the American Way. 62 (Naomi Klein “Shock doctrine” p.41-2)

There are few academic environments as heavily mythologized as the University of Chicago's Economics Department in the 1950s, a place intensely conscious of itself not just as a school but as a School of Thought. It was not just training students; it was building and strengthening the Chicago School of economics, the brainchild of a coterie of conservative academics whose ideas represented a revolutionary bulwark against the dominant "statist" thinking of the day. To step through the doors of the Social Science Building, under the sign reading "Science Is Measurement," and into the leg­ endary lunchroom, where students tested their intellectual mettle by daring to challenge their titanic professors, was to seek nothing so prosaic as a degree. It was to enlist in battle. As Gary Becker, the conservative economist and Nobel Prize winner, put it, "We were warriors in combat with most of the rest of the profession." 2

Like Ewen Cameron's psychiatric department at McGill in the same period, the University of Chicago's Economics Department was in the thrall of an ambitious and charismatic man on a mission to fundamentally revolutionize his profession. That man was Milton Friedman. Though he had many mentors and colleagues who believed just as fiercely as he did in ultra laissez-faire, it was Friedman's energy that gave the school its revolutionary fervor. "People would always ask me, 'Why are you so excited? Are you going out on a date with a beautiful woman?' " recalls Becker. "I said, 'No, I'm going to a class in economics!' Being a student of Milton's was magic indeed." 5

Friedman's mission, like Cameron's, rested on a dream of reaching back to a state of "natural" health, when all was in balance, before human interferences created distorting patterns. Where Cameron dreamed of returning the human mind to that pristine state, Friedman dreamed of depatterning societies, of returning them to a state of pure capitalism, cleansed of all interruptions—government regulations, trade barriers and entrenched interests. Also like Cameron, Friedman believed that when the economy is highly distorted, the only way to reach that prelapsarian state was to deliberately inflict painful shocks: only "bitter medicine" could clear those distortions and bad patterns out of the way. Cameron used electricity to inflict his shocks; Friedman's tool of choice was policy—the shock treatment approach he urged on bold politicians for countries in distress. Unlike Cameron, however, who was able to instantly apply his pet theories on his unwitting pa­ tients, Friedman would need two decades and several twists and turns of history before he too got the chance to put his dreams of radical erasure and creation into action in the real world.

Frank Knight, one of the founders of Chicago School economics, thought professors should "inculcate" in their students the belief that each economic theory is "a sacred feature of the system," not a debatable hypothesis. 4 The core of such sacred Chicago teachings was that the economic forces of supply, demand, inflation and unemployment were like the forces of nature, fixed and unchanging. In the truly free market imagined in Chicago classes and texts, these forces existed in perfect equilibrium, supply communicating with demand the way the moon pulls the tides. If economies suffered from high inflation, it was, according to Friedman's strict theory of monetarism, invariably because misguided policy makers had allowed too much money to enter the system, rather than letting the market find its balance. Just as ecosystems self-regulate, keeping themselves in balance, the market, left to its own devices, would create just the right number of products at precisely the right prices, produced by workers at just the right wages to buy those products—an Eden of plentiful employment, boundless creativity and zero inflation.

According to the Harvard sociologist Daniel Bell, this love of an idealized system is the defining quality of radical free-market economics. Capitalism is envisaged as "a jeweled set of movements" or a "celestial clockwork .. . a work of art, so compelling that one thinks of the celebrated pictures of Apelles who painted a cluster of grapes so realistic that the birds would come and pick at them." 5

The challenge for Friedman and his colleagues was how to prove that a real-world market could live up to their rapturous imaginings. Friedman always prided himself on approaching economics as a science as hard and rigorous as physics or chemistry. But hard scientists could point to the behavior of the elements to prove their theories. Friedman could not point to any living economy that proved that if all "distortions" were stripped away, what would be left would be a society in perfect health and bounteous, since no country in the world met the criteria for perfect laissez-faire. Unable to test their theories in central banks and ministries of trade, Friedman and his colleagues had to settle for elaborate and ingenious mathematical equations and computer mod­ els mapped out in the basement workshops of the social sciences building.

A love of numbers and systems is what had led Friedman to economics. In his autobiography, he says his moment of epiphany came when a high-school geometry teacher wrote the Pythagorean theorem on the blackboard and then, awed by its elegance, quoted from John Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn": " 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty/— that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." 6 Friedman passed on that same ecstatic love of a beautiful all-encompassing system to generations of economics scholars —along with a search for simplicity, elegance and rigor.

Like all fundamentalist faiths, Chicago School economics is, for its true believers, a closed loop. The starting premise is that the free market is a perfect scientific system, one in which individuals, acting on their own self-interested desires, create the maximum benefits for all. It follows ineluctably that if something is wrong within a free-market economy—high inflation or soaring unemployment—it has to be because the market is not truly free. There must be some interference, some distortion in the system. The Chicago solution is always the same: a stricter and more complete application of the fundamentals.

When Friedman died in 2006, obituary writers struggled to summarize the breadth of his legacy. One settled on this statement: "Milton's mantra of free markets, free prices, consumer choice and economic liberty is responsible for the global prosperity we enjoy today." 7 This is partially true. The nature of that global prosperity—who shares in it, who doesn't, where it came from—are all highly contested, of course. What is irrefutable is the fact that Friedman's free-market rulebook, and his savvy strategies for imposing it, have made some people extremely prosperous, winning for them something approximating complete freedom—to ignore national borders, to avoid reg­ ulation and taxation and to amass new wealth.

This knack for thinking highly profitable thoughts appears to have its roots in Friedman's early childhood, when his parents, immigrants from Hungary, bought a garment factory in Rahway, New Jersey. The family apart­ ment was in the same building as the shop floor, which, Friedman wrote, "would be termed a sweatshop today." 8 Those were volatile times for sweat­ shop owners, with Marxists and anarchists organizing immigrant workers into unions to demand safety regulations and weekends off—and debating the theory of worker ownership at after-shift meetings. As the boss's son, Friedman no doubt heard a very different perspective on these debates. In the end, his father's factory went under, but in lectures and television appearances, Friedman spoke of it often, invoking it as a case study for the benefits of deregulated capitalism—proof that even the worst, least-regulated jobs offer the first rung on the ladder to freedom and prosperity.

A large part of the appeal of Chicago School economics was that, at a time when radical-left ideas about workers' power were gaining ground around the world, it provided a way to defend the interests of owners that was just as radical and was infused with its own claims to idealism. To hear Friedman tell it, his ideas were not about defending the right of factory owners to pay low wages but, rather, all about a quest for the purest possible form of "participatory democracy" because in the free market, "each man can vote, as it were, for the color of tie he wants." 9 Where leftists promised freedom for workers from bosses, citizens from dictatorship, countries from colonialism, Friedman promised "individual freedom," a project that elevated atomized citizens above any collective enterprise and liberated them to express their absolute free will through their consumer choices. "What was particularly exciting were the same qualities that made Marxism so appealing to many other young people at the time," recalled the economist Don Patinkin, who studied at Chicago in the forties—"simplicity together with apparent logical completeness; idealism combined with radicalism." 10 The Marxists had their workers' Utopia, and the Chicagoans had their entrepreneurs' Utopia, both claiming that if they got their way, perfection and balance would follow. (Naomi Klein “Shock doctrine” p.49-52)

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As has been the case on previous Chicago School frontiers, Israel's post- 9/1 1 growth spurt has been marked by the rapid stratification of society between rich and poor inside the state. The security buildup has been accompanied by a wave of privatizations and funding cuts to social programs that has virtually annihilated the economic legacy of Labor Zionism and created an epidemic of inequality the likes of which Israelis have never known. In 2007, 24.4 percent of Israelis were living below the poverty line, with 35.2 percent of all children in poverty—compared with 8 percent of children twenty years earlier.42 Yet even though the benefits of the boom have not been widely shared, they have been so lucrative for a small sector of Israelis, particularly the powerful segment that is seamlessly integrated into both the military and government (with all the familiar corporatist corruption scandals), that a crucial incentive for peace has been obliterated.

The Israeli business sector's shift in political direction has been dramatic. The vision that captivates the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange today is no longer that of Israel as a regional trade hub but rather as a futuristic fortress, able to survive even in a sea of determined enemies. The revised attitude was most pronounced in the summer of 2006, when the Israeli government turned what should have been a prisoner exchange negotiation with Hezbollah into a full-scale war. Israel's largest corporations didn't just support the war, they sponsored it. Bank Leumi, Israel's newly privatized megabank, distributed bumper stickers with the slogans "We Will Be Victorious" and "We Are Strong," while, as the Israeli journalist and novelist Yitzhak Laor wrote at the time, "the current war is the first to become a branding opportunity for one of our largest mobile phone companies, which is using it to run a huge promotional campaign."43

Clearly, Israeli industry no longer has reason to fear war. In contrast to 1993, when conflict was seen as a barrier to growth, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange went up in August 2006, the month of the devastating war with Lebanon. In the final quarter of the year, which had also included the bloody escalation in the West Bank and Gaza following the election of Hamas, Israel's overall economy grew by a staggering 8 percent—more than triple the growth rate of the U.S. economy in the same period. The Palestinian economy, meanwhile, contracted by between 10 and 15 percent in 2006, with poverty rates reaching close to 70 percent.44

One month after the UN declared a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, the New York Stock Exchange hosted a special conference on investing in Israel. More than two hundred Israeli firms attended, many of them in the homeland security sector. At that moment in Lebanon, economic activity was at a virtual standstill and roughly 140 factories—manufacturers of everything from prefab homes to medical products to milk—were clearing away the rubble after being hit by Israeli bombs and missiles. Impervious to the impact of the war, the message of the New York gatherings was upbeat: "Israel is open for business—has always been open for business," announced Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, welcoming delegates to the event.45 (Naomi Klein “Shock doctrine” p.439-40)

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The marketing world is always reaching a new zenith, breaking through last year's world record and planning to do it again next year with increasing numbers of ads and aggressive new formulae for reaching consumers. The advertising industry's astronomical rate of growth is neatly reflected in year-to-year figures measuring total ad spending in the U.S., which have gone up so steadily that by 1998 the figure was set to reach $196.5 billion, while global ad spending is estimated at $435 billion. According to the 1998 United Nations Human Development Report, the growth in global ad spending "now outpaces the growth of the world economy by one-third."

This pattern is a by-product of the firmly held belief that brands need continuous and constantly increasing advertising in order to stay in the same place. According to this law of diminishing returns, the more advertising there is out there (and there always is more, because of this law), the more aggressively brands must market to stand out. And of course, no one is more keenly aware of advertising's ubiquity than the advertisers themselves, who view commercial inundation as a clear and persuasive call for more-and more intrusive-advertising. With so much competition, the agencies argue, clients must spend more than ever to make sure their pitch screeches so loud it can be heard over all the others. David Lubars, a senior ad executive in the Omnicom Group, explains the industry's guiding principle with more candour than most. Consumers, he says, "are like roaches —you spray them and spray them and they get immune after a while."

p. 8-9

The conflation of shopping and entertainment found at the superstores and theme-park malls has created a vast grey area of pseudo-public private space. Politicians, police, social workers and even religious leaders all recognize that malls have become the modern town square. But unlike the old town squares, which were and still are sites for community discussion, protests and political rallies, the only type of speech that is welcome here is marketing and other consumer patter. Peaceful protestors are routinely thrown out by mall security guards for interfering with shopping, and even picket lines are illegal inside these enclosures. The town-square concept has recently been picked up by the superstores, many of which now claim that they too are providing public space. "Essentially, we want people to use the store as a meeting place. A place where people can get their fix of pop culture and hang out for a while. It's not just a place to shop, it's a place to be," said Christos Garkinos, vice president of marketing for the Virgin Entertainment Group, on the occasion of the opening of Vancouver's 40,000-square-foot Virgin Mega store.

p. 183

It seems that no matter how successfully the private sphere emulates or even enhances the look and feel-of public space, the restrictive tendencies of privatization have a way of peeking through. And the same applies not only to corporate-owned space, like AOL or Virgin Megastores, but even to publicly owned space that is sponsored or branded. That point was graphically made in Toronto in 1997 when antitobacco activists were forcibly removed from the open-air du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival, just as student protestors had been removed from the du Maurier Tennis Open on their campus. The irony was that the festival happened to be taking place in the city's actual town square —Nathan Phillips Square, just in front of Toronto City Hall. The protestors learned that while the square may be as public a space as one can find, it becomes, during jazz festival week, the property of the tobacco sponsor. No critical material was permitted on the premises.

p.185-7

This slow but decisive shift in corporate priorities has left yesterday's nonvirtual producers — the factory workers and craftspeople — in a precarious position. The lavish spending in the 1990s on marketing, mergers and brand extensions has been matched by a never-before-seen resistance to investing in production facilities and labour. Companies that were traditionally satisfied with a 100 percent mark-up between the cost of factory production and the retail price have been scouring the globe for factories that can make their products so inexpensively that the mark-up is closer to 400 percent. And as a 1997 UN report notes, even in countries where wages were already low, labour costs are getting a shrinking slice of corporate budgets. "In four developing countries out of five, the share of wages in manufacturing valueadded today is considerably below what it was in the 1970s and early 1980s." The timing of these trends reflects not only branding's status as the perceived economic cure-all, but also a corresponding devaluation of the production process and of producers in general. Branding, in other words, has been hogging all the "value-added."

When the actual manufacturing process is so devalued, it stands to reason that the people doing the work of production are likely to be treated like detritus — the stuff left behind. The idea has a certain symmetry: ever since mass production created the need for branding in the first place, its role has slowly been expanding in importance until, more than a century and a half after the Industrial Revolution, it occurred to these companies that maybe branding could replace production entirely. As tennis pro Andre Agassi said in a 1992 Canon camera commercial, "Image is everything."

p. 196-8

This shift in attitude toward production is so profound that where a previous era of consumer goods corporations displayed their logos on the facades of their factories, many of today's brand-based multinationals now maintain that the location of their production operations is a "trade secret," to be guarded at all costs. When asked by human-rights groups in April 1999 to disclose the names and addresses of its contract factories, Peggy Carter, a vice president at Champion clothing, replied: "We have no interest in our competition learning where we are located and taking advantage of what has taken us years to build."

Increasingly, brand-name multinationals -Levi's, Nike, Champion, Wal-Mart, Reebok, the Gap, IBM and General Motors-insist that they are just like any one of us: bargain hunters in search of the best deal in the global mall. They are very picky customers, with specific instructions about made-to-order design, materials, delivery dates and, most important, the need for rock-bottom prices. But what they are not interested in is the burdensome logistics of how those prices fall so low; building factories, buying machinery and budgeting for labour have all been lobbed squarely into somebody else's court.

p.201-2

- and the exploding number of export processing zones like it throughout the developing world — could well be the only places left on earth where the superbrands actually keep a low profile. Indeed, they are positively self-effacing. Their names and logos aren't splashed on the facades of the factories in the industrial zone. And here, competing labels aren't segregated each in its own superstore; they are often produced side by side in the same factories, glued by the very same workers, stitched and soldered on the very same machines. It was in Cavite that I finally found a piece of unswooshed space, and I found it, oddly enough, in a Nike shoe factory. I was only permitted one visit inside the zone's gates to interview officials

-individual factories, I was told, are off limits to anyone but potential importers or exporters. But a few days later, with the help of an eighteen-year-old worker who had been laid off from his job in an electronics factory, I managed to sneak back to get the unofficial tour. In the rows of virtually identical giant shed-like structures, one factory stood out: the name on the white rectangular building said "Philips," but through its surrounding fence I could see mountains of Nike shoes piled high. It seems that in Cavite, production has been banished to our age's most worthless status: its factories are unbrandable, unswooshworthy; producers are the industrial untouchables. Is this what Phil Knight meant, I wondered, when he said his company wasn't about the sneakers?

Manufacturing is concentrated and isolated inside the zone as if it were toxic waste: pure, 100 percent production at low, low prices. Cavite, like the rest of the zones that compete with it, presents itself as the buy-in-bulk Price Club for multinationals on the lookout for bargains - grab a really big shopping cart. Inside, it's obvious that the row of factories, each with its own gate and guard, has been carefully planned to squeeze the maximum amount of production out of this swath of land. Windowless workshops made of cheap plastic and aluminium siding are crammed in next to each other, only feet apart. Racks of time cards bake in the sun, making sure the maximum amount of work is extracted from each worker, the maximum number of working hours extracted from each day. The streets in the zone are eerily empty, and open doors-the ventilation system for most factories — reveal lines of young women hunched in silence over clamouring machines.

In other parts of the world, workers live inside the economic zones, but not in Cavite: this is a place of pure work. All the bustle and colour of Rosario abruptly stops at the gates, where workers must show their ID cards to armed guards in order to get inside. Visitors are rarely permitted in the zone and little or no internal commerce takes place on its orderly streets, not even candy and drink vending. Buses and taxicabs must drop their speed and silence their horns when they get into the zone — a marked change from the boisterous streets of Rosario. If all of this makes Cavite feel as if it's in a different country, that's because, in a way, it is. The zone is a tax-free economy, sealed off from the local government of both town and province — a miniature military state inside a democracy. p.203-4

Cecille Tuico, one of the organizers at the Workers' Assistance Centre, was listening in on the conversation. After the workers left to make their way through Rosario's dark streets and back to the dormitories, she pointed out that the alienation the workers so poignantly describe is precisely what the employers look for when they seek out migrants instead of locals to work in the zone. With the same muted, matter-of-fact anger I have come to recognize in so many Filipino human-rights activists, Tuico said that the factory managers prefer young women who are far from home and have not finished high school, because "they are scared and uneducated about their rights."

The Zones' Other Product: A New Kind of Factory Worker

Their naiveté and insecurity undoubtedly make discipline easier for factory managers, but younger workers are preferred for other reasons, too. Women are often fired from their zone jobs in their mid-twenties, told by supervisors that they are "too old," and that their fingers are no longer sufficiently nimble. This practice is a highly effective way of minimizing the number of mothers on the company payroll. In Cavite, the workers tell me stories about pregnant women forced to work until 2 a.m., even after pleading with the supervisor; of women who work in the ironing section giving birth to babies with burns on their skin; of women who mould the plastic for cordless phones giving birth to stillborn infants. The evidence I hear in Cavite is anecdotal, told to me quietly and urgently by women with the same terrified expression I saw when conversation turned to Carmelita Alonzo. Some of the stories are certainly apocryphal — fear-fuelled zone legends — but the abuse of pregnant women in export processing zones is also well documented and the problem reaches far beyond Cavite.

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And nobody is riding the culture-jamming wave as high as Adbusters, the self-described "house-organ" of the culture-jamming scene. Editor Kalle Lasn, who speaks exclusively in the magazine's enviro-pop lingo, likes to say that we are a culture "addicted to toxins" that are poisoning our bodies, our "mental environment" and our planet. He believes that adbusting will eventually spark a "paradigm shift" in public consciousness. Published by the Vancouver-based Media Foundation, the magazine started in 1989 with 5,000 copies. It now has a circulation of 35,000-at least 20,000 copies of which go to the United States. The foundation also produces "uncommercials" for television that accuse the beauty industry of causing eating disorders, attack North American over consumption, and urge everyone to trade their cars in for bikes. Most television stations in Canada and the U.S. have refused to air the spots, which gives the Media Foundation the perfect excuse to take them to court and use the trials to attract press attention to their vision of more democratic, publicly accessible media.

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It's hard to say how spooked the advertisers are about getting busted. Although the U.S. Association of National Advertisers has no qualms about lobbying police on behalf of its members to crack down on adbusters, they are generally loath to let the charges go to trial. This is probably wise. Even though ad companies try to paint jammers as "vigilante censors" in the media,10 they know it wouldn't take much for the public to decide that the advertisers are the ones censoring the jammers' creative expressions.

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More outrage flowed after NBC aired an investigation of Mattel and Disney just days before Christmas 1996. With the help of hidden cameras, the reporter showed that children in Indonesia and China were working in virtual slavery "so that children in America can put frilly dresses on America's favourite doll." In June 1996, Life magazine created more waves with photographs of Pakistani kids —looking shockingly young and paid as little as six cents an hour —hunched over soccer balls that bore the unmistakable Nike swoosh. But it wasn't just Nike. Adidas, Reebok, Umbro, Mitre and Brine were all manufacturing balls in Pakistan where an estimated 10,000 children worked in the industry, many of them sold as indentured slave labourers to their employers and branded like livestock. The Life images were so chilling that they galvanized parents, students and educators alike, many of whom made the photographs into placards and held them up in protest outside sporting-goods stores across the United States and Canada.

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You can see this jujitsu strategy in action in what has become a staple of many Anticorporate campaigns: inviting a worker from a Third World country to come visit a First World superstore — with plenty of cameras rolling. Few newscasts can resist the made-for-TV moment when an Indonesian Nike worker gasps as she learns that the sneakers she churned out for $2 a day sell for $120 at San Francisco Nike Town. Since 1994, there have been at least five separate tours of Indonesian Nike workers through North America and Europe — Cicih Sukaesih, who lost her job for trying to organize a union in a Nike factory, has been back three times, her trips sponsored by coalitions of labour, church and school groups. In August 1995, two Gap seamstresses — seventeen-year-old Claudia Leticia Molina from Honduras and eighteen-year-old Judith Yanira Viera from El Salvador— went on similar North American speaking tours, addressing crowds outside dozens of Gap outlets. Perhaps most memorably, shoppers were able to put a face to the issue of child labour when fifteen-year-old Wendy Diaz appeared before the U.S. Congress. She had been working in a Honduran factory sewing Kathie Lee Gifford pants since she was thirteen. Diaz testified to the presence of "about 100 minors like me — thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old — some even twelve.... Sometimes they kept us all night long, working.... The supervisors scream at us and yell at us to work faster. Sometimes they throw the garment in your face, or grab and shove you.... Sometimes the managers touch the girls. Pretending it's a joke they touch our legs. Many of us would like to go to night school but we can't because they constantly force us to work overtime."

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That's what Mike Gitelson thought, anyway. A social worker at the Bronx's Edenwald-Gun Hill Neighbourhood Centre, he was unimpressed with the swoosh's powers as a self-help guru in the projects and "sick of seeing kids wearing sneakers they couldn't afford and which their parents couldn't afford."" Nike's critics on college campuses and in the labour movement may be fuelled largely by moral outrage, but Mike Gitelson and his colleagues simply feel ripped off. So rather than lecturing the kids on the virtues of frugality, they began telling them about how Nike made the shoes that they wanted so badly. Gitelson told them about the workers in Indonesia who earned $2 a day, he told them that it cost Nike only $5 to make the shoes they bought for between $100 and $180, and he told them about how Nike didn't make any of its shoes in the U.S. - which was part of the reason their parents had such a tough time finding work. "We got really angry," says Gitelson, "because they were taking so much money from us here and then going to other countries and exploiting people even worse.... We want our kids to see how it affects them here on the streets, but also how here on the streets affects people in Southeast Asia." His colleague at the centre, youth worker Leo Johnson, lays out the issue using the kids' own lingo. "Yo, dude," he tells his preteen audiences, "you're being suckered if you pay $100 for a sneaker that costs $5 to make. If somebody did that to you on the block, you know where it's going."

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What is perhaps most remarkable about the Nike backlash is its durability. After four solid years in the public eye, the Nike story still has legs (so too, of course, does the Nike brand). Still, most corporate scandals are successfully faced down with a statement of "regret" and a few glossy ads of children playing happily under the offending logo. Not with Nike. The news reports, labour studies and academic research documenting the sweat behind the swoosh have yet to slow down, and Nike critics remain tireless at dissecting the steady stream of materials churned out by Nike's PR machine. They were unmoved by Phil Knight's presence on the White House Task Force on Sweatshops — despite his priceless photo op standing beside President Clinton at the Rose Garden press conference. They sliced and diced the report Nike commissioned from civil-rights leader Andrew Young, pointing out that Young completely dodged the question of whether Nike's factory wages are inhumanely exploitative, and attacking him for relying on translators provided by Nike itself when he visited the factories in Indonesia and Vietnam. As for Nike's other study-for-hire — this one by a group of Dartmouth business students who concluded that workers in Vietnam were living the good life on less than $2 a day — well, everyone pretty much ignored that one altogether.

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While many campuses are busily taking on the brand-name interlopers, others are realizing that their universities are themselves brand names. Ivy League universities, and colleges with all-star sports teams, have extensive clothing lines, several of which rival the market share of many commercial designers. They also share many of the same labour problems. In 1998, the UNITE garment workers union published a report on the BJ&B factory in an export processing zone in the Dominican Republic. Workers at BJ&B, one of the world's largest manufacturers of baseball hats, embroider the school logos and crests of at least nine large American universities, including Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard and University of Michigan. The conditions at BJ&B were signature free-trade-zone ones: long hours of forced overtime, fierce union busting (including layoffs of organizers), short-term contracts, pay checks insufficient to feed a family, pregnancy tests, sexual harassment, abusive management, unsafe drinking water and huge mark-ups (while the hats sold, on average, for $19.95, workers saw only 8 cents of that)." And of course, most of the workers were young women, a fact that was brought home when the union sponsored a trip to the U.S. for two former employees of the factory: nineteen-year-old Kenia Rodriguez and twenty-year-old Roselio Reyes. The two workers visited many of the universities whose logos they used to stitch on caps, speaking to gatherings of students who were exactly their age. "In the name of the 2,050 workers in this factory, and the people in this town, we ask for your support," Reyes said to an audience of students at the University of Illinois.

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Because of Duke's leading role as a campus apparel manufacturer, a group of activists decided to turn the school into a model of ethical manufacturing — not only for other schools, but for the scandal-racked garment industry as a whole. In March 1998, Duke University unveiled a landmark policy requiring that all companies making T-shirts, baseball hats and sweatshirts bearing the "Duke" name agree to a set of clear labour standards. The code required that contractors pay the legal minimum wage, maintain safe working conditions and allow workers to form unions, no matter where the factories were located. What makes the policy more substantial than most other codes in the garment sector is that it requires factories to undergo inspections from independent monitors — a provision that sent Nike and Shell screaming from the negotiating table, despite overwhelming evidence that their stated standards are being disregarded on the ground. Brown University followed two months later with a tough code of its own.

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For their part, proponents of selective purchasing argue that they are not trying to implement their own foreign policy. They say calling these laws "sanctions," as their critics invariably do, is a misnomer because selective purchasing agreements are not regulations placed on businesses, they are simply large-scale consumer pressure. Simon Billenness, the Burma campaigner who has helped draft these pieces of legislation, characterizes them colourfully as "boycotts on steroids." Just as consumers have the right to personal choice in the marketplace, so too do they have the right collectively, whether as schools, town councils or state governments. He also points out that the agreements have a proven track record of meaningful human-rights victories. During the anti-apartheid movement, five U.S. states, nine cities and fifty-nine universities passed resolutions that either barred purchases from companies in South Africa outright, or compelled them to adopt the Sullivan principles. "If USA*Engage had succeeded with their tactics during the apartheid years, Nelson Mandela might still be in prison," says Simon Billenness.

Perhaps most important, the assault on selective purchasing agreements has turned what were campaigns on behalf of citizens in faraway lands into battles for local rights and liberties as well. Billenness, for his part, describes the attempt to criminalize selective purchasing as "a violation of state sovereignty and local democracy." It may also prove a tactical miscalculation. In taking aim at these locally based actions, the NFTC has actively reinforced the very beliefs that led to their enactment in the first place: that corporations have become more powerful than governments; that federal governments have stopped serving the interests of people; and that in the light of these two facts, citizens have no choice but to confront corporate power themselves.

The proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment would not help matters. The MA1 is stalled for the moment, but its supporters have in no way abandoned the project. According to a draft leaked in 1997, selective purchasing agreements could become instantly illegal. The agreement explicitly bans "discrimination" against corporations based on their trade relations with other countries, and states clearly that this clause would override any pre-existing laws at all levels of government — including municipalities. Not only that, but multinationals would be granted the legal standing to sue governments directly for any alleged discrimination on this basis. Many now believe that these parts of the MA1 will be part of the next round of World Trade Organization negotiations.

In the same way that citizens' groups from around the world mobilized against the MA1 in 1998, many such groups have declared themselves ready to resist the business community's frontal assault on selective purchasing. Free Burma campaigners are vowing to "out" the corporations behind the NFTC lawsuit and target them for boycott campaigns. They also point out that local governments can easily carry out their "boycotts on steroids" with or without formal resolutions on the books. The city of Vancouver is a case in point. In 1989, at the tail end of the apartheid boycott, Vancouver passed a selective purchasing resolution that banned Shell gasoline from city-owned vehicles because of the company's controversial dealings in South Africa. Similar resolutions were passed — mostly relating to banks that issued loans to South Africaby councils in Toronto, Ottawa and Victoria. But Shell Canada decided to take the City of Vancouver to court for discrimination. The case dragged on for nearly five years and in February 1994 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled, by a margin of five to four, in Shell's favour. Judge John Sopinka wrote that the council had indeed discriminated against Shell, and that councillors only had the jurisdiction to make procurement decisions based on concerns for Vancouver residents — not for people in South Africa. The purpose of the Shell boycott, he concluded, "is to affect matters beyond the boundaries of the City without any identifiable benefit to its inhabitants."

Shell got what it wanted: the City of Vancouver's gas contract. But the company's problems were far from over. When Shell again became the subject of international approbation after the hanging of Ken Saro- Wiwa, local Sierra Club activists again began lobbying the Vancouver council to cut its ties to Shell. In light of the Supreme Court ruling, the council could not formally pass another selective purchasing resolution but, coincidentally, on July 8, 1997, it handed over a $6 million contract to fuel the fleet of ambulances and police and fire vehicles for the entire Greater Vancouver Regional District to Shell's competitor, Chevron. It is possible that the city's decision was based solely on the merits of each company's bid, but there is little doubt that the human-rights issue was also a factor. Included in the Greater Vancouver catchment area is the smaller municipality of North Vancouver; less than four months before the contract went to Chevron, North Vancouver councillors had voted unanimously to condemn Shell's behaviour in Ogoniland and to direct its staff not to buy Shell gas. "We have to take a stand on corporations, against the way Shell has raped the Ogoni people," one councillor said at the time. But since the North Vancouver resolution was simply an expression of council's beliefs —with no mention of municipal contracts — Shell could not appeal legally. When the contract went to Chevron, local environmentalists, who had been keeping weekly vigils outside Shell gas stations in Vancouver for over a year, celebrated it as a victory.

But was it a victory? Less than a year later, Bola Oyinbo, a thirty-three-year-old activist who led an occupation of a Chevron oil barge in Nigeria's Ondo State, would be writing the following report:

Just as we were preparing to leave we saw three helicopters (choppers). They came like eagles, swooping on chickens. We never expected what followed. As the choppers landed one after the other discharging soldiers, what we heard were gunshots and fire. In fact they started shooting commando style at us even before they landed. They shot everywhere. Arulika and Jolly fell. They died instantly. Larry who was near him rushed to his aid, wanting to pick him up, he was also shot. More soldiers came and more shooting followed. Some of my colleagues jumped over board into the Atlantic, others ran into the platform. There was pandemonium. They shot teargas. White men flew all the helicopters...We were defenceless, harmless.

The protest had begun peacefully on May 25, 1998, and it ended three days later in a bloodbath, with two activists dead. The circumstances were eerily similar to those that had prompted Ken Saro-Wiwa's campaign against Shell five years earlier. "Go to Awoye community and see what they have done," Oyinbo writes. "Everything there is dead: mangroves, tropical forests, fish, the freshwater, wildlife etc. All killed by Chevron.... our people complain of 'dead creeks.'" According to Oyinbo, the community attempted on several occasions to negotiate with Chevron, but its executives never showed up at the meetings. The occupation of the moored barge was a last resort, they say, and the only demand was for a formal meeting with Chevron.

Oyinbo and his comrades accuse the company of hiring the soldiers who raided the barge, killing two men and injuring as many as thirty others.

Chevron says it is not responsible for the actions taken by police officers on its rig — they were simply enforcing the law against "pirates." Chevron spokesperson Mike Libbey denies that the company paid the security officers to intervene, though he admits to alerting the authorities and providing transportation to the platform. "We think it is unfortunate that people died, perhaps unnecessarily, but that doesn't change the fact that in order for Chevron to do business in ninety countries around the world, we must cooperate with governments of many kinds," he told reporters. The company has further enraged the community by refusing to pay damages to the families of the deceased — only burial costs. "If they want other compensations, they should write to us and the company may decide to assist them on compassionate grounds," said Deji Haastrup, Chevron's community relations manager. Perhaps fittingly, Chevron's CEO, Ken Derr, is one of the most active members of l)SA*Engage and its crusade against sanctions and selective purchasing.

Unlike Shell, Chevron has not yet become the subject of an international brand boycott, though there is a growing public awareness about the deaths that took place on May 28. Perhaps because Bola Oyinbo lacks Ken Saro-Wiwa's international connections, the deaths of his two colleagues were at first not even reported outside the Nigerian press. And it is sadly ironic that Chevron has undoubtedly benefited from the fact that activists have made a strategic decision to focus their criticism on Shell, rather than on the Nigerian oil industry as a whole. It points to one of the significant, at times maddening, limitations of brand-based politics.

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