"The problem isn't beef, cultural diversity or patenting of life forms. It's the WTO," said development analyst Susan George, a week before the 135-member trade body's Millennium Round. The 30,000 globo-protesters at Seattle, home to Boeing and Microsoft, the essence of American free trade, agreed.
They were a motley group of protesters ranging from Luddites, Zapatistas and Free-Tibeters to butterfly defenders, topless women and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. They opposed, often violently, everything from bovine hormones and genetically modified (g.m.) foods to Nike and Gap.
But the anti-global markets stance helped the top trader (exports: $682 billion). The US tried to get environment and human rights in through the backdoor, but developing nations opposed it. As talks failed, the enviro-protesters and the protectionist organised US labour, many of whom earn their bread from exports, won the day.