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Confronting statism in Geneva

Gabriel Syme and I (and a certain Frogman) have been away from our keyboards for a few days because we have in Geneva, adding our efforts to that most worthy of activist groups, Bureaucrash, on the occasion of the first outing of Eurocrash in Switzerland. The target for our attentions was the Fifty-seventh World Health Assembly held by that hotbed of socialist obscurantism, the World Health Organisation.

The simple message of the Eurocrash was not something all too many of the people participating in that tax funded Tranzi event wanted to hear: Capitalism Heals/Socialism Kills

Badges?  Badges?  We don' need no stinkin' badges!
Step One: Infiltrate the WHO events by getting a badge…

For some reason Jason and Heather elected to not salute the flag
Step Two: wander over to the UN Palace of Nations…

Step Three: take embarrassing pictures of UN type folks smoking in front of where WHA sessions are going on…

Socialism kills.  Cool tee-shirts
Step Four: hand out pro-capitalist leaflets designed to demonstrate that there is more than one point of view…

Hell, we just got run outa Dodge!
Step Five: get run out of town by UN cops…

Although it was all only a very small fly in their ointment, it was all worth it just to see the incredulous expression of people at the notion of pro-capitalist demonstrations on UN property.

The next round of jolly japes immediately afterwards was to crash the screening of a new film by socialist activist German Velasquez, called ‘Profits or Life?‘, which criticises attempt to uphold the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies who have developed many life saving drugs. Velasquez was supported on a Q&A panel afterwards by Marxist activist Carlos Correa. Twenty or so Crashers turned up to to ask a few rather awkward questions and distribute some rather clever leaflets which dissented from the movie’s message…

Niger Innes makes a painful point

Crasher Niger Innes asks why, given that the
panel was representing itself as the voice of the
poor in Africa, there were no Africans on the panel? Ouch.

Stefan sticks it to them

Crasher Stefan Metzeler points out that as the
majority of drugs are not under patent anyway,
blaming intellectual property rights for the Third World’s
health problems, rather than massive regulatory statism and
a lack of free trade, is rather idiotic…

And then who should appear in the audience but Dr. Harvey Bale, who Velasquez’s movie has cast as ‘the ugly American Bad Guy on the side of the evil pharmaceutical companies’. Far from being the sinister character ‘Profits or Life?‘ portrayed him to be, he turns out to be an urbane and very articulate fellow as he addressed the point which had been made on-screen. Never have I heard a man demolish another man’s arguments so systematically and yet remain utterly charming and polite.

Harvey Bales lays into them, but oh so politely!

And then Dr. Harvey Bale, the Director General
of the Geneva-based International Federation of Pharmaceutical
Manufacturers Associations had a few words…

And with that, the Crashers vanished into the surroundings… well, into Geneva actually in search of food and drink. A fairly interesting time was had by all and I found the event a very useful networking opportunity as well.

13 comments to Confronting statism in Geneva

  • Nate

    I’d love to hear what Dr. Bale had to say. 🙂

  • Jeffersonian

    I second Nate’s sentiment and will add that Dr. Bale is surely hated all the more by the Usual Suspects for his command of reason, not his lack of same.

  • Classic. Like the photos.

  • Good to see someone from the libertarian UK contigent joined the ‘Crashers. As an erstwhile member of that organisation I was sorry I couldn’t make it.

  • T. J. Madison

    This kicks ass. Good, honest, rational agitation. Keep it up.

  • John Harrison

    Rock on!
    If the debate about international political arrangements is allowed to remain one of EU/UN Tranzi Statism on the one hand versus anti-capitalist greenery on the other then it’s a lose-lose situation for the world.

    Well done for putting the alternative.

  • klu01dbt

    Where can I get one of those socialism kills t-shirts

  • Cobden Bright

    Good work chaps!

  • What is the icon on the O in SOCIALISM on the back of the shirt?

  • I wanted to thanks Perry, Gabriel, Stefan and all of the other free-market activists for turning out for the event in Geneva. As a member of the older generation, it was a nice surprise to see that a capitalist/innovation-minded spirit is so very active and alert.

    I appreciate the very kind comments about what I tried to say at the Geneva event. Being very busy, I had no time to write down anything before this “debate” (really not much of a debate among the panelists who all agree that privately-driven medical innovation based on intellectual property is wrong), so I had to develop sopme ad lib remarks to repond to this biased film versio of reality.

    My point was, and is simple: I advocate a world where private enterprise will create both patented new medicines to meet sopciety’s health needs and generic, or off-patented, products. Those who oppose this model will condemn society to a world in which there is neither innovation nor inexpensive generics. Interestingly, Velasquez and Correa come from a region characterized by “branded” generics which are marketed just like patented medicines, and thus are relatively high priced. Who needs this?

    Thus, while I may personally like both indisviduals, I have chosen to work in this industry and to oppose such nonsense, and while there are some free-marketeers who think that patents are monopolies, most disagree and recognize that without them economic stagnation is the result.
    If anyone would like more info on these views and other aspects of the pharmaceutical issues, please see our website. H Bale

  • Alexander Heavens

    I think you are ill educated high schoolers who don’t understand what your talking about. I’m a socialist and I know the only reason that capitalist countries don’t like socialist/communist countries is because of the anti-western economies found in socialist/communist countries. Your just sad that you cannot exploit cuban sugarcane growers anymore.

    Alexander Heavens
    age 14

  • Well Alexander, did it ever occur to you that maybe the fact Cuban imprisons and murders people who have different opinions to Fidel Casto might have be why we don’t like Socialists?

  • Alexander Heavens

    I’m not defending the murders or imprisonment… I’m a pacifist. However I was pointing out that the only reason that the capitalist governments demonise communist countries is because of the anti-capitalist economies found in communist countries. The American government doesn’t care about the murders and imprisonment, rather the ending of its expliotation of farmers paid at miniscule wages. Its pretty rich for the American government to comment on imprisonment and murders when you look at Guantanimo Bay and that the death penalty is still upheld in America.

    Alexander Heavens
    age 14