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Home -> Business -> WTO Crisis of 1999: Saturn-Uranus cycle

The 'Battle of Seattle': The WTO Crisis of 1999
This article was written & published in April 2006

In 1999 the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reached a major crisis point. Taking place in Seattle USA from 30th November to 3rd December, the WTO Ministerial Conference brought together political representatives from over one hundred nations, and was accompanied by protests in at least twenty countries, including 50,000 to 100,000 people in Seattle itself. Even people like Bill Clinton and other international figures said at the time that the organisation was secretive and closed. 

Amidst widespread police abuses - tear gas, concussion grenades, pepper-spraying, restraint chairs, beatings, rubber bullets - the WTO kept insisting that it was not a vehicle for economic dictatorship or oppression of the poor for the benefit of the rich, nor in any way undemocratic. The media incorrectly labelled the protests as 'anti-trade' and 'anti-globalisation', when in fact the criticism was of the way trading rules were being applied unfairly, unequally, inhumanely, and in a way consistent with the skewed power relations between countries. The crisis continued unabated, and the Observer newspaper reported

"By Friday night all the powerful First and Third World environment, development and human rights groups were condemning the way the talks were being powered through by the Americans to protect their own trading interests - to reduce agricultural subsidies and open up vast new markets. And more than 40 African, Caribbean and Latin American countries had united in protest against the way poor countries were being bullied by the rich and the way their concerns were being marginalised. An unprecedented rebellion was in the offing...
For the first time in history the poor countries of the world had told the rich they weren't playing the First World's game. For the first time, Africa was united. 'No one combs our hair in our absence,' said a furious Ugandan, as the talks lurched towards collapse.

In the end, the WTO talks collapsed, ending without any consensus on any of the main issues that were tabled for agreement. Over five hundred protestors were arrested. Complaints about police brutality were submitted. Eventually most protestors were released without charge - only forty misdemeanor cases stemming from more than five hundred arrests were expected to proceed. Amnesty International called for an inquiry into the police's actions. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper reported:

"Georgetown history professor Michael Kazin wrote in Tuesday's Post-Intelligencer that it remains to be seen whether the Battle of Seattle will be viewed "as a coming-out party for a truly international populist movement or a mere spasm of outrage by misfits in the new global economy." We're betting on the former. Unless the WTO becomes more accountable to those affected by its decisions, the angry shouts from Seattle's streets will echo across the globe well into the next century."

The Saturn-Uranus cycle

The WTO was the lightning conductor for a crisis of confidence in the entire economic system of the world's westernised countries, particularly the USA and UK. Astrologically, this crisis correlated with a key phase of the Saturn-Uranus cycle. Over the years, the cycle of these two planets has been found to resonate with the USA, UK and other westernised countries' economies and fiscal policies, such as 'free trade'. These countries promote science, mechanisation and technology as engines driving civilisation and 'progress', and place much less value on environmental, ecological, and humane considerations. The cycle also has to do with the tension between autocracy and democracy, free speech and oppression. All these issues came to a head in Seattle in 1999, focused through the WTO. Another quote from the Observer report:

"While the media concentrated on Seattle's riots, the tear gas and the looting, the demands on the streets of Seattle were not for an end to world trade but for a fairer and more democratic system. 'They are worried about a few windows being smashed', said one Filipino leader. 'They should come and see the violence being done to our communities in the name of liberalisation of trade.'"

Saturn-Uranus Cycle

The above diagram shows the crisis points within the Saturn-Uranus cycle. Starting at the top with the conjunction, moving to the right in a clockwise direction towards the square, then down to the opposition, then to another square, and back to a new cycle at the conjunction around 45-46 years later.

The cycle begun at the conjunction encounters its first crisis at the square, then another crisis at the opposition, and a final crisis at the next square, before beginning again at the next conjunction.

During times past, this cycle has correlated with human and civil rights protests and riots, economic crises and labour unrest, turning points in western economic and military hegemony, developments in genetics, biotechnology, mechanisation, space technology, nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and attempts at disarmament.

You can see from this diagram that there was a Saturn-Uranus square in 1999, the year of the WTO meeting. This square was
between the signs Taurus and Aquarius. The aspect was exact on three occasions: July 1999, November 1999, and May 2000.

We can conclude from this that the westernised countries' economic policies would reach a crisis point during this time. But why did the WTO become the focus of this flare-up?

The WTO's birth chart

There are two charts for the WTO. One is for the time when the international legislation creating the organisation came into effect. The other is for the actual operational beginning of the organisation. It is this latter chart that is shown here:

WTO Birth Chart

For the purposes of this article, the important parts of this chart are:
  • Midheaven (MC) at 13 degrees 34 minutes of Scorpio
  • Imum Coeli (IC) at 13 degrees 34 minutes of Taurus
  • North node at 12 degrees 55 minutes of Scorpio
  • South node at 12 degrees 55 minutes of Taurus
This places a clear emphasis at 13 degrees of the Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius). The MC-IC axis is about the foundation and goals of an organisation. It is also about the public face versus the private face of the WTO. The nodal axis is about the WTO's developmental direction. The crisis in Seattle revolved around these two areas. 

This zodiac area of 13 degrees of the Fixed signs links directly - almost exactly to the minute - with the Saturn-Uranus square that was within orb throughout 1999 and 2000. The aspect was exact just over a fortnight before the WTO conference began, at 13 degrees 04 minutes of Taurus-Aquarius.

Looking ahead

Saturn will oppose Uranus from the summer of 2008 through to the end of 2010. The aspect will be exact five times: in November 2008, February 2009, September 2009, April 2010, and July 2010. The WTO birth chart will once again be linked with, as will the charts of the USA and UK, and the next USA presidential election will take place in November '08 with the new president taking office in January '09, just before the second aspect reaches exactitude in February of that year. The current UK government will be compelled to have an election no later than May 2010.

The opposition phase is a time to confront head-on the fruits of our actions and inactions during the previous phases of the cycle since the conjunction point. In this case, that means since 1988. But it will also echo the previous opposition of 1965-67, which saw race riots and protests about the Vietnam war in the USA.

Crisis points do not have to be violent. They only require that we face up to what we have been denying and deal with it in the wisest way possible. A crisis is an opportunity to correct our imbalances, to put right what we have been doing wrong, to make adjustments in the direction we have taken, and to integrate what we have excluded. How we handle these moments depends on how willing we are listen to the feedback we get from the world around us.

During the past crisis points of this Saturn-Uranus cycle that willingness to listen has not been there, and that lack of respect has thereby turned a crisis into a conflict and a clash of wills. This need not be so. But if we use the Saturn-Uranus energy as a force of autocracy and ideological fundamentalism then we are choosing to perpetuate pain and suffering. We must clear away the conflicts of our history and use this cycle as constructively as we are able.

In light of this, a recent announcement that Germany is now prepared to open up holocaust records previously only available to the International Red Cross is interesting. Although the final decision has not yet been made, the records will take some time to complete the digitalisation process. The Saturn-Uranus conjunction of 1942 coincided with the peak of the holocaust. Could it be that the Saturn-Uranus opposition from 2008 to 2010 will reflect another chance for us to illuminate to the greatest extent possible the issues that resonate with this planetary cycle?

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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