Snowtopia 99: Jello Biafra Delivers Keynote

Approximately 200 snowboard industry executives gathered at the Chateau Whistler to listen to former front man of the seminal punk band Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra, discuss issues surrounding the recent World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle and why the organization is hurting workers and working conditions around the world.

Biafra was the final speaker of TransWorld Media’s 10th Annual Snowboard Industry Conference and Powder Quest and he didn’t disappoint the crowd with a stunning opening monologue that suggested that America should call off the drug war, legalize all drugs, and start rehab programs (“Rehab’s cost two-thirds less than jail time”), that to balance the budget the nation should tax religion, and that in addition to a minimum wage there ought to be a maximum wage one can earn in the United States as well.

He also said that NASA should be used to send the FBI, CIA, DEA, and other government organizations to Mars, permanently. He wanted politicians to wear their corporate sponsor’s logos on their uniforms like NASCAR racers do.

But much of what Biafra talked about was the WTO and how the protests in Seattle were notable because for the first time it brought together many different groups of activists such as “tree huggers and hard hats working together.”

He labeled the WTO as a source of a new feudalism that’s taking over the world and explained how it allows countries to protest other countries laws in the name of free trade. “To these businesses, free trade is more important than human rights,” he said

Biafra believes that one of the best ways to protest the big corporations and their policies was to not give any of these big organizations money. “Support local companies,” he implored. “Keep the independent spirit and advertise it. Look at the cult buyers who refuse to buy the newest, most technologically advanced Japanese motorcycles and instead buy Harleys.”