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September 13: Worldwide Day of Action Against Corporate Globalization and War

The World Says No to the WTO

From September 10 to 14, the World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold its Fifth Ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico. Pushed by multinational corporations, the United States, the European Union, and other developed countries are seeking to launch a new round of "free trade" negotiations and expand corporate globalization - further eroding human rights, workers' rights, environmental protections, and democracy - in the interest of corporate control.

Popular movements in Mexico and their international allies will mark these meetings with massive demonstrations to demand a world that puts democracy and human dignity ahead of corporate profits. Solidarity actions around the world will focus on September 13 as a Worldwide Day of Action Against Corporate Globalization and War.

We call on people throughout the United States to join this global uprising for peace and justice by organizing events in your community throughout the week leading up to the WTO Ministerial and on September 13. Resist the WTO and the failed model of corporate globalization, militarism and "free trade," through a wide variety of creative means: teach-ins, vigils, protests, direct action, street theater, festivals of resistance, cultural events, meetings with elected officials, public forums, and so on.

These September actions to derail the WTO will kick off a powerful autumn campaign of action for peace and justice, involving major mobilizations for immigrant rights, against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and against militarism and occupation.

Whose Trade Organization?
The WTO is designed and managed for the benefit of transnational corporations at the expense of most of the world's population and the environment. The neoliberal agenda of "free trade," deregulation, privatization and special corporate protections enshrined in the WTO leads to greater poverty, inequity, gender inequality and indebtedness, while concentrating the world's wealth in the hands of a few. The corporate agenda implemented by the WTO pits worker against worker and nation against nation in a race to the bottom.

The last time the WTO met in North America, in late 1999, tens of thousands of people converged on Seattle to expose the real agenda behind "free trade": devastating the environment and eroding basic rights, protections, and services for the vast majority of the world's population.

Four years after the historic showdown at the 3rd WTO Ministerial in Seattle, we live in a changed and even more dangerous world. Using the horrible terrorist attacks against the U.S. of 2001 as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration is on a reckless quest for empire, combining the global might of the United States military with the global reach of massive corporations. The Bush doctrine of preemptive strike and permanent warfare goes hand-in-hand with a program of economic domination through "free trade," and, not coincidentally, masks the woeful U.S. economic situation.

The “Watchtower State”
Under the rules of the WTO and proposed agreements like the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the government role in regulating the market place to promote fair labor conditions, access to basic services, safe products and a clean environment are strictly constrained. WTO rules provide a "security exception" that protects and fosters weapons manufacture and the arms trade. Under agreements being negotiated now, virtually all other governmental services - including schools, health care, public transit, water supply and other public utilities - could be subject to corporate takeover. Basic worker and consumer rights and environmental protections could be jettisoned as "unfair barriers to trade." The vision of government enshrined in the WTO and the FTAA is a "watchtower state" - a fortress security state on a permanent war footing.

The Assault on Immigrant Rights
Corporate globalization has destroyed the lives and livelihood of millions of workers and farmers throughout the world. Many are forced to leave their homes, their land, and often their countries in search of increasingly scarce jobs. Yet trade agreements that protect the flow of money and goods across borders don't allow the free movement of people. Borders are militarized and immigrants are criminalized - even as millions of people are dislocated by "free trade."

More than nine million undocumented workers who live in the United States today lack basic legal protections and human rights, living in constant fear of round-ups, detentions, and deportation. The WTO and FTAA would create new injustices for immigrants by giving corporations the right to import people to work in industrialized countries like the United States, while maintaining the low wages and minimal worker protections of their home countries, creating a system of legalized sweatshops.

Another World Is Possible
We have before us a choice: the world of militarism and corporate globalization, or a world built on global solidarity, rooted in a foundation of democracy, dignity, sustainability, and cooperation. This fall we have an opportunity to bring our vision to life, through a series of actions and campaigns that will build toward a better world.

Signed (as of July 30th, 2003):

  • ARISE for Social Justice
  • Aztlan Media Kollective
  • BAYAN International-USA
  • Bolivariancircles.net
  • Chicago Jobs with Justice--Global Justice Comm.
  • Coalition of Immokalee Workers
  • Corazon Cultural Commission
  • Florida Fair Trade Coalition
  • Free CUNY
  • Global Exchange
  • International ANSWER Coalition
  • International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS-US)
  • Ithaca Fair Trade Coalition
  • Higher Grounds Trading Co.
  • Hitec Aztec Communications Network
  • Human Bean Company
  • Labor Notes
  • Latin American Solidarity Committee of Western New York Peace Center
  • Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
  • Mexico Solidarity Network
  • Nicaragua Center for Community Action (NICCA)
  • Nonviolence International
  • The Nicaragua Network
  • Public Citizen
  • Queers For Peace And Justice
  • RANT
  • SUSTAIN (Stop US Tax Aid to Israel Now)
  • Texas Fair Trade Coalition
  • The Tikkun Community
  • United for Peace and Justice
  • The United Peoples
  • Wisconsin Fair Trade Campaign

Organizations who wish to sign the statement should send their endorsement to the Mexico Solidarity Center: msn@mexicosolidarity.org.

If you are planning an action in your community, please contact Margrete Strand Rangnes.

    » trade | wto | Qatar | cancun | sept13

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