FTAA

George Snedeker snedeker at concentric.net
Thu Apr 12 19:15:22 MDT 2001


As many of you know, in ten days thousands will descend upon Quebec city to
protest the FTAA meetings between 34 Western Hemisphere nations.

In the Left media in the U.S. (whereas in Canada, England and France, also
in the mainstream media) we find a lot of discussion about the upcoming
summit.
As "The Beat" section of the Nation shows (4/16/01), only those who can
afford to pay enormous fees will be given a voice to speak to world leaders
(e.g.
$500,000 for each corporation to give "welcoming remarks" to Bush, Chretien
and other world leaders). Going far beyond NAFTA, the issues now speculated
to be put on the table on A20-22 are (In These Times, 4/16/01, "FTAA, Eh?"):
opening of trade and investment in all services ("including health,
education
and other now predominantly public services"), allowing corporations (as
NAFTA does) the "right" to sue governments "over violations of the agreement
and
to have the decisions made by secretive international tribunals with no (or
perhaps minimal) public voice," prohibiting the regulation of speculative
capital
flows, imposing tougher protection of intellectual property rights, and the
locking in of "the model of development - maximizing exports, shrinking the
public sector - that has already been imposed through the structural
adjustment programs of the IMF." As John McMurtry states (Z Magazine, "The
FTAA and
the WTO: The Mega-Program for Global Corporate Rule"): "Only the rights of
non-living corporations are recognized. Only further extension of these
corporate
rights is in fact implemented - whatever the latest propaganda about
"consulting civil society", or the crocodile tears about "losing efforts" in
Paris
and Seattle."

In the streets, active resistance and massive demonstrations have been
taking place, and will take place, all over the world. On A1, activists in
San Francisco
"shutdown the pacific stock exchange to demand release of the full FTAA
text." In Ottawa, on A2, "SalAMI and a coalition of activist groups
attempted a
search and rescue operation to retrieve the trade texts, which are not
available to the public, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International
Trade (DFAIT)." (April 5, IMC, www.indymedia.org). On A5, "more than 10,000
people assembled in the streets of Buenos Aires to march from the National
Congress building to the Sheraton hotel where the 6th Business Forum of the
Americas is being held and the interest of international capital will be
presented
to the FTAA/ALCA negotiations." (IMC). In Argentina, Italy, Uruguay, Mexico,
Chile, Canada, and all over the U.S. (Vermont, NY, Detroit, San Diego,
Vancouver/Seattle,
Kansas City, to name a few), in solidarity with those in Quebec, there will
be actions, rallies, and demonstrations against the further domination of
corporate
power.





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