[Marxism] Forwarded from Victor R.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 14 07:10:26 MST 2004

I don't trust Kevin Danaher and Global Exchange... isn't "fair trade" just 
another form of exploitation, albeit the rate of exploitation is 
less??  Isn't selling "crafts" produced by people in the Global South to 
run one's "co-op" and multimillion dollar NGO just as reprehensible as a 
corporation seeking profit??

Also, I think NGOs and corporations collaborating to "improve" working 
conditions is a bad idea.  It doesn't build worker's autonomy and political 
consciousness... effectively you have a passive worker's movement dependant 
on a burocratic, Western, white, middle class elite for minimal (if any!!) 
gains in their working conditions.  All in all, this doesn't help our 
movement in the long run.

Also, the SF Chronicle that Lou Pro posted pointed out the fact that these 
NGOs are directly limited politically by the capitalist system on what 
politics and parties they can promote. So, what the heck is the point??

A Better Strategy:  organizations help build international union 
solidarity, with workers everywhere actively communicating and working on 
improving their wages, work hours, health care, and mobilizing at the 
local, regional, national and international levels (demonstrating and 
striking together when the time demands it). An example of this is the 
international Coke Boycott, although in a very embryonic form of what I am 
arguing for.

When corporations get pissed and seek through capital flight to leave a 
country, workers say goodbye and occupy the factories and land...hopefully 
they have a political process (in contrast to Naomi Klein's 
"non-ideological/political" strategy that she promotes in "The Take") by 
which they defend themselves from the cap. state and, eventually, dismantle 
it.  From there they can, with the help of organic intellectuals, figure 
out how to build local/regional economies that are sustainable, especially 
at the agricultural level.  But for this to be possible, international 
solidarity and cooperation is crucial.

What you think?  I am interested in hearing Lou Pro's opinion.  Also, 
anyone recommend any good books critiquing so-called "fair trade" and the 
corrupt NGOs that promote it.



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