Folks around the country are mobilizing against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) ministerial meeting scheduled for November 17th – 21st in downtown Miami. The FTAA treaty would expand the corporate free trade policies of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — which applied to Canada, Mexico and the USA — to North and South America. The FTAA would also go beyond the NAFTA rules — strengthening corporate control over workers and the environment and further weakening already pathetic civil society institutions like (corporate) democracy™ and (corporate) government labor and environmental regulations.
There is already widespread popular opposition to the FTAA throughout South America. After centuries of economic exploitation and poverty, the last thing South Americans need is a massive multinational corporate giveaway. FTAA summits in Canada and Equator were met by massive resistance, but FTAA’s architects are hoping they’ll have it easy in the apathetic old USA. They’re not counting on November in Miami resembling November in Seattle. It’s up to us to give them a little surprise greeting!
As usual, the FTAA is being negotiated without any meaningful public participation — except our voices and bodies in the streets, which the organizers can’t quite prevent (yet). The FTAA would curtail labor laws, push down wages, replace family and subsistence farmers with corporate agribusiness, promote privatization of public industries and cut government services. Corporations would be permitted to sue governments who tried to pass laws to protect the public. Ultimately, the FTAA is designed to concentrate wealth and power into a few corporate hands at the expense of everyone else.
There is already discussion of a Day of Action on November 19 and teach-ins, seminars, reality tours, concerts, forums, rallies and marches all week long. Moreover, the police in Miami have already been organizing their response for a few months, so it looks like the shit could fly in Miami.
Here are (generally liberal) contacts. Hopefully the radicals will show their hand and set up a contact point soon. 202 778-3320, 510 663-0888, www.ftaamiami.org.