Resistance to the
WTO is growing daily. People are organizing from the ground up and forming
alliances worldwide among grassroots labor, environmental and social justice
groups to oppose this neoliberal institution: Teachers hungerstriking against
privatization in Argentina working side by side with women organizing against
quasi-slavery in the "Maquila" factories of Mexico, Bangladesh, Salvador,
and Nicaragua; farmers struggling against globalization in India, Philippines,
Brazil, Estonia, Norway, Honduras, France, Spain, Switzerland, Bangladesh,
Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Peru, Bolivia, Columbia and many other countries;
Ogoni, Maori, Maya, Aymara, U'wa and other indigenous peoples fighting
for their cultural rights and physical survival; students struggling against
nuclear power or the repression of striking workers in Ukraine and South
Korea; rank and file labor like postal workers from Canada resisting privatization,
women's rights activists, environmentalists, unemployed, fisherfolk, anti-racists,
peace mobilizers, and animal rights activists...the list could easily fill
these pages. Coalitions that formed to oppose NAFTA, GATT, APEC, and the
MAI have grown more experienced and successful at working together to fight
corporate globalization. Forging those necessary links between our movements
becomes far easier when we realize the assholes who are clearcutting the
last of our ancient forests are the same assholes who are trying to smash
our unions and destroy the limited forms of democratic control we still
have. The old 1960s slogan 'think globally, act locally' is no longer sufficient.
We must create ways of thinking and acting both locally and globally at
the same time.
One of the most exciting
movements fighting corporate globalization formed in February of 1998,
when peoples' movements from all continents met in Geneva and launched
a worldwide coordination of resistance called Peoples' Global Action
Against "Free" Trade and the World Trade Organization (PGA).
In their literature they emphasize four major points:
(1) A very clear
rejection of the WTO and other neoliberal trade agreements as active promoters
of a socially and environmentally destructive globalization; (2) A confrontational
attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in
such biased and undemocratic organizations, in which transnational capital
is the only real policy-maker; (3) A call to non-violent civil disobedience
and the construction of local alternatives by local people as answers to
the action of governments and corporations; (4) An organizational philosophy
based on decentralization and autonomy.
PGA intends to serve
as a global instrument for communication and co-ordination for all those
fighting against the destruction of humanity and the planet by the global
market, as well as building up local alternatives and peoples' power. Their
first call to action was the June 18th
protests against the G8 summit in Germany. Movements ranging from the Chikoko
Movement in Nigeria to the Pakistani trade unions, from the Argentinian
churches to a broad coalition of social movements in London, occupied the
financial centers of their cities to reject the rule of the G8. Such coordinated
resistance in a total of 41 countries showed that the process of converging
our movements is gaining strength and speed. Even as this article goes
to press, PGA is organizing at their second conference in Bangalore, India
for the WTO meeting in Seattle and beyond.
Pespi/Coke, we want water!"
the National Alliance of People's Movements in India. They are calling
for India to quit the WTO and campaign for an alternative institution to
regulate world-trade in a democratic, pro-people and environmentally sustainable
way. They believe all transnational corporations should be forced out of
India and have called for a boycott on all TNCs goods.
is in stark contrast with those who hold hope of achieving justice through
reforming the WTO. Reforms lead nowhere when corporations and their governmental
counterparts are in charge. We need to globalize solidarity and liberation
not capitalism, and fight for a participatory and sustainable global village.
The WTO must be shut down.
the past two decades, people's movements have waged successful campaigns
against the operations of transnational corporations on numerous fronts
ranging from worldwide boycotts against Nestle on infant formula, bank
loans to South Africa, the battles against Union Carbide over the Bhopal
disaster in India, the repression of Coca-Cola workers in Guatemala, the
promotion of bio-tech milk products by chemical companies like Monsanto,
and the clear-cut logging and deforestation by Mitsubishi and MacMillan
Bloedel to name but a few. It is important to remember that these corporations
do not have infinite power, they are not inevitable. We live in a concrete
world, within time and space, with ongoing processes that we can affect.
We can shut down these bastards.
a few years ago it may have seemed impossible to stop the Multilateral
Agreeement on Investment, a trade agreement that would have given corporations
the authority to sue countries for policies that placed people or the environment
over profits. And yet due to movements like those mentioned in this article
the MAI was shut down. WTO, you're next!