CENTER FOR COMPASSIONATE SOCIAL CHANGE
Democracy & Globalization
Narrated by Edward Asner, 1999
"At the heart of the WTO is an assault on everything left standing in the commons, in the public realm. Everything is now for sale. Even those areas of life that we once considered sacred like health and education, food and water and air and seeds and genes and a heritage. It is all now for sale. Economic freedom -- not democracy, and not ecological stewardship -- is the defining metaphor of the WTO and its central goal is humanity's mastery of the natural world through its total commodification."
FREE TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICAS
The Global Showdown Continues: Quebec City April 2001 by David Ball (Director, Center for Compassionate Social Change)
In April 2001, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and proclaimed that another world is possible.
Free Trade Area of the Americas
What is the FTAA, anyway? What does it mean for the Global South? For Canada? For democracy? The Center for Compassionate Social Change prepared this page as a resource center linking together global campaigns.
We, the people marching in the streets of Seattle against the World Trade Organization in late 1999, in
reality demanded only one thing: that moral matters be considered in every step of the trade
negotiations there, which would craft the global economy in a powerful, lasting institution,
and which would permanently cement the powerlessness of governments in the face of
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The links below give an introduction to the issue of corporate rule, the name many
people are now giving to the system that allows corporations to exert control over
governments. Sounds like a conspiracy theory? Think again:
- Given the ability of corporations to move with ease from country to country, companies are
increasingly threatening to pull out of countries that have excessive labour laws, tough
environmental regulations and corporate taxation. This puts pressure on governments to please corporate interests
if they want valuable corporate revenue and jobs, even if citizens have democratically voted for
- Transnational corporations now roam the world freely, seeking out the weakest laws protecting workers, ecology and culture. This pits country against country, and worker against worker, competing for who can provide the lowest possible protective restrictions.
- Our governments are rushing to sign trade agreements like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which threaten to accelerate this process, and aim to spread our disastrous model of consumerism and unbridled economic growth to the entire planet. The results would be disastrous - for the Earth, for humans, and for cultures (especially indigenous cultures).
- Ownership of the mass media is becoming dangerously concentrated in the hands of a small
number of corporations. This means that the same corporations pushing for lower regulations
and lower taxes can also influence public opinion on these matters. And the public believes the distortions
because they are denied access to alternative options.
World Trade Organization (WTO) awareness advertisement.
This television ad was created by Adbusters Media Foundation to raise public awareness of the WTO. CNN was the only network willing to broadcast it.
(Viewed in Quicktime)
Global Village or Global Pillage?
Today's global economy lets corporations pit workers and communities against each other to see who will provide the lowest wages, most abusable workers, cheapest environmental costs and regulation, and biggest subsidies for corporations.
The result: a race to the bottom in which conditions for all tend to fall toward the poorest and most desperate. But that gives people around the world a common interest in opposing the race to the bottom. This inspiring half-hour movie shows how they are doing so.
(Viewed in RealPlayer. Order the video here.)
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have been the engines of corporate globalization. They use the massive debts of poor countries as leverage to pry open their economies to multinational corporations, destroy the environment with so-called "development" projects, and force leaders to cut social spending. This economic worldview, known in the Global South as neoliberalism has led to protest and civil unrest in poor countries. The Whirled Bank site is an informative parody of the World Bank's real website.
An independent, non-partisan citizens' interest group providing a critical and progressive voice on key national issues. This evolving site offers a fresh perspective on the current social and economic debates affecting our lives, with a passionate campaign against the World Trade Organization. The Council was a key player in defeating the international Multilateral Agreement on Investment in 1998, which would have given corporations unprecedented international rights.