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January 25th Congressional Calling Day To Fight The FTAA!
by Anon
Tuesday Jan 23rd, 2001 9:11 PM
On January 25th Join The Calling Campaign to Tell Congress "No FTAA - Do Not Extend NAFTA"

All-Call Day to Congress Thursday, January 25th:
"NO NAFTA for the Americas - NO FTAA"!

Thanks to the good work of fair trade advocates, a Congressional majority rejected so-called "Fast Track" trade negotiating authority a few years ago, which President Clinton requested to expand NAFTA. Well, the White House decided to ignore the will of Congress and the public. The U.S. Trade Representative's office has spent the last several years working behind closed doors to create "NAFTA for the Americas" -- a hemisphere-wide NAFTA expansion formally called the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), including 34 countries. The fact that these talks are going on is an insult to democratic decision-making, but the likely effects are a horror. And now President-Elect Bush has named FTAA a top priority of his new Administration! Based on the seven-year legacy of NAFTA, here's what we can expect from this proposed agreement:
* Challenges before free-trade panels on laws and regulations that protect public and workplace health and safety, and the environment.
* A push for privatization and corporate control of education, water utilities and other essential services on which we all depend.
* Continuing the "race-to-the-bottom" where multinational corporations cut living-wage union jobs in the U.S. and relocate in Latin America, where they can avoid labor laws and unions, and exploit sweatshop workers instead.
* More "investor-to-state" disputes, allowing big business to sue governments directly if they feel that their profits are being limited by regulations that protect workers, citizens and the environment.

BUT THE BIGGEST CATCH IS THAT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS -- THE ONES WITH CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO OVERSEE THESE NEGOTIATIONS -- DON'T KNOW ABOUT THESE "NAFTA FOR THE AMERICAS" NEGOTIATIONS! The USTR has never gotten Congressional approval to enter into negotiations that will eventually bind the U.S. to this agreement. For the most part, Members of Congress don't even know it's going on. Since the USTR isn't exactly knocking on Congressional doors to reveal what it's up to, it is our job to make sure that our elected officials and our communities get informed about these outrageous negotiations that are now taking place! A summit meeting between all the countries in the hemisphere is coming up in Quebec City, Canada in April. There, concrete negotiations will start around a draft text of the FTAA! These negotiations will include MAI-like investment issues, services, food and farm policy, privatization, deregulation, and investor-to-state disputes. Thousand of activists will gather in Quebec and there will be dozens of Solidarity Actions around the hemisphere in opposition to the FTAA negotiations (stay tuned for more information about creating or joining a local solidarity action in your community).
On Thursday, January 25th, government officials and corporate fat-cats from around the world will meet in Davos, Switzerland to work out ways to keep the profits-over-people system going. That same day, thousands of civil society representatives will meet in Porto Alegre, Brazil to organize resistance to corporate rule and the FTAA. Here in the U.S., let's use the 25th to deliver a first-of-the-new-Congress wake-up call to our representatives! Let's flood their offices and make sure that they get a loud and clear message from the people that got them elected: NO "NAFTA for the Americas" - NO FTAA!
Call the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask the trade staffers for your Representative and Senators:

Do they know that NAFTA expansion negotiations are going on?

Will they ask USTR to make the FTAA draft text and related U.S. documents public?

Will they commit to oppose the "NAFTA for the Americas"?

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