What’s wrong with the Free Trade Area of the Americas?

From ecofeminist activist Starhawk:

“The FTAA would extend NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreeement, throughout the hemisphere.  Its draft includes the same extension of investors’ power that was under dispute in the WTO, the same push toward privatization and commercialization of services, and a clause which allows corporations to sue governments if they enact environmental, labor or safety standards or other regulations which cut into profits. The same splits between rich and poor, north and south, exist in the FTAA as were present in Cancun.  Brazil is already talking about a counter-draft. The developing countries may pressure for reforms or revisions, but they could also walk out of the negotiations.  If they do, the FTAA too can be derailed before it is ever put into place.”
For Starhawk's reports from Miami see her site or the Utne Magazine website::

Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the Free Area of the Americas
The title of Global Exchange's good 2-page flier to download:

see a longer piece, "How the FTAA Affects You" at:

and the Global Exchange site offers lots of other information on FTAA:

and links to "other organizations working for democratic, socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable trade policies."

Stop FTAA: This activist website features information for those going to or in Miami to oppose the FTAA.

The site also has information on the FTAA, and why it should be opposed. A few samples:

People of Color and the FTAA by Pauline of the Colours of Resistance Network , January 2001:

"It seems inevitable, though mostly unsaid, that the FTAA's impact will primarily hit the over 500 million people of colour and indigenous peoples in the Americas, who generally make up the lowest strata of workers, are conveniently located nearest to environmental hazards and toxic dumpsites, and are the primary target of increasing military, police and government violence. When we talk about privatization of resources, education and health, those who will be hit hardest are those who already face barriers to what is left of the public system..."

The OAS/FTAA and Womyn by Aurita Withers:

" Wom[y]n constitute half of the world’s population, perform nearly two-thirds of its work hours, receive one-tenth of the world’s income and own less than one-hundredth of the worlds property” (united nations). Organizations like the OAS and agreements like the FTAA do significantly more to maintain these inequalities than they do to alleviate them.

The OAS does have a body dedicated to womyn’s issues and both the OAS and FTAA discuss some of the issues impacting womyn. However, final decisions in the OAS are made by a group of (almost exclusively) men.

Womyn’s issues are not as much of a priority of the OAS as trade is, which almost always directly conflicts with womyn’s interests. As a result, the OAS and FTAA pays lip service to womyn and the only meaningful action that takes place surrounding womyn’s issues is when it benefits the corporate good. Womyn are systemically excluded from decision making processes throughout the Americas..."

FTAA: An important local site, “The Root Cause”

”On September 13, 2003, members of three South Florida-based grassroots organizations gathered to discuss the possibilities of building a grassroots response to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) Summit in Miami. The organizations included the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Miami Workers enter and Power U Center for Social Change.We came together with the goal of forging a common analysis and agenda in relation to free trade policies, as well as a unified strategy for making our voices heard as poor communities and communities of color during the upcoming FTAA ministerial meetings…”
They also have an excellent set of links for information on the FTAA:

From United for Peace and Justice:

“Trade ministers from 34 countries will meet in Miami from November 19-21 to negotiate the Free Trade Area of the Americas, an agreement that would extend the failed NAFTA model of corporate globalization throughout the Western Hemisphere. Local and national groups across the hemisphere are mobilizing for a massive showing of opposition to this new trade policy, in order to demonstrate that another world is possible. A broad hemispheric coalition against the FTAA will deliver hundreds of thousands of ballots to the delegates at the Summit, representing the millions of people who will not be able to attend… In addition to supporting the large-scale mobilization, involving a wide range of legal and permitted activities, we are calling for massive nonviolent direct action in Miami November 19-21 to disrupt and derail the FTAA. The process of negotiating the FTAA has been so undemocratic that our opposition cannot be expressed through ordinary channels. Through direct action, we can to demonstrate the breadth and depth of our opposition to its policies and make visible the alternative we stand for, a world of peace, democracy, community, environmental balance and shared abundance…”
See the site for lots of information, brochures, etc.

For information on what is going on in Miami during the FTAA meetings in November see the Indymedia site:

Immigrant Women Speak Out Against the FTAA! - Miami, 15 November 2003

"Immigrants are the majority of Miami’s workforce. Most of them have first hand knowledge of the true character of free trade economies: they came to the US to escape them. The policies that countries must adopt in order to be part of an agreement like the FTAA undermine the most productive sectors of developing countries. Mexicans have learned from NAFTA, the template for the FTAA, that the results of free trade are bad jobs, low wages, unfair competition and more of the desperation that leads people to immigrate..." christopher_lugo@yahoo.com