Were you in on the biggest slap-down of corporate globalization to hit the United States since Seattle? No tear gas involved — if you voted in 2006, you probably helped deliver the biggest fair trade mandate in Congress of all time. Seriously, 30 Representatives and seven Senators who campaigned on changing our failed trade and globalization policies just replaced a parcel of NAFTA-loving, WTO-worshipping, Fast Track-fancying ex-incumbents.
And now, public citizens from New Hampshire to Hawaii, it’s time to help these newly elected members make good on change! This is the moment — we now have the power to ash bin the NAFTA-WTO model that has undermined democracy, livelihoods and the environment in the United States and around the world. And replace that failed model with rules for the global economy that work for the majority.
The stakes are very high. At home, inequality is at levels not seen since the Robber Baron era, as the average American’s inflation-adjusted hourly wages are only a nickel higher than in 1973, and no serious economist disputes that trade plays a major role in those trends. The public understands these dire trends: less than a third of Americans say they expect their kids to be better off economically than they themselves are. And, in poor countries, hunger and $1-per-day grinding poverty is increasing. Meanwhile, “trade” agreements invade our democratic space like some quiet slow motion coup de état — messing with everything (PDF) from food safety and medicine prices to basic environmental protections to immigration policy.
Growing anger about the painful lived experience of the failed status quo — and years of hard organizing work — have created a precious window of opportunity for change.
In that spirit, some friends at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division and I have inaugurated EyesOnTrade.org — the online community in which you are currently participating. Through this medium, I hope we can help each other stay on top of the top globalization and trade news of the day and strategize together about how we can unite and empower ourselves — the majority on the losing end of the trade-globalization status quo — to turn this mess around.
So, welcome to a new gathering place for people interested in understanding the globalization and trade debate beyond just the day’s headlines, and who want to fight for fair trade and global justice. Across America and the world, millions of working people, farmers, youth, activists of all stripes, artists and critical minds have useful knowledge and inspiring lessons to share.
Please make EyesOnTrade.org a regular part of your online diet, and check back regularly for new opportunities to collaborate with like-minded people on the journey to make a better world.
Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division