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AUDIO FILE: Saturday's Town Hall Meeting On Free Trade

On Saturday, July 19, 2003, citizens of Oregon and Washington gathered at the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland to discuss and decide what kind of trade policy will work best for the Northwest. This was a well organized and attended event, lasting from 1:00-4:00, with a one hour break out session afterwards, featuring 5 workshops on various related subjects, from preparing for the next WTO protest to the "connection between globalized trade and what is at our dinner table." [ Read More ] [ www.PhilosopherSeed.org ]
The event was sponsored by at least 100 groups, many of which are actively opposing globalization as members of Local to Global
This was a well organized and attended event, lasting from 1:00-4:00, with a one hour break out session afterwards, featuring 5 workshops on various related subjects, from preparing for the next WTO protest to the "connection between globalized trade and what is at our dinner table," given by Mark Des Marets of Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering
This report contains two audio files. The first is Barbara Dudley, speaking on "how trade became something everybody needs to pay attention to." An excellent synopsis of both the history and long range goals of Globalization strategy.
Dudley, a Constitutional scholar, states that if you read the Constitution carefully, it is essentially all about creating a Free Trade Zone; "that and a few freedoms, but they come in the amendments, you might notice."She further says that "the essense of a real free trade zone is that you have a level playing field, which means you have to allow for workers to organize; you even have to subsidize infrastructure and education."
When the cold war ended a whole counter weight to the Globalization agenda was removed from the world scene. "There was no longer a challenge to multi national capital....and the developing world which heretofore had thought of itself as a third force, as a non aligned force, as playing a very careful balancing act between the soviet block and the U.S....found themselves unable to pursue a third way because there was no counter weight to this superpower."
According to Dudley, the anti trust laws of the end of the last century were a response to the growing power of corporations,which had grown so strong that states could no longer control them. Now nations states "are really not strong enough......to control multi national corporations, because they can move quickly, they can move money around quickly." She concludes her 30 minute talk by mentioning the Yardstick for Assessing Trade Agreements, which is a statement of important principles which should guide trade and investment policy. Basically, in it's nine points, it seeks to put people before profits, values human beings and cultures above trade, economics and profits.
Barbara Dudley
The second audio file is Lynn-Marie Crider, of the Oregon AFL-CIO, who enumerates the 9 points of the Yardstick, and breifly explains them. The first states that Trade Agreements should protect public interest laws from attack by private companies and other governments. The second, that Countries should have the right to ban products or practices that may present a risk to the public. The sixth, Trade Agreements should not pit workers against each other or drive down labor and environmental standards. All pretty much common sense, right? Yet current trade agreements violate all three of these values, and any country who has signed on to these trade agreements, and then seeks to protect their citizens by labor and environmental laws, find themselves sued by corporations and trade sanctions imposed upon them. An ugly story, and one which, with new trade agreements up for approval over the next few years, could get much worse.
Lynn-Marie Crider
The remainder of the Town Hall Meeting consisted of 3 minute statements by various organizations such as the Alliance for Democracy, Common Cause, a number of Unions, Earth Save, the Multnomah Paific Green Party and many more. Besides these presentations, brief commnents were made by Oregon State Representative Kate Brown and Jeff Berkely as well as County Commisioner Serena Cruz. The entire event was moderated by Representative Diane Rosenbaum of Portland. Files of these presentations will be posted sometime in the near future.
This event will also be aired on local Community Televison sometime soon. Please, check out PhilosopherSeed Cable Access Schedules for playback schedules for this and other programs.