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What is NAFTA and the FTAA and what is the controversy surrounding them?

Clarifying the protesters opinion.
I have been researching NAFTA and the FTAA and have found very little information. STOPFTAA.com has broken links regarding what the FTAA and why it is wrong. I know of many who also do not understand what the FTAA proposes and why it is outrageouly inappropriate. If you would like to clarify the situation for myself and others it would be extremely helpful.
Thank you.
Realize, Rebel, Revolutionize.


Opposition to NAFTA and the FTAA... 21.Nov.2003 13:41

James

Is a dogmatic reflex of the anti-capitalism movement, wherein the aforementioned place the interests of producers above the interests of consumers. (Read: The interests of the few above the many). If you support the spirit of a free trade measure, you will be accused of all manner of evil-doing by these contrarians, from rampant consumerism to modern day slavery and exploitation. Any attempt to disentangle the complicating peripheral free trade issues (agricultural subsidies, intellectual property, what have you) from free trade itself will be met with scorn and disbelief.

No amount of evidence will satisfy these nay-sayers. They are blinded by the immediate (and visibly obvious) effects on producers. They can see it, feel it. A farmer cannot sell his goods. His family goes hungry. Being all consumed with the (unfortunate) loss of livelihood suffered by the farmer, they are oblivious to the invisible and less obvious benefits to those who would buy the produce. These benefits cannot be seen. They require the use of our powers of reasoning to follow. You cannot see nor feel these benefits.

But dare not share those thoughts with the anit-capitalists, you callous, uncaring little bastard. And put that chart away, you pretentious, showy, bourgeois little twit.

They don't care for your kind.

well someone here is dogmatic... 21.Nov.2003 13:56

logic + empathy

"anti-capitalist" right... Because unions, conservatives, libertarians, greens, reform party, natural law party, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, and Ross Perot are all anti-capitalists. I'm sure they'll be surprised to hear that. With such faulty logic how do you expect people to take you seriously?

And if you have any evidence that NAFTA has had any tangible benefits to consumers feel free to produce it. But I don't recall seeing lower prices thanks to NAFTA. What I have seen is a failing economy caused by massive job loss and record CEO and business executive salaries and bonuses. It's not hard to follow the money to determine who has benefited.

Audio files on FTAA/Globalization 21.Nov.2003 13:58

Jim Lockhart eagleye@PhilosopherSeed.org

Two files from a recent symposium on the FTAA:
Martin Hart-Landsberg
18 minutes

Barbara Dudley 32 minutes


Not only anti-capitalists, to be sure 21.Nov.2003 15:03

James

I never claimed that the anti-capitalism movement was the sole opposition to free trade in general, or the various measures. I simply noted that opposition to free trade is, in fact, a dogmatic reflex of the burgeoning anti-capitalist left.

People will put forth any number of contradictory arguments against free trade. The loss of domestic jobs, the loss of livelihood for foreign producers, the exploitation of workers in Western-backed foreign sweatshops. Is it really any surprise then that Pat Buchanan, isolationist extraordinaire, would be opposed to free trade, which increases global dependence and cooperation? With allies like Mr. Buchanan, who advocates an electrified fence along the entire border with Mexico, you needn't worry about the free traders. You'd wisely do best to clean out your own nest first.

Unions against free trade? Who would've thunk it. The special interests, putting their interests ahead of others. (And who would blame them?) But it's worth noting that the fastest growing union, the SEIU, while still opposed to free trade, is not obsessed with it, as are the likes of the AFL-CIO. Their focus has moved to issues such as healthcare, which may actually prove beneficial to their membership in the long run.

Of course you saw lower prices from NAFTA! Why is it, do you think, that imports (and hence, the trade deficit) continues to increase? Why do we run a trade deficit with Mexico now, instead of a surplus? There are only three posibilites: The quality of the products from Canada and Mexico increased at a greater rate relative to products from the U.S (or elsewhere), the price of American goods rose faster than the price of goods from Mexico or Canada, or the price of goods from Mexico and Canada fell. (Or, perhaps, Americans collectively decided to subsidize the employment of foreigners out of the goodness of their hearts?)

A failing economy? What you saw was the cyclical contraction of an economy, so prevalent in capitalism, a contraction borne of over-capacity and prior exuberance during one of the longest economic expansions in history. This is, of course, the great bane of capitalism, which bankers and politicians incessantly struggle to stem. (Frequently exasperating the problems).

But take note: productivity increases unabated, GDP grew at 7.2% last quarter (though a certain percentage of that is certainly do to wasteful (not to mention immoral) defense spending, and hence is of no benefit at all), close to 300,000 jobs were created in the past 3 months. (Though, to be fair, that level of job growth does not satisfy the demands of the job market, which is itself growing faster).

The short of it is that the economy is improving, as it might be expected to. And NAFTA will no doubt be responsbile for a certain amount of future prosperity.

projecting? 21.Nov.2003 15:38

capitalist propagandist

Someone likes to talk a lot about other are being dogmatic. Doth he protest too much? Is someone projecting their own close-mindedness and inability to understand the arguments of others on one's ideological opponents?

Of course the economy is getting better and free trade will benefit us all (except the producers of course). It must be true because it's what the government and business leaders tell us. And why would they lie? What could they possible have to gain? And the decline in unemployment (as opposed to the creation of jobs) has nothing to do with people being removed from unemployment, giving up on finding a job, and tens of thousands of reservists being called into active military duty (or even some fancy number games about how many people are unemployed being changed retroactively). And the doubling of job cuts in October can only be seen as a sign of an improving economy.

I could go on and discredit the rest of these "economics sounding" arguments but I think it will just encourage him... I think the attempts at misdirection and outright lies are self-evident.

Precisely what I was driving at 21.Nov.2003 17:21

James

Projection, yes. That's the ticket. My point was hardly that we all benefit from free trade. In my argument, I went out of my way to posit that not only do some not benefit, but that they are hurt. Most often, the producers. (And their families, of course). Rather, my point was that on the whole, the benefits could only be positive.

Mississippi, for example, has very different labor laws than say California. (Though they share our Federal labor regulations). Their economies differ significantly, and Mississippi is considerably worse off. Is the solution then to slap a tariff on the imports into Mississippi? Shudder the thought.

I based my argument not on the words, or statistics or pie-charts of government, or business leaders. I based it on common sense, readily available to all.

"And the doubling of job cuts in October can only be seen as a sign of an improving economy."

Incredible, the same muddled thinking that leads you to oppose free trade leads you to this thought. Well, no, a "doubling of job cuts" would not be seen as a positive. But net job growth is certainly a sign of an improving economy. Again, you've looked only at what is immediately visible -- the thousands laid-off, headlines which show Sony cutting 20,000 jobs, Ford cutting 10,000. But you've ignored the hundreds of thousands who found work.

(Note that BLS has not released Hires vs. Seperations figures for October yet, so I assume you're talking about the non-seasonally adjusted privately-compiled job cut figures which showed something like 170,000 job cuts in October. While higher than August job cuts, the Oct 2003 job cuts were lower than the Oct 2002 job cuts, which is the only appropriate thing to compare them to. Considered in totality, there were +126,000 jobs in October 2003. (Hires - Seperations)).

The War in Iraq -definitely- affects these job figures (as well as GDP). I've said that here many times. And outsourcing distorts productivity figures. Indeed, 3 months ago I was of the opinion that the U.S. economy would be producting negative growth were it not for increases in defense spending and other government spending. But the Iraq War and other defense spending increases cannot account for all or even most of the growth shown by the economy lately.

I do not believe NAFTA is responsible for most of this growth. I just think it's responsible for some, and that overall, free trade is good for society. (That is, the net gain is higher than the net loss).

I dislike Bush as much as the next guy, but at least I have the intellectual honesty to admit that the economy is indeed improving. Real wages are increasing, productivity, employment, GDP. There's no denying it now. It's not that Bush did anything particularly spectacular to improve the economy. The President has little power to influence the economy positively anyway. (Though government can certainly derail an economy). It's just an emerging fact.

If you're still interested, I'd love to see you discredit my "economics sounding" arguments. I'm always up for a laugh.

nafta good? 21.Nov.2003 17:23

purple punk

James! Good to see you're still around! As usual I am a bit dubious of some of (what I perceive to be) your viewpoints. BTW I can't remember what handle I was using months ago when we exchanged a few decent posts... sorry!

Anyhow, when I read this thread I thought to myself, hey well yeah prices have dropped in America due to "free" trade. To be sure, I have benefitted from these lower prices. BUT do I support NAFTA? No. Though I am philosophically in love with the notion of free trade, I cannot defend the way it plays out in the real world.

Benefits.
1. Lower prices.

Any others?

Cons.
Can I list them all? Not in the time I have to send this posting. But I'll try to outline how I see things. We ship jobs overseas. We exploit cheap labor. We then buy these cheaper good preferentially to more expensive domestic products and thereby put ourselves out of business.

Meanwhile, what's happening? The foreign workers are kept in a state of extreme poverty that could perhaps be characterized as slavery. At home the jobless situation worsens and wages do not keep up with rises in the cost of living (but then why should they since we have such a high level of unemployment?).

Are you with me? Those people who choose to work overseas for dirt wouldn't choose it if things weren't so bleak already. Calling the wages we pay them an improvement is an injustice. Improving an inch when you're five feet under isn't right--not as long as we could afford to lift them the whole five feet with ease. Now, do you really think they would choose to work in a sweatshop if they had land they could live off of, or not? Do you really think that American consumers would choose to buy these goods if they could look in the face of corporate greed and see what suffering it has wrought? And right here in America, for those jobs which are available, don't people without college education deserve enough to pay for health care, food, and rent, and maybe just a little bit more, if they work 40 hours a week? Let's be honest, not everybody can rise above it all and tell the system to f*** off. There aren't enough jobs that pay that well. It is a rat race, to be sure.

And then there's the whole aspect of costs that we don't factor in (such as the environmental costs associated with burning oil, etc) but I guess there's not enough space here to cover that.

You said it perfectly 21.Nov.2003 18:09

James

"Though I am philosophically in love with the notion of free trade, I cannot defend the way it plays out in the real world."

I couldn't agree more. That's it exactly. I certainly can accept that free trade as practiced has hurt some countries more than it has helped them. Especially with all these intellectual property riders, domestic subsidies, and other matters which turn these agreements into "sort of-free trade."

Ultimately, the United States and "developed nations" in general can only help another "developing nation" as much as the difference between our production and consumption. (Our production surplus). Once you remove the veil of money, that's all the remains. Even by lending money, we cannot help another nation except by hurting another. (Either our own, or someone else's, or all of us, because the materials and labor had to come from somewhere).

It seems quite clear that we can't help all nations through charity. We don't have the resources. We might be able to help one nation, or a few, but only at the expense of another, lest we curb our consumption. Even if we curbed our consumption by 25%, or 50%, we still wouldn't make a mighty dent in the grand scheme.

Ultimately, everyone has to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. It seems to me that free trade is the fastest acceptable path towards those ends. Free trade encourages capitalism, and strengthens it where it already existed.

It may well be that socialism and relative isolationism would be a more stable, perhaps faster path to prosperity. But at what cost? Forced labor? Totalitarianism? Democratic socialism is an unlikely ideal.

Even if free trade does lead to exploitation as a norm, a fact which I hardly accept, at the least it's done through free-will. And it will be short lived. Absent failures of government, labor will band together to demand better working conditions and wages. It has done this in all developed countries, and there's no reason to think it will stop.

thanks for clarifying 21.Nov.2003 20:42

Purple Punk

"Ultimately, the United States and 'developed nations' in general can only help another 'developing nation' as much as the difference between our production and consumption. (Our production surplus)."

"Ultimately, everyone has to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. It seems to me that free trade is the fastest acceptable path towards those ends. Free trade encourages capitalism, and strengthens it where it already existed."

We seem to agree that two nations can each focus on doing what they do best, and thus both reap the benefits of free trade. That is, one country may have abundant cotton and cheap labor, and another may efficiently manufacture superlative high-tech textiles machinery. Then, in a trade, both nations reap the benefits. And really, when one glances at it from a distance, it seems like that's what's happening. Companies all around the world seek to maximize their profits (and I believe they're smart enough to enter into deals that do that). That suggests to me that indeed two parties are benefitting from free trade.

However, if you look at things a bit closer (I believe), it is not the nations at all that benefit. It is the power majority, which amounts to the really wealthy. The vast majority, however, doesn't get that much out of it. In a wealthy nation such as America, the working class gets cheaper goods, but their salary is undermined by cheap foreign labor, and many jobs are lost. So, while goods may be cheaper, people are working more and more hours just to stay afloat. And in the poor nations, the workers have stepped up a bit, but are still living in abject poverty.

In either case, it is the wealthy, and not "the people" who benefit. In the wealthy countries, it's hard to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps when you're not educated and you lack the tools to negotiate for a higher salary (in part because you know damned well that your company can hire any number of people who can do your job). In the poor countries, the lift you get from working in a factory doesn't amount to that much either. But sure, the rich benefit. And the mainstream media and financial markets, though one will find contrary voices, do a great job of making it seem like a nation's net checkbook balance is all there is to defining who's benefitted.

Well I've got news. Corporations exist to make money. For that to happen, people have to buy things, which means that people have to make money. The way I see it, we can't squeeze overseas labor much harder for cheap goods. Our own labor is increasing its debt more and more each year. The moral of the story is that a consumer-based economy needs consumers...

"Even if free trade does lead to exploitation as a norm, a fact which I hardly accept, at the least it's done through free-will. And it will be short lived. Absent failures of government, labor will band together to demand better working conditions and wages. It has done this in all developed countries, and there's no reason to think it will stop."

I think that's incredibly naive. Government in America actively attacks the working class. And how can you characterize Walmart as anything but exploitive?

You've doubtless noted the implications of my rantings; the wealthy and poor are headed for a showdown. I just hope that the poor (those who are treated as though they don't deserve enough money for the basics in life even though they work an honest 40+) are able to emerge victorious.

PS have you read "The Wealth *and Poverty* of Nations? I think you'd like it.

The Truth About Free Trade 21.Nov.2003 21:37

Cat X

James, your simplistic comments on the effects of free trade and the FTAA, betray just how na´ve and uninformed you are regarding these issues. I suspect you've gotten most of your ideas from the neoliberal press or conservative babble, which tends to avoid any serious or honest examination of reality. To prevent you from further misleading those seeking knowledge, here is a clearer look at that reality.

To begin with the U.S. has never ever attempted to help any developing nation out of poverty. The entire U.S. economic system relies on our ability to exploit other nations, prevent them from establishing democracies (which would impair our ability to control them), and ensure that we are the sole military and economic superpower in the world. U.S. foreign policies surrounding free trade, the IMF/World Bank, and military and "developmental aid" have the sole purpose of attempting to ensure the developing world never develops. It is called planned poverty, and free trade is an integral part of this process.

The purpose of free trade has always been geared toward the increased ability of multinational corporations to exert themselves over democratic institutions, nullify the ability of citizens and legitimate governments to regulate their harmful behaviors, and accelerate the cycle of exploitation and increased dependency and poverty inherent in the U.S. hypercapitalist system. Free Trade agreements/institutions such as the FTAA, NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, etc. accomplish this in several ways...

For starters, the basic theory behind free trade is to take down laws, barriers, and market protections that help countries guard their own economic growth and direction.
This allows corporations to set up shop in whatever country is most friendly to their wishes. This means that countries with the worst labor standards, environmental regulations, human rights protections, and so-on will receive foreign business. In order for other countries to compete and not lose jobs, they must also follow along with more degraded human, labor, and environmental standards. Rather than lifting any country out of poverty, free trade does just the opposite. It brings the quality of life in all countries down for the sole benefit of extremely rich and powerful people - hence free trade's nickname "the global race to the bottom."

While some attempt to argue that free trade is beneficial because is creates cheaper goods. This is a simplistic and inaccurate statement. For the decreasing cost of some goods only mirrors the decreasing pay of workers throughout the free trade area, meaning that they are less able to buy these goods even as their costs seem to go down. So for instance, in the six years after NAFTA's passage (despite an influx in transplanted factory work from foreign companies) Mexicans experienced a 40% drop in their purchasing power and an increase in poverty. This has coincided with a decrease in real wages and benefits for Americans and Canadians as well.

In Latin American countries, one major effect of agreements such as the FTAA is to force their markets open to U.S. subsidized agricultural products. When local farmers are unable to compete with these cheap foreign goods, they lose their ability to support themselves, and their land is taken over and turned into corporate monoculture farms or strip mining operations employing the equivalent of slave labor. These ex-farmers then have the option of working in these monoculture or mining operations or moving to cities where they face rampant unemployment and horrible factory conditions if they can get a job at all.
As poverty inevitably increases, rulers find their country's economy slipping. The temptation to artificially prop it up, makes way for World Bank/IMF loans. However, countries that wish to receive these loans must first adopt "austerity measures" which mean citizens typically lose access to health care, education, and other basic rights while things such as water and natural resources are privatized. The worse the conditions under which people are forced to live, the more oppressive their governments must become in order to maintain power. Hence, we have countries like Colombia where the government has essentially launched warfare against its own people, using paramilitaries to assassinate those who advocate basic human and labor rights.

Thus, the increasing poverty, militarization, privitization, government repression, and suppression of democracy and human/environmental/labor rights we are currently seeing worldwide are not only inextricably linked to one another, but are an inevitable and intentional product of free trade and globalization. If we hope to have any future in which are lives are not at the complete mercy of corporations, it is essential that this downward spiral is stopped. We need to recognize that in an age of globalization, increased poverty and attacks on basic human rights in one country signal what is to come for all of us if we are unwilling to speak up. This is why Americans are willing to be shot, gassed, and electrocuted in Miami right now for the purpose of having their voices heard. The poor have no illusions about free trade being good for them, despite what the powerful wish them to believe. This is why impoverished countries were willing to face the risk of U.S. and European economic warfare in Cancun, rather than accept a WTO agreement that would guarantee their perpetual enslavement. It is time we act in solidarity with them as our futures are truly one. Learn the truth, educate others, and rise up together to save each other, ourselves, and this world.

How boorishly typical 21.Nov.2003 22:59

James

This is the modus operandi of most protectionists. They criticize the depth of your knowledge, and then delve into the most singularly shallow analysis of free trade possible. (And throw in a spattering of outright lies for good measure).

Just to get the outright lies out of the way before we go any further: Mexican real wages categorically did -NOT- fall 40% during the six years after the implementation of NAFTA. You've confused yourself, Cat X. Mexican real wages began their downward trend in 1975, decades before NAFTA. They then recovered slightly, before crashing again in 1994.

The initial plummet in the Mexican Peso occured as the Mexican government was in a socialization frenzy, seizing, buying or forming state-run businesses. A large foreign debt was also racked up, which eventually caused Mexico to pay some $110 bln in interest.

In the late 1980s to early 1990s, the Mexican government reversed course, and began a policy of privatisation. The Mexican economy began to grow quickly again.

In 1994, the peso crashed and brought about another 2-year economic contraction which nearly wiped-out all of the economic gains of the previous few years.

NAFTA had at this point only been partially implemented with Mexico (since January 1 1994). It affected only tariffs on corn, sorghub, barley, soy meal, summer oranges, apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, beef, pork and poultry.

Do you really mean to tell me the 1994 contraction and currency crunch was the result of the U.S. ending tarrifs on a select few agricultural products, and the ending of these tariffs provoked a currency crash as severe as the Peso Crisis in a matter of months? Give me a break.

The Peso Crisis was undoubtedly a result of the Mexican government's decision to peg the Peso to the U.S. dollar, to stem rampant inflation. (A decision which has caused eventual calamity by most governments which do so. If you can't keep up with U.S. productivity, to simplify things terribly, you can't peg your currency to the dollar).

Mexican purchasing power parity has, in fact, increased since 1995. (After the shock of the Peso crash). In 1995, Mexican per capita gross national income, adjusted for inflation and indexed to purchasing power parity was $6,710. In 2002, it was $8,540.

(Source:  link to www.worldbank.org)

From 1986 until 1994, Mexican per capita GNP increased. From 1994 to 1995, it decreased, as a direct result of the Peso crash. It has been increasing relatively steadily since 1995.

That's not to say NAFTA is responsible for that economic growth. I've set all along I don't believe it's as big an effect as some propose it to be. Other countries in the region who were not party to NAFTA experienced similar income growth.

I'll be back for more later, but I've run out of time right now...

Quit manipulating the facts 22.Nov.2003 01:30

Cat X

Actually, James, the 40% decrease in real wages in the 6 years after NAFTA is a fact. And, no, I haven't confused myself. The MIT authored analysis of the failures of free trade quoting these figures is right in front of me. And, MIT doesn't stake is reputation on a sloppy grasp on the facts. The objectives of the World Bank, however, are furthered by distorting economic realities, and you will not find many facts showing the failures of free trade or neoliberalism there.

In addition, I did not say that this occurred "in a matter of months" during the limited end of U.S. agricultural tariffs. I said it occurred over a 6 year period. You also attempt to confuse readers by spewing irrelevant numbers concerning Mexico's economy almost 30 years ago, while at the same time being unable to deny the fact that the Mexican economy crashed the same year NAFTA was implemented.

For a long time, neoconservative economists have been attempting to distract and confuse people about gross economic inequities by quoting figures pertaining to Gross National Product or "economic growth." However, economically-savvy people are aware that equating the meaning of GNP, GNI, or "economic growth" to real wages is extremely deceptive. Of course, Mexico's Gross National Product increased after NAFTA - U.S. factories were swarming there. This doesn't mean that Mexico's increase in the production of goods and services meant anything good for the Mexican people. In addition, NAFTA allowed for previously wealthy (white) Mexican elites to benefit from this exploitation, increasing the purchasing power of a privileged minority. Increasing militarization, natural disasters, and so-on also commonly lead to increases in GNP. Does the average person benefit from these things? No. These deceptive figures claiming "economic growth" intentionally have nothing to do with the plight of the average person. Yet, elites love quoting these figures in an attempt to prove that what is good for markets and business is good for people. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

In all of your arguments, James, you have some unexplained adoration for the concept of free trade. Yet you haven't cited one concrete example of how free trade will result in any substantial benefits for the average person. In fact, you've said that the benefits of free trade are "invisible." Tell me, what is the difference between invisible and non-existent? At the same time, you've even admitted that free trade can be very harmful to people. And, you've been unable to counter the entire crux of my argument, instead attempting to unsuccessfully nitpick some 40% figure in the hopes of distracting people from the truth.

I'm not going to bother arguing with you, since you are obviously so dedicated to your narrow-minded and unexplained allegiance to free trade. Given your admittance of its detrimental effects and your inability to list any concrete benefits for the average person, I have to wonder where your motivation to defend this concept comes from. Are you an economist for the World Bank? A corporate lackey? A conservative frat brat or wanna-be neoliberal intellectual elitist? Or maybe someone who just loves those rollback prices at Walmart? Who knows. The point is, that those seeking a honest appraisal of free trade should do as much research as possible (through non-corporate outlets) and not be fooled by neoliberal evasions or irrelevant distractions from the real issues and human impact.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is either misinformed or unconcerned about the effect of these policies on real people, or they have something to personally gain from spreading misinformation.

In peace and solidarity, Cat X

P.S. - James, if you have any rebuttals - which I'm sure you will - why not try addressing them at the overarching points that I raise in the previous post, rather than attempting to sidetrack people on inconsequential details of debate.

'James' is mild stealth COINTELPRO 22.Nov.2003 13:00

and has been for some time here.

he's not the raving bigot lunatic "KILL ALL MUSLIMS - DEATH TO COMMIES - PANTYWAIST STINKY PROTESTORS" National Alliance-LGF-FReeper type of Troll.

oh no--

that's not 'James's style, at all.

rather, 'James' likes to 'subtly and articulately' spam his way onto significant issue discussions, gradually--and sometimes firmly--derailing the topic entirely and diluting its significance.

Indymedia is a flowing stream, and 'James' is the dammer, diverter and siphoner of the waters.

[c.f. above statement--don't reply to it insisting that we "give you way too much credit" or we're "paranoid"--nuttin' to do with that whatsoever. we have you ______SUSSED______ 'James'--yer 'cover' was long ago blown.]

he succeeds when we acknowledge him as some sort of 'regular guy', a 'concerned, aware citizen of Portland [?!]' who's 'just trying to understand and clarify positions on these issues'. "oh, here's sprightly James again with his articulate concerns which we just *have* to address" . . .

of course--as seen clearly above--he never makes his point entirely and just keeps all of us prattling on about nothing . . . taking activist time and energy away from the crucial, central issue at hand.

but we know who [HI, THERE! ;-)] 'James' __really__ is--resident Portland IMC Cointelpro.

we _____KNOW_____ you and real your purpose, 'James' 'ol buddy. :P

cute little trollie, ain't he? awww . . .

xxx

Alas I may rest; My point has been proven 23.Nov.2003 02:37

James

"If you support the spirit of a free trade measure, you will be accused of all manner of evil-doing by these contrarians, from rampant consumerism to modern day slavery and exploitation."

Thus I wrote in my first post. I believe the above poster has exemplified this fact. Indeed, we may now add 'collusion with COINTELPRO' to the list of accusations which will be hurled at you. The previous poster was quick to prohibit me from replying flippantly, from protesting that "you give me too much credit." How bold and presumptious of him.

Interestingly, however, I never intended such a reply. Quite the opposite, my first thought was that he had given himself too much credit. To believe that the Federal government is so interested in the ramblings and goings-ons of an Internet news outlet and message board.

Sorry to disappoint you; I'm "just a regular guy, trying to understand and clarify my positions on these issues."

a few more small points, 'James' 23.Nov.2003 03:27

no, you may not rest

"Federal government is so interested in the ramblings and goings-ons [sic] of an Internet news outlet and message board."

--first of all, it's *not* simply an "Internet news outlet and message board": even you must realize from hanging out here that the IMC is an activist tool that is used by a community of outgoing and concerned citizens. The newswire is just one component of this entire website. you're attempting to disinformationally dismiss it as some sort of mere "chat room" for couch potatoes . . .

second, COINTELPRO does in fact exist, has shown its face on Portland IMC numerous times since September 11, 2001 especially, and has just recently been 'raised from the dead' in terms of funding and priorities:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/11/275301.shtml

third, it's not just the *Federal* government that is "so interested in the ramblings and goings-ons [sic]" of Portland IMC--it's also (for example) the City of Portland Police Department--and even Mayor Katz's office--who regularly monitor and check this site, especially around times of direct action preparations by activists. Local TV stations and rags like Willamette Week have also had their share of controversy and keen interest in what transpires here.

touche

Mayhem in Miami - Video Report of Demonstration, Interviews + Issues 23.Nov.2003 15:16

Democracy Now!

Up to 70 people were arrested and dozens more were injured as Miami police used concussion grenades and stun guns as well as rubber bullets and tear gas on people demonstrating against the talks. We hear a report from the streets of Miami produced by Jeremy Scahill, Ana Nogueira and John Hamilton.

(click link below, then select either 128K or 256K video stream--there are also audio and MP3 versions)


Dude 01.Apr.2004 22:09

Lee Allmighty

Dude, Coorperate America is going down the drain. Why don't we just do stuff like we used to, and trash this coorperate Bullsh*t. Why keep NAFTA around if it just makes everyone miserable? Why don't people be individuals and stand up for what they believe in, and not what the media tells them to?