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News :: Globalization
[FP] FTAA in Miami: a virtual demonstration
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by Robert McChesney forwarded by Tom
Email: fairtrader2002 (nospam) aol.com (unverified!)
17 Nov 2003
The biggest showdown over corporate globalization since Seattle is
poised to happen this week in Miami. At issue is the Free Trade Area of
the Americas agreement, described as "NAFTA on steroids."
The FTAA will eliminate U.S. jobs and foster worker exploitation in
developing countries. It could override environmental protections and
media ownership limits as "trade violations." It could enable U.S.
media corporations to eclipse local cultures across the hemisphere and
threaten public broadcasting.
Tens of thousands will protest in Miami. Add your voice and let's make
it millions. Join them with our 'virtual demonstration'.
SIGN the Free Press petition to stop the FTAA at
http://www.mediareform.net/ftaa/petition . This petition will be
delivered to Congress and the U.S. Trade Representative before the FTAA
FORWARD this email to everyone you know who cares about media democracy
and global justice. This email contains detailed background
information. We can only reach critical mass if you spread the word.
Big Media is not informing America of the realities of these trade
deals because they stand much to gain from them. It's up to us to
educate each other. If you can't be in Miami to say NO to the FTAA,
please do the next best thing and join the virtual demonstration.
P.S. The National Conference on Media Reform was a tremendous success,
with over 1700 participants. News clips, a discussion forum, and audio
and video are available at www.mediareform.net .
What’s the FTAA?
On Wednesday, trade ministers from 34 countries will begin three days
of closed-door sessions to advance negotiations on the proposed Free
Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Under this agreement, US regulations
that protect media diversity, localism and the public interest could be
attacked as 'barriers to trade.' Media ownership limits could be
considered outright 'trade violations.' Most absurdly, multinational
corporations could seek cash 'compensation' -- paid for by taxpayer
dollars -- if secret tribunals of trade lawyers found our government's
public interest media policies to be 'unduly burdensome' to competition.
The FTAA is a sweeping agreement that would extend the failed NAFTA
model of corporate-driven globalization to the entire Western
Hemisphere, minus Cuba. Tens of thousands of protesters will greet
these trade ministers with a powerful display of opposition to the FTAA
and with concrete proposals for alternatives, in what is shaping up to
be the most important showdown over corporate globalization since
What would the FTAA mean for media, culture, and communications? Put
simply, the agreement threatens to undermine media democracy, privatize
public services, and expand corporate power in every sector. Under the
FTAA, laws that limit media ownership could be considered 'trade
violations,' and public funding for nonprofit media could be attacked.
Media corporations would be allowed to sue governments for maintaining
democratically created, public interest media and cultural policies.
The recent battle against FCC deregulation could be rendered moot.
However, there is reason for hope: the FTAA summit comes on the heels
of the collapse of World Trade Organization negotiations in Cancun,
Mexico. In Cancun, a newly formed coalition of countries from the
Global South, emboldened by protests in the streets of Cancun and
around the world, walked out of the WTO in rejection of the strong-arm
tactics of wealthy countries. Free Press was there, organizing the
Cancun Forum on Communication Rights vs. 'Free Trade' and supporting
the Independent Media Center Cancun (cancun.mediosindependientes.org).
The failure of the WTO meetings makes regional trade agreements like
the FTAA the leading edge of the multinational corporate drive to
override democracy. For all those who support democracy, environmental
sustainability, media diversity and human rights, the Miami
mobilization this week is a crucial opportunity to carry forward the
momentum of Cancun and derail this disastrous agreement.
The trade ministers will be greeted in Miami by hundreds of thousands
of protesters from across the globe. Media activists from across the
country and around the world will be marching together with thousands
from labor, the environmental movement, academia, indigenous
populations, small farmers, and many others. Join us in saying, "Our
Media Are Not for Sale!" It's the next chapter of the historic struggle
that will determine whether or not we trade away our environment, our
public services, our culture and our media.
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO
* VOTE Against the FTAA: A broad hemispheric coalition is conducting a
truly massive popular referendum on this disastrous agreement,
gathering ballots and petitions that will be delivered to the trade
ministers in Miami. Cast your vote online today at
* EDUCATE Yourself and Others About the Issues: An extensive list of
excellent online resources about the FTAA is appended at the end of
this email. Free Press has also developed a pamphlet about the links
between corporate globalization and media democracy:
* DONATE to Support the FTAA Mobilization: We have the opportunity to
derail Big Media's agenda in Miami, but mobilizations on this scale
cost money. We need thousands of dollars to spread the word about the
FTAA mobilization and pay for key logistical needs on the ground in
Miami. Please donate whatever you can to this effort -- $10, $25, $50,
or more. You can donate online right now at
http://www.mediareform.net/donate (be sure to note that your donation
is for our FTAA fund).
* ORGANIZE Affinity Groups to participate in creative nonviolent direct
action. We urge everyone who is considering participating in nonviolent
direct action to organize trainings in your community before you come.
More information and training materials will be available soon. Some
resources are available now at www.stopFTAA.org
* SPREAD the Word: Please forward this email to your personal network
and to appropriate listservs.
FREE PRESS - more on how the FTAA would affect our media system and
links to other resources:
FTAA INDEPENDENT MEDIA CENTER - breaking news from the streets of Miami: