The Cornell United Progressives (UP) launched its campaign to hinder the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a developmental extension of the North America Free Trade Agreement. With the new campaign, UP hopes to organize local events to spread information about the FTAA and find more Cornellians to travel to Quebec City in mid-April for the negotiations between Western hemisphere nations discussing the adoption of the evolved version of the “failed NAFTA model.”
“We just want to educate people on why they should be concerned,” said Frankie Lind ’01, UP treasurer. “We are in solidarity with many organizations around the country [and] around the world. We’re keeping pressure on a lot of different levels, and Cornell is just one of those levels.”
UP will hold two forums tomorrow to spread the anti-FTAA message and information regarding what it believes is the plan’s negative impact on human rights and the environment.
“Social and environmental responsibility is nothing to be trifled with,” Lind said.
“We [the United Progressives] are not specifically anti-capitalist, we are just merely sponsoring these forums with experts who can spread the truth,” said Tracey Wise, coordinator of the two forums.
On campus, three representatives from the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC) will discuss their disagreement with the FTAA and its impact on human rights and the environment in the Founders room at Anabel Taylor Hall at 4 p.m.
Downtown, a community panel discussion entitled “Fight the FTAA: Global Justice, Local Justice,” will be held at the Southside Community Center from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“In recent history there has been a lot of organizing around trade issues,” Lind said. “Some big trade organizations represent the prioritization of profit and corporate welfare over public welfare and environmental stewardship. The United Progressives are concerned with these kinds of abuses of power.”
UP is also pressing Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for full disclosure of the FTAA, and to organization plans to meet with him later this semester.
The main goal, however, is to send at least 30 members of UP to the Quebec negotiations.
“I’m going, and I am tremendously excited, excited but at the same time frustrated,” Lind said. “Frustrated by the amount of work that needs to be done and the obstacles that face us.”
Archived article by Julia Macdonald