Source: Local Futures
Free trade is shorthand for the process of removing government regulations on corporate trade and investment, thereby “freeing” global corporations and banks to do business and extract profits across borders. Free trade is powered by trade and investment treaties, institutions like the World Trade Organization, and a system of arbitration courts that effectively grant more rights to corporations than to citizens or their governments. Free trade is one of the primary drivers of corporate globalization and concentration of power, and one of the most serious threats to local democracy and local economies. To achieve resilient and just localization, we must work to scrap the free trade regime, and rewrite international rules to protect local economies, cultures, and environments.
Note: the nature of political action is fluid and dynamic, and it’s necessary to seize the moment. Even if particular actions below have reached completion, please check back with the organizations to participate in their latest campaigns!
- See how-to guides on holding a town hall meeting on trade issues, organizing an event about free trade, and holding your elected officials accountable with Citizen Trade Campaign’s Activist Resources (US).
- Sign petitions and open letters for the Stop EU-Mercosur campaign, a coalition of 450 civil society organizations opposing this treaty, which puts corporate interests above the needs of people and the planet. If approved, the agreement would exacerbate social inequalities, promote extractive, export-oriented monocultures, and undermine small farm livelihoods in South America and Europe.
- In the UK, join a local group campaigning to stop free trade deals through Global Justice Now’s map of local Groups.
- Sign Global Justice Now’s petition Stop the US Trade Deal to stop an upcoming closed-door US-UK trade deal that would lower food quality standards in the UK and open up UK public services to US corporations.
- In Australia, get involved with the Australia Fair Trade and Investment Network’s campaigns against the many existing and proposed free trade treaties between Australia and other countries and regions.
- In The Defeat of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MIA): National Movements Confront Globalism, Gordon Laxer tells the story of how an international citizen’s movement defeated the MIA and thus “punctured the aura of corporate globalization as the inevitable direction of history.”
- The TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and other controversial EU free-trade deals were defeated by people power and activism, as described in this article by Molly Scott Cato, and this one by Nick Dearden.
- International activism also defeated the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) as Arthur Stamoulis explains in this piece.
- Maude Barlow describes how activism and alternative media combined to kill the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) in 2001.
- Biswajit Dhar explains how a diverse movement of opposition including farmers and trade unionists forced India’s withdrawal from the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership).
- The video, Corporate Trade Deals: A History of Resistance, by The World Transformed, documents some of the most vibrant and successful anti-globalization movements.