Revolutionary Worker #1099, April 22, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org
In Quebec City the ten-foot-high security fences are up as the police prepare their biggest deployment ever in Canada. Gathering on one side of the barricades are the forces of the old order: government officials meeting behind closed doors--protected by thousands of armed enforcers--to talk about increasing capitalist "free trade" through the agreement called Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
On the other side, a broad array of people have mobilized to protest this gathering of vultures and to oppose their crimes--the domination of a few powerful countries over the whole planet, the ruining of countless lives through the restless shifting of production from country to country, the insane destruction of the environment, the widening gap between the rich and poor.
Officials from all the countries of the Western Hemisphere (except Cuba) are meeting in Quebec City on April 20-22 to discuss the FTAA. The promoters of the FTAA wrap up their plan with deceitful words about freedom--"free trade, free market, free enterprise..." But in reality, the only freedom the FTAA promotes is the freedom of imperialists and capitalists to rob and plunder.
The FTAA is designed to make it even easier for the U.S. and Canadian imperialists to exploit labor without the hindrance of health and safety laws and to expand into new areas of investment. It's part of the plans of the U.S. rulers to turn what they consider their "back yard" into an integrated market under their domination and serving their interests. With the FTAA, the corporate empire-builders aim to turn the entire hemisphere into their sweatshop. (See article below for a fuller analysis of the FTAA.)
Even though the FTAA will cause profound changes for millions of people, U.S. government officials, corporations, and financial institutions have avoided much public discussion of the FTAA and carried out negotiations in secret. But activists have dug up a lot of exposing information on what the FTAA will mean, and determined resistance has been rising--even as the authorities have prepared extreme measures against the protesters.
As capitalist misery and imperialist exploitation are further globalized, we have also seen the globalization of people's resistance. The 1999 Battle of Seattle--against the predators of the World Trade Organization (WTO)--had a big impact on many youth and others who dream of a better world. Since then, the various institutions of international capital--WTO, World Bank, IMF, World Economic Forum (WEF), and others--have not been able to gather anywhere without being met by determined opposition.
This is a welcome development for oppressed people around the world. When protesters confronted the WTO in Seattle, millions around the world saw something surprising and encouraging--that even in the U.S., in the very belly of the imperialist beast, they have allies and comrades who understand and oppose what global capitalism is doing.
Among the protesters in Quebec will be students, environmentalists, trade unionists, anarchists, AIDS activists, revolutionary communists, and others from Canada, U.S., and elsewhere--including many veterans of anti-globalization battles in Seattle, Windsor, Washington, D.C., and Prague. Other actions are planned at both the Canada/U.S. and Mexico/U.S. borders as well as many cities in the U.S. and in South America.
There are different views among the anti-globalization resisters about how to actually defeat the corporate and government forces of world imperialism and build a whole new world. This is a big and serious question that should be deeply discussed and debated among the people. Maoists believe that those who hold this planet in their grasp will only be swept away by the most intense and thoroughgoing forms of struggle--by revolution.
The lords of capital claim they are triumphant--that their system is the "best of all worlds." But all over the world, there are people who hate the way things are and who have no future under this system. Our common hope lies in wrenching the world from the grip of those who exploit the labor of others and hold power in their hands. Our future lies in making revolution--proletarian revolution--in every country, and taking the first historic steps toward a liberated global society, where the masses of people work in common for the common good of all.
We salute the courageous resisters in Quebec City and elsewhere who are opposing the FTAA--full of determination that a different future will be written through their actions.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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