Thursday, August 16, 2007

When globalization hurts us

Is when corporations take over and negate the citizen's right to chose the laws he is governed by.

Chet Scoville explains over at Shakesville:
Hello, all -- I'm Chet Scoville, author of The Vanity Press. I used to be known as the Green Knight. Melissa asked me to contribute this post about an issue that a lot of progressives up here in Canada are deeply worried about, but one that not a lot of American progressives know about yet: the SPP, or Security and Prosperity Partnership. This, basically, is an ongoing attempt by the three NAFTA governments to complete the process of corporate hegemony over the continent, at the expense of democracy. Some call it "NAFTA on steroids."
Chet then explains in detail, starting with the history and the development of the SPP and warns us: (my bold)
Well, the problem is this: there are Americans who have noticed the SPP and realize that something bad is happening. Unfortunately, they're not people to whom American progressives are likely to listen. They are people like the John Birch Society, Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, Jerome Corsi, and Phyllis Schlafly. They are mixing in a good deal of insanity, racism, and just plain dopiness into what they're saying, thereby poisoning the well ("Oh noes! A NAFTA Superhighway! The Mexicans are invading! Ahhhhh!"). American progressives, naturally, don't want to touch any issue that such people have claimed as their own; and, not knowing about much beyond their own borders, are unaware of the work that Canadian progressives have done to uncover the SPP. And Canadian progressives in turn are growing increasingly alarmed at that fact. As Alison put it recently,
I've just spent the better part of several exasperating days arguing with American "progressives" about SPP.

Shorter US Progs : If the John Birch Society et al say the sky is blue, then we say it isn't.

I thought we were all pretty well agreed on both sides of the border that while Glen Beck, Jerome Corsi, Lou Dobbs and the John Birch Society have their own bizarre agenda to use the SPP to promote their New World Order paranoia, the rest of us should get on with the actual facts at hand. Right?

Nuh-uh-uh, say the American progressives.
John from Dymaxion World puts it like this:
I don't know if there's a way for Canadians to convince American progressives that the SPP is genuinely a concern. That well's already been poisoned, and the Democratic party still belongs to the centrist wonkosphere when it comes to domestic issues -- meaning, in this case, an uncritical assumption in favour of anything labelled "free-trade".
In the end, it comes down to this: despite the embellishments that the rightists are guilty of, the SPP is real. It claims to be nothing to worry about, but its negotiations are happening behind closed doors, and have been for two years and counting. It is affecting life throughout the continent at the most basic levels. It is a process of subjecting all North Americans to corporate rule in as many remaining areas of life as possible, and stripping citizens' abilities to set their own standards through their legislatures.

The people have never been consulted on it. No politician has run for election with the SPP as part of their platform; nobody has a mandate from the people to put it in place. American progressives should be demanding that the process become open and transparent. Instead, they have ceded the issue to the crankiest of right-wing cranks, who are mingling the facts with their own paranoid fantasies. And with no American progressives on board, Canadian progressives opposed to the SPP find themselves alone in the fight -- for there's no way they could ever make common cause with the John Birchers, and the animosity would surely be mutual.

Divide and conquer is of course an old strategy. The frustrating thing, though, is that when it comes to the SPP, American progressives have done the division part all by themselves.

Fortunately, it's not too late. The process is ongoing and largely behind the scenes, but we still ultimately have the power to force it out in the open. But it will take an effort by both Canadian and American progressives to get it going. The links I've included in this post have lots of good information (especially this one), albeit largely from a Canadian point of view. There's lots of work to be done on the American side.

I urge you, don't let the John Birchers be the only Americans talking about this, and don't get distracted by their crazy talk. Do what progressives do best: find out the facts, make lots of noise, cause change. Canadians will help, but we can only do so much. We need you.


JJ said...

What Chet said. We are very concerned about this, and getting more worried by the day.

ellroon said...

Good to know about. We've been distracted a bit...