From Seattle in 1999 and Quebec City in 2001 to Argentina and Hong Kong today, activists around the world are fighting globalization because they believe in a better world. What’s more, we’re winning.
In November, I was honoured to lead a CUPE delegation to the People’s Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina. This event was organized to oppose the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of business and government leaders looking to business and government leaders looking to sign the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) pact and expand trade across the hemisphere.
However, the leftist governments of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and Bolivia soundly defeated the FTAA by refusing to open their borders to greater exploitation from American multi-nationals. At the same time, labour is proposing development alternatives that will protect public services and make poverty history.
The People’s Summit was truly inspiring. On the same trip, we participated in a Public Services International conference on trade and health care, as well as the Health Care Workers Exchange. The latter was a CUPE initiative to bring together health care unions from all over the Americas to work toward common goals. As a group, we agreed to increase communication between our unions. We also declared April 7 as an international day of action for health care.
In mid-December, Paul Moist and I led a CUPE delegation to the World Trade Organization negotiations in Hong Kong. Labour representatives from around the world worked with social justice groups toward progressive trade rules that promote equality and justice.
Globalization is threatening public services in Canada and around the world. Our international work is important to our work at home. And our work at home can help make ‘another world’ possible.