Thursday, October 02, 2008

Trade Talk in Richmond: Oct. 7th

Since THE ECONOMY is the hot political topic as of late, maybe it's worth a closer look as to how we got into this mess. The ideology that corporate powers should operate free from any government regulation is highly suspect (and so is the idea of handing over $700billion). Remember all those free trade agreements that Clinton and Bush trumpeted with the widespread support of Congress? (NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA...) Well, all of a sudden, it seems that every elected official has changed their tune; almost a complete 180. And what about the latino boogie man that every politician used to scare potential voters?

The throngs of anti-globalization protesters were right. Too bad we jailed them, gassed and sprayed them, suppressed them with riot cops, and called them terrorists. It turns out that labor and environmental standards actually are important safeguards. And loan sharks aren't very good stewards of our personal or national finances. People do have as much right to cross boarders as multi-national corporations. And wouldn't you know it, pre-fab commercially sponsored monocultures are not a suitable replacement for authentic regional cultural expression. Have I belabored the point? Maybe you'd rather hear it from someone who can speak with more authority on the subject (see below).

Remember when I went to Mexico? The place is amazing (especially the food) and beautiful. But we're screwing up their country by aggressively trying to expand our brand of fake plastic strip-mall corporate wonderland (yes, their country - like all coutries - already had its own problems and now they're going to have ours too). The most delicious tacos are made by hand with the freshest ingredients and sold on every street corner in Mexico City for a quarter a piece. But Mexicans are increasingly lined up, sometimes 15 people deep to buy Subway and Burger King sandwiches for $4.50 and up. It's really sad. And it's probably because America has been really effective at making citizens in other countries think they need to adopt the American image of "success." What better way to embrace freedom than the conformity of spending your money on overpriced crap?

Sociologist from Mexico to Speak on Immigration and Trade
On Tuesday, October 7, at 7:30pm, Witness for Peace SE and the Richmond Peace Education Center will bring Marco Antonio Velasquez Navarrete to Richmond. A sociologist from the Mexican Network for Action on Free Trade (REMALC), Marco Antonio Valesquez Navarrete works with the anti-globalization people's movement in Mexico. He is affiliated with the
Network for Popular Education as well as the Urban Popular Movement in Mexico City.

His talk in Richmond will focus on the impact of corporate-dominated trade policies such as NAFTA on the Mexican people, especially small farmers. It will raise awareness about the connection between trade and immigration, and explain how the economic policies that the U.S. supports in Latin America create economic insecurity and drive people to immigrate north.

The Richmond Peace Education Center is supporting Witness for Peace in bringing this speaker to Richmond, and invites the community to attend. The event is free, and no registration is required.

The talk will be held at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 4400 Beulah Road, Richmond, VA 23237, on October 7, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. It will be in the Fellowship Hall. Enter through the side door. Please arrive a few minutes early. The talk will start promptly at 7:30.

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