The following guest post was written by long-time Global Exchange member Charlie Hinton. Charlie and others are sharing their Global Exchange stories as we celebrate 25 years of activism for human rights.
I’ve worked with and been a member of Global Exchange for almost 20 years.
I always admired their mix of action, solidarity, and education, but became more involved in 1994 when I went to a teach-in on the structural adjustment programs of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that were leading to massive impoverishment throughout the Global South (and in this country under the name of Reaganomics.)
One of the speakers was Kevin Danaher, co-founder of Global Exchange, who explained in a way that made perfect sense how this maze of cutbacks in government services, privatization of state run enterprises, sell-offs of natural resources, destruction of labor and environmental laws, police and military repression, and the transformation of viable economies into mono-crop agriculture for export and free-trade zones actually works.
Although I’d graduated from college with a degree in economics, economics never made sense to me until this teach-in. As a result I collaborated with Kevin and Global Exchange for 5 years developing the national and local campaign called Fifty Years Is Enough to educate about and work to reverse these disastrous policies.
Global Exchange has developed their entire organization out of the need to respond to this international crisis and build alternatives. They educate through their Reality tours, newsletters, books, forums and website. Their stores and Fair Trade program build understanding and solidarity, not charity, with people worldwide who desperately need political support and markets for their products, and their Green Festivals showcase sustainable products and new ways of looking at the world. And GX participates in a wide variety of campaigns that get people directly involved to stand up for what we believe in and create a better and more just world, from fighting sweatshops, to war, to fracking.
GX’s dedicated staff works hard and smart. As an estimator at Inkworks Press, where they have supported our local, collectively owned and managed printing union company for many years (A BIG THANK YOU!) I can attest that they spend their money wisely and without any glitz.
All this work is a reflection on the wonderful people I’ve met through GX over the years, from the visionary founders Medea, Kirsten, and Kevin, to others I know as friends and those I’ve met professionally through Inkworks. Many thanks and congratulations to Global Exchange for 25 years of work well done.
San Francisco, CA
Global Exchange is celebrating 25 years, and we are proud to honor the dedication of people like you who have sweat and sacrificed to forge a working alternative from the ground up.
To share your stories, memories, and moments with us, we have a handy dandy form you can use to Share Your Story right here.