Together with citizens all over the world, Global Exchange has organized against the global rulemakers, because we believe in a vision of global economic integration that values worker’s rights, fair trade, and environmental protection over corporate profits.
We take action to uphold democracy and our right to participate in decisions about our lives and environment, to protect the human dignity of every single one of us, to protect the environment and to save lives.
The fight for fair and just economic system that puts workers and the environment above profit continues today. See our current work, Trade Justice Under in the Age of Trump for the latest.
The Battle in Seattle – Shut Down the World Trade Organization
In the late 1990s Global Exchange worked with hundreds of national and national groups and organizing spaces to mobilize tens of thousands of nonviolent protesters to converge and challenge the WTO in Seattle. This now-legendary meeting and protest has become known as The Battle in Seattle and inspired generations of activists to fight for a better global and local economy, better planet, and better conditions for workers and the global citizenry.
50,000 people went to Seattle to challenge this corporate agenda and to demand a more democratic, socially just and environmentally sustainable global economy. The protests succeeded in shutting down the trade talks and derailing the expansion of the WTO. Global Exchange stood with those outside the halls and rooms where lobbyists and government delegates negotiated, loudly declaring our opposition to the WTO because:
- WTO rules are written by and for corporations, putting profits above people and the planet.
- WTO rules trample labor and human rights.
- WTO rules render environmental protections illegal.
- WTO rules stand between dying people and the medicine that will save their lives.
The Fight for Fair not “Free” Trade Agreements
Together with citizens all over the world, Global Exchange has organized against bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, because we believe in a vision of global economic integration that values workers’ rights, fair trade, and environmental protection over corporate profits. See our latest here.
Ultimately, the bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements made by our governments aggregate even more power in the hands of already powerful and destructive transnational corporations, and lead to serious declines in the welfare of citizens.
When NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was signed in 1994 by the governments of the USA, Canada and Mexico, it was supposed to have been a boon to consumers, boosted employment and strengthened economies north and south of the border. Reality has been very different. In Mexico thousands of farmers have been forced out of their livelihood when U.S. agricultural conglomerates dumped cheap corn and hogs on the market.
NAFTA also installed a corporate bill of rights, allowing corporations to launch legal challenges against governments when the legislations of one of the ‘partner’ countries proves a barrier to that corporation’s bid for profit. Court decisions have been vacated by NAFTA tribunals that are completely unaccountable to the citizenry. Most recently, TransCanada is using this system to sue the U.S. government (taxpayers to foot the bill) for the ‘billions’ lost in profit over the canceled Keystone XL pipeline.
Global Exchange has organized cross-border and global resistance to these proposed trade agreements for decades — from the Battle in Seattle to organizing protests and civil society pressure against the AFTA, CAFTA, FTAA , and — the latest — the TPP.
While the future of trade under Trump is uncertain, one thing remains clear: people need to continue to fight for a fair trade system that is democratic, and puts people and planet before corporate profits.
We urge you to learn more about the impacts of past free trade agreements and join Global Exchange in action against any new free trade agreements that put corporate profit ahead of the needs of human beings and the planet.
Global Econ 101
Understanding how the current global economy works is essential to creatively design and implement the kind of global economy we want. Millions of people across the globe are already doing this – acting locally to challenge corporations in their communities, creating local, living economies. Countries are working together in international networks to fight free trade, climate change and corporate practice.
Learn more about how the global economy functions and how we can continue the fight for a more just world.
- Top 10 Reasons to Oppose the WTO
- Top 10 Reason to Oppose the IMF
- Top 10 Reasons to Oppose the World Bank