(Fwd) WTO newletter

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Tue, 8 Jul 1997 09:41:22 -0800
Reply-to:      Rural Sociology Discussion List <RURSOC-L@LSV.UKY.EDU>
From:          "Raymond A. Jussaume Jr." <rajussaume@WSU.EDU>
Subject:       WTO newletter
To:            Multiple recipients of list RURSOC-L <RURSOC-L@LSV.UKY.EDU>

For all colleagues who are interested in agricultural trade related issues.

-Ray Jussaume
>(We apologize for eventual cross-posting)
>Dear friends,
>please find enclosed the description of several projects that we are
>putting forward in connection with the 2nd WTO Ministerial Conference that
>will take place in Geneva next year.
>As you can see in the appendix, we are organising a meeting in Spain from
>the 4th to the 8th of August, right after the second intercontinental
>Encuentro (gathering) against neo-liberalism and for humanity. In this
>meeting we will discuss different initiatives related to the WTO - not just
>the ones that follow, also other proposed by other organisations or
>If you are interested, please contact us as soon as possible. And please
>let us know if you are already informed about the second Encuentro.
>Looking forward to hearing from you,
>Rosa Ruano xxxxxx
>The 2nd WTO Ministerial Conference will take place in Geneva in 1998,
>according to some rumours in the second half of May 1998. It will be
>combined with an official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the
>multilateral trading system (GATT and WTO). These events should "celebrate
>the past while preparing the way for the future" (WTO FOCUS, no. 16,
>=46ebruary 1996).
>This is in our opinion a fine opportunity to explain to the public what the
>WTO is about, what interests it defends, the extent of its power and its
>social and environmental impact. More important than this, it is a really
>strategic moment to express opposition to the destructive effects that the
>global market and the WTO have on rural societies, dignity in labour, the
>environment, cultural diversity and self-determination.
>We in Play Fair Europe! have developed some proposals to take action
>against the WTO in general and the Ministerial Conference in particular.
>Our point of departure is a very clear rejection of the WTO as active
>promotor of a socially and environmentally destructive globalisation. Our
>attitude is hence confrontational, since we do not think that lobbying can
>have a major impact in such a biased and undemocratic organisation as the
>WTO. This does not mean that we are not willing to work with organisations
>involved in lobbying, it just means that we will not lobby ourselves.
>We present you in this document a list of projects, some of which we are
>going to realise in any case and some of which are still on the air. We
>would like to know whether you are interested in any of them. Most of them
>are still just drafts, and we will be happy to discuss and redefine them
>with the organisations interested on taking part on their realisation.
>Probably some of these projects will take place within the process of the
>People's Summit on trade, money and finance, but this is still to be
>discussed (see appendix).
>If you are interested in any of the following proposals, please contact us
>at Turmstrasse 3, D-52072 Aachen, Germany; fax 49-241-8888394, e-mail
>        A. Preparatory process
>Most of our work will be aimed at increasing awareness and promoting a
>critical view of the WTO in the run-up to the Ministerial Conference. To
>this end we will produce several publications, hold a seminar and organise
>three roundtables of different sectors of civil society. We also propose to
>organise a conference on alternatives to the WTO (see point a5). We are
>open for collaboration in all these activities, but the one that we are
>most interested in discussing with you is the mentioned proposal for a
>conference on alternatives to the WTO.
>a.1. Leaflet(s) on the WTO
>We will print a leaflet with the most basic information about the WTO on
>plain language (what it is, what powers it has, how it takes decisions, who
>is behind it, which areas of life it affects, etc.). It will be published
>in several languages (English, Spanish, French and German to start with,
>probably also in Italian) and distributed through different networks. The
>Geneva Ministerial Conference will be explicitly mentioned in the leaflet
>as an important moment for action all over the world. We expect this
>leaflet to be ready in the next two months.
>Another project in which we might work is a series of more specific
>leaflets targeted at certain groups, which would handle only certain areas
>of influence of the WTO, like the WTO and food security, the WTO and labour
>conditions, the WTO and the consumers, the WTO and the environment, the WTO
>and indigenous peoples, the WTO and the end of democracy, the WTO and
>cultural diversity... It is not clear yet whether we are going to do this
>series, it depends on the interest showed by other organisations.
>a.2. Fingerbook on trade liberalisation and the WTO
>=46ingerbooks are small booklets (DIN A6 or DIN A5 size) which contain
>several case studies written by a diversity of groups on a particular
>topic. We want to produce one on trade liberalisation, analysed from a
>social and ecological perspective.
>The case studies should be short (two or three pages, including pictures)
>and describe how international trade is affecting the community, region or
>country of the group writing it. It is not so important that the case
>studies are based on special research or on academic papers; much more
>important is that they reflect what people at local level think and how
>they see the issue affecting them.
>The collection of case studies should reflect a variety of consequences of
>international trade in a wide range of countries. The main topics for us,
>which should be represented in at least one case study, are:
>* destruction of the peasantry; end of food security and sovereignty
>* erosion of workers' rights; end of dignity in labour
>* promotion of the accumulation process; economic rule by multinationals
>* environmental problems linked with int. trade (loss of biodiversity,
>  greenhouse effect...)
>* effects of the dominance of int. competitiveness over social and
>  policies
>* specific effects on women
>* destruction of cultural diversity
>Beyond that, we propose four more sections, writen by the editors:
>* a general introduction to the issue, where the main arguments against
>  globalisation are described in plain language and short form
>* a short description of the WTO similar to the information in the leaflet
>* a final part on what each of us can do to stop globalisation (including th=
>  issue of the WTO Ministerial Conference in 1998)
>* a short description and contact addresses of the editors, contributors and
>  collaborators
>The issues treated by the fingerbook should cover all the major aspects of
>international trade ruled by the WTO. At least, the book should in our
>opinion specifically cover the consequences of the Agriculture Agreement,
>the TRIPs agreement, the SPS agreement, the TRIMs agreement and the planned
>liberalisation of non-trade related investment. We would also like to have
>case studies on the results of the dispute resolution panels until now
>(bananas, hormones, magazines in Canada, gasoline in the USA, alcohol in
>Japan, etc).
>The kind of groups that we want to contact for this fingerbook are (among
>* farmers' and fisherfolk organisations
>* specific trade unions (like the seringueiros, unions of maquiladora worker=
>  dockers, etc.)
>* indigenous peoples' organisations
>* anti-roads movements and other environmental groups
>* specific women's organisations
>* specific solidarity groups and development NGOs
>* consumers' organisations
>We would differentiate three kinds of involvement for this fingerbook:
>1. editors, which would share among them the following responsibilities:
>  * looking for funds for the book
>  * agreeing on the definitive contents of the book (and its title)
>  * contacting potential contributors
>  * editing the case studies
>  * securing translation of the fingerbook (at least in English, French and
>    Spanish)
>  * writing the four sections mentioned above
>2. collaborators, which would help with one or two of the tasks of editing
>   organisations (for example, contacting one or two contributing
>   but carry no responsibility and do not take part on the decision-making
>3. contributors, the ones who write the case studies.
>We think that the best process for getting the book going is to have a
>meeting with persons interested on it after the 2nd Encuentro in Spain (see
>appendix) in order to do together the definitive project and planify its
>Ideally, the fingerbook would be ready in Autumn, so that we can use it as
>a major campaign tool towards the Ministerial Conference.
>a.3. Autumn University "Surviving in a Globalised World", Sept.-Oct. 1997
>The 2nd Autumn University on North-South Issues "Surviving in a Globalised
>World" is a two-weeks seminar for 150 (mainly young) people, which has
>agriculture and the WTO as main topics. Please contact us for further
>There will be one and a half days for campaign planning at the of the
>seminar, in which we will talk with the participants about what can be done
>on the topics that the seminar is about. Hence, one of the major topics for
>the campaign planning will probably be the WTO. In fact, the seminar has as
>main aim preparing a whole set of anti-WTO activists.
>The Autumn University is planned since half a year, hence there is not much
>left to discuss on its concept and contents. But we invite you to come and
>be part of the campaign planning.
>a.4. Roundtables & publications on globalisation
>We are organising in Aachen a series of three roundtables on the following
>aspects of globalisation:
>* Globalisation and education
>* Globalisation, biotechnology and food security
>* Globalisation and unemployment
>We want to invite organisations of people directly affected or concerned by
>these issues to come to the roundtables. These would be in our opinion:
>(a) for the one on education: student and pupil organisations and unions,
>youth organisations, teachers' unions
>(b) for the one on biotechnology and food security: farmers' organisations,
>consumers' organisations, churches, environmental organisations,
>development and solidarity NGOs, youth organisations
>(c) for the one on unemployment: trade unions, organisations of the
>unemployed, youth organisations
>We expect to invite around 120 people to each roundtable. The scope of the
>participation in the roundtables will most probably be reduced to Europe
>(due to financial constrains and to the fact that we will target both the
>EU and the WTO in them). We want to secure participation in any case from
>each member state of the EU, and if possible from other countries. We will
>have sequential translation to all languages in which this is needed.
>All roundtables will be 5 days long and share more or less the same
>planning and schedule. One or two months before the roundtable, the invited
>organisations would receive a reader with different views on the issue
>(with materials of the pro and contra globalisation positions). During the
>roundtable itself, the first two days would be devoted to presentations and
>debates with representatives of both views (for which we will invite
>representatives of the WTO and the EU, but also from the critical side).
>Then, the last three days wil be devoted to debate among the participants,
>with the aim of producing a statement on the issue and to discuss the
>possibility to take common action on the issue. The WTO Geneva Ministerial
>Conference will definitely be present in this discussion.
>We will publish three booklets with the contents and results of the
>roundtables. The exact contents of these booklets will be established by
>the participants of the roundtables, but we expect them to include the
>analysis of the issue in short form and plain language, the declaration
>adopted in the roundtable and the description of the actions discussed
>there (which will hopefully include references to the WTO Ministerial
>Conference). We will try to get it printed in as many languages as possible.
>We are already fundraising for the roundtables and publications, and we
>expect an answer soon. In case there are not enough funds for three
>roundtables, we might reduce the number to only two. The provisional dates
>that we have planned for the roundtables are:
>* 11th to 16th of November 1997: Globalisation and education
>* 9th to 14th of December 1997: Globalisation, biotechnology and food securi=
>* 27th of January to 1st of February 1998: Globalisation and unemployment
>The publications would come some weeks later.
>a.5. Peoples' Conference on Alternatives to the WTO
>This proposed conference is in our view the most important part of the
>preparation process.
>The idea is to organise a conference on alternatives to the WTO before the
>Ministerial Conference, with the participation of organisations and
>movements of people directly affected by the effects of trade
>liberalisation, as well as some NGOs, all of them sharing a confrontational
>position towards the WTO. The objectives would be:
>1. to present alternatives to the WTO regime from the perspectives of people
>   confronting and resisting the globalisation process
>2. to coordinate confrontative actions against the Ministerial Conference al=
>   over the world
>3. (as part of 2) to set up the organisational and political basis and of an
>   "international resistance press office" in Geneva during the Ministerial
>   Conference, which should act as a link between the media acredited there
>   the actions against the WTO going on in different parts of the world (see
>   point B).
>In our opinion it would be best if the conference would take place in March
>the latest, so that it can also act as a timely call of attention to
>organise good actions parallel to the Ministerial Conference. We would
>think about around 600 to 800 participants from all over the world (if
>funds are available) representing the range of peoples' movements (farmers,
>indigenous peoples, women, etc.) as well as confrontative trade unions and
>NGOs. For us the best option would be holding the conference in Geneva,
>combined with an action against the WTO.
>In case enough organisations show interest in this idea we will adapt the
>roundtables (point a4), to make them part of the preparatory process for
>the peoples' conference.
>As for the organisation process, we would suggest that the organisations
>interested in this project have a special meeting from the 4th to 8th of
>August, at the end of the II Encuentro against neo-liberalism (see
>appendix) to define the concept of the conference, distribute
>responsibilities and form an organisation committee with representation of
>organisations from different continents and the different sectors of
>society opposed to the WTO. We propose to have this preparatory meeting at
>the end of the II Encuentro because many organisations (especially from the
>South) will be there.
>        B. During the Ministerial Conference
>We in Play Fair Europe! will concentrate our energies on the preparatory
>process for the Ministerial Conference. The only international undertaking
>that we propose to organise paralell to the Conference is an international
>press office, since we think that a series of protest actions at local
>level all around the world is more effective than a central act in Geneva.
>The aim of the proposed press office would be to pass information about the
>actions taking place against the WTO all over the world to the
>international media accredited in Geneva.
>We would favour an office with following characteristics:
>1. representation of different kinds of organisations confronted to the WTO
>   (farmers' organisations, trade unions, indigenous peoples organisations,
>   women's organisations, consumers, youth, etc.) and different continents
>2. representation of a common platform against the WTO developed at the
>   Conference on Alternatives to the WTO (see point a5 above)
>3. the ability to inform in several languages
>This idea of an international press office still needs a lot of discussion
>with many more organisations. We hope to have this discussion in the
>framework of the preparatory process, starting with the meeting after the
>II Encuentro (see appendix).
>                                APPENDIX:
>=46rom July 26th to August 3rd around 4.000 people will gather in Spain for
>the second intercontinental Encuentro (gathering) against neo-liberalism
>and for humanity. The first one was organised by the zapatistas in Chiapas
>(Mexico) last summer.
>The aim of this second Encuentro is to create a worldwide network of people
>in struggle, brought together by their common rejection of neo-liberalism
>and globalisation. The actors in this effort include different kinds of
>organisations (solidarity orgs., farmers' orgs., trade unions, indigenous
>peoples' orgs., pacifist orgs., womens orgs., environmental orgs., etc).
>All of us have a common inspiration in the struggle of indigenous peoples
>in Chiapas for autonomy and self management outside the global marketplace,
>but the scope of the gathering will go far beyond the Zapatismo.
>The Encuentro will take place in 5 different places in Spain, where there
>will be discussions in smaller groups about the network that we want to
>build and about different topics (land, labour, environment, gender,
>culture, etc.). At the end all the participants will meet in "El Indiano"
>(a peasants' community) to finalise the discussions and launch the network.
>You will find more information about the Encuentro in the web pages
>  http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/3849/gatherdx.html (English),
>  http://www.pangea.org/encuentro for information in Spanish.
>Contact us in case you have no access to the web.
>                Meeting after the II Encuentro
>A similar process to this one of the Encuentros is the People's Summit on
>trade, money and finance, initiated by organisations of different kinds
>(peasants', fisherfolk, youth, academic, etc.), which aims at developing a
>strategy for opposition to the globalisation process in general and the WTO
>in particular with the help of a series of national fora and international
>meetings. This process has been endorsed by quite some organisations so far.
>We are organising a smaller meeting right after the Encuentro, with the
>following aims:
>* to discuss about the People's Summit and its relationship with the Encuent=
>  process, as well as with the network that should result from this 2nd
>  Encuentro
>* to discuss a number of concrete proposals for action against the WTO,
>like the
>  the peoples' conference on alternatives to the WTO and the fingerbook on
>  (both mentioned above), but also other proposals brought forward by other
>  organisations or persons, with organisations interested on working
>against the
>  WTO
>The number of people attending the meeting after the Encuentro is still to
>be defined; the current talks are about 100 to 120 persons. These would be
>people already involved in the People's Summit process and other people
>who, without being part of the People's Summit, want to get active on the
>WTO. The dates for this meeting are the 4th to the 8th of August.
>If you are interested in the post-Encuentro meeting, please get in touch wit=
>Play Fair Europe!, Turmstrasse 3, D-52072 Aachen, Germany; fax
>49-241-88.88.394, e-mail <playfair@asta.rwth-aachen.de>.
>Play Fair Europe! e.V.          Tel: +49-241-80 37 92
>Turmstr. 3                      Fax: +49-241-88 88 394
>52072 Aachen, Germany           email: playfair@asta.rwth-aachen.de
Rick Welsh
SARE Program, Southern Region
University of Georgia
1109 Experiment St.
Griffin, GA 30223-1797
phone: 770-412-4788
fax: 770-412-4789
e-mail: rwelsh@gaes.griffin.peachnet.edu