NAFTA renegotiations with Canada and Mexico, triggered by Trump last May –officially start on August 16th.
We are deeply skeptical of Trump’s intentions because his racist, plutocrat agenda infuses everything he touches. So even when he moves on issues where we might imagine common ground – such as questioning NAFTA and wanting it renegotiated – it becomes tainted and unacceptable.
“Trump’s 2016 message on trade was blunt and exuded animosity toward Mexicans and other foreigners, but it resonated with millions of Americans, especially in places where life has changed for the worse since NAFTA was ratified almost a quarter century ago. But Trump’s new NAFTA won’t help people in places where good jobs have vanished and today’s wages don’t keep up with living costs.”
Trump’s “update to NAFTA” is a fraud. Please read the oped and join us in contacting congress to let them know we’ll be saying no to any attempt by Trump and his billionaire cronies to make a bad thing worse.
As tempers flare and tensions rise rapidly with North Korea, we wanted to give some resources on allies who are working to de-escalate what is a dangerous situation. Here is how you can get involved:
- Flood the White House with calls saying: “Don’t provoke a war with North Korea. Negotiate, don’t escalate.” Call 202-456-1111 today!
- Sign Code Pink’s petition to send Secretary of State Tillerson to North Korea for peace talks.
- MoveOn is holding Trump, Tillerson and McMaster accountable, sign their petition.
- Join or organize a Town Hall with Global Zero during the Congressional Recess.
What is happening in Venezuela?
It is a perplexing question and one that we have been discussing a lot lately at Global Exchange. We are alarmed over deepening conflict and concerned about the dire conditions facing Venezuelans. We are also worried and sometimes divided about apparent anti-democratic moves by the government and the best path ahead — as are many other observers in Latin America and around the world.
In our efforts to understand what is happening in Venezuela we have spoken with people on the ground and are reading widely — beyond mainstream US sources. To help expand and deepen debate and understanding we wanted to share some of that with you.
One thing we are clear and unified about is this: The United States has no business intervening in Venezuela’s internal conflict. On the rest, we are posting here because we are curious what your analysis is too, so here’s to hoping for a vibrant and civil debate.
The case against US intervention is clear and is well laid out here in an article from the Independent called: Venezuela may be on the brink of civil war and the US – for once – should keep its nose out.
Mark Weisbrot, director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research shares why he believes that: “More Severe Sanctions Against Venezuela Would Only Worsen Crisis and Possibly Violence.”
Here are two articles from NACLA, a long trusted source of critical reporting on Latin America.
Contributors to the left-independent, Jocobin Magazine have presented a variety of analysis both critical of the government and supportive of popular initiatives it undertook in recent decades.
Add a comment and let us know your thoughts.
For Second Consecutive Week Activists Shut Down Kinder Morgan Richmond Terminal; Demand Halt to Trans Mountain Tar Sands Pipeline
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First thing Monday morning, I joined six other activists who locked their arms into steel barrels in front of the Kinder Morgan terminal in Richmond. For three hours, we stopped all trucks from coming in or out of the terminal. Eventually the police and fire department arrived and cut two of us out, allowing oil to again move.
Activists with Diablo Rising Tide blocked the terminal in solidarity with First Nations People for the second time in two weeks, demanding that the company halt its new Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada. In what many environmental and Indigenous activists are starting to call the “Standing Rock of the North,” the controversial project would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline from Edmonton, Calgary to Burnaby, British Columbia — an increase to 890,000 barrels per day. This project is based on the extraction of tar sands oil, one of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels.
The growing Bay Area resistance to this Kinder Morgan pipeline stands with over 140 tribes comprising The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. The groundbreaking alliance of Indigenous nations formally opposes all tar sands pipelines crossing their traditional lands and waters. The recently elected government of British Columbia also opposes the project.
“Our First Nations relatives are not going to allow the Trans Mountain pipeline to go through their territories in Canada,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay. “Investing in any fossil fuel infrastructure is foolish. We all know that we must transition off of fossil fuels in order to prevent catastrophic climate change. Why waste so many resources on a losing proposition?”
Kinder Morgan, a spin-off from Enron, is one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure companies. The company claims it will start construction on its 715-mile Trans Mountain pipeline in September despite fierce opposition to the project from numerous First Nations and other communities and cities along its path.
“We salute all the water protectors, coast protectors and climate warriors on the front lines of these pipeline battles, standing up for Indigenous rights, the water and a safe climate,” said Grand Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake on behalf of the Indigenous Nations who have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. “Resistance to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion tar sands pipeline and tanker project will be strongest in British Columbia, but it won’t stop there: Kinder Morgan can count on fierce resistance all over North America by Indigenous People and their allies.”
“This is clearly just the beginning,” said Patrick McCully of Rainforest Action Network. “This is the second week in a row that activists are blockading this facility — and you can expect protests up and down the West Coast as banks and oil companies continue to try and profit from climate chaos and human rights violations that will be caused by these disastrous tar sands pipelines. Companies like Kinder Morgan are on notice. Banks like JPMorgan Chase are on notice. Get out of tar sands. Get out of extreme oil. Get out of the climate change business and get on the right side of science and history.”
Our friends at Rainforest Action Network are also fighting the financing of this project as well, for without money, nothing can be built. Check out their report and learn how you can hold a Trump-supporting big bank like JP Morgan Chase accountable for destroying indigenous lands.
At Global Exchange Reality Tours, we talk a lot about ‘socially responsible’ travel. But what does this mean, exactly? What is socially responsible travel, and how do you make sure you are doing it as a traveler?
Below, we’ve put together a set of attitudes and behaviors that we believe make up some of the core ingredients of socially responsible travel. Read on to travel wisely and ethically on your next trip abroad.Ingredients of Socially Responsible travel
* Before leaving home, learn as much as possible about the country you are visiting – the culture, rules, norms, values, history, language, etc. While in-country, always keep these things in mind and respect important norms and values.
* Support locally-owned businesses to ensure that the money you spend remains in the country you visit. A major problem of modern day tourism, especially amongst large, international tour companies, is that much of the profit does not remain in-country, instead flowing to foreign companies and individuals. This means staying in locally-owned lodging, eating in locally-owned restaurants, and using local guides and tour operators.
* Ensure fair wages and tips are being paid to your guides and drivers. Ask if tips are included in your tour, excursion, drive, etc. If tips are not included, ask what people generally give or what is fair. Likewise, if you don’t know or have doubts about the treatment of workers, ask and speak with ownership/management. If you discover something malicious, report the company to local authorities and post your findings to travel review sites such as TripAdvisor.
* Refrain from harmful volunteering. If you do want to volunteer, first do proper research on the volunteer group and the work itself. Make sure it is truly contributing positively to the community. Learn about how some volunteering, although well-intentioned, can actually have negative effects on local sustainable development.
* Learn some of the local language – even just a few words or phrases – and attempt to use them. Don’t simply assume people understand english or want to speak it with you.
* Give mindfully. Consider donating to reputable local organizations rather than giving money to individuals on the street, especially children as they can be victims of trafficking and/or exploitation. Donate to organizations, programs, National Parks and communities that you visit.
* Always remain aware of your privilege. Even if you do not consider yourself rich, the ability to travel internationally is a luxury and a sign of having money. It is important to keep in mind that most people around the world do not have this ability, and there are inevitably power dynamics at play when it comes to this. Also, it is important to keep in mind uncomfortable realities of history, especially as it relates to colonialism, race and economic exploitation throughout both recent and past history that have given rise to and exacerbated these power dynamics and economic differences.
* Always ask before taking photos or videos of people.
* Respect the local environment. Always clean up after yourself. When camping, bring out what what you bring in. Protect wildlife and habitats by not purchasing products made from endangered plants or animals.
* Support fair trade and fair wage. Purchase local handicrafts and products to support the local economy using the principles of fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding of a fair wage.
* Never participate in sex tourism and refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species, and products or substances that are dangerous or prohibited by national regulations.
* Ask questions and listen more than you talk. Don’t give unsolicited advice.
* Bring it home: change your purchasing behavior, the companies you support, the way you live, how you vote, and consider continued support of organizations or communities you visited.Learn more about Global Exchange Reality Tours