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Challenging the FTAA, NAFTA & the WTO:
A Community Research Toolkit

September 2003

Introduction

Job loss and environmental injustice are a daily reality for many of our communities. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), first implemented in 1994, has been a major force in creating a climate for companies to enter & exit communities with little concern for job loss and the toxic legacy left in their wake in the search for higher profits at the expense of basic human rights.

As we enter this ten-year anniversary of the NAFTA, communities across the hemisphere are calling for an end to the agreement and challenging the proposal for the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), that would expand NAFTA to include all countries of the western hemisphere except Cuba.

The health, well-being, and sustainability of low-income communities and communities of color in the U.S., Canada & Mexico have been sacrificed to privatization and deregulation. NAFTA has ravaged border cities like El Paso, Texas home to one of the largest Latino populations in the country. African American workers in the denim belt of the Southeast who were dependent on the textile sector have watched the industry disappear almost over-night as companies find it more profitable to close their doors and relocate to lower-wage countries. Contrary to suggestions that Mexican workers would benefit from NAFTA, they have instead witnessed the value of their wages decline over 20% in the manufacturing sector while experiencing a 50% rise in poverty.

This guide has been created to provide individuals and organizations resources for locating community-specific information that reflects the ways corporate-led globalization affects them at the local level. For questions regarding this guide please contact the DataCenter's Economic Justice program at (510) 835-4692 ext. 315, brenda@datacenter.org, www.datacenter.org.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Arnoldo Garcia of the National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Justice for feedback on the section, Militarism & Migration. All artwork is by Rini Templeton provided through the website www.riniart.org. Our gratitude also goes out to the Southwest Network for Environmental & Economic Justice & La Mujer Obrera. Your work in struggle against NAFTA from your own communities has inspired this toolkit.

About This Guide

Creating a comprehensive picture of the ways in which neo-liberal trade policy affects your community means combining information from a number of different sources. This guide is organized by research topic and contains web sites of government agencies, policy think tanks and community groups that highlight local information useful to understanding & assessing the scope & impact of these trade policies locally. Where possible we have included sites that organize information by zip code.

A project of the DataCenter's Economic Justice Program.

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CONTENTS

Introduction
What Is the FTAA, NAFTA & WTO?
State & National Economic Picture
Trade Legislation & Disputes
NAFTA Job Losses In Your Community
Environmental Injustice & Health Impacts
Privatization of Public Services
Region-Specific Industry Information
Militarism & Migration
Privatization of Education
Popular Education Tools
Calendar of Actions
Community Networks & Other Resources

DataCenter, 1904 Franklin St., Ste. 900, Oakland, CA 94612, USA
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Graphics by Rini Templeton