reaching out


Jan Slakov

Dear rn list,        (from Jan Slakov)             May 31

Earlier this month there was a discussion on the MAI-not list about how to
bring about the change in consciousness we see as being necessary for
positive change.

One of the things that needs doing is reaching out to people, our
neighbours, so that switching from the status quo to running our economy for
sustainability and justice will seem feasible and worth doing.

To this end Ed Deak <•••@••.•••> wrote as follows:

Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 12:38:25 -0700
From: Ed Deak <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Ed and Yves:  different parts of reality

...The one thing we all had to come to realize better than ever just lately is
the fact that an informed population can put terror into the hearts of any
and all leaders. "Power corrupts" and regardless how benevolent any leader
is, there comes the time when he/she uses available powers to misinform
subjects. This is how the MAI was broken even temporarily, giving us a
breathing space.

(I have just forwarded a letter from a friend in Malaysia, whose clients
demand misinformation as a condition for employment and payment. This is a
typical example of what is going on all over and the misinformation is not
directed at leaders, but the public, because without public support any
leader is a dead duck.)  

Do you remember when the Romanian communist leader Caucescu called up a huge
public rally to show the world how his people loved him? He had to flee the
public's anger by helicopter, was arrested when he landed and executed the
very same night? Basically the same thing happened all over the communist
world, only to be replaced by capitalist, albeit gold plated, misinformation.

I don't wish the same fate on anyone, but could approve a couple of swift
kicks in the ass of some our great leaders. It will only happen if and when
the public realizes how they have been misled by propaganda 

The recent events around the MAI have shown that it is impossible to
influence leaders, they all came up with the same prescribed lies and
platitudes. It would be like trying to have priests to speak against their
own doctrines and dogmas. They are too far gone on the road of mental
atrophy and corruption even to look at the obvious, let alone change their
ways. The only hope and chance is the widest public information process and
on levels where any and everybody can understand it. This is counter
propaganda: Not the influencing of people, but the breaking of the influence
of others by displaying the facts and then let people make up their own
minds. This is how the back of the Soviet empire was broken. When we first
started against them, we had to invent and write the books, but by now the
precedents are set. If we scratch the surface, we can find Socrates having
established the principles quite a few years ago. This is why the rulers had
to knock him off: Not because of real "sedition" and the "teaching of
impiety" as per the charges against him, but because he opened people's eyes.  

In my experience as an anti "free trade" and "globalization" fighter for 10
years the pattern and steps are established and obvious:

1. A person may have read and heard about the beneficial effects of free
trade, global competition etc. for years and plays lipservice to the
platitudes: "Yes, we must compete, so we can sell our products, create
employment and wealth....."
Well, you know all the usual baloney and the rest.

2. Questions: Have you benefitted from free trade and globalization?
              Do you know anybody who has?
              Have you seen any jobs created by big investment, ie 45,000/bil?
              Have you seen any lowering of costs and prices?
              Have you found quality improved by imports of food, clothing, etc?

These questions can go on and on. The answers are invariably "No". The
person gives his/her own answers, without persuasion, while slowly realizing
the damage created by propaganda.

Try to do this with politicans and you'll get a series of cliches off the
topic, off any rhyme or logic, just the repetition of prescribed nonsense.

More of these are in the letter I am writing for Yves.    

All the very best, Ed (Ed Deak, Big Lake, BC, Canada)

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Meanwhile, I decided to do up a folder or brochure with much the same aim as
Ed's questions: focus attention on corporate globalization and what it means
for everyday people. I will copy most of it out below, even though it is
really directed at a very local audience. But the reasoning and the outline
could easily be adapted for other contexts.

I plan to have it available at a table on Canada Day (July 1) when there
will be a local parade and community gathering here. And I'm happy to have
found a source of some good graphics (such as a cartoon drawing of a
cleaning lady and, in another box, a CEO. Title: How long does it take to
earn $8,840? 1. full time minimum wage worker: one year. 2. average CEO of
large US corporation: half a day. cartoon attributed to _Briarpatch newsletter.)


_corporate globalization:

Corporate globalization is the concentration of wealth and power into the
hands of fewer and fewer big companies (transnational corporations or TNC's)
and their owners.

                The rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

The CEO's (chief executive officers) of the 100 biggest Canadian companies
get salaries and benefits amounting to over $2 million/year on average,
nearly 90 times the average wage of Canadian workers (about $30,000) (1995
figures from the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice 1-800-240-9440,

Some of these huge corporations have economies that are bigger than the
economies of many countries. Indeed, of the 100 largest economies in the
world, 51 belong to corporations, not countries. Walmart is bigger than 161
countries including Isreal, Greece and Poland. (from _A Question of Choices_
by the Action Canada Network ((613) 233-1764, <•••@••.•••>)

And the leaders of the big TNC's are doing what they can to prevent people
from electing governments that will stand up to their power.

_What Corporate Globalization Means for Canadians

In general, it means most Canadians are having a harder time making ends
meet. There are fewer jobs and NATURE, the forests, farms and oceans that we
depend on for our health and well-being, is being severely attacked.

_in forestry:

As the Pulp and Paper Workers of Canada have stated:

        "...forest companies use technological change to make less people
cut           more trees faster. Production goes up, while jobs are
disappearing              throughout the pulp and wood industries." (From E.
May's _At the Cutting         Edge. p54.

The Sierra Club of Canada explains that the capital intensive machinery and
technology of industrial forestry demands increased harvesting of raw
materials in order to pay the costs of this technology. The pressure to
clear-cut around the clock is ever-present. Here in southwestern Nova
Scotia, we may lose the Nova Nada monastery because they cannot continue
their contemplative lifestyle when surrounded by the noise and disruption of
JD Irving, Ltd.'s industrial forestry operations.

_in fishing: Overfishing, dumping, ghostfishing by discarded nets... all
these contributed to the collapse of groundfish stocks in the early 1990's.
Our federal government decided the best thing to do is to cut fishing
capacity by 50%. Which 50%? Not the expensive mobile technology and large
fishing corporations, but the smaller, independent fishing families!

_Garbage is another issue where corporate globalization is rearing its ugly

Much of what we buy at the store ends up as garbage... and we have been
poisoning ourselves (causing diseases such as asthma and cancer) by burning
and dumping our garbage anywhere and everywhere.

Governments TALK about reducing garbage production (by passing laws to ban
toxic chemicals and excess packaging) but they DO something else: the
provincial government's solid waste strategy calls for municipalities to get
together to pay for big, high tech regional landfills along eith
regionalized composting and recycling. This means paying for garbage to be
trucked further and further away. And it becomes easier and more lucrative
for big companies like BFI (convicted of environmental and business crimes
in the US) to come in and get the municipal contracts (and dollars) to haul
the waste and build the landfills.

Safe, sensible alternatives exist. (Contact ACEPA (see below) for more

We cannot trust our governments to look out for us.

Multi-millionaire Paul Martin, the federal Finance Minister, was reportedly
shocked when the Royal Bank and the Bank of Montreal announced their plans
to merge. He assured Canadians he will only allow this merger if it's in our
best interests.

Yet his government worked to negotiate the Financial Services Agreement
under the WTO (World Trade Organization), which paves the way for just this
kind of merger in international financial morkets. 

Members of the Liberal government knew about and were behind efforts to
establish the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment), an agreement which
many have referred to as "a charter of rights and freedoms for multinational
corporations", even back in 1995. They must have known people wouldn't like
the deal, for they kept so quiet about it that even a member of the federal
cabinet, Heddy Fry, declared on may 11, 1997 (on CBC's Cross-country
Check-up program) that "there is no such agreement being negotiated".

There has been so much opposition to the MAI worldwide that it probably will
not be signed. But the provisions of the MAI will likely get in through the
"back door"; they will be passed in other forums and in other ways.

This prospect is a frightening one. It means not only will the biggest
corporations have economies as big as or bigger than the world's countries,
they would get special rights to sue governments if governmnets tried to
pass laws to curb profit-taking and protect people and the environment.

a) History has shown us that when people come under economic stress, they
are easy prey for ideas which blame OTHER people. (In Germany before the 2nd
WW, there was mass unemployment and hunger. Hitler came along and blamed
Jews, Communists, gays, Gypsies and others for the problems and we all know
what happened next: many, many good people from many walks of life were killed.)

It is especially important in difficult times to care about other people and
"love thy neighbour".

b) We all need to buy things; let's patronize smaller, more local
enterprises, especially those run by people we know and trust.

c) Realize that, in general, the mass media is not a reliable information
source and get news and information from other sources. Here are some
sources of alternate information: 
- _Canadian Perspectives magazine, published by the Council of Canadians
- MAI-alert (To subscribe, e-mail Antoni Wysocki at <•••@••.•••>.
Antoni also knows A LOT about globalization and you can reach him at home
at: 423-2365.)
- People's Press International (To subscribe send an empty e-mail message
to:   <•••@••.•••>.)
- small local newspapers 

d) Join groups working against croporate globalization such as, ACEPA (the
Annapolis County Environmental Protection Association 532-7409),
Enviro-Clare (837-4980), the Council of Canadians (1-800-387-7177), the
Sierra Club of Canada <•••@••.•••>

e) Educate yourself and others (by presenting your concerns at meetings,
writing letters and articles, etc.)