s/r home  | issues  | authors  | 6 contents

Synthesis/Regeneration 6   (Spring 1993)


by Bob Tibbs, Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Local 5-6

The debate about NAFTA and GATT and the other trade agreements is not about free trade and protectionism. It is about the unrestricted right of multinational corporations to move capital out of our nation to where ever they damn well please, for any reason they choose. They (corporations) are already doing this. Capital, the life blood of the economy, is flowing out of this country at an alarming rate. NAFTA and GATT will only speed it up. There is no debate about NAFTA. It ought to be defeated. It should never have happened. There is no way to modify or correct it.

Our founding fathers started this country because they oposed concentration of power which, in those days, resided in the church and the state. They thought power should be with the consent of the governed and that] we should have a nation which guaranteed at least some degree of freedom for the individual.

In the 19th century corporations began to rise and the concentration of power began to shift. Corporations are run by people concerned only with their interests. Corporations are unrestrained by restrictions and that portends disaster. Now the multinational corporations are directing capital flow around the world. They determine which community will survive and which will die; which workers will work and which will starve.

Under NAFTA the government has given up its authority to govern. This is a fundamental issue and is what must be addressed. The corporations are not accountable to anyone except their major stock holders, their elected directors, and international banks. NAFTA and GATT are nothing but terms of surrender. We are expected to give up our sovereignty to what amounts to a multinational power. This is unthinkable.

An appeal to patriotism is the only antidote to this kind of destruction of a nation's interests. This country is being destroyed. We need to establish a new committee on unamerican activities and call these bastards in front of it and say "What are you doing, are you an agent of a foreign power?" What they are doing constitutes a major threat.

The only union that ever understood this was the IWW which said in its preamble, "The working class and the employing class have nothing in common." IWW members were put in jail for saying that. But if a corporate official says the same thing, he is made a part of the trade delegation to negotiate for NAFTA. Something is radically wrong.

The only politician who may have understood this was Teddy Roosevelt, the renegade Republican whom neither party quotes. In 1910 he said that corporate power is a threat to democracy:

There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activities remain. To put an end to it can be neither a short nor easy task but it can be done.

Synthesis/Regeneration home page | Synthesis/Regeneration 6 Contents