Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's an Upside Down World! Here are some things a citizen can do

Here is a very short list of suggestions for social action which I sent to an UpsideDownWorld.org reader who was interested in doing more in solidarity from the US with the hopeful social movements in Latin America and working to reverse the negative impacts of US foreign policy in the region:

Find out how your congress person and senator voted on CAFTA, the Central American free trade agreement which was passed by two votes this past summer. Free trade agreements like this facilitate corporate exploitation in poor countries, export US jobs abroad, promote sweat shop labor and don’t address the needs of the people. Once you find out how your political representative voted, you can call them up and talk with them more about the FTAA, (the Free Trade Area of the Americas) which is a larger trade “agreement” planned span across all of South America. The last vote showed that the vote for the FTAA will be a close one – if it even gets that far. Your conversations with your representative in the government could play a key part in stopping the FTAA. For more on how to do this, go to www.stopcafta.org

In the case of Paraguay, I've spoken with a human rights organizer there who is trying to spread the word about what the US military is doing in his country. (links) There is a lot of misinformation being distributed in Paraguay and it's hard for people to know what to believe regarding the US operations. This human rights activist, Orlando Castillo, would like English speaking folks to investigate US government documents and websites to find out what the US is really doing in Paraguay, what their intentions are etc. Once we find this out, we can send him the info, (I’d be happy to translate it into Spanish) and he can then use it to convince his fellow country people about what the US really is doing – which can lead to a broader resistance movement in Paraguay against the US military's activities there. Interested in working on this? Email me: ben(at)upsidedownworld.org

More info. on another opportunity to do solidarity work from abroad for a troubling situation in Honduras can be found HERE

The School of the Americas is a place in Georgia where Latin American assassins, dictators and torturers were trained by US specialists. This school still operates and the movement in the US to close it is a big one. Go to www.soaw.org for more info. on organizing efforts near you to protest the School of the Americas in Georgia this November.

If you’re tired of the lack of real coverage of Latin American issues and topics, make your own media. You can write for UpsideDownWorld.org, start your own blog for free at blogger.com, publish work on the indymedia.org sites and so on. Writing letters to editors at your town or city’s newspaper is another great option. Often the smaller the town, the bigger the stir and discussion a controversial letter can create.

You could also go to the Social Forum in Venezuela this winter. I am helping to organize a delegation there through the other publication I edit TowardFreedom.com. Want to go? Click HERE.
for more info.

There is also always the option of following in the footsteps of Bolivian activists; when the government doesn't represent our demands, blockade roads until the politicians listen...

Our inaction and apathy enables the large corporations and imperialist governments to do what they do. They want us to think we’re powerless, which of course, we are not.

Have some more ideas? Please list them as a comment below.