Southwest Workers Union hosted its first popular education program of the year. There has been a huge conversation on the new NAFTA deal known as USMCA. It is important for our community to learn. Apply different ways of fighting and coming up with alternative solutions. EVERYTHING that starts with globalization. It connects from the food that we eat, how it's grown with pesticides. To the waste and carbon footprint goes into climate change. The exploitation of human rights and generated slave labor.
We had about 30 community members join us. The workshop started with an icebreaker. In the icebreaker, they were asked to check their partners clothing label. Some of the questions they asked each other were: Where was your shirt made? Do you know the process it went through to get to the US? Where they aware?. Many of the members had an idea that most of their clothes were not made in the US. We followed by talking about NAFTA and how it has shifted and made many companies move out of the United States. Making transnational corporations stronger. We also spoke about the new changes happening in the USMCA. This new and “revised” trade agreement would make Canada open their dairy market. Automobile workers need to be getting paid at least 16 dollars or more. Making it harder for generic medications to be out in the market due to copyright protection for up to 70 years. Donald Trump keeps saying that the new USMCA will pay for the border wall. In all honesty, we don’t see borders as a solution to anything. We want liberation for all.
Our sister organization Fuerza Unida joined us. Founder Petra Mata spoke about their experience and lucha against globalization. She spoke about the struggles of losing a job where she was at for 20 plus years. Finding out that they were relocating to another country for cheap labor. How she and others rallied at other Levis factories and spoke to the workers on going on a strike. Later on, organized a hunger strike in California outside Levi's main headquarters. They reiterated to buy and support locally. It was moving hearing Petra speak. She taught the community that together we are resilient and strong. Helped our members view the reality of globalization in the past and present.
After, we had a group break out activity. In this activity, each group had to research the following food corporations. Nestle, Starbucks, bananas, and avocados. Many of them found out that these food corporations violate human rights. The privatization of natural resources. Also, exploit workers of color throughout the world, and don’t care about climate change at all.
So how can we dismantle the whole globalization aspect? The community came up with new ways. Their thoughts were to focus on alternative economies. Taking it back to bartering/ exchanging. Learning how to cultivate the land. Buying local. Going to flea markets and thrift stores.