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1,000 protest FTAA @48th & Western

48th &Western/Mckinley park protest opposing corporate globalization.
About 1,000 citizens came out to voice their opposition to the FTAA and corporate dominated globalization today at 48th and Western. In front of the Hendrickson steel plant, members of the union expressed anger and concern over the closing of their workplace to generate even greater profits for the owners. They stressed that the plant was making money in the south-side Chicago location, and that the workers took pride in their hard work, making springs for some of the largest trucks on the road. The plant closing is one of thousands which was made possible by the North American Free Trade Agreement, leading to the loss of over 700,000 jobs in the US- 37,000 of which were in Illinois. The FTAA has been described as 'NAFTA on Steroids'.
One speaker explained it something like this: 'they create these trade deals, so that people who make more money in a day than they can spend in a lifetime can make even more, while the rest of us are left with less of a future for our children.'
Another Speaker talked about the WTO/FTAA provisions which allow companies to sue governments which cost them money by regulating their business. This basically takes democracy out of the equation and puts corporate profits above all other public health or human rights issues. He went on to say that the rulings already made by the global trade organizations appeared to support child labor and forced labor. To which he added "OVER MY DEAD BODY are we going to accept that".
The speakers program at the steel plant concluded with a funeral procession north on western, which began to take on a more festive vibe as we aproached Mckinley park. There were signs for everyone who wanted one, provided by Jobs With Justice. Rattles were handed out which were made of soda cans with rocks in them. This made us look like we all enjoyed brand name corporate soda pop, but it sounded pretty good. Chants were constant, if not always together, through the second half of the march. The people united will never be defeated. There aint no power like the power of the people 'cause the power of the power of the people don't stop...etc.
The green party folks were there, as well, promoting the real earth day festivities tomorrow near montrose harbor (655 w. irving park) with flyers, and sharing stories of todays ComEd sponsored farce.
Once at the park, there were skits and performances, as well as more speakers. the Radical Cheerleaders were there, as well as a street theater group and a rock band. There was no tear gas, no broken glass, no police barricades. Just families and concerned citizens learning and standing together in solidarity with the people of South and Central America who stand to be exploited massively under the FTAA.

the fact that 1,000 people could be brought together on the south side on a saturday afternoon to oppose global corporate power speaks volumes about the growth of the movement for global justice. As Quebec Seethes with conflict, there are many here in chicago who support the demonstrators and wish they could be there with them.



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