and we’ll get rid of it in GATT. I said what the hell are those people talking about? I would get snide looks and remarks on the Hill and the chemical companies would say, ‘You guys are from Mars. Not only are you not going to make this stronger but if you keep it this strong it will be challenged at GATT.'” If for most people trade agreements are arcane, for Ritchie and Wallach they became a kind of codebook for the New World Order in which transnational corporations use the mechanisms of supranational commissions and regulatory bodies to effect policies that can’t possibly hope to get approved by the U.S. Congress or even a compliant administration. They see GATT and NAFTA as a means to achieve deregulation on a worldwide basis, whereby a corporation can override American regulations and dismantle stateowned or state-regulated industries elsewhere. In short, a conspiracy of vast proportions. The campaign is building its alliance by appealing to the self-interest of those who will be most affected. “Trade work is about economics,” Ritchie said. “It isn’t like solidarity or social justice or anything like that. The core of it has always been economic. There never was a left, not even a Democratic party left view. But you could open up this 1,000-page document and say here’s where they’re going to get you and you and you.” Although corporate America and the mainstream media are strongly behind GATT and NAFTA, the two agree ments are far from a done deal, and Ritchie and his coalition do stand a good chance of stopping, or at least reshaping, them. GATT and NAFTA proceed along two quite separate paths. The big industrialized nations have reported a breakthrough in their hitherto unresolved stalemate over GATT’s handling of manufactured goods, yet there are several other big obstacles. The Americans, who want to push agricultural products into European markets, want France, Germany, and the other common market countries to reduce their farm subsidies. Europe refuses to do so, fearing it will allow American agribusiness to dominate. Agriculture isn’t the only issue holding up GATT. There are deep divisions over the future of different nations’ merchant marines, including the American shipping industry; whether America should be allowed to increase its domination of the European film market; and whether to comply with American insistence on enforcing trade sanctions against countries like India that pirate patented drugs. \(India can’t afford to pay the exorbitant rates charged by American pharmaceutical companies; if it didn’t copy the patents, it would Though the Clinton Administration intends to try to wind up the GATT negotiations by the end of the year, given these and other outstanding issues, that seems most unlikely. In short, the president apparently may have painted himself into a corner on GATT. NAFTA is another matter. It is also plagued by differences among the negotiators. The Administration could use the recent environmental decision as a way of gracefully backing away until these are resolved. But that could take time, and with elections pressing in Canada and Mexico as well as Congressional elections in the United States, the Administration might try to play hardball. While the Times poll found most didn’t know what NAFTA is, other recent polls have found that a majority of the American people do oppose it. The leadership of the Democratic party is split on the agreement, and it’s widely believed that if a vote were taken today NAFTA would be defeated. It might win in the Senate, but in the House the vote right now is 110 for, 110 against, and 230 undecided. Of the 230 undecided, twothirds are leaning against NAFTA, which translates into a decisive defeat for the President. The leadership of the House is likewise split, with Michigan Democrat David E. Bonior, the House whip, leading a group against NAFTA. Speaker Tom Foley is for the agreement, and Dick Gephardt, the majority leader, tries to avoid getting pinned down one way or the other. The Democratic National Committee is also on record as opposing NAFTA. A floor fight in the House would split the party. Clinton could still win. During the election he obviously promised the treaty to the business community, especially Wall Street, which supported him. The President could push 20 or 30 first-year members of the House, and the lobbyists would do what they have done so well in the past, make campaign contri Pepper Lawsuit Picks Up the Pace DONNA For about two weeks last year Luis Rojas got up around dawn each day and caught a ride to the fields to pick and destem chiles. He had heard about the job from the farm labor contractors who drove through his neighborhood in sound trucks. Rojas received $1.25 for each bucket he filled and made about $20 on a good day. After two weeks only small chiles were left and it took two or three times as many chiles to fill the fivegallon buckets. Although Rojas knew who hired him to pick and destem jalapeflos, he did not know butions to the Democrat incumbents. But if that happens and Clinton wins, he could face a furious electorate in districts around the country and the Democrats might well lose control of the House during the midterm elections in 1994. There is the prospect of a new political force emerging out of the antiNAFTA forces. Every few weeks the leaders of the generally progressive or liberal political groups arrayed against NAFTA sit down for dinner with a group of conservative Republicans, representatives of heretofore arch-right-wing business interests, such as textiles, unions, and anti-immigration forces. So far these different individuals from such groups as the staffs of Duncan Hunter, the conservative Republican from San Diego, to Roger Milliken, the textile magnate, to FAIR, the anti-immigration lobby, to the Economic Policy Institute, just swap information. But there is the possibility of a political alliance of right and left leading directly to Perot. And that may be the most far-reaching fallout of Clinton’s embrace of Republican trade policy. Wallach says: “Out in the field, in many places, there is this bizarre situation where the Perotistas are seeking out our operation. These are some pretty right wing people. You give them the number of the hot line, and we’ve seen in a matter of days they jam up the switchboard at the Capitol or the White House. These guys are gung ho. And out in the field they are commingling with our supporters.” And if that’s what it takes to defeat NAFTA and GATT, the Citizens Trade Campaign will make the alliance. where the jalapefios went after they left the fields. Sixteen plaintiffs who filed a classaction lawsuit against Pace Foods, Inc. do know. In a suit that claims to represent the interests of “the thousands of Valley farm workers who harvest, destem and grade jalapeno peppers for Pace Foods, Inc., [and yet] continue to endure paltry wages and bleak working conditions,” the plaintiffs, seek to change the system under which they work. They allege that Pace Foods and two farm labor contractors, Blas Mariscal and Maria de la Luz Carrizales, have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by paying workers less than the minimum wage. The workers also complain that the contractors, by failing to keep accurate payroll records, not providing proper wage receipts and not pay JOURNAL 14 AUGUST 20, 1993 tie-7 7,T ‘ttalroia*_ 914,760.4tY.N.N . -” .1.400.1.0416,11.firo.1,* 144,,N……4,
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