Citizens can and should play an active role in shaping the future of our global economy. Here are
some of the ways in which we can work together to reform global trade rules, demand that corporations are accountable to people's
needs, build strong and free labor and promote fair and environmentally sustainable alternatives.
1. No Globalization without RepresentationMultilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the
World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund create global policy with input mainly from multinational corporations and
very little input from grassroots citizens groups. We need to ensure that all global citizens must be democratically represented
in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of all global social and economic policies of the WTO, the IMF, and the
WB. The WTO must immediately halt all meetings and negotiations in order for a full, fair, and public assessment to be conducted
of the impacts of the WTO's policies to date. The WTO must be replaced by a body that is fully democratic, transparent, and
accountable to citizens of the entire world instead of to corporations. We must build support for trade policies that protect
workers, human rights, and the environment.
2. Mandate Corporate AccountabilityCorporations have so heavily influenced global trade negotiations that they
now have rights and representation greater than individual citizens and even governments. Under the guise of 'free trade'
they advocate weakening of labor and environmental laws -- a global economy of sweatshops and environmental devastation. Corporations
must be subject to the people's will; they should have to prove their worth to society or be dismantled. Corporations must
be accountable to public needs, be open to public scrutiny, provide living wage jobs, abide by all environmental and labor
regulations, and be subject to all laws governing them. Shareholder activism is an excellent tool for challenging corporate
3. Restructure the Global Financial ArchitectureCurrency speculation and the derivatives market move over $1.5
trillion daily (compared to world trade of $6 trillion annually), earning short-term profits for wealthy investors at the
expense of long-term development. Many countries are beginning to implement 'capital controls' in order to regulate the influence
foreign capital, and grassroots groups are advocating the restructuring and regulation of the global financial architecture.
Citizens can pass local city resolutions for the Tobin Tax - a tax of .1% to .25% on currency transactions which would provide
a disincentive for speculation but not affect real capital investment, and create a huge fund for building schools & clinics
throughout the world.
4. Cancel all Debt, End Structural Adjustment and Defend Economic SovereigntyDebt is crushing most poor countries'
ability to develop as they spend huge amounts of their resources servicing odious debt rather than serving the needs of their
populations. Structural adjustment is the tool promoted by the IMF and World Bank to keep countries on schedule with debt
payments, with programs promoting export-led development at the expense of social needs. There is an international movement
demanding that all debt be cancelled in the year 2000 in order for countries to prioritize health care, education, and real
development. Countries must have the autonomy to pursue their own economic plans, including prioritizing social needs over
the needs of multinational corporations.
5. Prioritize Human Rights - Including Economic Rights - in Trade AgreementsThe United Nations must be the strongest
multilateral body - not the WTO. The US must ratify all international conventions on social and political rights. Trade rules
must comply with higher laws on human rights as well as economic and labor rights included in the United Nations Declaration
of Human Rights. We should promote alternative trade agreements that include fair trade, debt cancellation, micro-credit,
and local control over development policies.
6. Promote Sustainable Development - Not Consumption - as the Key to ProgressGlobal trade and investment should
not be ends in themselves, but rather the instruments for achieving equitable and sustainable development, including protection
for workers and the environment. Global trade agreements should not undermine the ability of each nation, state or local community
to meet its citizens' social, environmental, cultural or economic needs. International development should not be export-driven,
but rather should prioritize food security, sustainability, and democratic participation.
7. Integrate Womens' Needs in All Economic RestructuringWomen make up half the world but hold less than 5% of
positions of power in determining global economic policy, and own an estimated 1% of global property. Family survival around
the world depends on the economic independence of women. Economic policies need to take into account women's important role
in nutrition, education, and development. This includes access to family planning as well as education, credit, job training,
policy decision-making, and other needs.
8. Build Free and Strong Labor Unions Internationally and DomesticallyAs trade becomes more 'free,' labor unions
are still restricted from organizing in most countries. The International Labor Organization should have the same enforcement
power as the WTO. The US should ratify ILO conventions and set an example in terms of enforcing workers' rights to organize
and bargain collectively. As corporations increase their multinational strength, unions are working to build bridges across
borders and organize globally. Activists can support their efforts and ensure that free labor is an essential component of
any 'free trade' agreements.
9. Develop Community Control Over Capital; Promote Socially Responsible InvestmentLocal communities should not
be beholden to the IMF, international capital, multinational corporations, or any other non-local body for policy. Communities
should be able to develop investment and development programs that suit local needs including passing anti-sweatshop purchasing
restrictions, promoting local credit unions and local barter currency, and implementing investment policies for their city,
church, and union that reflect social responsibility criteria.
10. Promote Fair Trade Not Free TradeWhile we work to reform 'free trade' institutions and keep corporate chain
stores out of our neighborhoods, we should also promote our own vision of Fair Trade. We need to build networks of support
and education for grassroots trade and trade in environmentally sustainable goods. We can promote labeling of goods such as
Fair Trade Certified, organic, and sustainably harvested. We can purchase locally made goods and locally grown foods that
support local economies and cooperative forms of production and trade.