Briefing Paper for "Lessons of Trade Campaigns" Meeting, October 2005

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This briefing paper was prepared by GGJ for distribution ahead of the "Lessons of Trade Campaigns" meeting in Washington, DC in October of 2005.

Grassroots, base-building organizations (GRBBs) are a growing sector in United States progressive politics. Grassroots Global Justice is one vehicle that provides a space for these autonomous, grassroots organizations to come together and build a foundation for national progressive change. We see trade policy as one facet of a coherent, sustained worldwide attack on the living standards of workers, working-class and poor communities, indigenous peoples and communities of color, which we call "neoliberalism," following the general practice outside the U.S. This set of assaults is demanded by transnational capital, directed by the "international financial institutions" of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and finds its most aggressive expression in the expansion of U.S. empire under Bush. The experiences of grassroots organizations in trade campaigns has been mixed, and we have concluded:

  1. that we need an autonomous space for grassroots organizations to organize independently of national policy and solidarity organizations;
  2. that it is imperative that we develop better coordination between all sectors in the trade and globalization fights;
  3. that links with grassroots organizations in the Global South are essential; and
  4. that defining and articulating an alternative vision is a key part of campaigns against any aspect of neoliberalism.