Corporations and states’ governments have created a profoundly desperate situation for hundreds of millions of people that is already made more complicated by human induced climate change. Huge numbers of people are continuing to be displaced economically as a result of Reagan/Thatcher financial liberalization that began about thirty years ago. What was celebrated for decades as the globalization of economies created a hugely wealthy global elite leaving millions of subsistence and work-a-day laborers at the economic bottom or completely outside of any viable economy.
In Mexico, for example, the North American Free Trade Agreement was hailed just a few years after it was instituted as a great boon to the US and Mexican economies. The truth is that a few corporations and a selected elite became incredibly wealthy and many millions of labors on the US and Mexican sides got pushed aside. NAFTA created a corporate/crime zone along the Mexico side of the US/Mexican border. Lands established for communal use of multiple families in Mexico produced foods and social support systems before NAFTA, but after that agreement the Mexican government removed protections from ejitos (lands set aside for groups of people to grow crops, raise animals and support themselves by producing foods and goods from the land). These lands were originally protected under the constitution from being sold, but the constitution was amended to allow sale of the ejito. The biggest buyer of these lands turned out to be large (usually) US-based corporations. People who once produced their own food were removed to become laborers along the US/Mexican border or migrants traveling to the US in search of work (to earn money that can be sent back to families in Mexico).
What happened here? People in the US lost the jobs after the Reagan Administration and subsequent administrations set about breaking up labor unions and firing large numbers of people so as to move physical plants to Mexico or China or some other country. Similarly, so called “free trade agreements” extended the capacity of corporations to buy up lands (with the help of the local government) to produce trade items that make money for the corporation, but that do not feed the people who originally owned the land.
As US President Bill Clinton once observed, “globalization will have winners and losers.” With the corporations and states’ governments cooperating they are separating people from the land and separating people from employment…both of which create vast numbers of economic migrants.
Increased migration has increased nativist attitudes in the United States and resulted in increased authoritarian behavior where migrants are badly treated, civil rights and human rights are being violated with impunity and levels of violence have been increasing. Desperation is met by authoritarian violence and the invocation of police power against migrants protects the corporate profits resulting from NAFTA and leaves millions of ordinary people wondering what happened to their livelihood. Meanwhile, the migration from Mexico and states farther south continues and unemployment in the United States grows. The financial and corporate gamblers count their profits.
Neither financial liberalization nor globalization has served to support life for more people, but rather for only a few. Migration is the only option available when the state and the corporations turn against the people in a selfish drive to profit. These same interests fail to recognize that their waste (carbon emissions, green house gases, poisons) contributes to an increasingly toxic atmosphere; and oceans, rivers, and land are spoiled as well. Human beings are being forced from their productive lands (where they are producers in support of their life) as “climate migrants.” The alarm is being sounded (US Defense Department) calling the emerging migration of huge populations a threat to state security.
Human beings are like all other beings on the planet. They need clean water, clean air, diverse foods sources and social and cultural balance. Human induced acts like financial liberalization, globalization and climate change destroy human habitation and give rise to pressures for migration. The pain is already apparent. The conflicts between humans in need and states protecting profit is on our horizon.
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The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here