People of color communities build capacity for a global campaign
In November 2003, locally based community organizations came together in Miami to confront the ministerial meeting of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Autonomous from the usual list of anti-globalization warriors—labor organizers, environmentalists, direct-action activists, anarchists—the community groups created something different and historic: RootCause, Global Justice from the Grassroots.
How community-based organizers are connecting the global-local dots
During the 1980s, policy wonks and suit-and-tie progressives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were typically the ones to fly halfway around the world to influence meetings where the global economic agenda was being hashed out by corporate executives, trade negotiators and international financiers. In recent years, however, community organizers from the United States have begun to appear on the international circuit, sometimes to join the protests at ministerials, such as the World Trade Organization’s meeting in Canc?É?í?Ç¬?n last September, and often as participants in alternative conferences such as the World Social Forum and the World Conference Against Racism.
What the California grocery war means for the future of labor and health insurance
The end of February 2004 also saw the end of the 141-day Southern California grocery war. It started on October 11, 2003, when members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union at Vons and Pavilions—both supermarket chains owned by the Safeway Corporation—went on strike. In an act of business-class solidarity, two other grocery chains, Ralphs (owned by Kroger) and Albertsons, locked out their union employees.
South Africa’s water policy results in cutoffs, evictions and disease
In 1955, the African National Congress (ANC) adopted the Freedom Charter as a popular expression of the desires of the majority of South Africans. One of the most important clauses in the Charter—which the present-day ANC government still claims as their guiding manifesto—states that “the national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people.”
Water privatization imperils low-income communities in the United States
When most people think of families without water, they picture people in impoverished countries in Africa or Latin America. But right here in the United States, dozens of communities are struggling for access to clean, affordable water. In 2001, the city of Detroit introduced an aggressive debt collection plan that threatened to suspend water services if residents could not pay the quarterly charges. Within a year after the plan was introduced, more than 40,000 residents of Detroit had their water cut off. Today, many of these families—mostly low-income and black—are still without water, relying on the kindness of neighbors willing to share their hoses.