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NAFTA — the way corporate America exploits Mexico

Cathleen Williams  |  Issue: February | March 2018

Bi-National Conference chides Democratic leadership, as well as Republicans

NAFTA is not about trade. That message resounded throughout the Bi-National Conference.

Instead, it is about the complete corporate penetration and domination of Mexican and Central American society and economy, as corporate America shifts factories and services to Mexico, exploits its desperate work force and blames “immigrants” for the U.S. job loss.

Added to that, a key part of the conference message was that the Democratic leadership in Washington is now and always has been a full partner in accomplishing this goal. Indeed, conference conveners included that in an open letter to the leadership of their labor federation, the AFL-CIO.

“All U.S. administrations over the past 23 years have plundered Mexico,” they wrote.” In the name of eliminating “barriers” to U.S. trade and investment, Washington has demanded that Mexico gut its constitution. “Cooperative ownership of land in the ejidos, public control of telecommunications, oil, and transportation, collectivebargaining agreements, and trade unions – all of these were deemed ‘barriers to trade,’” conference conveners noted.

“Mexico has been forced to open its market to farm products from the U.S., which has decimated Mexico’s agricultural production,” they wrote. “Today, 45% of what is consumed in Mexico in terms of beans, corn, rice, sugar, and wheat comes from the United States.”

“All these measures are responsible for the mass migration to the United States of millions of Mexican peasants, workers, and youth,” the conveners explained. “They have been forced to migrate in order to feed their families.”

But the conveners didn’t leave it there, taking their concerns to AFL-CIO itself:

“We think it is misleading and demobilizing to assert, as . . . the AFL-CIO leadership does, that the Trump administration’s proposals, while not fixing NAFTA’s many shortcomings, are ‘a step in the right direction’ and represent a ‘bright proposal in times of extreme challenge for North American families.’”

LCLAA, FLOC, and the California central labor bodies that participated in the conference are all members of the AFL-CIO. Their open letter is part of the beginning of an important debate within the federation — whether or not it will be a voice for workers that is independent of the Democratic and Republican party.

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