After NAFTA: Strategies for the Future

After NAFTA: Strategies for the Future

The anti-NAFTA coalition saw the battle as a prelude to future mobilization against more serious international threats to American workers’ living standards. But if there is to be any such mobilization, NAFTA opponents will have to move from simply opposing new trade initiatives to the more difficult work of shaping them to benefit working people.

After NAFTA, opportunities to do this continue to present themselves. One opportunity—provoked by the Russian elections in December—has already slipped by. Another—which may unfold at GATT’s (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) April meeting—now looms.

What did the Russian elections have to do with American workers’ living standards? The vote at first stimulated controversy about the downward economic spiral that has been accelerated by a strategy of asking developing nations to lower wages and living standards in order to attract international capital. But American conservatives, without interference from the anti-NAFTA coalition, squelched the debate.