In a recent post I made on Facebook, I offered to share some book and web resources with people who might be interested in learning more about the effects of Free Trade Agreements and Globalization on the people of Central and South America, Africa, and other regions around the world. So, I have to make good on my offer! This is a work in progress -- I'm still learning, and will be continuing to search for more print and web resources on these issues. Please send me suggestions!
The two books that have particularly helped me to understand the issues are:
Mark and Louise Zwick, Mercy Without Borders: The Catholic Worker and Immigration. Paulist Press, November 2010
The Zwicks founded the Houston Catholic Worker House, Casa Juan Diego, in 1980. This is their story of their journey, but more importantly the journey of the people they serve - primarily refugees from Central and South America who have risked their lives to come to the United States. Mercy Without Borders is easily one of the top ten books I have ever read. (Also, the Casa Juan Diego website is an excellent resource, with many links to articles and other sources of information on issues related to the topics of this post.)
Stefano Liberti, Land Grabbing: Journeys In The New Colonialism. Verso, November 2013
Mr. Liberti delves into the background of what is going on with large corporations leasing or buying large tracts of land in countries around the world, and the effect on the local economies and the people of those countries. (At this writing, I am only part way through the book; I understand he addresses issues in Latin America but I am still on the section about Ethiopia and Africa.)
I will be continuing to search for more print and web resources on these issues. Please send me suggestions!
Their publication, NewsNotes, has helped me become aware of what is really going on in the countries of the world that are most adversely affected by globalization and free trade agreements. They also report on conflicts in Syria and other countries, the horrible problems faced by the Palestinians and so forth.
Documents like these, full of information gathered from the people on the ground in these countries, can be found in the resources section:
International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF)
- A paper on Trade Justice: http://www.laborrights.org/strategies/trade-justice-0
- A recent article that helps to make the connection between immigration and free trade/globalization: Viacrucis: Migrants Step out of Shadows into the Streets
ELDIS - I am not sure of the agenda of this organization, but it does have a wealth of information, particularly this article:
- Signing away the future: How trade and investment agreements between rich and poor countries undermine development
OXFAM (description, from their website: “Oxfam works with partner organizations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.” )
- Excellent analysis of the situation from a few years ago: Spread of Free Trade Agreements threatens poor countries
NISGUA: The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala
- Trade and Globalization (a section of their website that addresses issues with CAFTA, etc.)
GlobaLex - a resource on the NYU Law School website that has links to the actual text of NAFTA and CAFTA and other legal documents as well as to some analysis of NAFTA and CAFTA. It appears that most of the latter are from the governmental/corporate perspective, but I haven't made an exhaustive search through the links provided.
* Disclaimer: I work for Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (in the Western Region Mission House) and have since October 2012. I credit Maryknoll, and particularly the Office for Global Concerns and Fr. John “Jack” Moynihan, with raising my consciousness about the devastating effects of globalization and free trade agreements in Central and South America.