(en) Local alliances organize MAI teach-in

Shawn Ewald (ewald@ctaz.com)
Sat, 24 May 1997 19:54:48 +0000


A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Sat, 24 May 1997 00:07:18 EDT From: bostonalliance@juno.com (David G Adams) Subject: ANN: For immediate release: Local alliances organize MAI teach-in To: the-alliance-announce

Boston Cambridge Alliance for Democracy c/o Jean Dunbar Maryborn, Co-chair 427 River St. Norwell MA 02061 617-826-2482, Maryborn@AOL.com 5/23/97

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jean Maryborn 617-826-2482

Secretive Global Pact Exposed NAFTA, GATT, now MAI - A First in the Nation Event on the Next Step in Corporate Governance. Boston - Saturday, May 31, a first in the nation citizens' participatory conference titled "MAI: Big Business Over the Rest of Us?" brings to Boston national experts in the areas of business, public policy and citizen advocacy to debate the merits of MAI, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Final stages of the agreement among the 29 richest nations will be negotiated behind closed doors by government and trade representatives of the OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Develoment, meeting May 26 in Paris. While MAI is designed to boost investment, growth and jobs by freeing the transfer of profits and capital, including manufacturing facilities, critics fear its limits to local regulation of foreign invesment will create a "race to the bottom" for jobs and the environment.

This will be the first time for citizens to explore the issue, which has had virtually no media coverage. The Conference will be asking asking "How will MAI affect our lives, our jobs, our environment, and the ability of our elected governments to control corporate behavior on issues important to us?" The event is 9:30 to 5:00, at Devlin Hall, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill.

Keynote: Lori Wallach, Dir of Public Citizen, Ralph Nader's watchdog group, setting the context of MAI. Introduced by Ronnie Dugger, Alliance for Democracy, the talk will be followed by a discussion period,

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followed by specialized workshops on potential MAI impact, with experts in their fields. (List attached.) Debate on the potential impact of MAI, moderated by US Rep. John Tierney. Participants: Cynthia Beltz, American Enterprise Institute; Ronnie Dugger, founder of the Alliance for Democracy; Meg Lundsager, Deputy Assis. Sec'y of Treasury; and Lori Wallach, Public Citizen. Marino Marcich of the National Association of Manufacturers has been invited Economic Alternatives: In Boston's proud tradition of fostering independent thinking, the day will round out with Pat Choate, Vice Presidential Candidate, Reform Party, and Hilary French of the Worldwatch Institute, looking at alternative possibilities.

The conference is sponsored by local chapters of the Alliance for Democracy, Public Citizen, and the Sociology Department of Boston College, with a wide variety of co-sponsors, (list attached.) Public Citizen and the national Alliance expect this first in the nation event to be replicated across the country. Cost is $10 at the door, $8. preregistered, $5 low income . To pre-register, send a check by 5/28 to "Boston/Cambridge Alliance for Democracy," c/o Adams, 10 Newland Rd, Arlington MA 02174. For more information: 617-266-8687 or 508-872-6137. Web page:

http://world.std.com/~dadams/MAI. Devlin Hall is handicap accessible.

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Specialized Workshops: The trade agreement's potential impact on:

Small and Medium Business. Raymond Vernon (Kennedy School, Harvard), and Alan Tonelson (US Business & Industry Council) Labor. Thea Lee (AFL-CIO) Regional Development. Scott Nova (Preamble Collaborative) Environment. Andrew Deutz (Woods Hole Research Center) On and by Media. Charles Sennott (Boston Globe) Culture, Community and Organizing : Mary Zepernick, Virginia Rasmussen (Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy; WILPF) Law & the States. Robert Stumberg (Georgetown University Law Center) Political Power and Democracy. State Rep. Jim Marzilli, Mel King, Simon Billenness (Franklin Research and Development Institute and Burma Roundtable)

Workshops to be followed by an Action/lunch-workshop "How to Campaign: Making Your Convictions Count," with Simon Billenness, State Reps. Jim Marzilli and Byron Rushing, and Chantell Taylor, Public Citizen.

Co-sponsors: AFL-CIO, Bikes Not Bombs, Center for Popular Economics of UMass, Amherst; CISPES,Boston; Community Church of Boston, CPPAX, Dollars and Sense, 5th Cong.District Citizens Concerned about Central America, Franklin Research and Development Corp., Rev. David Garcia, Dir. Episcopal City Mission, Mass. Federation of Teachers, MassPIRG, Mobilization for Survival, New England Council for Responsible Investing, Northeast Action, Sisters of Saint Joseph Office of Justice and Peace, United Church of Christ/Norwell Peace and Justice Committee.

Background: by Paul Johnson For more information: 508-281-2699

Will International Business Over-ride Laws Passed by our Elected Governments?

At a time when more responsibility is being shifted to state and localgovernment to deal with social needs, new laws are being drafted at the international level which will restrict the power of state and local government to affect economic development, environmental or labor standards, and the retention of domestic industries.

The Multilateral Agreement on Investment, being prepared by O.E.C.D. (The

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European-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) with the United States, is designed to make it easier for corporations and big investors to expand their operations into new locales by overriding many federal, state, and local requirements. MAI as it stands would jeopardize the Community Reinvestment Act, which prevents redlining by banks, as well as programs in cities like Baltimore which require a living wage be paid by any company with a city contract, minority hiring requirements, plant closing requirements, development funds for local business or these owned by women or minorities, requirements for job creation or retention when tax breaks or other subsidies are given, and human rights laws such as the Massachusetts Burma law which restricts the state from doing business with companies based in countries with gross violations of human rights, and more. the draft document more thoroughly eliminates national and local regulations. MAI could be, in short, a devastating assault on the right of local self determination.

Although MAI could have come to Congress as early as this fall, it has not yet been released to the public. It has been drafted virtually in secret over the last two years and has had almost no coverage in the press.

Multilateral agreements like NAFTA and GATT, which removed trade barriers and allowed the free importation of goods from low-wage countries with few environmental standards, have resulted in the loss of many good jobs in US and-- in the interest of remaining "competitive"--a race to the bottom of low wages and low environmental standards. MAI is the latest in that tradition and perhaps the most critical, because it goes beyond NAFTA and GATT in establishing--for the first time--the right of powerful, multinational corporations to sue and collect compensation from local communities that exercise various kinds of control on investment behavior. Local and national governments would have no right to sue corporations on behalf of their people.

MAI proponents say the agreement will put the US in a stronger position to attract investment, build new facilities, and compete in the global marketplace. Opponents see it as an assault on community rule and the democratic process, an agreement that will reduce wages and lower environmental standards while giving much more power to large multinationals.

It is clear that any agreement with such a massive impact on local authority deserves adequate time for presentation and debate. Our goal is to start a national debate.

End

-------------------------------- sent by... David Adams Contact Person Boston / Cambridge Alliance

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