Join Korean Americans Against War and Neoliberalism (KAWAN)* and
the Korean Alliance Against the Korus FTA (KoA)
the Korean Alliance Against the Korus FTA (KoA)
In Waging a Global Hunger Strike Against the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KorUS FTA) and the Bush Free Trade Agenda
March 23, 2007
The United States and South Korean governments are frantically working around the clock to sign the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KorUS FTA) by April 2, when it must be submitted to Congress for a vote by July 1. If signed, the KorUS FTA will be the second largest trade deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In South Korea, tens of thousands of farmers, workers, and students are organizing for a massive demonstration on March 25, 2007. Since Monday, March 19, over 100 people have been waging a hunger strike in Seoul and other cities across the country. On Monday March 26th, the number of hunger strikers will grow to 1000.
We ask for your solidarity in stopping the KorUS FTA and all Bush FTAs.
The March 25 massive demonstration is organized by the Korean Alliance against Korea-US FTA (KoA), a coalition of over 300 organizations representing millions of trade unionists, peasants, students, environmental and public health advocates. March 25 is the day of international action to stop the KorUS FTA, all Bush FTAs, and the spread of corporate-led globalization. The U.S. is now negotiating free trade deals with several countries, including Peru, Colombia, Panama, South Korea, and Malaysia.
In solidarity allies in the United States and around the world will wage a 36 hour global hunger strike to oppose the KorUS FTA and the free trade regime that is destroying our livelihoods, our communities, our human rights and our environment. The hunger strike will be timed with South Korea?셲 3 pm, March 25 (the start of the mass mobilization) through 3 am, March 27 (just after the end of first day of the 1000 person hunger strike.) For the reference of those in the U.S., this is 2 am, March 25 through 2 pm March 26 Eastern Standard Time and 11 pm, March 24 through 11 am March 26 Pacific Daylight Time.
March is the critical month in the fight to stop all pending U.S. FTAs from conclusion. Unfettered free trade has been directly responsible for the massive loss of jobs and erosion of hard-won benefits and rights for workers, farmers, and laws protecting our public health and environment. Wholly undemocratic, the only voices heard behind closed negotiation doors are that of corporate interests.
Join us for this 36-hour global hunger strike! We will send Korea the solidarity list by Saturday, March 24 for KoA to read at the March 25 mass demonstration. To sign-on go to: http://www.gopetition.com/online/11558.html. For more information, call: 718.335.0419 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Founded in April 2006, KAWAN is a national coalition of progressive U.S.-based Korean organizations endorsed by hundreds of immigrant, people of color, LGBT, farmers?? workers?? women?셲, national liberation, anti-war and anti-globalization groups. For each of the eight rounds of negotiations between the U.S. and Korea, we have waged protests and resistance with our Korean allies. We have held forums, held direct action and civil disobedience and engaged in lobbying and advocacy efforts.
Declaration of Opposition to the KOR-US FTA and
Pledge to Participate in a Solidarity Hunger Strike
We, the undersigned, express our opposition to the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which poses a serious threat to public interest in both South Korea and the United States. The Korea-U.S. FTA is based on a model of trade agreement that is designed to profit of transnational capital and big business at the expensive of workers, farmers and common people and has been negotiated through a secretive and undemocratic process. Such a trade agreement must not be implemented.
We are opposed to the secretive and undemocratic nature through which the Korea-U.S. FTA has been negotiated.
FTA talks have been held in remote places away from public view or in secrete outside of the official negotiations. The South Korean government has routinely withheld relevant information and documents from stakeholders, the National Assembly, and the general public. It has also closed off public debate through insufficient hearings and media censorship. Worse, it has severely suppressed anti-FTA sentiment, banning peaceful protests and arresting protest participants.
We are opposed to a trade agreement that will destroy the livelihood of South Korean farmers and harm the environment.
The Korea-U.S. FTA calls for unconditional opening of the South Korean agricultural market to cheap overproduced American-grown products. The consequent deterioration of Korean agriculture will have devastating social, cultural, and environmental effects: Statistics show that roughly half of South Korea?셲 farmers will be unable to maintain their farms and be forced to join the ranks of the urban poor. The resultant destruction of rural communities will mean the break-up of rural traditions that are the basis of Korean culture, and the deterioration of the rural environment. The Korea-U.S. FTA also threatens the environment by introducing mechanism through the lowering of environmental standards such as the Investor-State Claim Clause.
We are opposed to a trade agreement that directly threatens vital public services such as health-care, energy provision and education. The Korea-U.S. FTA calls for higher pricing of pharmaceuticals- benefiting transnational pharmaceutical companies at the expense of access for common people. The FTA will also limit the Korean government?셲 ability to ensure equitable access to energy and water supply by fostering privatization in these sectors and diminish the validity of public education through the introduction of private U.S.-based testing services, which will increase the demand on students to seek private education programs
We are opposed to a trade agreement that threatens cultural diversity by allowing for harmful infringement on South Korea?셲 cultural industry.
Reduction of South Korea? 셲 screen quota, which protects the nation?셲 film industry, was made a prerequisite for beginning FTA negotiations. Further, the current Korea-U.S. FTA will require removal of similar protections for Korea?셲 broadcasting industry. These measures endanger the public function of the broadcasting industry and the uniqueness of South Korea?셲 audio-video language. The provisions of the Korea-U.S. FTA are inconsistent with the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity Cultural Expressions, which affirms the right of each member nation to formulate and implement regulations aimed at promoting domestic cultural expression.
We are opposed to a trade agreement that grants undue powers to investors at the expense of domestic development and public interest.
The unconditional investor-state claims clause included in the Korea-U.S. FTA affords greater privileges to foreign investors than those granted by domestic law, providing a mechanism through which investors??claims can place enormous monetary penalties on taxpayers and pressure the government to adopt lower environmental and labor standards to avoid future claims. The Korea-U.S. FTA also calls for a reduction in government procurement contracts in order to open these markets to foreign capital. In South Korea, procurement policy promotes the growth of thousands of small businesses in various regions, providing entrepreneurial opportunities to businesses that are conscious about environmental and labor issues. As such, they are vital to keeping public interest alive and maintaining community-government cooperation.
On March 25 at 3:00 PM (South Korea time), tens of thousands of farmers, workers, students and concerned persons will take to the streets throughout South Korea to protest the KorUS FTA. The following day, 1000 South Koreans will engage in a hunger strike. (Since March 19 over 100 have been fasting.)
In order to demonstrate the sincerity of our opposition to the KorUS FTA and of our solidarity with the Korean people we pledge to conduct a United States-wide hunger strike to coincide with these activities. Thus, we, the undersigned, pledge to fast from 2:00 AM, March 25 through 2:00 PM, March 26 (Eastern Standard Time). Furthermore, we athorize Korean Americans Against War and Neoliberalism to send this statement of protest, with all signatures collected, to South Korean Consulates across the United States and the South Korea Embassy, the office of the United States Trade Representative and White House in Washington, DC.
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the Korean people. We call for abrogation of the Korea-U.S. FTA negotiations to date and cancellation of all future talks and legislative processes.