Remember Seattle? March to Miami!

The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment (ASJE) launched its March to Miami just after Labor Day in Seattle, where Teamsters and environmental activists first marched together to protest transnational corporate arrogance and the World Trade Organization. The March is caravanning across the northern tier of states to Minnesota, then heading south through Minneapolis, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Atlanta to the next meeting of the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement (FTAA) trade ministers in Miami, Nov. 20-21.

Events along the way include rallies, teach-ins, and “blue-green summits” that address fair trade issues and are intended to inspire and solidify regional labor/environmental organizing committees with specific projects based on the experiences of ASJE’s Working Groups on energy, global trade, “rogue corporations,” and forest and jobs restoration. Stops along the March will educate constituencies about the dangers the FTAA’s “trade-in-services” provisions pose to our public services, construction trades and domestic manufacturing. The March will also swell the flow of people converging on events in Miami.

The AFSE hopes to highlight the local efforts of blue-green allies such as the AFL-CIO’s citizen referendum to stop the FTAA, the Immigrant Rights Freedom Ride, the International Longshore Workers Union’s American Solidarity campaign, as well as state-level fair trade campaigns, anti-globalization groups, and environmental organizations.

For decades, polluting profiteers have claimed that we must choose between “jobs or the environment.” Corporations have used this as a wedge issue to divide labor and environmentalists. The successful merging of these two movements into an alliance around something that is vital to everyone – good work in a healthy community – gives hope that working together, “common” people have the power to challenge corporate hegemony.

ASJE’s mission is to nurture this new possibility by building a strong and broad-based national network of local and regional blue-green alliances. For more information on the Alliance and its founding principles, see www.asje.org. If your organization would like to join the March and help plan a local event, rally or educational blue/green forum, contact Dan Leahy, executive director of ASJE at (503) 736-9777, or e-mail him at leahyd@evergreen.com.

The author can be reached at zacd1@juno.com