For Dave King, globalization feels like a cold, wet fish. A few years ago, King, a retired social worker and union activist, was paddling in the lower Columbia River when a fisherman tossed him a huge salmon. The man, who was wading through piles of fish on his boat's deck, told King he might as well give his catch away because he couldn't compete with the dirt-cheap price of farmed salmon from Chile.
Now, King is helping organize a protest against the powers he feels are responsible for tilting this particular playing field--namely, the World Trade Organization. At its fifth ministerial meeting this weekend in Cancun, Mexico, the international trade board is once again promulgating an agenda bent on deregulating international trade and privatizing industries.
King represents the Cross-Border Labor Organizing Coalition. With Oregon's sluggish economy, the WTO has continued to gain opponents. While many activists loathe the WTO for its failure to crack down on exploitative labor and environmental practices in developing nations, others plan to attend Saturday's protest against the WTO because they believe the trade agreements are hurting Oregon's economy. The recent signing of an agreement that opens trade relations between the U.S. and Chile has further spurred on this disdain. Chile exports many of the same crops and products vital to Oregon's economy--like salmon, timber, and wine.
Demonstrators will gather at noon on Saturday at Holladay Park (1200 NE Multnomah Ave). For more info, contact Jobs with Justice, 236-5573, or the Cross Border Labor Organizing Coalition, 236-7916.