Led by PNW-People over Profit, nearly 500 folks (including a large contingent organized by Kalikisan from Portland with a cohort of XRPDX members) attended a day long series of educational workshops on 7/29 and then held a huge march through downtown Seattle on 7/30 to the Convention Center where the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is meeting throughout this month. APEC is a conglomeration of corporations and government leaders who, in closed door meetings, develop free trade policies for Asia which include efforts to weaken labor and environmental protections. These policies will impact over 40% of the world’s population. The workshops on Saturday highlighted how migrants and women are particularly harmed by such efforts. US and other global corporations profit from forcing people off their lands for logging, mining and other resource extraction. Poverty and unemployment is rampant with over 270 million migrants (many forced by contractualization) and 60 M refugees.
Many migrants are forced into “economic opportunity zones” where labor and environmental regulations have been eliminated in a way consistent with modern slavery. The vulnerability of migrant workers leads to horrifying stories (some shared at the peoples’ summit) and free trade policies lead to environmental destruction and citizen repression. The impacts of climate chaos add to these terrible social costs. Seeing this mass mobilization, with over half being led by BIPOC youth and activists was incredibly uplifting as was the courage organizers display when organizing on these issues. APEC meetings continue throughout the month, meeting on issues such as energy, women, and more. Folks are continuing to organize to educate and act both for this month and more APEC meetings in San Francisco in November. If you’d like to be a part of these important efforts, write to email@example.com and join us in getting involved.
Check out the report from KIRO TV: Hundreds Rally Against APEC