by Tom Gow, Vice President, The John Birch Society
In the wee hours of July 28th, pro-CAFTA forces managed to squeak out a razor thin victory in the House by a vote of 217 to 215 overcoming their final hurdle. The administration had signed the CAFTA agreement in May of 2004, but refused to allow Congress to vote on implementing legislation for more than a year, until sufficient support could be lined up for the highly controversial agreement.
We had high hopes of defeating CAFTA or forcing an even further delay, so we are naturally disappointed. But we are not at all discouraged by the outcome, since the battle itself has helped us enormously to build opposition to the more dangerous threat the Free Trade Area of the Americas. We consider ourselves fortunate that FTAA negotiators felt they needed this intermediate CAFTA step. The hard-fought CAFTA battle allowed us to get a jump start on building opposition to the FTAA over which there had been previously little public awareness or concern.
Speaking to representatives of the Organization of American States on January 16, 2002, President Bush pledged, Were working to build a Free Trade Area of the Americas, and were determined to complete those negotiations by January of 2005. Those negotiations are still not completed. Moreover, the FTAA agreement was to have been approved by Congress and put into effect this year. That timetable appears to have been shoved back at least a year.
In fact, there are several indications that the momentum in the battle to stop the FTAA may be swinging our way. As reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Free trade supporters cheered the Central American trade pact's passage Thursday, but said the narrow victory may provide little momentum for reaching their larger goal: a trade zone spanning the Western Hemisphere.
Regional trade pacts are no longer a theory to many Americans, as was the case when Congress approved NAFTA in November 1993. Almost a million Americans have lost jobs as a result of NAFTA alone. In a tenth anniversary assessment of the trade pacts impact, the Christian Science Monitor noted, [NAFTAs effects are] evident from the job-training centers in southern Texas to the NAFTA ghost towns of North Carolina, with their shuttered textile plants. Other industries now see themselves seriously threatened by these trade pacts.
Moreover, the open borders desired by proponents of these pacts are no longer theory. Millions of Americans already are angered by the impact of uncontrolled immigration. The decline of the American middle class is also no longer a theory. American capital, which supports the productivity needed for a high standard of living, continues to flee abroad in response to perverse government policies. Our own government also encourages a flood of low-wage labor to enter our borders. Indeed, the CAFTA battle has bought invaluable time to inform and activate those who recognize these dangerous trends.
It was a welcome surprise that CAFTA proponents had to work so hard to assemble their majority. Since much of the opposition was based on partisan politics and narrow economic concerns, we were pleased that the pro-CAFTA forces had so much difficulty. In the process of assembling their majority, they were forced to employ pressure tactics that provide important ammunition to alert others to what is really at stake with the FTAA.
According to the estimates of one congressman, proponents were willing to promise at least $47 billion in pork to persuade legislators to buy in to CAFTA. For those who do not recognize the underlying conspiratorial track record and objectives, such determination was hard to understand.
Many who viewed CAFTA as primarily a trade pact were undoubtedly puzzled by the determination of congressional leaders and the administration, given the relatively small purchasing power of the CAFTA nations. Only hours before the vote, House and Ways Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., offered this non-explanation for the intensity of the battle: 'This is not a major trade vote. It's a major political vote.'" [Congressional Quarterly Today (7/27/05)]
But intense partisanship aside, the demand for CAFTA was primarily from the top down, as the New York Times afterwards confirmed: Whatever the economic merits, the vote on Wednesday night made it clear that the political appeal of the trade agreement was low. Only 15 Democrats supported the measure. And despite intense pressure from President Bush and House Republican leaders, 27 Republicans voted against the deal; many others badly wanted to do so." [New York Times (7/29/05)]
CAFTAs proponents kept the agreements real significance hidden from public view, even downplaying the fact that CAFTA was to be a stepping stone to the FTAA. After the vote, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed several sources who were suddenly more candid: "'The importance of CAFTA all along has been that it would serve as a wind up to give [the Free trade Area of the Americas] momentum,' said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington-based research group." [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/29/05)]
But pro-FTAA forces obviously intend to keep the its all about economics smokescreen intact. The impact of the FTAA and hemispheric integration on our borders is carefully ignored. The impact on U.S. sovereignty is also hidden, even denied by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Track Record of Deception
Americans need to recognize that the globalists who have a grip on our government have a track record of deceiving the public as to what they are building. They have no respect for the right of Americans to decide their own future. An authoritative acknowledgement of that arrogance appeared in the 2002 Special Davos Edition of the international edition of Newsweek. In Death of a Founding Myth, CFR member Michael Hirsh stated:
[T]he internationalists were always hard at work in quiet places making plans for a more perfect global community. In the end the internationalists have always dominated national policy. Even so, they havent bragged about their globe-building for fear of reawakening the other half of the American psyche, our berserker nativism. And so they have always done it in the most out-of-the-way places and with little ado. [Emphasis added]
The reference to our beserker nativism appears to be a veiled criticism of American patriotism as a dogmatic preference for our own culture and institutions and a resistance to blending with the world. But isnt national pride healthy? What caused most Americans to rally to support their nation following 9/11? Do not Americans have a right to be told what is meant by this statement in the preamble to the CAFTA agreement: [The governments of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States of America] resolved to: CONTRIBUTE to hemispheric integration....? Can we trust the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative when it maintains that CAFTA does not threaten U.S. sovereignty despite numerous explicit provisions to the contrary in the text of the agreement?
When the European Common Market was first proposed, another branch of the same globalist cabal, with the aid of our home-grown elitists, visited the same deception on the unsuspecting peoples of Europe. The political sponsors assured their constituents that the Common Market was only concerned with creating a prosperity zone through lowered tariffs and that the sovereignty of member nations would not be compromised. It has since come out that some of these leaders knew they were lying at the time. As we have documented many times in these pages, the FTAA is intended to follow in the footsteps of the European Union. These regional pacts are designed to wipe out national sovereignty so that nations, through these pacts, can be more readily merged into a world government dominated by the United Nations.
A Process, not a Destination
As with the Common Market and the EU, the FTAA would unleash a steady process of subversion, the full impact of which would not be felt immediately. The chains of servitude would be fastened gradually, lest the nations rise up and throw off their would-be master. Although the EU provides the model, the process, even in Europe, is far from complete. So when politicians insist, as so many did with CAFTA, that before making a decision they first need to study the finalized agreement, alarm bells need to sound. Such a mind set already reflects a willingness to judge the poisonous FTAA candy based on whatever is stated on its label, and an unwillingness to acknowledge that national suicide is the plan.
The change in political arrangements the FTAA architects seek to set in motion would impact Americans very much like a Communist takeover. To see that this is so, one need look no further than the influence of Fidel Castro in the halls of government of many South American nations, not to mention our immediate southern neighbor.
What America could use today are more statesmen like those senators who opposed our entry into the first world-government trap the League of Nations. At the time, proponents were willing to water down their League in order to gain a foothold for their plan with Americas entry. But Senator Borah correctly argued, You cant amend treason.
Full Speed Ahead!
The CAFTA battle drives home several important lessons on how to successfully fight the FTAA. If a growing core of Americans will heed these lessons we can prevail:
* We must take this threat seriously. Half-way commitments wont do it. We must expect even more pressure and deception in support of the FTAA than we saw with CAFTA.
* Political action to replace representatives is tempting but not the answer. There are too many turkeys. Our problem with Congress stems from an ill-informed and uninvolved electorate that listens to the wrong voices. Getting rid of one ambitious opportunist who marches to the Establishments dictates only to reelect another of the same stripe in the same environment is a frustrating waste of time. Yet well-meaning Americans have pursued this quick fix for decades -- hire them, leave them alone, and if they disappoint us fire them. The better answer is to change the climate (see below) and engage our representatives between elections. Then most reps will get the message, and, for those who dont, election turnover will be meaningful. The Constitution puts House members up for frequent reelection (every two years) just to remind them to whom they should be accountable.
* A partisan political response is certainly a waste of time. The CAFTA vote doesnt mean that left-wing democrats are our new friends (their support is unreliable). A bitter pill for many political activists to swallow is the recognition that at the moment those carrying the Conspiracys ball are primarily Republicans, many of whom wish to be perceived as conservatives!
* We must build grassroots opposition and pressure Congress based on the FTAAs conspiratorial agenda to build a Western Hemisphere EU, not on partisan political or even on economic grounds. The FTAA threatens Americas continued survival as an independent nation by promoting a supranational hemispheric government and political merger and open borders with other nations. We must expose the forces, hands, and goals, not just the immediate consequences over the first year or two, which might be minimal.
* The economic consequences of the FTAA, particularly its long-term consequences are important, but the Conspiracy can overcome narrowly based opposition, as we have just seen with CAFTA. Proponents will promise anything to get their foot in the door with an open-ended plan that can be escalated gradually (as with the UN). So, in our communications, we cant allow proponents to hide comfortably behind their smokescreen that the FTAA is merely about free trade.
* We must develop solid, informed constituent clout. Clout, not reason, is the primary language of politicians. Unfortunately, too many congressmen are schooled that their primary accountability is to their party leaders, whom they believe can control their careers. These party leaders are in turn controlled by the Conspiracy.
* Start early (now) to build opposition to the FTAA, even before a final agreement is negotiated. It is much tougher to get politicians to change minds later. We must insist that reps take a position now no waiting to study the precise text of the agreement hammered out or to read some report of some commission.
* Be polite, but firm with congressmen. We must control our fear and anger. Dont make political threats. Our objective should be to make the rep want to support us. That means we must address them individually as if they are sincerely motivated to do what is best for their country. Allow them to save face by appealing to their reason. Speak softly, but as Teddy Roosevelt advocated, carry a big stick. Our big stick is the clout among their constituents the reps see we are intent on mobilizing. Each rep needs to discover that you are reaching his political base (e.g., with calm, persuasive letters to the editor). Our greatest clout is with our own representative. We should seek to win over each one today, and let tomorrows political chips fall where they may.
By far the best way to build sufficient constituent clout to stop the FTAA is as an active member of a local Chapter of The John Birch Society. During the CAFTA battle, our Chapters were the focal point of inspiring, determined action to pressure Congress to vote no. We need to quickly increase the number and size of our Chapters for the FTAA battle. Now more than ever, the solution to stopping the globalist conspiracy is to work through Chapters of The John Birch Society.