Bates New World Coalition to screen student documentary

Members of the Bates College New World Coalition, an activist group concerned with social, political and economic justice, will screen a 40-minute video of their experiences in protesting the Free Trade Area of the Americas at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, in Room 104 of the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St. A discussion of fair trade economics will follow the film.

Thirty-four countries in the Western Hemisphere met in Miami in November to produce a tariff-reducing agreement that would extend the North American Free Trade Agreement throughout the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, except for Cuba. The plan ran into difficulties when Canada, Chile and several other nations disagreed with a deal brokered a few weeks earlier by the United States and Brazil.

Seven Bates students traveled to Miami and videotaped their experiences, including everything from “street celebrations with puppets and music to brutal police violence,” says Bates junior Ryan Conrad of Middletown, R.I., coordinator of the coalition.

“I oppose the F.T.A.A. because I believe this corporate agreement is detrimental to the life of this Earth,” says Conrad, a member of the Maine Fair Trade Campaign, who works on and off campus to promote ideals of fair trade as well as universal human and environmental rights. “The agreement is undemocratic, will undermine labor rights and cause further job loss, and will jeopardize consumer and environmental protection,” Conrad says.

New World Coalition members hope to tour Maine and New Hampshire with the video.

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