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The New Politics of Inequality in Latin AmericaRethinking Participation and Representation$
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Douglas A. Chalmers, Carlos M. Vilas, Katherine Hite, Scott B. Martin, Kerianne Piester, and Monique Segarra

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198781837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198781830.001.0001

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Regional Integration and Transnational Politics: Popular Sector Strategies in the NAFTA Era

Regional Integration and Transnational Politics: Popular Sector Strategies in the NAFTA Era

Chapter:
(p.516) 21 Regional Integration and Transnational Politics: Popular Sector Strategies in the NAFTA Era
Source:
The New Politics of Inequality in Latin America
Author(s):

María Lorena Cook

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198781830.003.0021

Explores a novel and unexpected by‐product of the process of negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement—a network of North American labour, environmental, human rights, and other citizens’ organizations using international alliances to modify the agreement and to contest what was widely viewed as an anti‐popular and exclusionary process. While economic integration between the US and Mexico had been taking place for some time, the author argues that it was the formal recognition of this process through the NAFTA agreement that facilitated transnational political action by non‐state actors. Even though economic globalization and neo‐liberalism may be considered by some to undermine popular organizations, formal recognition of North American economic integration paradoxically produced a ‘transnational political arena’ linking the US, Mexico, and Canada. Well beyond the period and issues of the formal debate about the treaty itself, this transnational arena has expanded the resources available to non‐governmental groups, increased their leverage in domestic political arena, and broadened their strategic options.

Keywords:   Chiapas rebellion, environmental movements, human rights organizations, international trade negotiations, labour unions, NAFTA, NGOs, non‐state actors, transnational activism, transnational political arena

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