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Trade BattlesActivism and the Politicization of International Trade Policy$
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Tamara Kay and R.L. Evans

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190847432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190847432.001.0001

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Mobilizing Public and Legislative Hostility against NAFTA

Mobilizing Public and Legislative Hostility against NAFTA

(p.96) 5 Mobilizing Public and Legislative Hostility against NAFTA
Trade Battles

Tamara Kay

R. L. Evans

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how activists used outsider strategies and mobilized public pressure to increase legislative opposition to NAFTA during the substantive treaty negotiations that followed passage of fast-track reauthorization. It focuses on activists’ mobilization of a mass movement of NAFTA opponents during the year and a half of NAFTA’s substantive negotiations beginning in June 1991 until President Bush signed the agreement in December 1992. While the AFL-CIO and some environmentalists concentrated on insider strategies, labor unions and the majority of environmental organizations created a strong anti-NAFTA grassroots coalition and mobilized; they held local protests and rallies, wrote press releases, held forums with community groups and local politicians, and appeared in media outlets in over one hundred cities. The chapter also reveals how activists’ pressure led to the negotiation of additional labor and environmental side agreements.

Keywords:   NAFTA, fast-track authorization, trade, environmental side agreement, labor side agreement, mobilization, public pressure, social movements, coalitions

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