Organizational Resolutions, Letters and Statements
Congress perks up and listens when groups of citizens come together and confront them with the position of the organization as a whole. Such a resolution signed by an organization, whether it is a local or national association, holds much more weight than a phone call or letter from an individual constituent. Plus, resolutions are news -- and we always need more news stories about opposition to unfair trade agreements.
How does it work? Look at the CAFTA fight for inspiration
During the debate about the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the Bush administration tried to argue that being anti-CAFTA was "anti-Hispanic" -- despite the fact that the agreement would be beneficial to big U.S. Corporations, but harmful to workers both in Central America and the United States. Obviously, the argument didn't hold water, but without resolutions and letters from national organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Central American Immigrant Groups like the Salvadoran American National Network (SANN), and a myriad of Central American hometown associations, that might have been harder to prove.
If your organization does not use a resolution process, you can also just put together a letter to your member of congress -- or to all members of congress about trade issues. Below is an example from Salvadoran hometown associations during the CAFTA fight:
Just preparing a statement from your organization is equally helpful.
Because of all of this important work, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as a whole passed a resolution against CAFTA. Ultimately, CAFTA ended up being the closest vote on a trade agreement in U.S. history (we lost by just 1 vote!).
Next Up: the U.S.-Peru and U.S.-Colombia "free trade" agreements
The next fight has already begun over the Peru and Colombia "free trade" agreements. The Bush Administration is at it again, threatening the end of ATPDEA trade preferences if Peru and Colombia don't sign up for the same NAFTA expansion that already stretches as far south as Central America -- no matter what the cost to the region or its workers. But already LULAC and LCLAA have passed new and even more powerful resolution agains the U.S.-Peru and and U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreements.
Here's what you can do to help generate more resolutions:
Do you know progressive Peruvian or Colombian immigrants who are members of local, hometown associations? Or a service organization that works with immigrants from the Andean Region? Are you yourself a member of or staff for a group like this? Show with your friends and colleagues the new LULAC resolution suggest passing a resolution and send letters of opposition to the U.S. Congress. It is especially important right now to lobby members of Congress who are in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, urging the CHC to take another strong stand for FAIR TRADE.
Have questions about the facts or need help drafting a resolution?