August 10, 2023
From The Red Phoenix

Unity Statement of the Pacific Northwest People Over Profit Coalition. Peoples’ Summit Against APEC, Seattle, Washington, July 29, 2023.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), like other so-called “free trade” institutions like the World Trade Organization, exists to expand private control over more of the economy, and so it represents the interests of the rich and powerful and not the interests of the rest of us.

The US’ hosting of APEC in 2023 is a deliberate move for US corporations to stay in control of the world’s economy and to showcase the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which paves the way for future trade deals built in favor of US corporations and those of allied countries. We in the US will feel the effects of IPEF and the deals coming out of APEC eventually, but the poorer countries of the Pacific Rim will feel it first. We act not only for ourselves but in solidarity with the working people of the world.

APEC’s policies of increased corporate investment lead to bigger monopolies with more power because it allows these private monopolies to buy smaller companies and public service providers and deregulate how they are allowed to operate. It increases the wealth of the rich while increasing the costs of living for everyone else. It makes poor nations even poorer, keeps them economically dependent on foreign powers and increases the drive for competition between the richest and most powerful countries.

Free trade policies always impact the people of the world negatively, and APEC’s decisions will only exacerbate existing crises. Workers’ wages are being lowered and benefits slashed while automation will layoff thousands as the right to unionize is put under threat. Migrants, especially the undocumented, continue to be forced into abysmal working conditions as they are forced to hide from inhumane immigration law enforcement. Women may be spoken of highly within APEC, but APEC’s policies keep putting pressures on working class families, keeping women’s labor doubly exploited. Students face higher costs of education, putting academic and technical programs out of reach for young people, while those that remain steer students towards corporate profit structures, especially those of the tech industry.

While sustainable technology is desperately needed to halt the climate crisis, unhampered mineral extraction for APEC’s self-praised “renewable energy initiative”’ is devastating forests, wildlife and water sources while corporate takeover of food systems prevents communities and entire countries from meeting their basic needs. The economic rivalry encouraged through APEC is pushing the world to the brink of global military conflict. In short, powerful economies within APEC contend for economic and diplomatic influence over each other while fighting to dominate the less powerful member economies and the rest of the world, and the result will be economic devastation, nuclear war or even ecological collapse if we don’t act now!

We are in opposition to IPEF and APEC as a whole. Reforms will only bring small and momentary changes. APEC was never meant for us – we will never be given real power to enact the change needed for a worker and people-centered trade deal that upholds environmental justice. All that APEC and other multinational institutions do for cities like Seattle is suck away much needed public funds to host lavish, private meetings and over-police our streets and communities surrounding them while the price of housing and daily living around the world goes through the roof.

We, the attendees of the Seattle anti-APEC Peoples’ Summit, declare that people’s needs and all-around sustaining of the environment take precedence over corporate profit! This Summit was a showcase for possible alternatives to the free trade system that informs APEC, IPEF and all other profit-oriented institutions. We are building a grassroots people power that will challenge business-as-usual for big business!

Going forward from this summit, the Pacific Northwest People Over Profit Coalition resolves:

  • To continue taking action to expose and oppose the Seattle APEC Ministerial Meetings throughout the month of August;
  • To support the mobilizations against the APEC Heads of State Summit and final round of IPEF Negotiations in San Francisco, California this November 2023;
  • To organize for the long term to help build an international grassroots movement against profit-oriented systems. APEC may only be meeting in the US for this year, but IPEF will be here to stay and the profit motive is what gives these institutions their power.

Categories: Economy, Imperialism, U.S. News, Workers Struggle