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After the WTO Compromise: Keep Hoping for a More Just World and Keep Organizing to Make it Happen

December 2005

In spite of the WTO’s announcement of new compromises and “progress” on the agreement on agriculture (which would deepen the damage done to agricultural systems, food sovereignty and rural economies around the world by years of neo-liberal policies), many observers doubt that negotiators will be able to meet the deadlines and goals of the proposed deal.

We hope they’re right. We also hope that the voices of millions of people around the world will be heard, and that the people appointed to represent the needs of those millions of people will act in the interest of their consituents. While we’re hoping, we’ll keep working to build the movement that’s stalled and delayed these talks, that’s demanded that the merits of the proposed agreements be seen from the point of view of the people who are most affected.

Here’s one last note from the NFFC’s George Naylor as he prepared to come home from Hong Kong:

A word from a friend on the Zimbabwe delegation is that no substantial WTO agreement is likely.

But then all of the “inside” talk means little to me.


You have to admire all the inside folks from the Food Sovereignty network and the Our World is Not For Sale network who do understand it and help the various delegations figure out all the U.S. and E.U. subterfuge.

Grassroots civil society groups on the outside demonstrating are fantastic, including La Via Campesina groups.

We need them to advise us on how to organize.

I’m also amazed by an English-language People’s Republic of China TV channel program called “Dialogue.” They discuss real political and social issues very frankly like you never hear back in the U.S.

If China continues to follow the direction of the WTO, driving farmers into cities to become cheap labor, their problems will only mount.

Does the whole world have to go down the same crazy WTO dead end?

I hope we can stop it.

See you back home. Thanks for following the goings on.


Trade negotiators still have many details to work out, and the deadlines in the compromise agreement are very tight. With continued pressure from groups like the Via Campesina, a real victory for the world’s hungry is still possible in the coming months and years.

Thanks again to all of our friends and colleagues who made the trip to Hong Kong. The creative, courageous protests that you mounted are an inspiration. (You can read more about the protests on the Via Campesina’s Hong Kong news page.)

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