ON Friday, April 13, the Seattle Coalition to Stop the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) is holding a teach-in about the ominous organization and its upcoming conference. The FTAA, proposed at the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami, will hold its meeting, like the WTO, behind closed doors with trade representatives from every country in the Western Hemisphere (except Cuba) and over 500 corporations, including Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, Union Carbide, McDonald's, and Philip Morris.

The treaty the FTAA is working on is essentially a super NAFTA, creating a corporate rule of law that would supersede local regulations in participating countries.

King County Council Member Maggi Fimia says the FTAA could hobble salmon recovery by eliminating stream buffers, bans on building on steep slopes, and the urban growth boundary. The treaty "puts the very notion of containing sprawl at risk," she says.

Ground zero for anti-FTAA activists will be 3,000 miles away in Quebec City from April 18 to 22. The Seattle coalition plans a rally at Third and Yesler and a march to the INS building in the International District on April 20. There will also be a rally at the I-5 crossing into Canada at Blaine, Washington, the next day.

Some 60 local activists and WTO vets will be making the trip to Quebec City. There, they will find a two-mile, 12-foot reinforced steel fence around the conference. The provincial government has bought up all hotel accommodations within 50 miles of the conference ostensibly to keep protesters out, but will most likely succeed only in keeping protesters on the streets.

Support The Stranger