So, I'm reading over indymedia earlier, and saw a "Call to Action: Let's go fuck up the meeting of FTAA in November by getting shot at by police!" Well, ok, it wasn't that exactly, but something to that effect. The actual name they're using is, "padded bloc". Ok, so it pretty much is just that.
(For those of you who thought I blindly follow, no, really, I take everything with a healthy dose of cynicism.)
Anyway, someone cries out, "Find out about the FTAA!" in response to some troll in the comments (one thing about the local IndyMedia, they've never figured out that trolls are best left ignored)... but of course no one was supplying any information on it. So, I found a few links via Google, including a lot of "STOP THE FTAA!!" sites and a lot of front pages into the draft text. So, when the tickets are cleared out this morning, instead of my usual news run, I've been making my eyes bleed on the FTAA second draft text.
Ok, if you're still with my rambling... here's my question. One of the big opposition points to the FTAA claims that all public services would be forced to become privatized; including water, utilities, and education. Me being the big believer in public education I am -- this is the point I'm interested in.
However, all I can find in the FTAA draft itself is in Article VII (Scope of Application) of the Chapter on Government Procurement:
[3. Notwithstanding the provisions in previous paragraphs this Chapter shall not apply to:
[e) government services or functions, such as [law enforcement,] social readaptation services, [health,] pension or unemployment insurance, social security or welfare services, public education, public training, [public health,] child healthcare and protection, and children?s services;]
The previous paragraphs are,
II: General Principles
(provide supporting laws and technical assistance),
III: [National Treatment And Most Favored Nation Treatment] [Non-Discrimination]
(Nobody's goods are better than anyone else's -- unless you're the USA, but that's in a different part of the draft),
IV: [Prohibition of Offsets] [Offsets] [Performance Requirements]
(Ok, this paragraph makes my eyes bleed, I have no f'in clue what it's about, but doesn't seem to be about anything to do with public services),
V: Rules of Origin
(Uh, pretty much "where did the goods come from?" and you can't get goods from one country and then claim they're your own -- unless it's OK by the agreement somehow), and
VI: Denial of Benefits
(Basically, if the goods aren't there, or if they're being supplied by someone from a non-FTAA state, then the FTAA doesn't apply).
So, uh.... wait a moment. Why are people saying that Public Education will be privatized? Doesn't it say otherwise right there?
Mind you, my eyes are bleeding profusely from this document, so I could be misreading something.
Disclaimer: If you think that this post shows any opinion I have on the FTAA at all, you're wrong. I'm still in the "I don't know enough about it to have an opinion" stage.