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Activist Toolkit roundup: Impacts of globalization

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What do you think of when you hear the word globalization? 

I tend to think about the new forms of communication dominating a world with fewer and fewer boundaries and borders. My Skype icon and ability to email friends or mentors spread halfway across the globe help to enrich my life every day.

But that's just one piece of the puzzle. When we add the word corporate in front of globalization, does it change your view? Do you think of eroded worker rights and the loss of Canadian jobs?

January 31 is the Intercontinental Day of Action Against Corporate Globalization. You can be a part of the movement by checking out a demonstration in your community. Share campaign materials with your friends and fellow activists. Stand up for systems of fair and sustainable trade. 

Protesting against corporations or entrenched economic systems carries with it a huge risk to the physical and emotional safety of demonstrators. Most of us know someone who's struggled with a trauma, whether from police brutality, fellow protesters, or an emotional issue triggered by their activist work. I often find it hard to know how to best help a friend or colleague in their recovery. If you've ever found yourself in the same boat, check out this tool on a guide to activist trauma. The advice is super varied, from tips immediately following a harmful incident, to supportive strategies for anyone close to you who might be struggling.

It's not unusual for activists to launch anti-corruption campaigns against governments or corporations. The good news is that while corruption still exists -- and yes, here in Canada too -- that existence guarantees a wealth of information from other groups' attempts to eliminate corruption around the world. This tool catalogues anti-corruption techniques from projects, campaigns, "naming and shaming" efforts, etc. While the tools can be a little bit dense and word-heavy they still offer lots of valuable tips and real-life experience to boot.

Another result of open borders and easy flow of goods and services in a globalized world is the movement of human capital. Canada depends largely on the use of migrant workers in its agricultural sector. Sourcing manual labour from Mexico, Jamaica, and the Philippines seems to Canadian corporations to be perfectly natural and worthy only of contracts stipulating 6-day work weeks and a distinct lack of worker rights. Luckily, a lot of activist organizations have committed themselves to advocating for migrant workers. Check out this tool on a migrant activist group, or this recent petition calling for a just investigation into the death of an illegal migrant worker in B.C.

Despite the focus on bringing workers into the country, there is still little attention paid to the fact that minimum-wage jobs consistently set recipients below the poverty line. With recent minimum-wage increases announced by Ontario, now is the time to push for a humane minimum wage that allows for a reasonable chance at life (above the poverty line!). Check out this 3-Minute Action to lend your voice of support. 

Despite the increased trade and communication that comes with corporate globalization, there doesn't seem to be much break-down of existing cultural barriers. There is still a lot of systemic racism and discrimination in our society. The UnFair Campaign is committed to identifying and eliminating white privilege. As much as a country like Canada might not want to acknowledge entrenched racism, these campaign materials are incredible at pointing out uncomfortable truths.

If you're planning a campaign or a protest in support of the day of action against corporate globalization, be sure to check out this tool on running a successful campaign. The other offers several simple -- but worthwhile -- suggestions to enrich your planning. From mobilizing volunteers to reaching out to "unlikely" participants, it's a good reminder to keep an open mind and pay attention to detail in your organizing efforts.

The ability to organize activist work with the help of the Internet and the incredible variety of online tools is a real opportunity. If you're looking to expand your repertoire of skills to include projects like video and audio editing, social media tips, or information on SEO and metrics, check out the New Media Toolkit for training tips.

Now let's hear from you -- What's the best way to address the negative impacts of corporate globalization? Are there any positives to the corporate globalization movement? Do you support free trade or fair trade? How about NAFTA and the TPP?

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