<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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The Age of Atlantica: As Goes Mexico, so Goes the US and Canada

The End of Sovereignty and Democracy Tolls for Upstate New York, Northern New England, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces, and, Soon, for Boston and NYC Too


By Al Giordano
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

June 6, 2007

Workers and farmers in the United States and Canada have been largely kept in the dark about the tragedy unleashed on their counterparts in Mexico with the 1994 entrance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But the same all-out screwing is about to happen to them.

An alliance of big business owners is openly plotting the economic Mexicanization of an important region of the Northeast US and Eastern Canada. They call their new world “Atlantica,” and have imposed their borders around it as if drawing a new “country” on a Risk game board. Here’s the map of “their” new country, not one founded upon democratic decisions, but with orders barked from an unelected elite of corporate flunkies whose only law is to maximize profits for the owners. Maybe you can see your house or job, or that of family members and friends, on their map:

If you live or work there, you will soon no longer be a Mainer, a Vermonter, an upstate New Yorker, a Québécois, a Nova Scotian, a Newfoundlander, a Prince Edward Islander or a citizen of New Brunswick or New Hampshire. You have been conscripted into a new kind of citizenship that comes without any of the freedoms that you thought were your birthright. You shall be – by big business decree – an “Atlantican.”

Democracy’s End Game

“Atlantica exists,” claims Charles Cirtwill, president of the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies (or AIMS, the business-backed ideological architect of the Atlantica scheme), “whether we want it or not.”

Cirtwill, in his column last month in the Halifax daily Chronicle-Herald, insisted, “there is no referendum to vote down, no constitutional convention to refuse to hold. Atlantica is not a call for provinces to spend money, so there are no cheques not to write, no bills not to pay.”

Yet Cirtwill’s own Institute’s website contradicts the man’s claim: Atlantica does need, badly, to cripple each state government in the way for its flag to supplant theirs, and that will require radical legislation – or the signing of international agreements – by national governments to destroy them. In the geek-speak of the Atlantican post-nationalists, there are five “public policy distress factors” that must be reduced for Atlantica to be born:

  • Size of government relative to the economy (a measure of the burden the public sector places on the private economy)
  • Government employment as a percentage of total state/provincial employment (a measure of public sector efficiency)
  • Total government revenue from own sources as a percentage of GDP (a measure of dependence)
  • Minimum wage legislation (a measure of labour market flexibility)
  • Union density (a measure of labour market flexibility)

In other words: the minimum wage must be abolished, labor unions must be crushed, and state governments must be stripped of the resources and/or authority to enforce environmental, labor and consumer safety protections. Low tax and pro-business New Hampshire is held up as embodying the ideal Atlantican way to govern a state while “Vermont’s tax regime” is singled out as a chief obstacle to Atlantican dreams.

“Atlantica” is many things to many businesses, but more than any other, it is a declaration of war against the workers, the farmers, and the natural environment of Maritime Canada and the Northeast United States. It is a new flank in the economic war that began thirteen years ago, South of the Border, in Mexico, and now widens to a colder battlefield with a population even less prepared to defend itself.

Last month, in Montreal, Quebec, invitations appeared for a protest against “Atlantica” that will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 11-16. The four states on the US side of the Atlantica map are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Your correspondent has worked and lived in each of those states (in two of them, their jailhouses) and (for the past ten years) in Mexico, and further study of what the Atlantica Overlords have in store caused him a sudden nausea: What happened to Mexico is about to happen there, too.

The Mexican Experiment Moves North

The Mexican family farm (in particular, the multi-family collectively-managed ejido system, once guaranteed by the Mexican Constitution, obliterated by a single trade agreement) was the first domino to fall. Since NAFTA’s 1994 beginnings, millions of displaced farmers fled to urban centers in and outside of Mexico, and the urban population boom brought consequent rent hikes and wage dips in those cities and suburbs.

Have you heard the modern axiom about this being the first time in human history that more people lived in cities than in the countryside? Some folks repeat it as if that’s some kind of wonderful. But it’s killing the quality of life in cities along with that upon the fruited plain. Whether you live in the country or the town, if you live in or near “Atlantica,” chances are that this economic system will force your own migration in your lifetime. Think you are safe and installed for life where you are now? Start to think like a Mexican instead.

The parade of bad consequences only gets noticed in the media in El Norte through a choreographed media “debate” over one of its symptoms: the historic spike in the wave of Mexican immigrants that have entered the United States and Canada over the past 13 years. The discourse – “should the government let so many Mexicans migrate north?” – is based on an absurd premise, because they are market forces, and not governmental laws, that create the phenomenon.

All the destruction and misery that has driven millions of Mexicans from their lands – a modern-day “dustbowl of capitalism,” forcing them into a migrant labor exodus – is about to be inflicted, in the exact same way, on the peoples and lands of what the bosses call “Atlantica.” Big business is about to carve up the United States and Canada, Rollerball style: first they’ll amputate Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Upstate New York, while slicing the Maritimes off from the rest of Canada, then they’ll mash them together under a pirate flag. Even those that have dreamed of Northern New England secession a la Ecotopia will awaken from their fantasy into an authoritarian nightmare marked by political repression (as in Mexico, police forces will serve to protect the private sector from pesky protesters) and ecological disaster.

Not surprisingly, Canadians are more alert to the threat against them than their US neighbors. Labor unions (or Labour, as they say up there), environmental and other organizations are mobilizing and sounding the alarm, to the extent that Canadian newspaper columnist Ralph Surette has called Atlantica “a public relations nightmare” for “the big players, the ones with the most heft and resources – to wit, big business, the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce, and so on,” that are behind the push toward Atlantica.

Surette writes that Atlantica’s “chief barker is the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), whose very stock-in-trade is Cold War-style rhetoric. As our own big business-funded neo-conservative outfit… (AIMS) has been one of the bunch slagging Atlantic Canada as a place of fishermen on pogey whose problems can be solved by cutting the little guy and giving it all to the big wheelers of the global economy.”

The columnist is no foe of the project. He recommends merely that Atlantica’s backers dump the polarizing AIMS group, change the name of the mega-project, “play it down and call the conference something else next year.” Given the penchant of the powerful to throw their own overboard faster than you can say “Scooter Libby,” a PR facelift and name-change for the plot may well be in the works. But the Canadian labor movement, in particular, has grabbed Atlantica by the tail and does not seem at all ready to let it drift quietly from its blueprints into reality by any name. Less impressive, though, is the silence from the same sectors on the US side of the border. During a recent lecture tour up there, your correspondent found very few labor organizers, state legislators, environmental activists or others that ought to know that had even heard of “Atlantica.”

The US Commercial Media, of course, has successfully blockaded the facts about this “public relations nightmare” from trickling south, just as it has obscured the information about what a “free trade agreement” did to Mexico, leaving the members of the gringo population generally clueless and unprepared as the bell now tolls for them.

As Mexico went, so goes “Atlantica,” but the plot doesn’t end there. According to their own battlefield map, the Atlantican owners will then advance into Southern New England, Downstate New York and the Appalachian regions of the United States, and also up the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes, Windsor, Ontario and Detroit Michigan:

Since these regions will soon experience – if the super-rich get their way – the same destruction and displacement as has occurred to Mexico in only thirteen years, it is now in the self-interest of US and Canadian citizens to bone up on what exactly “free trade” hath wrought down south.

The first thread to be ripped from the societal fabric as a consequence of NAFTA was the Mexican family and collective farm. In Mexico, that has also equaled a kind of genocide: the vacuuming of indigenous farmers (still speaking 62 pre-Hispanic languages and fighting to preserve ancient customs and knowledge) from the land they have stewarded for millennia. It is an assault that intensifies each day.

The destruction of the family farm also brought radical impositions upon the family unit: Millions of fathers, broke and with hungry kids, left home to find work in Mexican cities, or in the agribusiness fields of the US and Canada, or in the service industries of all three countries. The young men soon left, too (in many parts of Mexico, high school classrooms have mainly girls as students; the boys have followed their fathers northward), and, increasingly, young women have joined the economically imposed pilgrimage. Children are typically raised by single moms, or by grandmothers or aunts, in fatherless households, and may never get to meet their brothers and sisters born “on the other side.” Entire regions once dedicated to farming are now dependent on funds wired back from the US and Canada. Bereft of young adults, the population of the Mexican countryside has aged by default.

As international agribusiness gobbled up the land and the production of vegetables, fruits, dairy, poultry and meats, mass production has brought inferior products to market. The most basic foodstuff, the tortilla, once made from whole corn, now more often comes from a mixture of corn dust and water slapped out of a machine, and tastes like chalk. The stalwarts that preserve the cultivation of corn are seeing their crops contaminated by pollens carried from new “transgenic” corn species invented in laboratories. (Those politicians and pundits that rail cynically against Mexican migrant workers in the United States ignore a basic truth: either you import the workers to pick and package the crops that you and yours refuse to work for the cheap wages and under the lousy conditions offered, or you will be importing your eats from agribusiness companies in Mexico, where the food, increasingly, bites. There’s a headline for ya: “Food Bites Man!”)

As in the United States during World War II, with so many of the men now outside of the country, factories in Mexico have turned to women – primarily single moms – to staff the assembly lines. “Free trade” (and its obliteration of worker rights to organize, and of health and safety protections) has brought an explosion in the kind of factory called the maquiladora, which is an euphemism for sweatshop. The first wave concentrated up near the US border around urban centers like Tijuana and Juárez, but the misery mills are already propagating nationwide.

In February of 2006, Subcomandante Marcos, spokesman of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials), on a nationwide listening tour, and in the central Mexican state of Puebla, heard testimony from sweatshop workers in the Valley of Tehuacan, which he summarized in an essay titled “How Big Is the World?”:

In Altepexi a young woman replied: More than 12 hours of labor every day in the factory, working on days of rest, no loans, nor insurance, nor bonuses, nor distribution of tools; authoritarianism and mistreatment by the boss or the shop manager, being punished and deprived of salary when I get sick, seeing my name on a blacklist so that no factory will hire me; if we build a movement the boss closes and moves the factory elsewhere, the access to transportation is bad and arrives very late to the house where I live and seeing the electric, water, and property tax bills I count and see that I don’t have enough; noticing that there is not even water to drink, that the sewers don’t work and that the street smells. And the next day, poorly slept and malnourished, I return to work. The world is as big as the rage that I feel against all of this.

A young Mixtec indigenous woman: My father left more than 12 years ago for the United States. My mother works sewing soccer balls. They pay her ten pesos (less than a dollar) for each ball, and if one does not look right, they charge her 40 pesos (almost four dollars). Then they don’t pay, not until the man who hires returns to the town. My brother is packing to leave, too. We, the women, are alone in this to provide for the family, the land, the work. So it also becomes our job to bring forward the struggle. The world is as big as the anger that this injustice makes me feel, so big that it makes my blood boil.

If the self-appointed lords of Atlantica succeed in their vision to remap the United States and Canada, those same testimonies will be heard from Mainer and Québécois women alike. And probably from more Mexicans, too, that will be tapped to staff the Atlantica sweatshops, especially if the governments declare them “illegal” in the game in which “illegal” means only no right to organize as workers for safer conditions and better pay.

Since much of Atlantica borders the ocean for which it is named, it’s also important to look at what happened to the coasts of Mexico over the past 13 years. The impact of “free trade” has been particularly devastating on the Caribbean and Pacific sides both. Huge international fishing trawlers grab the shrimp, the red snapper, the tuna, the squid, the octopus (and of course the unlucky dolphin, endangered turtle or whale caught in the high-tech nets) as small fishermen come home empty handed. Worse, the government passed laws prohibiting the family fisherman from working for swathes of each year in certain regions so as to protect the edible species… for the international frozen seafood corporations.

The increased population in Mexico’s urban centers by displaced farm workers, fishermen and their family members has also driven rent higher, wages lower, and led to more congestion and urban sprawl. And this is precisely what the residents of cities and suburbs in and near the Atlantica region can recognize as already happening to them under this most savage stage of capitalism. Young people that have graduated high school or college, and are generally higher trained as workers, flock to cities to work in offices, or to attend more university courses. Office space and university campuses expand and displace residential housing units. These youths are generally higher paid (or are parent supported) but their overall standard of living decreases as the price of rent and everything else soars, uncontrolled.

To absorb this secondary migration – of the children of the more economically comfortable, the so-called “educated” classes – the Atlantica lobby has its sights set on “The Atlantic Triangle.” See map:

New Yorkers have already felt the needle of globalization sticking in them. (Your writer would say “us,” being a native of that place, but they tell him that no landlord will rent a one bedroom apartment anymore to anyone that can’t show a $80,000 annual income.)

Maybe, kind reader, you are still in New York City. Do you think you escaped the invasion of the spoiled brats by moving out to Williamsburg? Think again: the fauxhemians have arrived to offer your landlord more rent than you can pay at your New York shitty job, and the NYU or Colombia student’s dad is offering him six months rent in advance. (The landlord, and not the immigration officer, has thus become the new government.) Are you thinking of leaping farther out into Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Long Island, Northern New Jersey, or have you already done so? Those places, too, are becoming dumping grounds for the wealthy parents of the world to send their little darlings, not to mention the Euro-trash tourists lined up around 34th street to see the Empire State building from its roof deck, and spending $200 a night (six grand a month) at even the seediest of run-down hotels. Meanwhile, where did all the fun people go? The ones you see in Hollywood movies about New York? Where are those legends that inspired you to visit there? They either left… or they are simply trying to survive, having a lot less fun.

The Atlantican map throws ominous spotlights on Boston and Albany, too, but it’s safe to say that even if you live in Schenectady, or Springfield, or Providence, or New Haven, or Newark, you’re going to be hit with the same kind of invasion – bringing with it the same radical rent hikes that New York has already suffered. Then you will live and work in a region populated by douche bags pretending to be artists and filmmakers, with the super-rich cordoning themselves off in their own overpriced mini-Olympuses. Congratulations, former native New Yorker, and welcome to the displaced migrant work force.

The working, artistic and poor people in cities are being pushed farther and farther out, becoming their own special category of migrant worker (if anyone thinks the migrant worker class in the US and Canada consists mainly of immigrants from other countries, just conduct an inventory of where the young adults in your own families, among your friends, have gone to find work, how many times they’ve had to move to do it, and ask yourselves: what impact has this economic system had on the North American family unit?)

Even many of the previously comfortable are increasingly at unease: Cities, more and more overcrowded, more overrun by automobiles, more heavily policed, more strictly regulated, with an exodus by artists and other generators of culture, are losing their personality under capitalism. So those people with a bit of expendable income – not to mention the super rich – while they might work in cities are increasingly buying or renting vacation homes or condos in once pristine rural and shore areas, to be able to “get out of Dodge” regularly. And this is turning those nice places into piss pots, too.

In Mexico, this is one of the NAFTA-imposed factors that led to a development boom in formerly sleepy beach towns, around lakes, and in mountain areas previously with clean air and water. This happened in a little over a decade, no more. (The other factor in this tourism development boom has been the US-imposed “war on drugs,” with the construction of hotels being one of the favored forms of money-laundering for illicit proceeds: a narco-trafficker or his banker can build a hotel, it can be empty most of the year, but if he simply claims it was full and pays the taxes as if that were so, voila!, the dirty money is washed, ironed and folded, and becomes “legal” again.) The fast development has ridden roughshod over environmental regulations, and surpassed local and state government capacity to control it. And it’s not just the police on the receiving end of the bribes now: it’s the town officials, zoning authorities and environmental regulators, too! The new hotels and vacation homes pump their raw sewage, in most Mexican beach towns, directly into the ocean or lake. It sometimes floats by you as you’re taking a swim: that can really be a buzzkill on “the good life,” eh? Next stop: Lake Champlain.

So, not only is the family fisherman being driven out of business (leading to his own exodus elsewhere to find work), but the fish themselves are depleting as a food source, and the beautiful areas where the comfortable take refuge are turning, rapidly, into disgusting open air septic tanks.

Do you think that “Atlantica” won’t impose the same on the Atlantic seaboard, Lake Champlain, the New York Finger Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, its Thousand Islands, and the Great Lakes, too? Take a vacation in Mexico (if you’ve been to one of those resort towns before, take a trip down memory lane and see how fast the place has been ruined). Wake up and smell the sewage: Coming soon to a Vacationland near you, Mainers! Yes, the quality of life is going down the drainpipe with the feces, even for those lucky enough to sometimes fly first class or fly at all to a vacation spot. To the super rich behind the Atlantica project, even you, yuppie, are as expendable as the family farmer or fisherman, as disposable as the single mom, her parents or her children. You’re just cattle (or lobster) to them: a source of profits, to the extent your labor and your land – if you (or your banker) “own” any – serves their bottom-line.

Enough Loopholes to Drive a Truck-Train Through

The Atlantica project’s stated goal of downsizing state governments seeks to assure that its master plan advances without environmental, health, safety or consumer protections. It seeks to leave states and provinces, towns and cities, neutered and spayed, unable to enforce those laws that do or might exist to manage change democratically. Is that anarchism? Not when private corporations simply replace the old nation-state, bringing forward a new and more authoritarian form of State Power, with the brute force to displace you just as it has chased out the Mexican farmer and worker.

The fulcrum of the Atlantica project is slated to be the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The aspiring corporate owners of Atlantica openly state that they want it to be the entry point for oil from more offshore drilling, for European cars and goods and for cheap merchandise made in Asian sweatshops that they want to ship through the Suez Canal and across the Atlantic, whereas most of those products currently come to the US and Canada entering at the west coast. (And if you’re already “feeling the pain” of all this devastation, Atlantica has something special for you, too: Asian heroin. Atlantica will do more for opiate-trafficking and its North American money launderers even than NAFTA did for South American cocaine, and inevitably will cause a corresponding spike in the North American heroin market.) Here is the Atlantica project’s map of the world its fixers envision:

And here’s another of the schemers’ maps, of how they envision products will then be shipped, by sea or seaway, from Halifax to other East Coast and Great Lakes ports:

Look carefully at the left side of that map, where it says “Proposed Service to Great Lakes.” Proposed? Service? Great? WTF? There is already warm-weather shipping by gigantic tankers and cargo ships up the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes. So what is the proposal? They don’t say it, but Atlantica can only mean one goal with fightin’ words like those: the resurrection of the Army Corps of Engineers “Winter Navigation” plan for the St. Lawrence, a boondoggle defeated in the 1970s by residents of the Thousand Islands of New York and Ontario.

See, Mother Nature doesn’t like Atlantica either: The majestic St. Lawrence freezes over in the winter months. The original plan was to dredge the river deeper, eliminate entire islands (would that mean a name change to, say, the Hundred Islands?), and bring gigantic ice-breaking ships through all winter long. It’ll then be even cheaper to ship and sell Toyotas, Volkswagens, Peugots, Hondas, Nissans, Hyundais, Renaults, Suzukis, Fiats, Mitsubishis, BMWs and Mazdas… to the newly unemployed auto workers of Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan.

But even if those river-hugging residents of the Thousand Islands (or their children) stop Winter Navigation again, Atlantica counts with a Plan B: The Windsor-Quebec Corridor (see the second map on this page, up above). As with Mexico’s “Plan Puebla Panamá,” what won’t move by seaway will certainly be moved by land.

Any motorist that has headed south-to-north or vice versa between southern and central Mexico has been stuck behind a post-NAFTA beast on two-lane highways: the double tractor-trailer. Since 1994 they’ve increased annually in numbers. In 2006, on the Pan-American Highway between the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and Oaxaca City, your correspondent was caught in a long traffic jam when one of those double tractor-trailers hauling propane gas jackknifed and exploded ablaze. Months later, the charred remains still stood aside the highway, a monument to and metaphor for “free trade” in Mexico.

Not to be outdone by Mexico, the lords of Atlantica envision not just a plethora of double tractor-trailers speeding through the Maritimes, the Windsor-Quebec Corridor, Maine, Vermont and New York’s interstate highways (I-95, I-91, I-90, I-87, I-89, I-81, their corresponding beltways around cities, and probably some new ones to handle all the traffic) but also “triple trailer combinations,” and other newfangled “truck trains.”

Behind every double tractor-trailer is an unemployed truck driver. But some of the new rigs, the length of a Boeing 737-700, will displace two drivers at a time. (Canadian Teamsters unions are in the fight, but if their US counterparts are concerned about their own members destinies on the unemployment line, theyre not making much noise about it.)

Of course, the imposition of a Mexico-style “free trade economy” on Eastern Canada and the Northeastern US will look much the same as it does down south. It won’t just be about shipping international products faster and cheaper. It will also seize upon the collapse of the family farm and the subsequent conscripted army of a cheap and migrant labor pool to create a new region of sweatshops. And that will require electricity, something the Atlantican masters have very much in mind.

A recent press release about next weekend’s Atlantica conference in Halifax makes a haunting reference to the energy part of the plan:

“Business leaders throughout the Atlantic Provinces say they recognize the opportunity to leverage geography to participate in the global economy and maximize opportunities for growth and prosperity. That means harmonizing regulations, eliminating trade barriers and ensuring the necessary infrastructure is in place—not just transportation infrastructure but energy and communications as well.”

Predictably, the nuclear power industry is sharpening its plutonium sword, seeking to ride those triple tractor-trailers into a resurrection of nuclear waste producing power plants in the unsovereign state of Atlantica. Here’s a recent press release from them:

“Embracing the Future: Canada’s Nuclear Renewal and Growth” is the theme for this year’s gathering of nuclear industry experts from across Canada and around the world. This theme reflects the global renaissance of interest in nuclear technology, strongly evident here in Canada through plant refurbishments (underway and planned), new-build planning, renewal and expansion of the nuclear workforce, and growth in public support for environmentally sustainable technology. It is fitting that this year’s conference is held in New Brunswick, as the Point Lepreau Generating Station prepares for a major refurbishment (2008-2009, with preparations begun in 2005) that will renew this environmentally sustainable energy resource for another 25-30 years.”

By “refurbishment” they mean gluing back together aged and decrepit nuclear plants that were originally built to run no more than 40 years (and for good reason: radioactive bombardment causes metal fatigue increasing the chance of an atomic meltdown, an event that could lay to waste all the best-laid Atlantica plans and perhaps even discourage migrant labor from emigrating to the region, but will certainly cause an exodus from it). Doesn’t that sound a bit, um, Soviet coming from the hyper-capitalists, or at least somewhat Chernobylvishna?

On the side of Atlantica that would formerly have been part of the United States, the New England nuclear industry is also seeking a Viagra prescription for its midlife crisis, with proposals to extend the licenses of the decrepit, accident-plagued, boiling water reactors Vermont Yankee in Vermont and Pilgrim in Massachusetts for an additional twenty years. Vermont Yankee’s owners have even taken to the airwaves with a TV ad campaign, calling their atomic Edsel a “green” energy source. Green. You know. Like, um, Kryptonite: To Superman.

The Bush administration’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission has already rejected the Massachusetts Attorney General’s legal complaint against the extension of the bordering Vermont Yankee plant’s license. The state prosecutor posited – duh – that nuclear power plants are attractive terrorist targets. (Alas, chasing down unworkable plots to bomb Kennedy Airport is apparently a higher priority for Homeland Security than eliminating the existing time bombs that the electric companies dumped upon us in the 60s and 70s.)

And just think of the potential for shipping all that atomic fuel and high-level nuclear waste around with the shiny new triple tractor-trailer truck trains. Oh, no, that’s unthinkable… as much as the idea of running an aged nuclear power plant into its sixties was, until Atlantica fever got the nukers off their death beds.

Democracy vs. Capitalism

So there it is. I thought that to suffer my country’s foreign and trade policies I would have to live in Mexico. It turns out to no longer be the case. Now, from within the (soon to be former) United States and Canada, citizens can stay home and enjoy all the devastation that Mexico has suffered (at US and Canadian prices!), under a new flag: that of the private sector state of Atlantica.

What the Atlantica plan makes crystal clear is that free-market ideology is not at all “libertarian,” but, rather, it brings liberty only to the super rich, and authoritarianism to the rest of us, with a large dose of economic displacement, forced migration, the obliteration of the family unit, and environmental destruction, not only to the countryside, but also, as in Mexico, to the cities and suburbs.

With the rise of Atlantica comes the end of a certain media-fed foolishness that held, in recent years, that one could be pro-capitalist and pro-democracy both. The capitalists, with Atlantica, have bared their anti-democracy teeth now from inside their former national territories, and capitalism comes to supplant democratic forms of government with an imposed, top-down, and authoritarian corporate state.

Beginning on June 11, Canadian unions and social movements will gather in Halifax to draw their line against this attack on sovereignty in a movement that, by definition, is and must be against the attacker: not government, but capitalism itself, the Uber-State. What remains to be seen is whether the similarly besieged sectors of Northern New England, Upstate New York, and others on the US side of the border will continue to remain blissfully ignorant of how their lives are about to be Mexicanized (and in none of the good or fun ways that Mexican migrants bring) or whether they will recognize and act against this threat in time.

It reminds me of a joke that a Maine lobsterman once told me: Of the lobsterman near the Machias-New Brunswick border that had two pots in his boat, one for Maine lobsters and another for Canadian. One pot had a lid with a rock on top to keep it weighted down. “That’s for the Canadian lobsters,” he said. “If you don’t put that lid and rock on top, they’ll form a chain and help each other climb out.” And what about the bucket without a lid? “Oh, that’s for the US lobsters. You don’t got to worry about them. If one starts to climb toward escape, the others just drag him right back down again.”

If you want to be like the lobster, boiled in your pot, then wait around for the Commercial Media or NPR to give you permission to debate the “Atlantica” plan, complete with the usual media-supplied bogus set of terms. In the US, the media’s lackeys are as controlled by money as the narco-journalists south of the border, but it’s a wholesale corruption that gives the J-School indoctrinated kids culpable deniability. That they and their bosses have withheld such a big story as the Atlantica project from US news consumers, even in the regions about to lose their sovereignty to a mercantile flag, is proof positive that the Mexicanization of the US media is already a fait accompli.

Citizens of New England and New York: you now join the Mexican farmer and worker as the laboratory rats in somebody else’s experiment, a gang of mad scientists of statecraft that were elected by no one and answer only to robotic market forces. There’s no cavalry coming to save you. You and your children are going to have to inform and defend yourselves. And in that, you also have plenty to learn from the social movements in Mexico and Canada that are already in the fight. That, or everything you think is stable and positive about life in New England and Upstate New York – and soon in the I-95 corridor from Boston to New York City – will soon become road kill under those triple tractor-trailer wheels and all that comes behind them. This is the dawning of the Age of Atlantica.

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