Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Fight of my Life - Book Review

The Fight of My Life
By Maude Barlow
Harper Collins 1998

If you havent figured this out already, I am a very left wing social justice kind of person. I grew up in a country with universal health care, and I moved to another country that also has universal health care so I dont know anything different.

The USA has always claimed (bragged) to the world that their system was far superior to the rest of the world and that universal health care was a form of socialism and socialism is the same as communism. As I have been learning in my economics classes these last two weeks, communism and capitalism are far apart on the idealogical scale and socialism is somewhere in the middle.

So when I see movies like Mike Moores SICKO that shows me how many americans do pay for health insurance but get REFUSED treatment by their insurance companies JUST because the company does not want to pay out, then I know that the USA system is wrong. It is broken and so far they are doing NOTHING to fix it. Time will tell if Obama's ideas will work.

I first learned about Maude when I found a Youtube video about her discussing the SPP and how we should stop it. Because if the SPP agreement is passed and goes into effect, the American corporations will just walk right into Canada and take the water, the oil, the trees and probably the diamonds too, and not pay anything for them. That is just NOT FAIR.

This book is Maude's biography from childhood until 1998 at the end of the MAI campaign. A very successful campaign as well. Maude tells of how she rallied the Canadians and the world to form grass roots groups to FIGHT against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. If it had passed, the people would have had NO SAY in how the resources of their countries were used by big business. Maude describes fighting the Canadian government against the FTA and then the NAFTA but losing those battles.

She has been the chair person of the Council of Canadians for 20 years and has only recently stepped down. Her new position is as a Senior UN advisor on Water. The Council of Canadians is an advocate group that helps to protect the Canadian people against the bad decisions of the government who want to keep the busnesses and corporations happy. The corporations want to rape the country - steal the natural resources - water, oil, forests - and pay ridiculously low wages to the people just so the corporations can make great big, huge, fat profits.

Maude Barlow never backs down from powerful opponents, whether it's Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien or Peter Lougheed over free trade, or Lloyd Axworthy, Paul Martin and Ralph Klein over cuts to social programs. In this mid-life autobiography, she talks with wit, intelligence and spirit about what motivates her: her love of country, her strong sense of the rights of ordinary people, her belief that governments must be held accountable. The Fight of My Life is vintage Barlow - feisty, opinionated, compassionate, caring. Rich in the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people, it will enrage, delight, and entertain. This is the blurb on the back.

If you are interested in justice for Canadians against the bullying of the international corporations, and you want to start learning and advocating for the people, then this book is a very good place to start.

I read this book for the Canadian Book Challenge - ABM genre

PS - The Mike Moore mentioned above is an American. He is NOT the same Mike Moore who was Director General of the WTO for a few years. That Mike Moore was from New Zealand.

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