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GLOBAL EXCHANGE (GE) Printer Friendly Page

The Anti-American: Medea Benjamin
By John Perazzo
November 15, 2002

A Selective Indifference to War
By John Perazzo
September 5, 2008

Global Exchange's Burma Project
By Ron Arnold
August 24, 2008

Anti-War Crowd Backs Notorious Dictators, Communists
By Kathleen Rhodes
January 19, 2005

To Fallujah, with Love
By Ben Johnson
January 5, 2005

Barry Farber Meets Global Exchange
By Barry Farber
August 14, 2003

Medea vs. the General
By Greg Yardley
May 2, 2003


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2017 Mission Street - 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA
Phone :(415) 255-7296
Fax :(415) 255.7498
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Global Exchange (GE)'s Visual Map

  • Anti-war, social justice organization that condemns American foreign and domestic policies
  • Impugned the Bush administration for having "responded to the violent attack of 9/11 with the notion of perpetual war"
  • Opposes the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba

Established in 1988 by pro-Castro radical Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange defines itself as "a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world." The chief target of this group's condemnation is the United States -- its foreign policy, business practices, and domestic life.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Global Exchange advised Americans to examine "the root causes of resentment against the United States in the Arab world -- from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil to our biased policy towards Israel." It impugned the Bush administration for having "responded to the violent attack of 9/11 with the notion of perpetual war … a war in Afghanistan that included dropping over 20,000 bombs … and led to the killing and maiming of thousands of civilians. … We must insist that governments stop taking innocent lives in the name of seeking justice for the loss of other innocent lives."

Global Exchange is a member organization of After Downing Street, United for Peace and Justice, and Win Without War anti-war coalitions. The organization endorsed a May 1, 2003 document titled "10 Reasons Environmentalists Oppose an Attack on Iraq," which was published by Environmentalists Against War.

Global Exchange opposes American military aid to Colombia -- aid which it says has "inflamed Colombia's 50-year-old civil conflict, contributing to more deaths, more kidnappings, and an increase in human suffering."

Global Exchange also opposes the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, where Medea Benjamin once resided. (She said that the move from America to Castro's island nation made her feel "like I died and went to heaven.") Each year since 1989, in violation of U.S. travel restrictions, Global Exchange has organized "educational tours" to Cuba (as well as to Haiti and Iran. Global Exchange has endorsed Project USA/Cuba-InfoMed, which seeks to "increase awareness about health achievements in Cuba and the impact of U.S. policies on the health of the Cuban people." In September 1999 the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control issued Global Exchange a "cease and desist" order to stop the trips to Cuba, but the organization defied the order.

With regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Global Exchange sides firmly with the Palestinian cause. In 2004 Global Exchange signed to a letter urging members of the U.S. Senate to vote against supporting Israel's construction of an anti-terrorist security fence in the West Bank, a barrier the letter described as an illegal "apartheid wall" that violated the civil and human rights of Palestinians. 

Global Exchange is also an outspoken critic of Nike and other American corporations whose products are manufactured in foreign factories.  Consistent with its belief that the U.S. is a nation infested with racism and injustice -- particularly in the criminal-justice system -- Global Exchange endorsed an October 22, 2002 National Day of Protest exhorting Americans to rise up and "Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation." The document announcing this event condemned the Patriot Act and stated, "Since September 11, 2001, the authorities have rapidly imposed a resoundingly repressive atmosphere. … Hard-won civil liberties and protections have been stripped away as part of the government's 'war on terrorism." Moreover, the document explicitly defended Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jose PadillaLeonard Peltier, and Lynne Stewart -- depicting them as persecuted political prisoners of a repressive American government.

Late in 2002, Global Exchange took a group of Americans, each of whom had lost loved ones on 9/11, to Afghanistan to meet people whose relatives had perished in the U.S. bombing campaign there. Global Exchange has pressed the U.S. government to create a fund that would pay $10,000 apiece to Afghan victims who need medical care, help in rebuilding their homes, and compensation for the loss of a caretaker or breadwinner.

During the last week of December 2004, Code Pink, Families for Peace, and Global Exchange announced that they were jointly donating $600,000 in medical supplies and cash to the families of the insurgents who were fighting American troops in Fallujah, Iraq. Said Benjamin, "I don't know of any other case in history in which the parents of fallen soldiers collected medicine ... for the families of the 'other side.' It is a reflection of a growing movement in the United States ... opposed to the unjust nature of this war."

A proponent of open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens residing in the United States, Global Exchange endorsed the December 18, 2001 "Statement of Solidarity with Migrants," which called upon the U.S. government to "[r]ecognize the contribution of immigrant workers, students, and families, and [to] end discriminatory policies passed on the basis of legal status in the wake of September 11."

Global Exchange was also a signatory to a February 20, 2002 document, composed by C. Clark Kissinger's radical group Refuse & Resist, condemning military tribunals and the detention of immigrants apprehended in connection with post-9/11 terrorism investigations. Claiming that "Arab, Muslim and South Asian immigrants" had been unjustly "rounded up" based only "on their racial profile," the document denounced "this new repression."

Moreover, Global Exchange signed a petition opposing globalization and "any effort to expand the powers of the World Trade Organization (WTO) through a new comprehensive round of trade liberalization." Members of some of the other groups that signed the document participated in the November 1999 riots in which some 50,000 protesters did millions of dollars worth of property damage in their effort to shut down the WTO Conference in Seattle. Global Exchange leader Medea Benjamin is widely credited as having been a chief organizing force behind the riots.

Global Exchange recently endorsed a document called the Earth Charter, which blames capitalism for many of the world's environmental, social, and economic problems. The Charter maintains that "the dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of species. The benefits of development are not shared equitably and the gap between rich and poor is widening."

In January 2007, Global Exchange and Code Pink jointly led a 12-person delegation to Guantanamo, Cuba, where they publicly called for "the closure of the illegal prison." Among the more notable delegates were Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan.

In 2008 Global Exchange sponsored 13 "reality tours" of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. Says Global Exchange: “Venezuela is at the center of a new, progressive model of socioeconomic development that is shaping Latin America’s future.” On the organization's website, an American man is quoted saying: “The faith that they have in their government and the faith that the government has in them is something that is really beautiful and is something that I’ve never seen before and I didn’t really know it existed.”

In an effort to portray itself in the most positive light to the American people, Global Exchange uses the services of the public relations firm Fenton Communications.

Global Exchange has received funding from the Ben & Jerry's Foundation, the Heinz Family Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, and numerous other foundations.



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