“It’s the Whole Earth Catalogue for politicos.”Wes “Scoop” Nisker, author of Crazy Wisdom
Operation SalAMI was a Montréal-based direct action group conceived as a campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). The MAI was a global investment treaty being privately worked out between member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Chamber of Commerce. The name SalAMI includes this agreement’s French acronym AMI (or “friend”) preceded by “Sal,” meaning bad or dirty. In May 1998 SalAMI surrounded and delayed the Conférence de Montréal on Globalized Economies. The ensuing global mobilizations actually led to the shelving of the agreement. Since then, Operation SalAMI has collaborated to organize conferences, teach-ins and two festive May 1 vigils in front of the Montréal Stock Exchange. In 2001, after the government failed to produce secret negotiating texts for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) treaty, Operation SalAMI surrounded the Department of International Trade and Foreign Affairs. Climbing barricades, they declared they had a “Citizens’ Warrant for Search and Seizure.” Five days later, the International Trade Minister released the full FTAA draft. Negotiators missed the 2005 deadline for the implementation of the FTAA.