By Paul Garver
DSA members in the Washington, DC area are joining a massive rally for fair trade called by the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the numerous other national organizations that comprise the Citizens Trade Campaign, including DSA. The rally is taking place on Wednesday May 7 at 1:30 PM at the Upper Senate Park on Constitution Ave.
Freshly back from his Asia trip, President Obama has renewed his desperate push for Trade Promotion Authority legislation that would allow his administration to submit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade and investment treaties to Congress under a “fast track” process that would prohibit amendments and limit debate. Since the TPP has been negotiated secretly with only 600 corporate lobbyists having full access, only the two sections dealing with the environment and with intellectual property, revealed through Wikileaks, are publicly available. However, these are sufficient to demonstrate that the remaining draft provisions of the TPP are similar to the failed NAFTA model that privileged corporate rights over environmental and labor standards, and led to massive job losses and allowed large-scale environmental pollution. Every major environmental, labor and open Internet access group has come out in opposition to Fast Track and to the TPP. As the photo above indicates, over three million persons have signed an international petition against the TPP.
CWA President Larry Cohen, who has addressed Congressional committees on behalf of the entire coalition, reminds us that” “Trade agreements are not only about tariffs and quotas. They are about the food we eat and the air we breathe, the jobs we hold. U.S. negotiators continue to lump together foreign policy and economic issues. That policy has a devastating effect on working families and communities. We cannot let foreign policy objectives trump domestic concerns and in the process unravel our own democracy.”
Even though corporate lobbyists led by the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have made passage of fast track and the TPP a top legislative priority, and expect support from both neoliberal Democratic and most Republican legislators, public opinion polls indicate that the majority of citizens reject “free trade” agreements that allow multinational corporations to circumvent domestic legislation and democratic rights. Both Republican and Democratic legislators will have to weigh whether in this case their usual catering to the concerns of wealthy corporations will risk their own reelections.
For a fuller analysis posted earlier on this blog, see
Paul Garver is a retired international union organizer, co-editor of the Talking Union blog, and member of DSA’s National Political Committee.
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