Newsletter – Resistance Is Necessary

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Mackenzie McDonald-Wilkins protests fast track while Senate Finance Committee considers fast track on April 22, 2015. Photo by John Zangas of DC Media Group.

Mackenzie McDonald-Wilkins protests fast track while Senate Finance Committee considers fast track on April 22, 2015. Photo by John Zangas of DC Media Group.

This week, hidden amidst the news of the massacre in Charleston and the Supreme Court decisions on the health law, fair housing and marriage equality, the Senate passed Fast Track legislation and sent it to the president’s desk to be signed into law. Now the path is clear for the president to push the triple threat of treaties through Congress, unless we resist and stop them. The first one, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), is expected to come to a Congress this fall. It will be followed by the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in-Services Agreement (TiSA).

The choreographed corruption required to accomplish this feat, given the massive opposition to Fast Track, was obvious. Both the House and Senate had exactly the number of votes needed and not one more because they knew everyone who voted for the unpopular Fast Track risked their political career. Members who supported Fast Track in the House received nearly $200 million from corporations who will profit from the treaties.

Indentured to the power elite

Rivera Sun, an author and proponent of nonviolence who actively worked to stop Fast Track, accurately summarizes the consequences if these treaties become law:

“This is the end of the United States. Our colonizing nation has been colonized by corporations and rich people – many of whom identify as transnational entities. Sovereignty has sold to the highest bidder. We, the people, are indentured to the power holding elite.”

Storm Clouds Gathering explains the specific threats to sovereignty that we will face if the TPP passes this fall. We will not be able to pass laws that protect the health and safety of our communities but the profits of corporations will have legal protection. Necessities such as access to health care will be available only to the wealthy. Ralph Nader urges people to “send the legislators who supported the fast track handcuffs a CITIZENS’ SUMMONS to appear at a town meeting where you, not they, present the agenda. If the lawmakers think 500 or more determined people will show up, it is very likely they will relent and meet with you.”

Plutocracy definedLegal scholar Alan Morrison argues that there is legal precedent to find the extrajudicial trade tribunal system in the TPP and TTIP unconstitutional violating Article III of the Constitution.  In fact, using Fast Track to pass these treaties also arguably violates Article I of the Constitution by transfering congressional responsibility for trade to the president. Fast Track is for trade agreements, and although they are often called trade agreements, the TPP, TTIP, and TiSA are much broader than trade and are really treaties. In a functioning democracy, they would undergo a full review and require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.

We live in a Plutocracy, rule of, by and for the rich, a government and judicial system that have little regard for the people. To get a sense of what is in store for us, just look at what is already happening.  Erik Loomis describes toxic zones created in communities without the resources to fight back. Chris Hedges writes about the forced labor in the prison industrial complex. Did you know that McDonald’s burgers and chicken tenders are made by prisoners? And perversely, while prisoners are not paid for their work, they are charged high fees for basic necessities. This is what an extractive economy looks like.

Rise Up 1Resistance is necessary

Truly recognizing our current predicament without giving up hope for the future is a challenging feat. But it is also necessary if we are to understand what we are up against and how to stop it. What is being called “The American Century” has wreaked havoc upon the world and it is our duty to stop it.

It will take a coordinated mass resistance movement to stop the triple trade treay threat. Stopping these treaties will strike a blow at growing corporate power, which, along with racism, imperialism and colonialism, is an important root of the many crises we face.

We have a real opportunity to connect our movements this fall and rise together. Already, thousands are organizing climate actions to Flood the System through Rising Tide North America. Will the climate justice movement recognize that its success also depends on defeating the treaties? Will the same happen for the Black Lives Matter and other rapidly growing movements? Will Labor step up its game and mobilize courageous acts of resistance? Can we shut DC and other major cities down?

The TPP is likely to come to Congress in the midst of the re-election season for Congress and heading into the first votes in the presidential primaries. The free traitors have sought to keep the TPP secret and out of the media, but with elections happening this will become an impossible task. 

Building a coordinated movement of movements to stop the TPP will be a major focus of Popular Resistance’s organizing heading into the fall. If you would like to join in that organizing, a first step is to participate in the National TPP Resistance calls. Click here for more information and to register.

Success could be around the corner

Time and again, history demonstrates that movements have achieved success when they least expected it. Sometimes all seems lost and victory feels far away, and then something happens and suddenly major change occurs. We could be in just such a moment.Bree Newsome climbing flagpole and removing Confederate flag

Look at the way that the massacres in Charleston have suddenly catalyzed the decades-old movement to remove a prominent symbol of racism and slavery, the confederate flag. On Friday, a brave woman, Bree Newsome, climbed the flag pole in front of the South Carolina state capital and removed the racist flag. Her action is receiving attention worldwide. The flag is being removed not just from lawns, but also from state flags and license plates in the South. This is one small and important change, but we are reminded that we still have much more to do.

The work to stop the TPP, TTIP and TiSA builds on decades of resistance to corporate globalization and neoliberal policies that exploit the poor and people of color. If we work with intention over the coming months, we could defeat the TPP and reject this paradigm.

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  • Aquifer

    Ralph Nader – “send the legislators who supported the fast track handcuffs a CITIZENS’ SUMMONS
    to appear at a town meeting where you, not they, present the agenda. If
    the lawmakers think 500 or more determined people will show up, it is
    very likely they will relent and meet with you.”

    Ralph – we are long past the “let’s get a town meeting” stage – it’s time, past time, for Stein’s “throw the bums out” stage …

  • kevinzeese

    I am sure RN would agree, but the bums will be in office when the TPP is considered since it will very likely be before the election. So, the town hall, demanded by constituents, is a way to show anger and threatend the bum with being thrown out.

  • AlanMacDonald

    Kevin, Ralph missed his chance (and reneged on his commitment to me) to run “against the Empire”.

    Maybe, just maybe, Bernie will be smarter and more courageous and expand his vague campaign shirt message from “Join the Political Revolution” to the more explicit “Join the Political Revolution against EMPIRE”.

    This seems like ‘Common Sense’ to me (and Thomas Paine)

  • kevinzeese

    Looks to me like Sanders is not going to raise foreign policy or international issues, except when pressed. The exception will be corporate rigged global trade.

    Sorry, while Empire is important, we are not changing our name. We raise Empire issues regularly but it is not the only issue. It is one of a number of issues that connect issues. I know you see it differently and are focused solely on Empire.

  • AlanMacDonald

    Empire is the meta-issue and cancerous tumor that directly causes all these other superficial ‘identity issues’, subordinate ‘symptom problems’, and our entire “ailing social order”, and until the underLYING disease is adequately diagnosed and treated (or excised) our body politic will decline to certain death — and this includes your accurate assessment that Bernie has a problem that he knows about in not addressing the entire scope of ‘Empire abroad’ and the flaw in his campaign strategy of being tarred as ‘class warfare’ (which Killary and the neoliberal-con ‘D’ Vichy party will “hang him on”).

    But, IF, Bernie has the brains and balls to run ‘against Empire’ he will be on sound footing and win regardless of whether the Demos throw him out, because he will be able to educate his current base and expand it by teaching people Hannah Arendt’s painfully learned lesson that, “Empire abroad entails tyranny at home” — including the economic tyranny of austerity to the point of literal starvation, which is exactly where; poor, Black, unemployed, and even working lower-middle class Americans are quickly headed.

  • Aquifer

    I realize that – so go ahead and have Town Meetings and express one’s ire, just as we have so many times in the past, threaten loss of support, as we have so many times in the past – but unless, unlike so many times in the past, we actually unite at the polls to carry out that threat – they won’t amount to any more than another opportunity to let off steam, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Which, of course, gets back to the importance of electoral politics ….

    As for Ralph – well, as someone who voted for him 4 times for Pres and contributed to his campaigns, his lack of support for indy candidates (outside of his support for Hawkins’ run for NY Gov.) has been a considerable source of disappointment and frustration for me – Now is the time for him to stop trying to “pressure” Dems to step up and say “the hell with them” …

  • Aquifer

    Well, Alan – I notice in a previous post I do believe you said you were supporting Bernie even though he has yet to meet your acid test – does that still apply?

    Look, Alan, there is more than one way to skin a cat – your insistence that unless the phrase “Down with Empire!” be used by a candidate, that candidate isn’t worth the trouble is like the story of the guy, who when the floods came, insisted God would save him – when a car came and he was urged to get in to get away, said “No, God will save me”, as the flood waters rose, a boat came by with the same result, as the waters rose more and he sat on the roof, a helicopter came by – same result. Finally he drowned and when he got to the pearly gates he said to God – “I believed in you! How come you didn’t save me?” And God said – “What? I sent you a car, a boat, a helicopter, what did you want, a flaming chariot?”

  • AlanMacDonald

    Aquifer, nice try regarding God, but please remember that God’s only son, Jesus, was sent to earth to confront Empire (the Roman kind) with Love — which he did even though the Roman Empire conspired to manipulate his death.

    Liberty, democracy, equality, and justice

    Violent (and Vichy-disguised)


  • Aquifer

    Hmm – But i don’t ever recall Jesus saying “Down with Empire!” In fact, he didn’t openly oppose it, per se, he simply said “My kingdom is not of this world” – he was crucified because the existing order saw him as a threat, though he openly said “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s”.

    As for that old canard, sorry, don’t see the relevance …

    My point was rather simple, there are many ways of dismantling Empire that don’t require shouting “Down with Empire!” And insisting that one use the term before one participates in the effort is like insisting on a flaming chariot ….

    Philistine? How so?

  • AlanMacDonald

    Kevin, as I said to you a few days earlier, Bernie does not have the luxury of “not going to raise foreign policy or international issues, except when pressed” — he’s already being pressed on this weakness in his strategy.

    I mentioned to Bernie’s NH campaign manager after listening twice to Bernie’s campaign speech that he’s bound to be attacked by Hillary’s stealth negative issue thugs on the issue of his sounding like an old class warrior — and on his not having any position on foreign policy.

    He’s already being fired at by Hillary’s snipers:

    I’m not saying I’m any prescient strategist, but it’s already coming out from Hillary’s agit-prop slimmers in exactly that form, as evidenced by this Salon article — of which there will be so many following attacks that Bernie will not only have to inoculate himself and have good counter-strategy answer on the ‘class-war’ dig, but he will need to get out beyond Killary and up-stage her in her own supposed expertise of FP — for which there is only one overarching solution to his Troubles in River City (and that begins with ‘T’, and that rhymes with ‘E’ and that stands for EMPIRE).

    Yes, Kevin, I don’t have to push Bernie to take a strong position ‘against Empire’. Hillary and her mob already are attacking his ‘domestic only’ policy, and they’re going to get the ‘media/propaganda-sector’ of that very Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist EMPIRE to ironically ask that old Wendy’s TV ad question: “Where’s the Foreign Policy” (beef).

    Bernie is either going to have to pick-up the anti-Empire axe and skewer Hillary on the petards of her own deceitful service as the Den Mother of this friggin Global Empire, or he’s going to have to put down that tempting, delicious, and really good for the country Presidential Beefburger.

    The choice is not mine to come out swinging with serious anti-Empire candor and honesty against this Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist EMPIRE which has us all by the throat, and which Bernie should know is the proximate cause of all his/our issues, ‘symptom problems’ and entire “ailing social order” — it’s his choice from the menu.

    Anyway, Kevin, I was not seriously suggesting or bugging you to rename “Popular Resistance” as Popular Resistance against Empire — although it does have a nice ring.

    What the hell, before Jan 2017 the Empire will probably lower the boom on us anyway, eh?

  • kevinzeese

    The problem with your analysis is that Hillary is so bad on militarism, empire and global corporate power that Bernie does not need to say anything. As a result it does not become an issue in the campaign unless there is someone who sees political benefit to challenging Hillary on those issues. So far Bernie has not shown that inclination.