Act Out!: 400+ Reasons To Eat The Rich And More

1ao2

By Eleanor Goldfield for Occupy.com. This week on Act Out!, tempting though it may be to ignore all things real and political for the next few days, hiding behind cranberry sauce and turkey legs won’t change the ever-widening and gaping abyss before us. Dive in with us as we survey our grotesquely top-heavy economy and where people like you and me stand today. Next up, some headlines from Scotland to Syria to why the oil and gas industries are racist. And finally, NAFTA renegotiations plus an expert take on what’s to come and what we can do about it.

2 Workers Assassinated In Mexico: NAFTA Renegotiation More Important Now Than Ever

10079357603_7f27da6d80_z

By Celeste Drake for AFL-CIO – The need to fundamentally improve the labor provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement took on a new urgency over the weekend, as a group of armed civilians, calling themselves the “Tonalapa Community Police,” (Policía Comunitaria de Tonalapa) attacked striking workers, killing two, at the Media Luna mine in Guerrero, Mexico. The murders occurred just five hours south of Mexico City, where representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico are in the midst of their fifth round of talks about rewriting NAFTA. The aggressors, meanwhile, were released after being briefly detained by an army squadron. The striking workers, who want to be represented by the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Related Workers of the Mexican Republic (Los Mineros) and are demanding the removal of the employer-dominated “labor” federation CTM (Confederación de Trabajadores de México), identified local CTM leaders as among those responsible for the attack. The practice of false unions siding with the employer over workers is a common feature of Mexico’s failed labor relations model. Employer-dominated “labor” federations are antithetical to the idea of democratic worker-led unions whose goal is to help workers build better lives.

TPP Renamed To ‘Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership’, Still Not Progressive

11356007985_8b6d807007_z

By Staff of Flush The TPP – On November 11th, the TPP-11 countries announced reaching an agreement on reforms that have been negotiated since the United States exited the deal. The most evident one is its new name which is meant to appease world-wide criticism as one of the worst trade deals for the people ever negotiated. They now want to call it the ‘Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership’ or CPTPP. We are well aware of how world leaders are intentionally trying to avoid easy to remember acronyms due to the brand-busting campaigns that have caused the global opposition to corporate trade deals. Re-branding it as a progressive deal cannot hide what remains behind the deal, such as the ISDS. An official announcement declared that “Ministers are pleased to announce that they have agreed on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.” This reformed deal eliminated 20 sections of the original TPP text, including provisions related to pharmaceutical products, patent protection, copyright and intellectual property. However, the agreement is still far from progressive and far from being signed as Canada is insisting it will not be pressured into a deal that is not good for Canadians. An analysis of the deal by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) welcomes the suspension of the Intellectual Property provisions, which were amongst the most dangerous of the provisions in the original TPP deal.

Trump Cracks Down On Trade And Travel To Cuba

pasted image 0

By Medea Benjamin. On Wednesday, November 8, just as President Trump was clinching new business deals with the repressive Communist government of China, the Trump administration announced its new rules rolling back President Obama’s opening with Cuba. The new regulations restricting travel and trade with the Caribbean island will make it once again illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba without a special license from the Treasury Department and will dramatically reduce the number of Americans traveling there. The regulations, which include a list of 180 banned entities, are supposed to punish hotels, stores and other businesses tied to the Cuban military and instead direct economic activity toward businesses controlled by regular Cuban citizens.

The Third Track: Trade That Builds Our Economy Anew

farmsite

By Staff of IATP – President Trump is playing high stakes poker in the NAFTA talks, with his US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, at the helm. Laura Dawson, director of the Wilson Centre’s Canada Centre published an op-ed on 11 October in which she suggests there are two tracks to the NAFTA talks – one is moving ahead with the “easy consensus” (i.e. tracking new issues that gained prominence in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations), while the other, driven by Trump’s tweets and America First Agenda, is putting the whole enterprise at risk with incendiary statements and impossible demands. The agenda moving ahead for NAFTA reform seeks regulatory harmonization (to the lowest standard), longer monopolies on technology through tighter patent controls, and an extension of foreign investor rights over domestic legislation. It is an agenda much of the U.S. business community is squarely behind, and Canada’s and Mexico’s business communities, too. That agenda was moving along, its path likely smoothed by the fact that many of the negotiators knew one another from the TPP talks. NAFTA empowers an economics many civil society organizations have resisted for decades, whether trade unions, farm organizations, environmentalists, women’s organizations or church groups.

Protesters Demand End To Corporate Courts, Transparency In NAFTA

1nafta1

By Daniel Cooper Bermudez for Trade for People and Planet. Arlington, VA – Official negotiators were met by protesters demanding that the deal do away with the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), a system of tribunals through which multi-national corporations have sued governments for millions of dollars for implementing stronger labor and environmental standards, and to implement transparent and participatory practices in the deal’s remaking. Activists stood in front of the Sheraton in Arlington, Virginia – where negotiations are taking place from October 11-15 – with a giant Trump puppet and signs that read “Democracy not Corporatocracy” and “Transparency: Release the Text!”

Left And Right Have Nothing In Common On NAFTA

1fairdeal

By Stephanie Basile for Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – Today, the fourth round of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are taking place in Washington, DC. Protests are planned at multiple locations around DC, including a petition delivery of over 360,000 signatures to Congress demanding the elimination of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). United under the threat from continually expanding corporate power, the fight against NAFTA has brought together a cross-section of social movements, including unions, community groups, land reform movements, environmentalists, food safety groups, and internet rights organizations.

Possibilities For Economic Evolution: Trade

1tpphwybannner

By Peter Weisberg for The Center for Global Justice. Like a global vampire that drains the blood of one victim after another, so too does the neo-liberal economic system. Under the misleading name of “free trade,” it drains the world of all resources vital to the life of the planet, including the value of human life. Trade—just like money, profits, and growth—has been viewed as an end in and of itself. Trade is, however, not the goal. It is simply a tool that we can use to further our universal goals of improving human rights, justice, sustainability, and democracy. I was asked to consider what a model of world fair trade might look like. My research revealed a common core of values among many if not most progressive organizations.

This Saturday: #NoNAFTA2 Twitter Storm

nonafta2 sept 23 copia

Trade For People and Planet and Popular Resistance are launching Twitter Storms during every round of NAFTA negotiations! To see all the tweets, check this article out. Join us to say #NoNAFTA2, because we have no confidence in a racist Trump administration to care for all working people and the environment! Because no trade deal should pass that divides and disempowers our communities! Round 3 is starting in Ottawa this September 23rd, join us in letting negotiators know that we will NOT accept any trade deals that put profits and corporate sovereignty over people, the environment, and democracy.

BDS – Expressing Solidarity While Conducting Trade With Israel Is Hypocrisy

Stephanie Law/ flickr

By Miko Peled for American Herold Tribune – Israel is all geared up for war against the call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and the de-legitimization of the Zionist state. The ministry of strategic affairs headed by Gil’ad Erdan – which is charged with this task – is now equipped with a budget, a former Israeli army general, retired Brig. General Sima Vakini-Gil who acts as the ministry’s General Director and a new assistant to the General Director, Tsahi Gavrieli who has brought a new wind to the sails of the anti-BDS ship. Gavrieli brought in a team that includes legal experts, economists and media people and according to a story recently published in Hebrew on Ynet they call on the Israeli public to take part in the campaign. According to the story, some parts of the campaign are overt and some covert, and the ministry will no longer be on the defensive but take an active, offensive position. Israelis are now encouraged to join this campaign with apps like ACT.IL which shows how to take the fight on social media and combat the “slurs” against Israel. According to Gavrieli the BDS movement is losing ground in the US, and he brings as examples recent laws passed by over twenty states that criminalize the call to boycott Israel.

Newsletter – No #NAFTA2, Yes To Trade For People & Planet

16252087_10208425543224765_7115266824784863319_o

By Daniel Cooper Bermudez. The Trump administration is renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico in secret, just as President Obama did with the TPP. Over the past two decades, NAFTA has resulted in workers losing their jobs and being replaced by machinery, ruined family farms throughout the continent, displaced communities and privatized social services, environmental disasters like the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a widespread attack on labor rights and unions. This week, we explain our opposition to NAFTA2 and put forward a strategy to remake trade so it is no longer corporate-driven trade for the profits of a few, but people-driven trade to benefit all and protect the planet.

Renegotiating NAFTA Is Putting Lipstick On A Pig

1nafta1

By Robert E. Scott for Economic Policy Institute. The first round of the Trump administration’s NAFTA renegotiations began in Washington wrapped up on Saturday. The negotiators will meet again in September in Mexico City and then again in October in Canada. The United States has not yet proposed any specific measures on important issues such as labor rights, currency manipulation, or rules of origin. By all accounts, these negotiations are more likely to hurt than help most working Americans, who would be better served by efforts to target countries with large, global trade surpluses such as China, the European Union (EU) and Japan. Rather than tinkering around the edges of NAFTA, the United States should begin a campaign to realign the U.S. dollar and rebalance global trade.

Newsletter: When Empires Fall

fp2011hhh

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. The Pentagon recently released a report, “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World,” which details its concerns about losing access to resources and “resistance to authority” both at home and around the world as governments lose legitimacy. Faced with these changes, the United States could embrace them, become a cooperative member of the world, transition to a lower-waste lower-energy sustainable existence and draw back the military to use those resources to meet domestic needs. Sadly, that is not what the Pentagon has in mind. There is a saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The US is the biggest empire in the world; therefore, the Pentagon’s solutions are “more surveillance, more propaganda (‘strategic manipulation of perceptions’) and more military expansionism.” The United States’ reign as an Empire is coming to an end. It is up to those of us living in the US to take action to prevent more aggression and demand that the US dismantle its empire in a way that causes the least harm at home and abroad.

Newsletter: Power Dynamics Changing In World Order

Solidarity without Borders G-20 Hamburg by Reuters

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The G-20 summit highlighted a transition in geopolitical power that has been developing for years. The process has escalated in recent months since President Trump took office, but its roots go much deeper than Trump. The United States is losing power, a multi-polar world is taking shape and people power is on the rise. The G-20 bordered on being a G-19, with the US a loner on key issues of climate change, trade and migration. These are some of the biggest issues on the planet. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been saying lately “We as Europeans have to take our fate into our own hands.” This is an indication they no longer see the US as the leader or even a reliable partner on some issues. In a summation of the G-20, Politico writes: “Hamburg will also go down as a further mile marker in Europe’s slow emancipation from the U.S.”

Tell The USTR We Want Trade For People And Planet

1nafta1

By Trade for People and Planet. Please take a few moments to submit your comments to the Office of the US Trade Representative now. The clock is ticking on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The window for public comments closes Monday, June 12 at 5 pm Eastern. The Trump administration is going against its campaign promises by pushing for a new NAFTA that includes some of the provisions we fought to stop in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We must make it clear that people will not tolerate the current failed model of trade that exploits people and the planet. Trade can be organized in a way that improves working conditions, raises wages, protects the planet and makes voluntary agreements like the Paris Climate Treaty enforceable.