It’s Time to Scrap NAFTA, Not ‘Tweak’ It

NAFTA opened the doors for a flood of subsidized agricultural products and large-scale consolidation, eviscerating small farmers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo: Bread for the World / Flickr)

By Victor Suarez and Alejandro Villamar for Foreign Policy in Focus. Some politicians and “experts” still don’t understand — or don’t want to understand — that a great deal of popular discontent in the United States, Mexico, and Canada alike is rooted in undemocratic policies that have produced inequality, unemployment, migration, food dependency, and pollution. NAFTA isn’t the only factor — but it’s one of the most powerful. The reason is that NAFTA was never designed for the development of our peoples through trade, but instead to advance the narrow corporate interests of multi-national firms and the governments that serve them. In the case of Mexico, it was negotiated and signed by an authoritarian government that only served the interests of large Mexican and global corporations, and which turned its back on productive sectors linked to the domestic market.

Newsletter: Protest Is Working & Growing

Resist banner flies over the Donald Trump White House by Greenpeace.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. People are recognizing that they have power to protest in a lot of areas. Some see the potential for protest at work, such as the resistance and non-cooperation among federal workers. And, many are planning on building toward a general strike, something unheard of in US history. State officials are even talking about protesting by not paying federal taxes. Early in the Trump era, protest is working and the potential ahead is for an even larger resistance movement. The dysfunctional nature of government will add to protest movements, making the country ungovernable. We can defeat the oligarchy, as currently represented by Trump, but which began long before him, by remaining independent of the corporate parties and fighting for the changes we need.

We Stopped The TPP, Time To Stop TTIP And TiSA!

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By Popular Resistance. On January 23, 2017, President Trump kept his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This action was taken because of the work of activists across the U. S. who care about a variety of issues that would be impacted by the TPP. It was the people working together in broad coalitions that made the TPP so politically toxic that politicians ran away from it. People have the power to bring transformational change. It is time to end the failed model of trade and demand a new era of globalization that strengthens protections of workers, families, communities and the planet rather than protecting corporate profits.

Trump Trade Strategy Starts With Quitting TPP

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By Reuters. WASHINGTON DC: The new US administration of President Donald Trump said on Friday (Jan 20) its trade strategy to protect American jobs would start with withdrawal from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact. A White House statement issued soon after Trump’s inauguration said the United States would also “crack down on those nations that violate trade agreements and harm American workers in the process.” The statement said Trump was committed to renegotiating another trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed in 1994 by the United States, Canada and Mexico. “For too long, Americans have been forced to accept trade deals that put the interests of insiders and the Washington elite over the hard-working men and women of this country,” it said.

When Trade Deals Couldn’t Get Any Worse – Enter Wall Street

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By Paul Keenlyside for the Sierra Club. What connects two proposed gold mines, one in the high-altitude wetlands of Colombia and one in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania? Both mines would require huge quantities of cyanide and threaten watersheds used by millions of people for drinking water. One would damage a unique, legally protected ecosystem and the other would destroy an ancient, UNESCO-nominated settlement. Both have been opposed by scientific bodies, protested by tens of thousands of people, and restricted by domestic courts. And in both cases, the Canadian mining corporations behind the projects (Eco Oro in Colombia and Gabriel Resources in Romania) have responded to the mining denials by using trade and investment deals to sue the governments in private tribunals.

There Is Still One Big Corporate Trade Deal That Must Be Stopped

Annette Dubois/Flickr

By Deborah James for CEPR. Fair Traders who are celebrating the defeat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may see their hard work undone if the talks towards the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) continue under a Trump administration. Many Democrats who minimized the importance of the negative impacts of corporate trade deals on working class Americans have now paid the price in the recent elections. Trump has promised to withdraw from the TPP. Likewise the talks with the EU on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are on hold. In the EU, the EU-Canada agreement, known as CETA, is in limbo while the European Court of Justice decides whether the dispute settlement mechanism in the agreement complies with EU law. Unfortunately there is still a corporate trade agreement under negotiation that has so far received scant attention: the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

Lost Credibility In Fly-Over Country

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By Ben Lilliston for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. The power of the so-called fly over states in the election is impossible to ignore. The electoral maps tell the story. A swath of red, often mostly rural, states in the middle and south of the country, bookended by blue states on the coasts. Even within the few Midwest blue states like Minnesota and Illinois, you can see the stark divide between how urban and rural counties saw the candidates. A look back at the 2012 electoral map tells us this divide is not new, but perhaps wasn’t taken seriously by many Democrats because President Obama won. As the Daily Yonder reports, the long-standing urban-rural voting gap is widening. At least part of this voting gap can be attributed to the Democratic Party’s loss of credibility on a number of core issues that affect the lives of rural communities in those so-called fly over states.

Why Are Trade Unions Opposing Worker Self-Management?

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By Staff of New Internationalist – Many of the same institutions that won the rights to weekends, minimum wages and pensions, are now actively hindering workers who have achieved direct democratic control of their workplaces. Liam Barrington-Bush writes from the Second Euromediterranean Workers’ Economy summit in Greece, about an unexpected rift in the global workers’ movement. ‘Of course you should become unemployed, like everyone else. What makes you think you’re so different?’

Newsletter: Turn Widespread Discontent Into Mass Movement

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. With the election of Donald Trump as president the struggle continues for economic, racial and environmental justice. We knew we would be in struggle no matter who was elected and have been calling for #NoHoneymoon protests for months. We also support calls made for protests in the days before the inauguration and after them. We expect to see a growing presidency of protest under Trump as the movement will grow and continue to demand justice, human rights and a people-based democracy. We need to build now, provide a vision and have conversations at the local level so when the attacks on our communities occur and false promises of Donald Trump are made obvious people know where they can turn. We can turn widespread discontent into a mass movement with the power to transform the nation.

Call For Trump Protests Around Inauguration

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By Kshana Sawant for Counterpunch. Hundreds of thousands of people have already poured into the streets since November 8th. On the night of the election result, my organization, Socialist Alternative began to organize protests around the country for the next day. Hundreds of thousands of people have already poured into the streets since November 8th. On the night of the election result, my organization, Socialist Alternative began to organize protests around the country for the next day. More than 50,000 answered that call: in Seattle, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Oakland. Many more protests have followed, as well as dozens of student walkouts, including 5,000 Seattle students on Monday alone. Our movement will need to be independent of both major political parties. The Democratic Party cannot be relied on to stop Trump, anymore now than during the election. And to truly defeat the right, we will need to build our own mass party – a party of, by and for the 99% – completely free of corporate cash and corporate influence. We have a historic responsibility to fight back against this administration. On January 20th and 21st, activists will be organizing protests and student walkouts across the country. Hundreds of thousands will gather for the Women’s March on Washington DC and to “Occupy Inauguration,” to send a message to the new president that there is no space whatsoever for his bigoted agenda in America.

Newsletter: Time For Boldness, Clarity & Assertiveness

People have the power; protest in Ferguson City Hall in 2014.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. In this moment, the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice needs be bold, clear and assertive in putting forth an agenda that will serve the economically dispossessed, those under attack by militarized police, immigrants facing detentions and deportations and demonstrate policies that ensure economic security. Where Trump is right, as in detente with Russia, the movement will support him against the neocons and humanitarian war supporters; and we will push him further for an end to war as the primary tool of foreign policy. Both parties are confronting major fissures, leadership challenges and questions about where they go from here. Their confused leadership provides an opportunity for the popular movement to fill the leadership void with policies that put people, planet and peace over profit.

White House Gives Up On Passing The TPP

Stop TPP, TiSA and TTIP protest Earth Rising

By Vicki Needham for the Hill. The Obama administration’s won’t pursue passage of its signature Pacific Rim trade deal, dealing a major blow to President Obama’s legacy. Any hope of passing the sweeping 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) quickly faded after Donald Trump’s surprise victory on Tuesday and pronouncements by congressional leaders that the pact would not be considered during the lame-duck session. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton each opposed the agreement during their campaigns, endangering the already slim chances that Congress would cobble together enough support to pass the historic agreement before the end of Obama’s presidency. The long-shot trade agreement faced widespread Democratic opposition on Capitol Hill and the environment for passing the deal only grew more toxic during the presidential campaigns.

Actions To Finish Off The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)!

Activists protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Seattle, Washington, on June 24, 2016. (Photo: Backbone Campaign; Edited: LW / TO)

By Flush the TPP. We have been fighting the TPP for the past 5 years. The work of activists across the country and in solidarity with activists around the world succeeded in pushing the TPP fight into an election year and making it politically toxic. We were told two years ago that voters didn’t care about trade, yet it was the TPP that played a critical role in the Democrat’s loss in the elections. Voters supported Trump to protest the Democrat’s support for the TPP and failure to address the needs of working people and the poor. Now we are in the battle of the year: President Obama says that he will do all that he can to ratify the TPP before he leaves office. Trump opposes the TPP. Members of Congress who have lost their seats or are retiring are not accountable to voters. We can stop the TPP if we take action now to prevent its ratification in the lame duck session of Congress!

New Report: “Trade In Balance: Reconciling Trade & Climate Policy”

Flickr/Tim & Selena Middleton

By Staff of The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future – The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and the Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI) are pleased to announce the publication of a new report, “Trade in the Balance: Reconciling Trade and Climate Policy.” The report is the outcome of the Working Group on Trade, Investment, and Climate Policy convened by Boston University’s GEGI and Georgetown University Law Center’s Harrison Institute for Public Law in April 2016, a group of trade policy experts and climate policy experts from China, North America, and Europe.

'Final Death Blow' To Pro-Corporate Deal

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By Lauren McCauley for CommonDreams. Dealing what campaigners say is the final “death blow” to the pro-corporate Canada-European Union trade deal, negotiations collapsed on Friday after representatives from the Belgian region of Wallonia refused to agree to a deal that continues ignore democracy in favor of multi-national corporations. Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland reportedly walked out of talks with the Wallonia delegation, which had ruled to maintain their veto against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) after the parties reached a stalemate over the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system. “We made new significant progress, especially on the agriculture issues, but difficulties remain, specifically on the symbolic issue of arbitration, which is politically extremely important,” Wallonia president Paul Magnette told the regional parliament. ISDS permits companies to sue governments over perceived loss of profits due to regulations or other laws. Magnette had told reporters Thursday that the delegation had particular concerns over “matters affecting U.S. companies in Canada which will benefit from the system.”