Newsletter: When Empires Fall

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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

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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.

Trump And Trade

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By John Feffer for Foreign Policy In Focus – If you want to understand why Donald Trump has been changing his position on trade, one place to start is pork. I’m not talking about the pork that goes into congressional sausage making. I’m talking the real stuff, the kind that comes from Smithfield Foods, the Virginia-based company responsible for one out of every four American pigs. As a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — which Ronald Reagan dreamed of, George H.W. Bush negotiated, and Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993 — Smithfield Foods was able to make significant headway into the Mexican market. U.S. sales of pork to Mexico went from under $200 million in 1994 to nearly $1.2 billion in 2013. Smithfield employs 50,000 people. It makes a ton of money. And it doesn’t want the United States to pull out of NAFTA, because then it would see a major decline in sales. Mexico, after all, was the largest pork purchaser by volume in 2015. Also, after NAFTA went into effect, Smithfield purchased a Mexican operation, CGM, that became a cornerstone of its global empire on the basis of cheaper labor and laxer environmental regulations south of the border.

Trade in the Digital Era, We Demand Popular Participation

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Daniel Cooper Bermudez for Popular Resistance – Digital rights are under threat in the United States and abroad as corporations and governments work together to infringe upon people’s privacy and limit essential civil and political rights such as freedom and equality in access to information. From the FCC’s dismantling of Net Neutrality to the inclusion of digital trade provisions in TPP that industry leaders want in NAFTA, the movement has been ready to fight back and has counter-proposals to guarantee that the internet remains free and open, a center for the global organizing required to foster a world fighting back climate change and human rights violations.

Corporate Siege and Trade in the 2018 Elections

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Trade policy is amounting to be an increasinly contentious topic as the Trump administration has clearly showed its intentions to keep major TPP provisions in NAFTA. Corporations are working with the Department of Commerce to eliminate the few but significant labor and environmental protections the government enforces while members of Congress begin to campaign around trade. 2018 promises to put trade policy at the forefront as presidential elections in Mexico and mid-terms in the United States could determine the fate of North American trade agreements to come.

The NAFTA Machine is in Motion

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By Daniel Cooper Bermudez for Popular Resistance. This month, the Trump adminsitration sent out an eight-page draft letter to the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means committees outlining the administration’s objectives for NAFTA renegotiations. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has expressed wanting to send out the official letter to Congress, which upon approval would initiate the 90-day consultation period required before beginning negotations. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto already began Mexico’s own 90-day consultation period in early February. That means the NAFTA negotiations could start in early July.

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

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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?’