Ralph Nader Urges Activists to Speak to Elected Representatives, Demand they State their Position; Warns Stopping Rigged Trade Necessary to Prevent Becoming Serfs to Corporate Rule
There is a lot going on with fast track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other rigged “trade” agreements. We are hearing that if there were a vote today, fast track would fail in Congress. These corporate “trade” agreements are very important to the Obama administration and transnational corporations so we expect a lot of threats, promises and deals from Obama and the Republican leadership to switch votes. We need to strengthen the opposition to fast track so they can withstand the pressure and we also need to expand the number of supporters so they do not even try to bring it to the Floor for a vote. This is a fight we can win, but it is not one we can take for granted.
We put “trade” in quotes because this is really about global corporate rule, not traditional trade. As Ralph Nader said on the first “Fast Track Resistance Call” these agreements really are corporate managed coercive rigged trade — we call them rigged trade. They are coercive because they set up special trade courts to enforce the agreement, where the judges are usually corporate lawyers on leave from their corporate job. The fast track debate puts us at a crossroads of global corporate rule: do we want to become serfs to corporate dominance or do we demand real democracy?
Nader also made the point that these rigged agreements avoid the constitutional requirement for ratification of treaties by calling them agreements rather than treaties. All other countries call them treaties but corporate riggers in the US avoid that term because it would require a two-thirds vote in the senate to ratify them. They know they could never get enough votes for these unpopular agreements if they were forced to abide by the constitution. Similarly, fast track undermines the Commerce Clause requirement that Congress regulate trade between nations. These agreements undermine the constitution and laws of the United States in multiple ways.
When our opposition gets desperate they start to lie and mislead, one tactic is to create phony astro-turf groups to put foward false propaganda. We are seeing that now in the fast track debate. A new group is making the outrageously false claim that rigged trade is good for American jobs. The name of the group is even false: Progressive Coalition for American Jobs, as it is neither progressive nor good for American jobs. Daily Kos reports the group is led by former Obama staffers including “Obama campaign alumni Mitch Stewart, the Battleground States Director for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and Lydia Tran, the former National Press Secretary for Organizing for America.”
The group is based on a big lie, in fact Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post gave the claim of job creation four Pinocchio Noses — the highest dishonesty score possible. Kessler describes claims of job creation by the Obama administration to be concocted and that most economists will not make such claims. Rather than 650,000 jobs as the administration claims, Kessler finds this false and says 0 jobs will be created. In fact, similar jobs claims were made for previous trade agreements which in fact the agreements have lost jobs. Reuters reports: “Nearly 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs — one in four — have been lost since NAFTA and the various post-NAFTA expansion deals were enacted through fast track.” And, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports: 3 out of 5 displaced workers who found a job are earning less money and one-third took a pay cut of 20% or more.
The split among Republicans on trade seems to be growing. The Coalition for a Prosperous America reports on a letter supporting fast track where: “Only 26 of the 46 GOP freshmen would sign the letter (see PDF). Twenty refused to sign. By contrast, 67 of 87 GOP freshmen signed a March 2011 letter supporting the Colombia, South Korea and Panama trade deals.” The Coalition reports that “that the constitutional, economic and sovereignty questions are becoming very significant” and Republicans no longer jump when the Chamber of Commerce says trade.
People across the political spectrum are recognizing that past claims about trade and jobs have been false and it is more accurate to call these agreements “job-killing trade agreements.” As the Coalition writes: “While it’s been too slow, the country is now beginning to see that the deals they supported in the past have not produced the growth and job creation that were promised. America was lied to. The promotional trade treaty arguments of today are simply re-runs of past arguments that turned out to be false.”
Arthur Stamoulis of Citizens Trade Campaign is reporting that “Japan and Canada are now saying that their talks are stalled because of the Fast Track delay.” In reality, fast track is just one problem as previous reports have said there are still major areas of difference between the negotiators. TPP negotiators are meeting at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa near Kona, Hawaii now through Sunday. There are educational events planned on the Big Island and a protest rally outside the negotiations on Saturday. People are holding important “Drop-In & Hang-Out” and other actions in targeted districts throughout the country this Friday. Click here to learn about where they’re taking place and how you can get involved.
Nader told us that the most effective thing we can do is meet directly with elected representatives, bring a small group with us and demand they respond to whether they support fast track trade authority. Don’t let them avoid the question, demand an answer. If they oppose fast track, ask them to send you an email confirming this. If they support fast track escalate your actions — picket, protest, sit-in — and bring more people back to the office to demand the representative oppose fast track. Gather names on a petition insisting on a town hall meeting just on the topic of fast track for rigged trade. Bring people from different parts of the political spectrum to show that their is broad opposition to fast track for rigged trade. Nader said, after face-to-face meetings the next best are hand written letters, followed by phone calls, followed by emails. So, push for a face-to-face meeting with your representative to demand they do not support fast track for rigged trade.