People Power, Not Trump, Beat the TPP

Deirdre Fulton

Progressive groups campaigned hard against the 12-nation trade agreement that they said threatened public health, environmental protections, and human rights while handing a big win to corporate interests. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

This arti­cle was first post­ed by Com­mon Dreams.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Mon­day signed an exec­u­tive order with­draw­ing the Unit­ed States from the Trans-Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship (TPP), mark­ing a new phase for the broad move­ment that sought to kill the cor­po­rate-friend­ly trade deal.

Pro­gres­sive groups cam­paigned hard against the 12-nation trade agree­ment that they said threat­ened pub­lic health, envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions, and human rights while hand­ing a big win to cor­po­rate interests.

Indeed, dig­i­tal rights group Fight for the Future was quick to cred­it that move­ment with Mon­day’s vic­to­ry. The vic­to­ry against the TPP belongs to the peo­ple, not to Don­ald Trump or any oth­er politi­cian,” said Fight for the Future cam­paign direc­tor Evan Greer.

An unprece­dent­ed inter­na­tion­al move­ment of peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions from across the polit­i­cal spec­trum came togeth­er, and lead noth­ing short of an upris­ing that stopped an out­right cor­po­rate takeover of our demo­c­ra­t­ic process,” Greer con­tin­ued. Togeth­er we sound­ed the alarm and made the TPP so polit­i­cal­ly tox­ic that no pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who want­ed to be elect­ed could sup­port it.”

Both Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I‑Vt.) made their oppo­si­tion to the deal and oth­ers like it a cor­ner­stone of their elec­tion plat­forms. And Sanders on Mon­day said he was glad the [TPP] is dead and gone.”

Now is the time to devel­op a new trade pol­i­cy that helps work­ing fam­i­lies, not just mul­ti-nation­al cor­po­ra­tions,” Sanders said. If Pres­i­dent Trump is seri­ous about a new pol­i­cy to help Amer­i­can work­ers then I would be delight­ed to work with him.”

But Trump’s record since he won the elec­tion—and since he was sworn into office on Fri­day — don’t inspire a lot of con­fi­dence on that last count.

Don­ald Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion is pro­found­ly anti-work­er, and his deci­sion to pull out of the Trans Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship does­n’t change that,” said Stephanie Tay­lor, co-founder of the Pro­gres­sive Change Cam­paign Com­mit­tee (PCCC). His admin­is­tra­tion is crammed with bankers and bil­lion­aires, and his first actions were to halt over­time pay rules and make it more expen­sive for mid­dle-class fam­i­lies to buy homes. He may talk a big game, but his actions speak for themselves.”

Added 350​.org com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor Jamie Henn on Twit­ter: Iron­i­cal­ly, Trump’s poli­cies are even worse for work­ers and the cli­mate than the TPP was.”

As such, the pub­lic must stay vig­i­lant that any new pol­i­cy,” as Sanders put it, will adhere to the goals of the move­ment that took down the TPP in the first place. Lori Wal­lach, direc­tor of Pub­lic Cit­i­zen’s Glob­al Trade Watch, out­lined some of those goals in a state­ment on Monday.

Trump’s exec­u­tive order will bury the molder­ing corpse of a deal that could­n’t gain major­i­ty sup­port in Con­gress,” Wal­lach said, but the ques­tion is going for­ward: Will Pres­i­dent Trump’s new trade poli­cies cre­ate Amer­i­can jobs and reduce our dam­ag­ing trade deficit while rais­ing wages and pro­tect­ing the envi­ron­ment and pub­lic health not just here but also in trade part­ner nations?”

Not­ing that Trump has also vowed to rene­go­ti­ate the Clin­ton-era North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAF­TA), Wal­lach warned: NAF­TA rene­go­ti­a­tion could be an oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate a new trade mod­el that ben­e­fits more peo­ple, but if done wrong, it could increase job off­shoring, push down wages, and expand the pro­tec­tions NAF­TA pro­vides to the cor­po­rate inter­ests that shaped the orig­i­nal deal.”

As Maude Bar­low of the Coun­cil of Cana­di­ans declared Mon­day ahead of a series of tweets about rene­go­ti­at­ing NAF­TA: Our move­ment must be ready!”

Deirdre Ful­ton is a staff writer for Com­mon Dreams. Pre­vi­ous­ly she worked as an edi­tor and writer for the Port­land Phoenix and the Boston Phoenix, where she was hon­ored by the New Eng­land Press Asso­ci­a­tion and the Asso­ci­a­tion of Alter­na­tive Newsweek­lies. A Boston Uni­ver­si­ty grad­u­ate, Deirdre is a co-founder of the Maine-based Lorem Ipsum The­ater Col­lec­tive and the Port­Fringe the­ater fes­ti­val. She writes young adult fic­tion in her spare time.
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