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!”

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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.
Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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