Saturday, November 12, 2016

The First Casualty of the Trump Presidency - The Trans-Pacific Partnership

After Trump's election win, the Green Party did not miss a beat. The leadership called for all members to resist Trump and the two-party system that excludes the left from American politics. You can take that only so far without crossing a line that would constitute a felony, but the end result may turn out to be the overthrow of the President.

The Green Party is calling for activists to support  Flush the TPP and Occupy Inauguration. All the while, protests are mounting all over the U.S., including Baltimore. We are close enough to Washington, D.C. to lend our presence to some direct action.

The first of these, a demonstration to warn Congress against passing lame duck legislation to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), starts on Sunday. Organizers advise activists to not be complacent with noises coming out of Congress and the White House about taking the TPP off the agenda, though it seems plausible that they would be reluctant to pursue the treaty with a President-elect steadfastly opposed to multinational trade deals.

Maryland's own Margaret Flowers, former Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, has been on this issue for 5 years. She is also a big player with the Popular Resistance movement - a follow-on network to the Occupy protests.
Photo: Backbone Campaign

The Green Party opposes the TPP, as do I, despite the jobs that it may support, based on the belief in more local and regional trade and less corporate power. From the Green Party platform:
Greens support strong local economies and regional trade. The best model of economic security is for a community and region to be largely self-sufficient in the production of its necessities. We support not the corporate control of "free trade" — which, through the machinations of the World Trade Organization places the enrichment of multinational corporations above the level of national laws — but "fair trade," which protects communities, labor, consumers and the environment. Local economic vibrancy and regional trade keep more money in the community and the region, rather than going to distant corporate headquarters. This is the most sensible model for economic security.
One of Ms. Flowers' other campaigns, It's Our Economy, has a similar take on the construction of international trade agreements:
Remake international trade from corporate trade to people’s trade.  The current rhetoric calls trade agreements “Free Trade” but in reality they are trade agreements that favor corporations over the interests of labor, the environment and consumers.  Trade agreements need to be redesigned so they serve the interests of people and the planet rather than the interests of corporations.  Further, institutions like the World Trade Organization need to become more transparent and more democratic.  They can no longer be giving power to corporations to overturn democratically enacted laws by making corporations more powerful than governments.
My own concern for the environment (global warming, in particular) overrides concern for the economy. In fact, these two appear to be contrary now, to the point that an economic crash may be necessary to prevent runaway global warming. Encouraging more international trade, in order to bring about economic growth, means more stuff and more fuels being burned, leading to further environmental degradation. In any case, I believe a global economic crash is in the offing, so trying to arrange trade deals with optimistic assumptions about world trade will result in many of those assumptions being shattered and the deal losing much of its purported benefits.

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