Fast track trade promotion legislation is likely to be introduced soon and will be used to push through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement – but the public knows very little about what this would mean to them.
To help get the word out, there will be a series of rallies across the United States this week and next week to oppose fast track legislation.
A list of February #FightFastTrack rallies around the country can be found here.
On Thursday, between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Eastern time, you can join the #FightFastTrack Twitter storm, using the hashtag #FightFastTrack.
Here are some sample tweets you can use:
Don’t let Congress rubber stamp the #TPP and send jobs overseas. Join a rally near you to #FightFastTrack http://bit.ly/1ykSu0k
Tell Congress: Don’t rubber stamp #TPP with Brunei and Vietnam, serial violators of human rights. #FightFastTrack
Rallies to #FightFastTrack are being held all over the US this week and next. Find one near you to stop the TPP.http://bit.ly/1ykSu0k
What’s At Stake
“Fast Track” is a weird process in which Congress voluntarily gives up its power to define, consider and amend trade deals. With Fast Track Congress is not allowed to amend (a.k.a. “fix”) trade agreements, is only allowed very limited debate on the House and Senate floor, and must pass the agreement within 90 days of the public seeing the text of the agreement for the first time. The Senate is not allowed to filibuster the deal.
Why would Congress give up their duty and power like this? Fast Track gets passed because the multinational corporate sponsors of these trade agreement put on well-funded PR campaigns that put massive pressure on legislators. The PR campaigns tell the public that legislators will “hurt jobs” or are “anti-business” if they vote against Fast Track and these trade deals. In fact, the record is that these trade deals are great for the owners of giant multinational corporations, but have hurt jobs and “Main Street” businesses.
The basic argument the corporations make for Fast Track is that the trade deals could never be completed if the negotiators thought Congress could “meddle” with the results. In other words, these deals can’t stand the test of being acceptable to a democracy so they have to rig the process in advance. The trade deals are negotiated in a rigged process that excludes representatives of different parts of society who might object to rules that favor the giant multinational corporations that will benefit from these deals. Representatives of labor, environmental, health, LGBT, democracy, consumer and other interest groups are not “at the table” as part of the negotiating process – so of course the end result does not reflect the interests of these “stakeholders.”
Or, to put it another way, look at what has happened to the world’s economy and environment since the corporate “free trade” and deregulation ideology came to dominate elite thinking in the late 1970s-early 1980s. The interests of the giant multinational corporations and the 1 percent behind them have done very, very well. The rest of us? Not so much.
You can follow the week’s events on Twitter at @PCGTW.