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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/16/15

Sea Change: Citizens Beat Wall Street And Multinationals In Congress

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Lori Wallach, in "Fast Track Down":

"Friday's outcome was a testament to the strength and diversity of the remarkable coalition of thousands of organizations that overcame a money-soaked lobbying campaign by multinational corporations and intense arm-twisting by the GOP House leadership and the Obama administration. The movement now demanding a new American trade policy is larger and more diverse than in any preceding trade policy fight. It includes everyone from small business leaders and labor unions to Internet freedom advocates and faith groups to family farmers and environmentalists to consumer advocates and LGBT groups to retirees and civil rights groups to law professors and economists."

"Trade" Deals That Are About Wall Street Overcoming Democracy

The Wall Street/multinational corporation "trade" deals are about getting around democracy so they can lower the wages they have to pay, not pay for environmental protection and get government out of the way of their profits with their meddlesome regulations that protect health and safety and citizens.

Fast-tracking these agreements is a way around democracy to get the Wall Street/multinational corporation "trade" deals enacted.

This pesky "democracy" problem -- "government interference" getting in the way of profits -- was the reason corporations put together our rigged trade processes in the first place. If open, transparent debate in Congress won't give you what you want, then slip it into secret, corporate-negotiated "trade" agreements and use a rigged "fast track" process to tie Congress's hands and keep our representatives from being able to "meddle" with the result. ("You can't get a trade deal done if Congress can change it.")

But past "trade" deals have made things so bad now for so many Americans " all people have to do is look around to understand that these "trade" policies -- written of, by and for the giant multinational corporations -- haven't worked for most of us. So-called "free trade" has closed so many factories, cost so many jobs and devastated entire regions of the country. Just drive around the Rust Belt and look at how many towns have an old fenced-off, broken-window, closed factory surrounded by a decrepit downtown and boarded-up houses where the factory's workers used to live.

Then visit an area where the executives and investors live. Look at the giant estates they purchase with the wages that used to go to the factory workers and the stores where they shopped...

It's so visible now that people can see it right through the 24/7 smokescreen of propaganda on the one hand and media blackouts of real information on the other.

Let's Try A Different Way

We have turned a corner. We stopped fast track (for now). Now that people are catching on, Wall Street and the CEOs will have to find another way around democracy to fast-track agreements that let them ship factories and jobs out of the country, weakening our economy and democracy. (P.S.: Take a look at the Populist Majority website tracking public opinion.)

Maybe, just maybe, we can trigger a new kind of debate, in which We the People participate and "stakeholders" like labor representatives and environmentalists and consumer groups and democracy groups and LGBT groups and health groups and food safety groups and faith groups and all the rest of us join the business groups in seats around the negotiating table to come up with a new economic agenda that works for all of us, not just for a few.

This fast-track battle has been won but the bigger TPP/"trade"/trickle down Wall Street/"job creator"-vs-the-rest-of-us fight is just beginning. Don't stop the pressure, the calls, the visits to representative's offices, telling people about it and everything else you have been doing. It's working and we can turn this back. We can demand a real debate over how our country should do business.

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Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. He was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational (more...)
 

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