By Mitch Jones
Fast Track must be defeated!
I’m not engaging in hyperbole when I say that, of all the political fights I’ve engaged in over the years, this is the most important one. By a long shot.
The late Margaret Thatcher was famous for saying, “There is no alternative.” What she meant was there is no alternative to the anti-environment, anti-public health, anti-safe food, anti-clean water de-regulatory agenda. No alternative to the privatization of basic services. No alternative to replacing a high wage manufacturing economy with a low wage service economy. No alternative to putting finance in the drivers’ seat of our economy and our governments. No alternative to the neo-liberal agenda of hyper-individualism and the denial of the existence of society.
But, of course, she was wrong. There is an alternative. I know there is because everyday moms and dads, working folks who don’t have the privilege of being paid to fight this fight like I do, give up their weeknights and their weekends to make that alternative real. Against all odds they pass referenda to stop fracking in Colorado of all places. They beat back water utility privatization in Ft. Worth! They pass bills to label GMOs. They pass local living wage laws. And so much more. We know the alternative is possible.
But the people who thrive in the world created by “free trade” know it, too. And that’s why they are trying desperately to enact their agenda in the form of global trade agreements that contain provisions that will allow corporations to challenge federal, state, and local laws and regulations enacted democratically – but against their narrow financial interests. The biggest of these deals being negotiated right now is the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP. And, just today, legislation was introduced that would let the Obama administration push that deal through Congress on a “fast track” with no chance for amendments, no opportunity for real debate. And, what’s almost worse, the deal is being negotiated in secret. Neither you nor I can see the text being negotiated in our names.
If you want to know what this “free trade” agenda has done to our economy just look around. Wages have been stagnant for 40 years. Manufacturing jobs have fled abroad. More and more wealth has accumulated in fewer and fewer hands. Our economy is broken and it is broken because of this agenda.
In short, if we lose this fight it makes all our work harder.
This is a “which side are you on?” moment.
And this isn’t a partisan issue. I’m proud to say that some of our best allies in this fight are conservative – even tea party Republicans.
I want to take back the idea that “there is no alternative” and put it to good use. Because, there is no alternative to losing this fight. There just isn’t.
So, if you haven’t done it already please email, call, and tweet at your Member of Congress and tell them to vote no on fast track.