We need to undercut President Obama’s TPP at the Democratic Convention

by , posted on Thursday, June 30th, 2016 at 7:07 pm

At the last Democratic Party Platform Committee meeting in St. Louis, Secretary Clinton’s surrogates on the platform committee voted to keep the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) off of the platform agenda.  We also saw the language and strategy that they are employing to allow the Clinton campaign to quietly shift positions on the TPP; giving the Obama Administration one last chance to pass this disastrous trade bill.

According to the Washington Post, during the platform meeting, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Clinton) said, “I don’t want to do anything as he ends his term to undercut the president of the United States.”

Dr. Cornel West (Sanders) effectively countered Cummings when he said, “the responsibilities of citizenship should transcend loyalty to the president.”

I would like to go a step further – We need to undercut President Obama’s TPP.  It is not good for America or working people anywhere in the world.  It is not good for the environment.  The TPP extinguishes democracy; replacing it with corporate government. We don’t need the TPP.  The president is wrong and he needs to reverse his position on the TPP.  The time to send this message is at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.  If you need to read more about the TPP, this in-depth analysis from Public Citizen titled, “Secret TPP Text Unveiled: It is worse than we thought,” is worth the read.

Some labor leaders are OK with this public neutering by Clinton and her corporate allies, because in private she has offered them the reassurance of her opposition to the TPP.  I would encourage those labor leaders to join David Sirota and simply ask the former Secretary of State to share her State Department e-mails on the topic.  Sirota received a letter saying the e-mails would not be available until after the November election.  What is the big secret?  More importantly, how can we trust someone who flip-flops so much?  Do we think that Secretary of State Clinton’s e-mails regarding the TPP reflect her real views?  Or, do we think that candidate Clinton’s position on the TPP is real?  Or, are the most recent views by her platform committee surrogates the real view?

The Presumptive Presidential Nominee Directs the Democratic Platform:

In 2012, Democratic Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz repeatedly underscored that a political party’s platform represents the views of the presidential candidate.

In this exchange with Anderson Cooper, Cooper asked Wasserman Shultz, “you’re saying he (Mitt Romney) directed the writing of the platform, at least that’s the claim you make in your fundraising e-mail?”  Wasserman-Schultz cuts Anderson off and says, “That’s the responsibility of a presidential campaign.”  Throughout the interview she resolutely and emphatically claimed that the presidential candidate directs the writing of the platform.

In this case, the presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, is directing the platform.  Using the DNC chairs emphatic statements and the recent platform vote, it is safe to say that Hillary Clinton herself now supports the TPP.

What Do We Do to Stop the TPP?

For those who still appreciate the benefits of organized labor and the scraps of democracy that we enjoy with a main course of oligarchy, the TPP is suicide.  I think labor leaders need to take this more seriously. One thing you can do is contact your labor union representatives and underscore that we need to undercut President Obama at the Democratic Convention in July.

In asking the question, “who do we trust?”  I still trust Bernie Sanders.  Sanders has launched a petition calling on the U.S. Congress to vote no on the TPP.  Please sign Bernie’s petition.

Photo John Laesch

Disclosure: I am a proud union carpenter with Local 195 (Carpenters Officially oppose the TPP) and I am a #StillSanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.  I will be standing strong against the TPP at the convention.

It is time for President Obama to listen to the people and put the brakes on the TPP, fast track, “smart track,” or anything else that further dissolves our democracy and offshores American jobs to sweatshops in foreign countries.  Instead, we should be talking about an exit from NAFTA – an Obama pledge from his 2004 U.S. Senate race.


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