Trans Pacific Partnership
On July 5th four members of MTA (Sandy Nickerson, Mary Shesgreen, Leanne Reis-Ong and Kaye Gamble picketed a fundraiser held for Bill Foster to ask him if he was going to vote for Fast Track for the TPP. The following editorial is written by Tom Broderick for OakPark.com
The old democracy ain’t what it used to be
To the tune of “The Old Gray Mare”: “The TPP is bad for democracy, bad for democracy, bad for democracy. The TPP is bad for democracy. It’s bad for you and me.” Two dozen of us sang this outside a fundraiser held in Oak Park recently.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, of Illinois’ 11th Congressional District, came to Oak Park on Sunday, June 22, to raise money for his political campaign. Illinoisans from four Democratic and two Republican districts were outside a home in the 600 block of Fair Oaks, protesting his position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as well as the secretive negotiation procedure.
Rep. Foster is one of four Democrats representing Illinois who refused to sign a “Dear Colleague” letter opposing “Fast Tracking” the TPP. Fast Track empowers the Executive Branch to present the TPP to our elected representatives for an “up” or “down” vote. There will be little time to review a document composed of thousands of pages. Standard amendment and debate procedures will be bypassed. Why Rep. Foster would condone such an undemocratic approach to governing is bizarre.
Three members from our picket were in the alley when Rep. Foster showed up for his fundraiser. They caught up to him before he reached the backyard. He told us he would only support TPP if it brought jobs. Recall presidential candidate Ross Perot warning of the giant sucking sound of lost American jobs should NAFTA pass?
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the Korean U.S. Trade Agreement (KORUS) have only increased the U.S. trade deficit. While enriching U.S. and foreign multinational corporations, these trade agreements have been destructive to the U.S. economy.
The Maine State Legislature passed the Maine Jobs, Trade and Democracy Act in 2004. This created a first-in-the-nation commission “to assess and monitor the legal and economic impacts of trade agreements on state and local laws, working conditions and the business environment; to provide a mechanism for citizens and legislators to voice their concerns and recommendations; and to make policy recommendations designed to protect Maine’s jobs, business environment and laws from any negative impact of trade agreements.”
Our state senator, Don Harmon, who was invited to the Foster fundraiser, should lead the way in providing Illinois with such safeguards.
There will be a referendum on the November ballot in Oak Park calling for the village to be a TPP-Free Zone. Make your voice heard. For information on the TPP, visit www.citizenstrade.org, www.flushthetpp.org, and www.exposethetpp.org.