Wednesday, April 25 , 2018, 5:57 am | Fog/Mist 52º

 
 
 
 

Jim Hightower: Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Not a Trade Fight; It’s a Fight for Democracy

White House spokesman Josh Earnest dismissed it as a procedural snafu, and it was — but not in the way he meant.

The "it" was the stunning June 12 vote last week in the House of Representatives that wrecked that high-balling freight train called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

TPP is the global trade scam that was being railroaded through Congress, carrying an unbelievably odious load of freight that would give more power to Big Pharma, Wall Street, Walmart, Big Oil frackers, Silicon Valley monopolists, agribusiness giants, climate change deniers, job exporters, exploiters of labor and other multinational corporate elites.

None other than President Barack Obama was running this locomotive, and GOP congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner were the chief freight handlers. With the full corporate establishment onboard the TPP, its passage was a done deal. Except for one unforeseen obstacle: you. And you. And you. In other words, the American people!

The more you learned about what the TPP is carrying, the more you realized what a raw deal it is for your democratic rights, your jobs, income, health, environment, food, etc. — so the more involved you got in the StopTheTPP.org movement. "You The People" rose up in nearly every congressional district, and even though the national media didn't notice you, Congress did. Thus, the done deal derailed — to the shock of Corporados and their politicos, nearly 70 percent of the House voted with the people against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Of course, Obama & Co. are trying to put their railroad job back on track, but that'll be a heavy lift. The wreck of the TPP was not due to a glitch in legislative procedure, but to the establishment's procedural miscalculation that we Americans will just sit still as it autocratically uses secrecy and lies to snatch away our democratic sovereignty.

The contrived wisdom foisted on us by the acolytes of the Holy Corporate Order is that ordinary folks can't stop the Powers That Be from enthroning both an economic oligarchy and political plutocracy over us. But as a friend of mine puts it: "Those who say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."

Indeed, the power elites on Wall Street, in Washington and up in the corporate suites got a major comeuppance when the U.S. House rejected their TPP scheme last Friday. The Trans-Pacific Partnership masqueraded as a free trade agreement, but of the 30 chapters of this 1,000-page document, only six deal with trade — the other 24 add up to a book of anti-democratic horrors, further rigging the system to enrich the global corporate elite, while ensuring ever-widening inequities for the rest of us.

Yet, the elites got a comeuppance because ... well, because the grassroots literally came up. Such smart, savvy and scrappy public interest champions as Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch and Larry Cohen of the Communications Workers of America dug out the details of TPP's secret power play and went to the countryside to alert regular Americans.

They and many, many others strategized, organized and mobilized, creating a mass coalition to oppose the entrenchment of what would be a global corporate kleptocracy. This was building beneath the radar of the clueless establishment media, which continue to assert that opposition to the TPP is coming from labor unions. Labor has certainly been key, but it is hardly alone, for environmental groups, small businesses, mayors, state officials, religious leaders, family farm advocates and a wide array of other grassroots activists have enlisted in the crucial democratic cause.

What we have here is something big, something important for the long run: The beginning of a cohesive, comprehensive movement to restore a forward-looking people's politics based on the egalitarian principle that we're all in this together.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Click here to contact him, follow him on Twitter: @JimHightower, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >