Follow the Soapbox
by Casey Cole

“Fast Track” authorization for Wall Street’s latest “trade deal” – the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – is set for a vote in the US Congress as soon as this month, March 2015. Jim Hightower devoted his entire January 2015 edition of The Hightower Lowdown, to an exposure of the TPP and to alerting the 99% of us to get ready to oppose Fast Track Authorization for President Obama being promoted in Congress with Democrat Obama in cahoots with the Republican leaders of the House and Senate, Boehner and McConnell. Hightower exposes the fact that TPP is presented as a trade deal but “it only uses trade as a mask.” 24 of 29 chapters deal not with trade but “various ways to ‘free’ rapacious corporations from any accountability for the havoc they wreak and from any responsibility to the world community’s common good.” In other words, it is straight up corporate tyranny.

Negotiations for the TPP have been conducted under unprecedented secrecy by Wall Street with its ruling class financial counterparts in eleven other countries around the Pacific Rim. These include all three North American countries, the USA, Mexico and Canada as well as Peru and Chile in South America, Japan and Vietnam in Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. TPP involves twelve countries with about 40% of the world’s wealth. As Hightower writes: “... even our lawmakers have been denied ‘permission’ simply to attend the negotiations as observers ... As for the public and the press, it’s only because of leaks from appalled negotiators and the determined digging of public interest advocates that we know anything about the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s threat to our democratic rights.”

Democratically elected representatives are being strong- armed and cajoled into voting for Fast Track. Obama scolded House Democrats by stating they “shouldn’t learn about trade by reading the Huffington Post.”* The White House has been pushing for Fast Track authorization all along; it’s clear that the forces of global finance capital have the perfect stooge in Obama to get what they want in order to further extract wealth and inflict greater misery on the global working class. (Remember: George H.W. Bush was unable to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but successor Bill Clinton – a Democrat – was able to push it through.)

A few bourgeois politicians like Senators Warren and Sanders who claim to represent the interests of working people have already declared their opposition to TPP. And such initiatives should be supported by proletarian revolutionary forces and militant working class activists.

In the labor movement, Communication Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen has challenged his more backward, corrupt and comfortable brethren to help build a working class opposition to TPP and Fast Track. Under principled pressure from CWA’s Cohen, and remembering the disastrous effects of NAFTA in exporting living wage manufacturing jobs from the US has spurred Wall Street’s “labor lieutenants” into half-hearted action. The AFL-CIO and Change to Win labor federations have initiated campaigns calling on members to demand Fast Track be voted down. While the various e-mails, fliers, and handbills being proliferated mention President Obama, the tone is more in line with convincing the President and the Congress to “do the right thing.” No labor federation has pointed the finger at Obama for being Wall Street’s point man on Fast Track and the TPP!

While there are definite ideological and political challenges in uniting with bourgeois politicians and spineless labor bureaucrats, our line has always been to work in united fronts with such people wherever possible, unite with these forces where we can get them to oppose finance capital or at least allow genuine left forces in the labor movement and political arena to mobilize the workers against monopoly capitalist and imperialist tyranny. At the same time, we need to wage constant struggle against their opportunism, their strong tendency to betray the working class in service to the U.S. ruling class, Wall Street capital.

If passed, the TPP will undoubtedly further strengthen the forces of Wall Street and monopoly capitalism while simultaneously undermining the global proletariat, including U.S. workers. TPP represents corporate tyranny over working people taken to a new level. Viewing the TPP as revolutionaries fighting for working class power, we must seize every possible opportunity to mobilize the working class against this capitalist offensive. Thus, we call on our readers to participate in mass mobilizations centered around opposing Fast Track and the TPP so that we can blunt this thrust of global finance capital and – equally important – unite with elements of the working class that have the stomach for the fight.



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