Friday, June 21, 2013

4 senators vote against global serfdom

The secrecy of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks is so troubling to four U.S. senators that they voted against Michael Froman as the next U.S. trade representative on Wednesday.

What's really troubling is that only four senators opposed a man who insists on keeping trade talks secret. He reasoned that if the public knew how bad the deal is, they'd oppose it.

The four who voted against Froman are Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Carl Levin of Michigan, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California voted "present."

Warren said the U.S. shouldn't pursue a trade deal that most people would oppose if they knew what was in it.

Well, yeah.

Here's someone else who gets it: Stan Sorscher, the labor representative for the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. He wrote recently in the Huffington Post that free trade deals aren't about trade:
The defining characteristic of these agreements is that investor rights will have priority over public interest. They weaken Democracy. They are not really about trade.
Here are a few others who get it, Sorscher writes:
  • Richard Eskow calls "free trade" 21st century colonization where global corporations and global financial institutions displace national governments when setting policies.
  • Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize laureate economist, calls "free trade," global governance without global government.
We can call it a lot of things. But we have to stop these corporate-empowerment deals before we're all reduced to global serfs.