On Wed. June 30th, a huge crowd of WA State labor, social justice, faith, students, and community members rallied to tell the WA Congressional Delegation to vote NO on pending Free Trade Deals and to draft a People’s Trade Agreement.
“These trade deals are the cause, not the solution to our current economic crisis. They will determine the fate of our jobs and our communities here in WA and world-wide” opened Kristen Beifus Director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.
Here are a few things others had to say to Congressman McDermott:
While the names of the pending free trade agreements coming before Congress in July have new names – South Korea, Panama and Colombia – they are substantially the same as ‘used trade deals’ NAFTA and CAFTA that have off-shored jobs, degraded the environment and trampled on the rights of farmers, workers and communities.
The over 30 organizations and community members at the rally just ‘Don’t Buy’ that ‘free trade’ is the only option for U.S. trade policy!
“Trade done right fosters development and sustainable growth benefiting everyone; there’s simply no excuse for deforestation, poisoned water, and ruined lives to be the legacy of US trade policy.” Brady Montz, Sierra Club Cascade Chapter
“It is absolutely unacceptable to enter into trade agreements with countries that have no respect for labor and human rights. Shame on any Congressperson who signs a trade agreement that is soaked in the blood of murdered trade unionists,” Jeff Johnson, President of the WSLC . “We can accept ‘Fair Trade’ agreements, but not these Bush-era South Korea, Colombian, and Panama Free Trade Agreements.”
Alex Dorros of Witness for Peace NW quoted Colombia Indigenous activist Mariana Llamo “I think the FTA affects us indigenous people because we are small scale producers, we don’t have the capacity to compete in the world market. We hope to make small internal markets because that what we represent.”
During the rally, the old trade policy was junked, and in its place a People’s Trade policy was created; with labor rights, environmental sustainability, and community self-determination.
A People’s Trade Policy would enable communities, not agribusiness to have power over the food they eat and how they grow it!
“There is a growing local food rebellion in Washington, and all over the US, made up of people who reject corporate control of the food system. In its place, we’re rebuilding a localized food system because we care about how our food is grown, and under what social and environmental conditions, and we believe every community has a right to the same thing, which we call “food sovereignty” explained Heather Day with the Community Alliance for Global Justice.
The demonstrators then took the People’s Trade Policy to the streets of Seattle, in solidarity with people throughout South Korea, Colombia and Panama who also know A New Trade Policy IS Possible.