‘No TPP’ Gets YUUGE Response At Democratic Convention

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

If you were watching the Democratic convention Monday night, you might have noticed a lot of “No TPP” signs in the crowd.


(By Nomiki Konst via Twitter)

These signs refer to the widespread opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). They were in evidence when Bernie Sanders took his place at the convention podium as the Monday keynote speaker, on national prime-time TV, facing what was probably his largest audience of the campaign.

Sanders talked in his speech about how his campaign and the Clinton campaign had a “significant coming together” over the content of the platform, saying, “we produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”

As part of that, he said the platform, “… also calls for strong opposition to job-killing trade agreements like the TPP.” This was met with huge – YUUGE – applause, followed by ongoing chanting of “No TPP, No TPP.” A source who was in the hall at the time said this received “One of, if not the, loudest response in his speech.”

Not Just The Bernie Crowd

Sanders tried to continue with the prepared text, saying, “Our job …” but was interrupted by continued chanting “No TPP, No TPP.” So he threw in an ad-libbed line, not included in the prepared text, saying ” … we have got to make sure that the TPP does not get to the floor of the Congress in the lame duck session.” The crowd erupted in cheers and applause. A source who was in the room at the time said the cheers were coming from, “Not just the Bernie crowd, the entire crowd cheered, throughout the whole hall.” This clip from C-Span captures the moment.

It’s not just “the Bernie crowd” that is opposed to TPP. Hillary Clinton has stated her opposition to TPP. Her vice-presidential pick Tim Kaine has now come out in opposition to TPP. Speaking to Chris Matthews at the convention, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said, “Democrats in the Congress have been overwhelmingly against TPP in its current form.”

And no wonder. TPP is a huge “free trade” agreement that is not really about trade. It is a “corporate rights” agreement that elevates the interests of giant corporations over the ability of governments to make decisions they consider to be in their national interests. Under TPP and similar agreements, if a country wants to enact a law or regulation or tariff that impedes a corporation’s ability to profit, it is prohibited and the corporation can sue the country in a special “corporate court” consisting of a panel of corporate attorneys. The decision of the corporate court is binding on the country, with no appeal allowed. Labor, environmental, consumer, human rights, LGBT, health care, faith, or other “stakeholder” groups are not given any similar ability to address violations under these agreements – only corporations.

TPP is being pushed by Wall Street, giant multinational corporations, corporate lobbying arms like the Chamber of Commerce and non-Trump parts of the Republican Party, and, unfortunately President Obama.

A recent poll found that many people do not know about TPP, but when presented with arguments from both sides, they come down solidly against it. A lot of people who didn’t know about TPP do now, thanks to Sanders’ speech at the convention.

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Reposted from the CAF.

Johnson also is a fellow at the Commonwealth Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Renewal of the California Dream. Follow Dave Johnson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dcjohnson.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Campaign for America's Future

Union Matters

Freight can’t wait

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

A freight train hauling lumber and nylon manufacturing chemicals derailed, caught fire and caused a 108-year-old bridge to collapse in Tempe, Ariz., this week, in the second accident on the same bridge within a month.

The bridge was damaged after the first incident, according to Union Pacific railroad that owns the rail bridge, and re-opened two days later. 

The official cause of the derailments is still under investigation, but it remains clear that the failure to modernize and maintain America’s railroad infrastructure is dangerous. 

In 2019, 499 trains that derailed were found to have defective or broken track, roadbed or structures, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s database of safety analysis.

While railroad workers’ unions have called for increased safety improvements, rail companies have also used technology and automation as an excuse to downsize their work forces.

For example, rail companies have implemented a cost-saving measure known as Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which has resulted in mass layoffs and shoddy safety protocols. 

Though privately-owned railroads have spent significantly to upgrade large, Class I trains, regional Class II trains and local, short-line Class III trains that carry important goods for farmers and businesses still rely on state and local funds for improvements. 

But cash-strapped states struggle to adequately inspect new technologies and fund safety improvements, and repairing or replacing the aging track and rail bridges will require significant public investment.

A true infrastructure commitment will not only strengthen the country’s railroad networks and increase U.S. global economic competitiveness. It will also create millions of family-sustaining jobs needed to inspect, repair and manufacture new parts for mass transit systems, all while helping to prevent future disasters.

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