On Friday, June 12, by failing to pass the Trade Adjustment Act (one of three pieces of legislation that formed the trade package) the House slowed down and potentially killed Fast Track Authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, otherwise referred to as the TPP.
Hundreds of organizations, including worker rights, environmental, labor, health, fair trade, and others, including many community organizations, including FWAF, have worked tirelessly to make sure that the House of Representatives did not pass Fast Track and the TPP. Fast Track is a fundamentally undemocratic mechanism that would allow the office of the President to negotiate trade deals in secrecy and the TPP is a free trade agreement that has been described as NAFTA on steroids that would have disastrous effects on farmworkers, indigenous peoples, natural resources, and subsistence communities in the U.S. and overseas. NAFTA wreaked havoc on small-scale peasant agriculture in Mexico and Central America—the catalyst for many to make the dangerous journey to the U.S. and work the fields here—while it made U.S. agriculture compete with many more producers, to which they respond by exploiting their workers even more.
Free trade deals negotiated across continents give more power and control to corporations that dominate conventional agriculture today, by promoting the production and distribution of more chemical pesticides and fertilizers and gaining more control over our seeds, our food and our food system. This is the reverse of the direction that we should be moving in. FWAF is working with others to create a new paradigm, in which communities work to re-gain their own sovereignty over their land and their food. In this way, we empower farmworkers and work towards justice for the Earth and for the people that work the earth.
The vote on June 12 is but a temporary victory, as there will continue to be intense pressure to push through this free trade deal. We need to keep pressure on Congress to make sure that they do the same if it is brought back for another vote. Sign up for our Action Alerts to stay abreast of the latest developments and to be involved in being part of the solution.