wheat on dollars

Blog | November 16, 2016

Down goes the TPP: People Power prevails over Corporate Profit

by Alicia Harvie

If you scroll past the endless post-election news, you may see that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has no viable path forward. For now, the gargantuan pro-corporate trade deal between the U.S. and eleven countries will stall out in the lame duck Congressional session, possibly forever.

While the TPP attracted increased attention throughout the election cycle, with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump coming out against it, Farm Aid has been a part of the deeper battle against this trade deal for years. We helped bring the voices of family farmers and eaters who are concerned about the TPP’s potential impact on our food systems into the broader coalition that includes labor, environmental, consumer, faith, human rights, civil rights, health, and other organizations and activists.

Because you raised your voice and joined in on actions to stop Fast Track and the TPP over the past few years, we’ve prevented this unfair trade deal from moving forward this year, and perhaps stopped it completely. Together we’ve shown once again that when people of all backgrounds come together to organize, they can overcome the muscle of corporate power.

In a time when our country can feel so divided, all of us at Farm Aid remain heartened by the enduring truth that there are always ways for people to come together and to remember the values that unite us.

Family farmers had a critical role in dispelling the myth perpetuated by Big Ag that the TPP would be good for farmers. We are proud that we helped elevate the voices of actual farmers and ranchers who had grave reservations about the deal. They saw through the false promises that export markets could somehow replace fair pricing or deliver more stability to rural economies, particularly when the rules were being negotiated in secret by major corporate interests. They knew that some of the most promising developments in agriculture, like renewed connections between farmers and eaters and the rebuilding of local and regional food systems, would be undermined by this trade deal. And they knew that trade deals had already killed off popular policies like Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), which were so important for supporting U.S. ranchers and helping consumers trace where their meat comes from.

And it wasn’t just U.S. farmers and ranchers who came forward with these concerns. American farmers joined with farmers from across the globe who saw how the same multinational corporate interests were intent on undermining strong family farm agriculture and food systems for their own profit.

But it’s not over yet

As a slew of pro-TPP folks and corporate lobbyists join the administration of President-elect Trump, we will have to remain vigilant and strong in our opposition to this damaging “NAFTA-on-steroids” trade deal, and any other form it may take moving forward.

Instead, we will push for trade deals that are negotiated democratically and transparently. Ones that actually work to deliver fair prices to farmers, protect our environment, support living wages and fair working conditions, and promote public health, human rights and the strength of local economies. Farm Aid supports trade that advances food sovereignty, which is the right of communities and nations to determine their own food and agriculture policies and the broader democratization of food and farming systems.

The struggle against the TPP crossed party lines and brought together people in rural and urban communities, those who work in a myriad of different industries and those who support many different causes. In a time when our country can feel so divided, all of us at Farm Aid remain heartened by the enduring truth that there are always ways for people to come together and to remember the values that unite us.

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