Members of the Democratic National Convention Platform Committee have decided to move against including a specific opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal in the platform, even while both U.S. Democratic presidential candidates are against the TPP, Shadowproof reported Saturday.
The attempt failed because both members appointed by Hillary Clinton and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said it was inappropriate to oppose the TPP when U.S. President Barack Obama is in huge support of it.
“It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform,” U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders weighed in, as published by Shadowproof.
Representative Keith Ellison, who was appointed by Sanders campaign, proposed the following position for the platform: “It is the policy of the Democratic Party that the Trans-Pacific Partnership must not get a vote in this Congress or future sessions of Congress.”
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“We’ve had moving testimony about how our trade policy, particularly after the aftermath of NAFTA, has really inflicted real pain on real families. I’ll never forget the gentleman who testified who was losing his job from Nabisco in Chicago,” Ellison shared, as Shadowproof reported.
Cornel West, who also attended the meeting of the Democratic Party Platform, also urged members to take a stand against the trade deal.
“We can agree with him on some things, disagree with him on others,” West declared. “I think he’s wrong on this issue. This is really about corporate power, and those of us who are very suspicious of corporate power and fundamentally committed to democratic accountability and transparency, not secretive operations and fast tracks and so forth.”
“It says much about who we are as a nation, as a party, in terms of TPP. It’s not just some fetishized policy, but it’s a fundamental expression of who we are vis-a-vis people power and corporate power,” West continued.
Environmental activist Bill McKibben noted there is no diversity on the issue.
“Every interest group that we’ve heard from, human rights groups, labor groups, and environmental groups, have been firm in their denunciation of TPP,” he told the group.
Deborah Parker, an Indigenous woman also appointed by Sanders, said her concerns not only lie with workers in the United States but also workers in countries like China and Mexico.
Despite all these pleas for opposing the TPP, Clinton and DNC chairwoman appointees did not budge on the issue.
Representative Luis Gutierrez, who began his statement by counting off his record of opposing trade deals, then went on to say, “What I don’t want to do is leave this place disregarding the position of the President of the United States, who is the leader of our party today, independent of my disagreement with him...I don’t want to send a message of disunity.”
While many members of the platform cowered behind the reason of disunity for not opposing TPP, there was one member of the platform, who was in direct support of it.
Former Representative Howard Berman, who was appointed by the DNC chairwoman, stated, “The president’s right in what he is doing. There are serious foreign policy, national securities wrapped up in this,” he said.
He also disputed whether free trade agreements should be held responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs.
Despite the efforts of Sanders’ appointees in convincing the rest of the committee to stand with working class people and oppose the trade deal, in the end, loyalty to the party and the President of the United States came out on top.