Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A protest against the TPP and Fast Track in Dallas. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Astroturf Warning: TPP Critics Call Out Fake 'Progressive' Group Pushing Corporate Trade Agenda

'The fact is, you can be a progressive committed to fighting for working families or you can be for this massive job-killing trade deal written by hundreds of corporate representatives, but you can't be both.'

Deirdre Fulton

Critics of the corporate-friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership are lining up against what they call an "astroturf" operation claiming to represent progressives in favor of Fast Tracking the sweeping and secretive trade deal.

No such progressives exist, they say.

Last month, a Democratic political consulting firm founded by former Obama administration staffers launched a website dubbed "Progressive Coalition for American Jobs," which claimed to prove the existence of progressives who support trade promotion authority, or Fast Track power.

Fast Track, which will likely be taken up by Congress soon after lawmakers return from Easter recess on April 13, would make it easier for Obama to negotiate trade deals—including the massive 12-nation TPP—by preventing them from being amended by House or Senate members.

However, groups like Public Citizen, CREDO Action, and Democracy for America say no real progressives support handing over trade authority to the White House in this way.

"A consultant-run, pro-TPP astroturf campaign won't change the fact that progressives are united in their opposition to Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership," said Murshed Zaheed, deputy political director at CREDO Action, on a press call (pdf) Wednesday. 

In fact, added Neil Sroka, Democracy for America's communications director, "The progressive movement could not be more united, more focused, more committed to holding our leaders accountable for the actions they take in Washington than we are right now in the fight against Fast Track authority for the TPP."

He continued: "The fact is, you can be a progressive committed to fighting for working families or you can be for this massive job-killing trade deal written by hundreds of corporate representatives, but you can't be both."

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, encouraged lawmakers to listen to their constituents over consultants.

"Millions of people nationwide are engaging their members of Congress to oppose Fast Track because they understand the damage more job-killing, environment-gutting 'trade' agreements would mean for them," she stated.

"The grassroots forces against Fast Track are the local clergy, small business owners, union and environmental group members, activist retirees and students that members of Congress face whenever they go home," Wallach said. "Meanwhile, the millions being spent to lobby for Fast Track by Wall Street interests, pharmaceutical and agribusiness firms, job-offshoring multinational corporations and their lobby shops—along with their astroturf operations—go away after the vote."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Incredible': Omar and Khanna Staffers Join Levin's Office in Unionizing

"It is long past time the United States Congress became a unionized workplace, and that includes my own staff," said Rep. Ilhan Omar. "I am proud of all the people on my team who have played a leading role in the staff unionization effort. Solidarity forever."

Jessica Corbett ·

Destructive Hurricanes Fuel Calls for Biden to Declare Climate Emergency

"Mother Nature is not waiting for the president or Congress to declare a climate emergency. She's showing us in real-time here in the United States—with wildfires, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, and drought."

Jessica Corbett ·

Spain Approves 'Solidarity' Tax to Make Nation's Top 0.1% Pay a Fairer Share

The country's finance minister said that looming changes are bound to make the tax code "more progressive, efficient, fair, and also enough to guarantee social justice and economic efficiency."

Kenny Stancil ·

'Time to Take to the Streets': Working Class Hold 'Enough Is Enough' Rallies Across UK

"Does a CEO need an extra zero at the end of their salary—or should nurses, posties, and teachers be able to heat their homes?" said one supporter ahead of the #EnoughIsEnough National Day of Action.

Julia Conley ·

Ukraine Responds to Putin Annexations With Fast-Track NATO Application

Lamenting the lack of any progress toward a diplomatic settlement, one anti-war campaigner asked: "Will the world stand idly by as we careen towards nuclear apocalypse?"

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo