Jul 09, 2016
When Democratic Party platform committee members arrived at the committee's final session in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday morning, 700,000 signed petitions against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement had been delivered there to meet them.
"We want unity, but we want it real. We do not want it on the backs of working people," said Dr. Cornel West, who was selected to serve on the committee by Bernie Sanders. "We want opposition to the TPP in this platform."
Yet despite such passionate arguments and widespread public opposition to the deal, the committee voted down an amendment that would have opposed a Senate vote on the agreement.
The amendment was introduced by activist and author Jim Hightower, who called the TPP "manure" in his argument for his amendment:
\u201cJim Hightower speaking for clear & specific anti-#TPP amendment: "Old saying, if you're not at the table you're on the menu" #DemPlatform\u201d— Kevin Gosztola (@Kevin Gosztola) 1468081310
A chorus of boos erupted as the votes came in, and Sanders supporters turned their backs to speakers in protest.
Opposition to the TPP is a cornerstone of Sanders' presidential campaign. While Hillary Clinton campaigned for the deal in her role as secretary of state, she switched her position several months ago and now publicly opposes the TPP.
"Hillary Clinton opposes the TPP so strongly that her apparatchiks at the Democratic platform meeting voted down language to oppose it. Integrity!" commentedThe Intercept reporter Zaid Jilani in response to the platform committee's decision.
Prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben, a Sanders appointee to the committee, described Clinton supporters' speeches as "Orwellian."
\u201cSo, after speeches defining Orwellian, Clinton forces vote down straightforward motion to stop #TPP\u201d— Bill McKibben (@Bill McKibben) 1468079200
Josh Fox, director of the fracking documentary Gasland, tweeted, "Every amendment with teeth, which would inspire actual action is getting voted down and the empty ones pass. We need #politicalrevolution."
Others argued that as a result of this decision, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who opposes the deal, will be handed a political advantage.
Indeed, argued Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Mark Weisbrot earlier this week, "If Clinton's representatives on the full, 187-member platform committee in Orlando once again keep the Democratic Party from opposing the TPP, her responsibility for that outcome will be clear. It will be seized upon by her otherwise not-very-credible opponent."
Meanwhile, the final platform meeting continues. Committee members and others in attendance in Orlando are tweeting thoughts and reports on Saturday's ongoing negotiations on social media:
And CSPAN continues to broadcast the meeting live.
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