Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Struggle for NAFTA begins

The Trump administration has officially given Congress the 90-day notice before beginning NAFTA renegotiations.

unnamedThis is the time to harness the power that took down the TPP to demand that NAFTA be replaced with an agreement that must benefit working people and the environment or shouldn’t happen at all.

Petition: Tell the USTR that NAFTA must be replaced with a solution for working people across the continent!

From Day 1, we take action. It is imperative that the voice for trade justice is on the United States Trade Representative’s mind from the very beginnings of this process. The next 90 days are crucial as the United States, Mexico, and Canada form their negotiation objectives. Please join us in signing a petition pushed by trade justice organizations to tell Trade Representative Lighthizer that we must replace NAFTA with a deal that actually benefits working people in all three countries, not just multinational corporations.

Please sign our petition demanding that NAFTA renegotiations benefit working people.
Please also help us promote the petition on Twitter and Facebook

We need to reach 100,000 signatures on the petition, are you with us? Are you ready to change the history of international co-operation with our neighbors? To form alliances with the workers and environmentalists from our continent to create another world?

We are.

Unite for Global Justice,
Trade for People and Planet Team

Trade for People and Planet on the web
Twitter, @FlushTheTPP

ITES Squad Made Permanent At April GM

The International Trade Education Squad (ITES) would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Coop’s membership who voted at the April 25 GM to make our squad permanent.

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 6.29.23 PMWe were overjoyed to hear the overwhelming support we received from members at the GM. Many people rose to express that our presentations and publications over the past two years have opened their eyes to substantial concerns with regard to international trade agreements, as they are currently being negotiated. Since we were first authorized to start the squad two years ago, we have published 23 articles, all of which are cataloged and easily available on the archive section of our blog , and we also held 13 Open Forums.

We have participated in academic conventions and organized conference calls to educate ourselves. We’ve coordinated with other groups that study and advocate on this issue, such as Food and Water Watch, Trade Justice Alliance, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club, and held meetings with union representatives and elected officials at the city, state, and federal levels (both House and Senate), with impressive results.

In the run-up to a possible vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), through a combination of publications and presentations, the ITES educated the Coop’s membership, our community, and our elected officials about concerns inherent to the secret negotiations conducted by the governments of the 12 participating Pacific Rim nations. Once the text of the agreement was released, it was clear that the provisions of the TPP, like previously negotiated international trade agreements, overly favored corporate interests at the expense of the values formulated in our Coop mission statement, such as environmental protection, food safety, and fair labor practices.

We found the April GM to be particularly productive because of the constructive feedback the membership gave to us—for which we are equally grateful. Going forward, we plan to take members’ suggestions to heart, while we continue to pursue our mission of education and advocacy regarding international trade agreements. We will try to use less jargon, take a broader and more even-handed view, and rather than only oppose how agreements have been negotiated in the past, we will educate ourselves and the membership on how international trade agreements should, indeed, be negotiated to better represent our values.

We will continue to educate ourselves, the Coop membership, and our community about “Fair Trade” principles and organizations that set and enforce environmental, social, and economic standards, in order to protect the environment, promote both food quality and safe, healthy working conditions, and to empower individuals and communities in countries we partner with to build businesses. In order to achieve the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves, the ITES will need to fill all seven work-credit slots provided to the ITES by the GM. Currently, we have one opening, and members who are interested in joining our squad should please email spmetz (at) earthlink (dot) net. Furthermore, we sincerely welcome input from all members of the Coop in any form, including conversations in person or at our Open Forums, and messages on our Facebook page

By Christopher P. Marshall, ITES

Sat 13th May, 2017 will be Fair Trade Day

We take our affordable coffee, bananas, jeans and sneakers for granted, but there are many people in other countries that are not so lucky.


Every day, tens of thousands of people in various Asian, African and South American countries—men, women and children—work themselves to the bone in nearly unbearable conditions for pennies so we can continue to enjoy those things. However, there are many people in this world who feel that everyone deserves decent wages and working conditions, regardless of where they live, and these people have created Fair Trade Day. Fair Trade Day is a global event that aims to draw attention to the objectives and achievements of the Fair Trade movement. The Fair Trade movement campaigns to improve the lives of workers and small producers, especially those within developing economies, by asserting their rights and raising their visibility within international trade. The movement invites consumers to participate in its campaign by choosing Fair Trade alternatives to existing products.

The History of Fair Trade Day

World Fair Trade Day was created by the the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) in 2004, though the WFTO itself came into existence 15 years earlier, in 1989. WFTO is a global association of 324 organizations in over 70 countries, and Fair Trade Day takes place on the second Saturday of May of each year, and it is an inclusive worldwide festival of events celebrating Fair Trade as a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty and exploitation, climate change and the economic crisis that has the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations.

WFTO’s top ten priorities are:

1. Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
2. Transparency and Accountability
3. Fair Trading Practices
4. Payment of a Fair Price
5. Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor
6. Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Freedom of Association
7. Ensuring Good Working Conditions
8. Providing Capacity Building
9. Promoting Fair Trade
10. Respect for the Environment

WFTO believes that the global crisis confirms the need for a fair and sustainable economy locally and globally. Trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities for small and disadvantaged producers. Millions of producers and traders, businesses and policy makers, supporting organizations and volunteers have contributed to the substantial growth of Fair Trade globally.

How to Celebrate Fair Trade Day

Fair Trade Day is observed in countries across the world by various events in which local producers and artisans mark the contribution that has been made by Fair Trade initiatives. Often involving food and art, the events are intended to be a colorful and enjoyable reminder of the success of the movement to date, and a prompt for consumers to consider Fair Trade options within their shopping. If you want to take part in this special day, researching the work conditions of people around the world would be a good place to start, just so you can get a general idea about how those people are forced to live. You are likely to be shocked at how the things you enjoy on an everyday basis are made, but awareness is the first step towards making any kind of chain. The next step wold be to raise awareness among your family and friends—even sharing information on Facebook or Twitter can go along way, as the ALS Ice Bucket challenge of 2014 so perfectly proved. Last but not least, you could make the simple but effective promise to only buy certified Fair Trade products, thereby giving your hard-earned money to only those companies that truly care about the well-being of those less fortunate.