Making History: Fast-Track for Corporate Legislation is Dead
April 15, 2008
The FT summed up this week's happenings on Colombia and Fast Track fairly well:
The Democratic-led House voted 224 to 195 to stop the 90-day "fast track" time-table under which most significant U.S. free trade deals have been ratified since the 1970s ...
It was the first time in the 35-year history of the "fast-track" process that a president had sought to force lawmakers to vote on a free trade deal ...
Even before this week, fast track has had a rocky history and has sometimes been suspended, for example during the latter years of the Clinton administration following the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.David Sirota has a great column out this week that likens Bush's Colombia tactics to a moment from Colorado's labor history:
Ninety-four years ago on April 20, America made international news when a government-sanctioned paramilitary unit murdered Colorado union organizers at a Rockefeller-owned coal mine. The Ludlow Massacre was "a story of horror unparalleled in the history of industrial warfare," wrote The New York Times in 1914 -- and the abomination was not just the violence, but the way political and corporate leaders colluded on their homicidal plans to protect profits.
Sanitized history teaches that our government has since changed. Quite the contrary, as the Bush administration this week moves to legitimize the methods of Ludlow through its Colombia Free Trade Agreement ...
Colombian labor leaders have begged the White House to drop the deal, saying it will undermine their struggle for human rights by validating Uribe's thug-ocracy. Nonetheless, President Bush bolstered Uribe with a pact giving corporations incentives to leave America for the corpse-strewn pastures of Colombia -- a union hater's paradise.And there was this inspiring quote from the NYT's obituary of Abe Osheroff, one of last remaining veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades. It seems appropriate as we move into the next phase of the fight, which is whether Dems will actually vote for the agreement now that they've canceled Fast Track. Ugh.
"If you need a victory, you aren't a fighter," he said in 2000, "you're an opportunist."