On September 28, 2011 CAGJ members Elaine Nonneman and Katrin Wilde along with Kristen Beifus of the WA Fair Trade Coalition delivered CAGJ’s banner to the office of our Representative, Jim McDermott with a strong message:
“Rep McDermott: Free Trade Kills Farmers – Vote No on US-Colombia FTA!”
The banner was covered with hundreds of signatures gathered since June at CAGJ’s Strengthening Local Economies Everywhere dinner, Seattle Farmers Markets, where many farmers and other food producers signed the banner [see photos here and here!], at Seattle Tilth’s Harvest Fair, and multiple other venues.
Our delegation did not have the pleasure of delivering the banner directly into McDermott’s hands, as the Representative is traveling during this Congressional recess. However his aides were on hand to hear our message loud and clear: Free trade agreements undermine family farmers, and would be particularly destructive in Colombia. As a recent letter signed by CAGJ to our reps and sponsored by National Family Farm Coalition states:
“Witness for Peace estimates that 400,000 small farmers would have their land and livelihoods threatened by corporate agricultural development projects under the FTA. Furthermore, Colombia remains the most deadly country of which to be a member of a trade union and passage of the Colombia FTA would only further undermine the rights of that country’s Afro-Colombian and indigenous workers. The Obama administration’s “Labor Action Plan”, supposed to remedy the human rights abuses in Colombia, is a mostly unenforceable set of guidelines that will not curb violence against laborers.
…More FTAs will only accelerate the economic disasters in agriculture already at hand, including industrial farms dependent on massive amounts of petroleum-based inputs, low-paying, exploitative jobs in processing and packing plants, and increased consolidation throughout the agricultural supply chain.
…Without question, these agreements will push more farm families off the land and place our food system in a precarious and unsustainable position. At home and abroad, the ability of local producers to feed their families and their communities, now and for generations to come, will be compromised by this misguided legislation. We urge you to consider these long-term repercussions and stand up for food sovereignty by opposing these free trade agreements. This country needs principles of fair trade, not free trade, as the basis of our agricultural system.”
This marks the successful completion of our summer-long campaign to build pressure on our elected officials to vote no on the pending Free Trade Agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia. Thank you for taking action with us! If you missed the fun, see photos of our June Banner Hang, Rally & Street Theater here! And keep the pressure on – the agreements may come up for a vote soon! We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again!
NO MORE NAFTAS! ANOTHER TRADE POLICY IS POSSIBLE!
To learn more about CAGJ’s Trade Justice organizing and to join our Trade Action Network, please email us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call 206-405-4600