By Sam Husseini. This article was first published on husseini.posthaven.com.
Many are shocked that Donald Trump announced he is going to Mexico today. That misses the real ironies here: NAFTA — and how this should be a boon to the Green Party.
First the obvious stuff: Donald Trump is playing to xenophobic sentiments. His “solutions” are in large part twisted or beside the point, for example, U.S. government has largely already built the wall.
One real irony is that Trump is appealing for votes based on trade issues. His criticism of NAFTA rightly resonates with many in the U.S. Lots of workers have lost out because of NAFTA and other so-called “trade deals.” These deals are actually largely investment protection agreements that help the huge corporations and the wealthy in the U.S., Mexico and other countries. That’s people like Trump and people and corporations like those who fund Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, these secretive deals often rook regular folks wherever they live.
But Trump — and many other critics in the U.S. — only talk about how NAFTA has hurt U.S. workers. Largely unacknowledged in the U.S. is how it has devastated Mexican family farms and small industry — which leads to desperate migration from Mexico to the U.S. (along with the drug war).
So, redoing NAFTA would actually help stem desperate migration that is the source of much of Trump’s support.
Hillary Clinton is now claiming to be against the TPP, the successor to NAFTA in many respects. In fact, she has backed both. And she just named pro-TPP Ken Salazar to be her transition team head. Her VP pick, Tim Kaine recently backed the TPP before he pretended to flip-flop as well. Meanwhile, Trump contradicts himself on issues like mad. Who knows what he’ll do if he were actually in office.
But Clinton has largely succeeded in pretending she’s anti TPP. OnTheIssues just reports her stated positions on TPP, which you have to be an idiot to believe — or a hack. Over 40 million people have apparently taken an “issues” poll with iSideWith.com — but when I asked them if they label Clinton as opposed to the TPP the same way Jill Stein of the Green Party is, they refused to answer and deleted our exchange.
In fact, the U.S. public is strongly opposed to more of the same U.S. trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP. But the only reliable candidate on reforming trade issues is ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka of the Green Party, but they are excluded from most discussion by corporate media, which are overwhelmingly for corporate “trade” deals. Our politics is broken on so many levels.
So: The incredible irony of this is that the best choice for the xenophobes is Green (the Libertarian of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld is openly pro-TPP).
Certainly, Greens and other progressives usually talk against NAFTA and the TPP in terms of corporate control over health, labor, environmental, patent, copyright and other critical issue areas. But ending the NAFTA model may well end desperate migration, a leading concern of many on the right.
Let Mexicans prosper in Mexico. If the U.S. were to have reasonable agreements with Mexico, people there will work in farms and factories in Mexico without feeling desperate to come to the U.S. for any work they can possibly get here. They are free human beings, not charity cases.
We have a similar dynamic regarding xenophobia directed against Syria refugees now. Let Syrians be a peace in Syria without outside meddling — the root causes of the war in Syria and much of the Mideast is constant outside intervention, most clearly the U.S. invasion of neighboring Iraq.
Let each — Mexico, Syria and every other country — deal with the U.S. as equals. People should not be in need of coming and begging for refuge or to do work at poverty wages in the shadows in the U.S.
If we change the root causes of policies, things look very different and people who might be motivated, superficially at least, by different arguments end up having much more in common than meets the eye in terms of desperately needed policy changes.
Sam Husseini is the founder of VotePact.org.