Media Release: Jane Kelsey, 7 September 2011
A rally of around a thousand unionists, HIV-Aids activists and social justice campaigners in Chicago sent a clear message to negotiators the day before the latest round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations began in Chicago.
Addressing the crowd, Chicago-based civil rights leader Jessie Jackson urged President Obama to address the problems of jobs and problems of poverty. That would not be delivered through more free trade deals on the NAFTA model that had only benefited the powerful corporations.
Proving that not all businesses support the corporate lobbies’ demands for the TPPA, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream called for trade agreements to be based on social justice and ethical business practices.
‘We want an agreement that puts people first and makes global trade an instrument of justice’, Cohen said.
Buying milk from their ice cream from local farmers was part of their commitment to the communities that bought their products. Fonterra’s ambitions to export more milk powder to the US when there was already a surplus of local made no sense.
The two iconic business leaders personally distributed free ice cream at the end of the rally.
The rally launches a series of activities over the coming week that are designed to highlight the impacts a TPPA could have on jobs, economic recovery, public health and democracy.