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Mon Mar 23, 2015, 07:16 AM

Progressives: We’ve Never Heard Of This “Progressive” Group Backing Obama’s Trade Deal [View all]

Progressives: We’ve Never Heard Of This “Progressive” Group Backing Obama’s Trade Deal
3/12/15

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, progressives were surprised to learn they were “split” on President Obama’s trade agenda.

Few issues have galvanized the American left like trade promotion authority, legislation that would pave the way for the administration to fast-track trade negotiations and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — the trade deal the Obama administration is working tirelessly to make a reality and many Democrats oppose. From senators to the activists that make up the organized left (trade unions, environmentalists, human rights advocates), progressives can’t stand the trade deal.

Yet there it was in black and white: “RIFT AMONG PROGRESSIVES EMERGES ON TPP,” read a headline in Politico’s daily labor and employment tipsheet, Morning Shift. The short item detailed the emergence of the “Progressive Coalition for American Jobs ” — a group of “progressives and Democrats committed to leveling the playing field for American workers,” according to the coalition’s barebones website. The website adds that “it’s critical that we give the president trade promotion authority and establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

There’s something weird about the group, though: No one in the Washington, D.C., progressive community seems to have ever heard of them before.

“Who are they? Are they getting paid? And this group will convince anybody of what?” asked Sen. Sherrod Brown. “There is zero progressive interest in this [trade promotion authority].”


....“It’s insulting,” said Candice Johnson, spokesperson for the Communications Workers of America, one of the many unions organized against TPP. “You put progressive in your name and that’s going to convince people?”

She called the group “fake,” noting that it includes none of the biggest names in progressive politics in its coalition. Johnson wasn’t alone in that characterization.

“As far as I know, the only thing ‘progressive’ about this so called ‘Progressive Coalition for American Jobs’ is the first word of the group’s name,” said Becky Bond, president of CREDO, the San Francisco-based progressive activist known to tangle publicly with the White House.

The Progressive Coalition For American Jobs strikes a nerve with organized progressives, who often feel sidelined in prominent debates, even during the Obama administration. The invovlment of 270 Strategies, which supported the candidate progressives opposed in a strange Democrat-vs-Democrat California congressional race last year, was particularly upsetting for some on the left.

“At this point, 270 strategies is well known for its AstroTurf efforts to slap a progressive label on the endeavors of Wall Street Wing Democrats and their corporate masters, but this is an earth-shattering new low,” Neil Sroka, spokesperson for Democracy For America, the progressive group formed from the remnants of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, told BuzzFeed News in an email. “You can be a progressive committed to fighting for working families or you can be for this massive job-killing trade deal written by 500 corporate reps, but you can’t be both.”...

http://www.buzzfeed.com/evanmcsan/progressives-weve-never-heard-of-this-progressive-group-back#.xqypLYVYb

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Reply Progressives: We’ve Never Heard Of This “Progressive” Group Backing Obama’s Trade Deal [View all]
RiverLover Mar 2015 OP
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