Beyond Rhetorical Populism – Trade

Some, like Sirota, have attacked the MSM for ignoring the Edwards campaign. Even the Edwards campaign came out with an interesting video highlighting this reality (showing now on Proletariat TV).

Thus far Edwards has relied heavily on rhetorical populism, that sounds wonderful yet does not offer real change. Most of Edwards positions have been co-opted by Hillary Clinton which has further marginalized his campaign. If we are talking about food policy, trade policy, or health care , Edwards positions all stay on the safe side of the corporate line. If Edwards truly wants to be a player he must cross the line Hillary Clinton can’t because of her corporate entanglements.


Edwards continues to argue for safety requirements on food, drugs, and toys, while falling short of withdrawing from these trade agreements. In short he is promising to do things he does not have the power to do while these trade agreements are on the books.

All of these trade agreement are the bastard grandchildren of GATT, precursor of the World Trade Organization. Here is what a fan, James Bacchus, had to say about the workings of the WTO.

The WTO puts constraints on any effort by the United States to increase food and product safety: If, in their actions on health and safety issues, they choose to ignore their obligations under these three WTO agreements, they could face costly economic sanctions in the form of lost access to the other’s market. Such sanctions could range into the billions of dollars in lost sales annually.

One of the most devastating effects of these trade agreements is that if health and safety regulations have an impact on a company’s bottom line they can sue in the WTO. While congress passed health and safety regulations, they also passed trade agreements that conflicted with those regulations. At present, over 80% of cases brought to the WTO by the United States have been ruled in favor of corporation because they were barriers to trade.

If John Edwards is serious about rebuilding America, he needs to cross that corporate line and withdraw from the WTO. Trade agreements, free, fair, or smart, are simply a reflection of the WTO. Next, Edwards needs to withdraw, not re-write or fix, from NAFTA. In this is not done within the next year or two we will have an immigration problem that is difficult to fathom. When Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, it exempted corn until January 1, 2o08.

Will Edwards move beyond rhetorical populism on trade? Is he willing to cross the corporate line? To be honest, I really don’t know. If he doesn’t it will be more and more difficult for Edwards to differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton.