The following is a guest post from Kristen Beifus, Executive Director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, working on behalf of people and the planet for a fair global trading system and lead organizer of the December 1 Day of Action. Join Global Exchange staff members Hillary Lehr and Carleen Pickard, on the border this Saturday!

Ten Reasons Why the TransPacific Partnership Matters…

  1. It is only getting bigger by the day: Thailand knocking at the TPP Door
  2. We have not learned from NAFTA: Mexico ordered to pay Cargill $95 million for attempting to keep out high-fructose corn syrup
  3. In Free Trade Agreements, corporate profits always trump the environment: Canada/Quebec sued under NAFTA for its ban on fracking by a US corporation
  4. It Doesn’t Matter if you are a sovereign nation with labor and environmental laws: Here is a list of the NAFTA chapter 11 cases
  5. Or just trying to survive with a life-threatening illness on a few dollars a day: Public health advocates in Malaysia protest reduced access to generic medicines in trade deals
  6. Congress is trying, but those who we elect are not part of negotiating this deal-our democracy is at stake! Take this recent Sign-On letter to President Obama from Senator Al Franken on the labor rights concerns in the TPP and urge Senators Cantwell and Murray to sign it!
  7. Sweatshops still exist: Here is a recent report by Right2Work
  8. Companies are willing to invest millions of dollars to keep consumers in the dark: Here are the corporations who defeated the GMO labeling initiative in California
  9. Only when we connect our issues, and combine our strength can we succeed: Dec. 1st is also world AIDS Day
  10. We are not alone, we are the majority, and our voices are needed for trade to ever benefit workers and support healthy communities and a sustainable planet: Sign the Avaaz petition to reach a million who say “Stop the Corporate Death Star”, stop the TPP!


Join Fair Trade bus against the TPP: Join trade justice advocates from Canada, Mexico, and the US from DC to Northern, California, Oregon and WA this December 1st and get on the Fair Trade Bus to the Canada/U.S. border (Peach Arch Park) & take action against the TransPacific Partnership!!

The day of action will include:

  • A rally/action with Seattle’s Labor Chorus
  • Seattle Fandango Project
  • Movitas a radical marching band
  • Speakers from First Nations tribes in Canada fighting to protect their sovereignty
  • Workers from Kimberly Clark’s Mill in Everett who had their jobs off-shored this year
  • Philippine-US Solidarity Organization sharing tales of free-trade in Asia
  • Farm justice advocates from Community to Community and international advocates from the Council of Canadians, the national AFL-CIO, Washington State Labor Council
  • Asuper fun TPP People’s Action!
  • Backbone’s Free Trade My Ass Balloon and Flush the TPP will also be flying along the border and TPP: No New NAFTAs thanks to IBEW Local 46!

Then (there’s more?!):

  • The People will jointly strategize on how to engage with social media with Global Exchange & Witness for Peace
  • Get organizations onto a Tri-National Unity Letter with Citizen’s Trade Campaign
  • Talk about the TPP in 2 minutes or less with SPEEA and develop and implement creative tactics to stop the TPP by the next round in March, 2013!

Want to get on the buses leaving from Seattle? Go to and sign-up.
Buses will be leaving at 10:30am and returning to Seattle at 6:00pm. A delicious hot Mexican meal will be provided for everyone thanks to Community to Community!

Questions? Contact Kristen (at) washingtonfairtrade (dot) org or 206.227.3079

Follow along: Follow protest happenings on Twitter with hashtag #StopTPP.

This guest post was written by Buffy Tarbox of the California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative, which Global Exchange is an endorser of.

Thousands of volunteers across California have mobilized to gather signatures for a ballot initiative to require labeling of any food or food product that contains genetically engineered food.

This simple, common sense measure would provide consumers valuable information and allow them to make a choice to purchase genetically engineered food or not. It is supported by a vast coalition of family farmers, mothers, families, public health advocates, environmental organizations, and individuals.

A genetically engineered food is a plant or animal that has had its DNA altered to include genes that produce foreign compounds from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria. This genetic alteration is not found in nature and cannot occur naturally. Californians unknowingly eat many different genetically engineered foods, because these foods are not required to be labeled and are often incorrectly advertised as “natural.” The top nine genetically engineered foods in the U.S. are corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugar beets, alfalfa, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash.

Independent studies show that genetically engineering food can create new, unintended toxicants and increase allergens and other health problems. For example, in 2011, Canadian researchers found that 93% of blood samples from pregnant women and 80% of fetal cord blood samples contained a toxin found in a genetically engineered corn that produces its own pesticide (Bt corn). By labeling genetically engineered food, we can help identify if these foods are causing any health problems.

A poll conducted by Reuters in November 2010 indicated that over 93 percent of Americans support the labeling of genetically engineered foods as a basic right to know what’s in their food and how it is produced. Right now we have no way of knowing if food is genetically engineered or not. Americans have been in the dark about genetically engineered ingredients in their food. With this initiative, Californians have the chance at the ballot box to restore the consumer’s right to know what is in their food.

The overwhelming bipartisan support for this measure clearly shows that Californians want to know what is in their food, and want to be able to choose to buy genetically engineered food and not have the choice made for them by companies who are refusing to disclose the ingredients in their food products

To suggest this measure will be costly or extreme is scaremongering and an attempt to divert attention from our fundamental right to know what we are eating and feeding our families. In the past food wasn’t labeled with calorie or nutritional information, but it is now, and most consumers use this information every day. Companies change their product labeling all the time. The ballot initiative simply requires food producers to also label food that is produced with genetic engineering.

Fifty countries already require labeling of genetically engineered foods, including the European Union countries, Japan and China. California should be a leader on this important issue here in the United States.

According to the Grocery Manufacturing Association, an estimated 75 to 80 percent of processed food in the United States contains genetically engineered ingredients. Genetically engineered salmon and many other food products will be introduced to the market shortly.

Currently, consumers lack any ability to distinguish these products from their natural counterparts. That is why this ballot initiative is so important. Transparency is a fundamental principle in a democratic society.

For more information on how to get involved please visit