A gathering of right- and left-leaning activists and politicians found common cause Thursday evening as they met in the Spokane City Council chambers to discuss their opposition to an ambitious trade accord among 12 Pacific nations, including the United States.
The 20 people gathered to hear four very different politically driven people denounce the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The audience was made up of people allied with such disparate groups as Occupy Spokane, the Tea Party, Envision Spokane, the anti-tax 8th Man group and both major political parties.
Councilman Mike Fagan led discussion of the proposed trade agreement, and he was joined on the dais by Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase, a Republican; former Democratic Spokane County Commissioner Bonnie Mager; Chris Nerison, who leads the progressive group Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution; and Jim Robinson, a former legislative aide to state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley.
Fagan said he was “thankful that people of all political persuasions have gathered here today.”
Chase echoed Fagan.
“The powers that be are always trying to divide us,” Chase said. “Meanwhile, we’re always getting fleeced by the powers that be.”
Chase said many issues bound the left and right, including concerns over genetically modified food, government surveillance and campaign finance reform. One issue that overshadowed all others was international trade pacts, he said.
Robinson lambasted “predatory corporations” and suggested they had more power than representative government.
Mager called on the audience to contact their elected federal officials about opposing the trade deal “before it’s too late.” She said the pact was written “by and for corporations to enhance their bottom line.”
Fagan, responding to calls from the audience for action, said he would immediately introduce a City Council resolution condemning the trade pact, and he encouraged liberal audience members to contact “my colleagues.”
When Michael Poulin, a progressive activist, asked who would join him at a protest in front of the Thomas S. Foley Federal Courthouse at 5 p.m. Monday, nearly everyone in attendance raised their hands, including all on the dais.
Editor’s note: Jim Robinson is a former aide to state Rep. Matt Shea. He retired at the end of 2014.
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