Peter DeFazio for Congress, Oregon's 4th

Saturday is the 20-year anniversary of the "Battle of Seattle," when more than 50,000 union members, environmental advocates, human rights activists, and working people gathered in downtown Seattle to protest the multi-day meetings of secretive World Trade Organization (WTO). By the end of the first day, police had arrested hundreds of people and tear-gassed hundreds more.

Including me.

During my time in Congress, I have voted against every job-killing "free trade" agreement because they sent good-paying U.S. jobs overseas, destroyed the U.S. manufacturing industry, exploded trade deficits, undermined U.S. sovereignty and eroded U.S. environmental laws. I fought hard against the creation of the WTO, which is one of the most craven and destructive of the "pro-business, anti-democracy, anti-worker, anti-environment" pacts the U.S. has ever been involved in.

The WTO exists primarily to benefit multinational corporations and grease the wheels of global trade, prioritizing corporate earnings and corporate rights above workers' rights, environmental protection, consumer safety, and economic justice. It's a high-powered council making backroom deals that enrich the rich and afflict the afflicted and calling it (I kid you not) "freedom."

In 1999, I went to the WTO protest in Seattle, along with a team of colleagues opposed to globalism, free trade, and the impacts on American jobs, to march in solidarity with unions, environmentalists, and anti-corporate activists.

The streets shook with the power of thousands of people, unified in purpose and marching together to demand the world take notice.

While it was an outrage to be tear gassed by my own government for exercising my constitutional right to free assembly, I am proud that I was on the ground in Seattle on November 30, 1999, and that I was on the right side of history.

I've fought for working people every day I've served in Congress. Now, under Donald Trump, I'm fighting harder than ever to stop the administration's attacks on working families.

That means standing with workers against Trump's impulsive and destructive tariff wars and his badly negotiated free trade reboots. It means leading the fight to protect workers and the environment in Trump's new NAFTA. It means fighting for quality, affordable health care for all people who call this country home, and for an economy that rewards hard work, not corporate profits.

The fight's not over – not by a long shot – and you can bet that I'm in it for the long haul. I didn't retreat in Seattle, I haven't backed down in Congress, and I'm going to keep leading the charge in Washington to make sure that American workers get a fair shot, and the respect they deserve.



Posted on November 29, 2019.