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Oregonians Raise a Ruckus, Say "We're Tired of Hosting Speaking Tours"

Oregon trade activists showed yet again why they are among the MVPs of the fair-trade movement, pressing themselves into Rep. Earl Blumenauer's (D-Ore.) office to demand that he publicly come out against the Panama FTA.

One of my favorite parts of this video come right at the beginning, when organizer Beth Poteet describes a recent speaking tour with Witness for Peace, where speakers from Mexico and elsewhere made the case against NAFTA-style policy on moral, policy and other grounds:

We just had a farmer from Oaxaca come here on a speaking tour. He spoke in Washington, Oregon for two weeks to about 2,000 people, sharing a message of how NAFTA has been devastating for the rural economy in Oaxaca and throughout Mexico...  We're now seeing some of the same things happen in Central America...

Personally, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of hosting people on these speakers tours and taking delegations to Latin America. We're hearing the same thing over and over again, that these policies are further impoverishing people, not only abroad, but also in our own country. And I'm tired of it. And I want Earl Blumenauer, as all of our representative, to take a stand against it. It's ridiculous that he continues to side with corporations, instead of with people. That's not his job.

Can I get an Amen? Brothers and sisters, can you imagine a world without speaking tours, where our representatives do what's right without a fight? Where speakers don't have to catch a cross-country flight in a small dangerous puddle-jumper plane whilst feeling ill, all to be fed vegan chili and "hosted" on the floor of a college dorm room?

In all seriousness, Beth captures very well the feeling of frustration and exhaustion that so many of us experience as we make the indictment over and over again, year in, and year out, and there's still way too many members of Congress who should be with us that aren't. Hats off to the Oregon activists for impressing the heck out of us yet again, and holding their state delegations' feetsies to the fire!

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