Obama 1, Labor 0: Rahm the Hammer to lead Obama team

The first appointment in the wake of the Obama victory could not have been reassuring to the many thousands in the labor movement who deployed $400 million in this campaign to assure a Democratic victory. Rahm Emanuel, a Chicago congressman, was the key Clinton staffer behind the push for the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. 

NAFTA has been a disaster for workers and peasants in all three member countries with union manufacturing jobs moved to Mexico where gangs of thugs backed by the state enforce sweatshop conditions in the maquila zones along the US border. And US and Canadian agro-business exports helped push Mexican peasants off their land desperately seeking jobs across the border to the north thus fueling ethnic tension and political battles over illegal immigration for most of the last decade.

I wrote about the weakness of the labor protections in NAFTA in my book co-edited by Lance Compa which you can find here.