This is a message to activists trying to fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Stop calling the TPP a “trade” agreement. TPP is a corporate/investor rights agreement, not a trade agreement. Trade is a good thing; TPP is not. Every time you use the word trade in association with the TPP, you are helping the other side.

Trade is a propaganda word. It short-circuits thinking. People hear trade and the brain stops working. People think, “Of course, trade is good.” And that ends the discussion.

Calling TPP a trade agreement lets the pro-TPP people argue that TPP is about trade instead of what it is really about. It diverts attention from the real problem. It enables advocates to say things like, “95 percent of the world lives outside the US” as if that has anything to do with TPP. It lets them say, “We know that exports support American jobs” to sell a corporate rights agreement. It enables them to say nonsense like this about a corporate rights agreement designed to send American jobs to Vietnam so a few “investors” can pocket the wage difference: “Exports of US goods and services supported an estimated 9.8 million American jobs, including 25 percent of all manufacturing jobs … and those export-supported jobs pay 13 to 18 percent higher than the national average wage.”

Trade is good. Opening up the border so you can get bananas and they can get fertilizer is trade because they have a climate that lets them grow bananas and you already have a fertilizer plant. Enabling companies to move $30/hour jobs to countries with $.60/hour wages so a few billionaires can pocket the difference is not trade.

Calling TPP a trade agreement lets TPP supporters say people opposed to TPP are “anti-trade.”