Over the past few weeks the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has shone the spotlight on corporate power and social inequality, and calls have begun to emerge from within the movement around an array of demands, from a windfall tax on the richest 1 per cent, to Adbuster's “Robin Hood” tax on global financial transactions, to advancing alternative economic models through support of such things as cooperatives, credit unions, and fair trade.
Slipping quietly beneath the Occupy headlines in activist circles have been reports that TransFair USA has formally split with Fairtrade International (FLO), widely regarded as the most rigorous and legitimate fair trade labelling body in the world. While on the surface this might appear strictly as a split between two different organizations, in reality it represents something much deeper: the further penetration of the world's true ‘occupying’ force, the corporate sector, which seeks not only to dominate economics and politics, but to occupy all of our social and psychological space, right down to our desire for ethics and justice.
TransFair USA has long butted heads with FLO and other fair trade groups over the standards and direction of fair trade and in particular its relationship to corporations. While FLO has adopted a more cautious and gradual approach to the mainstreaming of fair trade and the expansion of corporate involvement, TransFair USA has dove in head first, enthusiastically currying favour with giant corporations and insisting that fair traders accept changes in their standards to meet the demands of new corporate partners. With this split, TransFair USA has renamed itself “Fair Trade USA” and seeks to move beyond the U.S. market and become a global certification body, essentially converting itself into a corporate-friendly alternative to traditional fair trade certification.more...>>