rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Citizens > Consumers

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

In all of the media commentary around the Trans-Pacific Partnership, I keep hearing about how this deal will benefit consumers. Not citizens, consumers. And it's no accident, because if you try to defend the TPP in terms of how it benefits citizens, it's a lot harder. It's like trying to defend Mike Myers' career based only on The Love Guru. 

The "free”" in free trade agreements refers to freedom of choice. Opening up international markets gives us the freedom to choose between different milk suppliers or between 20 different brands of unscented deodorant. That drives down prices, allowing us to consume cheap products that give us a deep sense of spiritual fulfillment, leaving us unafraid of death because we're already one with the transcendent. That's just basic economics.

BUT the choices we gain as consumers are traded off with the choices we lose as citizens. Quebec chose to ban fracking, which is extremely destructive to the environment. But that choice contravenes the North American Free Trade Agreement, so they were sued $250 million dollars for not being free enough.

This election reminds us that we're not mere consumers. We're citizens, with power way beyond how much money we have in our wallet. I’ll be voting on October 19th, but it's going to take a lot more than a ballot to push back against those forces trying to reduce the power of that ballot. It's going to take organization, persistence, and AT MOST five different brands of unscented deodorant.

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.