Jeff Farmer, director of organising for the Teamsters Union, which has 1.4m members across North America, speaks exclusively to Unite Brexit Check.
On the similarities between Trump and Brexit
I’m not well versed in the particulars of the day-to-day negotiations, but I can speak to the underlying sentiment on the part of working people. We saw the same thing as Brexit in the United States with election of Donald Trump.
His election was a disaster of course, but many of the same frustrations and anger on the part of working people and their families, who have basically been ignored by this system, were shared.
On gambling for economic change out of frustration
Workers in many respects were willing to throw out the dice and just see what was going to happen, because the powers that be had essentially not listened to them.
For example, both parties in the United States were supporting trade agreements that were a source of great anger and frustration on the part of working people. They saw the truth; that these trade agreements were essentially cobbled together by big business, which had large seats at the table.
Workers and their representatives were not included in that process and so you had a situation were essentially working people and their families were waiting to what was going to happen to them.
On the betrayal of working people by populists
At a certain level the rejection of the EU in this country and the rejection of the established political parties in embracing someone like Donald Trump is all part of the same phenomenon.
Unfortunately what we’ve seen happen, especially in the case of Donald Trump – who has portrayed himself as an ally of working people, as someone who’s going to go to bat for them – has turned out to be a complete sham.
Rather than embracing the kind of economic populism that people were after, Trump has just brought in more representatives from big business and corporate America.