Oakers at TPP Protest
I like it when our kids go to protests. Willow has been at a number of protests and has helped bail me out of jail. Yesterday an intrepid group of Oakers, including Edmund, Sapphyre, Christian, Tomato and Kaya went to the US Capitol in Washington DC to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership affectionately referred to as TPP.
What is it like to sit next to your mom and have her tell you that there is some chance she might get arrested? Fortunately, things did not go that way at the most recent protest of the TPP.
The TPP is barely a trade agreement. It is being called a trade agreement, because the business media likes these, corporations can justify lobbying for “free trade” and because what it really is is so ugly that it would be politically impractical to ask for it. It is a transfer of power away from governments and citizens to corporations.
It’s about corporations being able to sue countries for passing laws or making court rulings that might impact their future profits. It’s about Monsanto wanting a back door way to block labeling of GMO food in all the TPP countries. It’s about a hugely profitable pharmaceutical industry that wants to make sure that people in Vietnam can’t access affordable generic medicine. And no, this is not going to create good jobs in the US. TPP makes it even easier for corporations to move production to countries with unbelievably low wages and bad working conditions.
Here are a couple of the better propaganda pieces on it.
These trade agreement laws are such favorites of big business, that they can not avoid filling them with all manner of poor, unconstitutional, and corrupt structures. Just as the progressive movement helped push back the WTO negotiations in Seattle in 1999, now activists must rally to block this far less attractive “free trade” agreement. And TPP is in trouble. Many of the countries involved are not agreeing to the extreme US proposals in the negotiations. And there is a lot of opposition in the US Congress to passing TPP and to passing Fast Track Trade Authority (which hands over control of trade treaties to the executive branch). Without fast track, TPP itself is unlikely to pass in Congress.
Our folks did one of the few things you can do about this situation – they went and spoke truth to power. Now power was only willing to put up with a tiny amount of the truth. But the protesters danced nimbly between rules of the congressional committees and their rights to free speech.
The shirts were about North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA. TPP is an expanded version of NAFTA that includes more countries. Michael Froman (the US Trade Rep who was testifying at the House hearing we went to) was talking a few days ago about how great NAFTA has been, and he said that NAFTA created big trade surplus for the US. This is just plain false. The annual trade deficit with Mexico and Canada has increased by $155 Billion.
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]