Progressive Majority Coalition - Ben Boyce


The global corporate coup 2013: TPP

Did you know that a global consortium of mega-corporations are planning a planetary coup? Have you heard of the new world order plan underway that will fundamentally undermine U.S. national sovereignty and override the efforts of millions of people and thousands of civil society groups around the world to create a more just, equitable, and environmentally sustainable future for humanity? I’ll bet not. That is not because you aren’t reading the newspaper or watching the news. The nearly total secrecy is by design.  You aren’t supposed to know until it’s a done deal.

This sweeping global trade treaty is called the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). The TPP has already gone through 16 rounds of negotiations in a virtual media blackout. We would know next to nothing of the contents of these meetings had not portions of the text been leaked. Pay attention, because what you don’t know can hurt you.

When the subject of international trade negotiations is covered in the press, eyes glaze over. The subject is usually framed in corporate media as an esoteric exercise by governmental trade representatives and corporate lawyers to iron out inefficiencies in the global economic regime. We usually don’t even hear about these meetings, which are staged in capital cities and exotic resort locations all over the world, unless there is a disturbance by ragtag groups of fair trade activists and third world peasant farmers.  Resistance to the fundamentally undemocratic TPP New World Order should not be solely the province of progressives.  I truly believe that my conservative brothers and sisters would rise up against it as a core violation of American sovereignty if their media sources covered this important story.  Fox News, where are you?

The key elements to the TPP, if enacted, will transfer the capacity of national governments to regulate healthcare, labor rights, the financial sector, and the environment to special TPP corporate tribunals, which have the power to sue our governments for compensation over laws and regulations that they deem would cause “loss of expected profit”.  The TPP tribunal consists of three judges (who can include corporate lawyers on temporary leave from their day jobs) with the power to levy fines in the billions of dollars against any country that passes environmental or labor regulations that they adjudicate a “restraint of free trade”.  We will never get to vote on these guys, but we will be on the hook as taxpayers for these fines. Now do you get why they want to keep this quiet?

Here’s why the TPP matters to you, living here in comfortable Sonoma, working a regular job, trying to live an environmentally friendly life-style. The global TPP regime, once installed, would:

Prevent “Buy America” manufacturing preferences: the TPP’s procurement chapter would ban “Buy America” policies.

Overrule local environmental laws and regulations: policies encouraging localization and green manufacturing would be suspended, if a TPP corporate member claimed their profits would be impacted.

Regulate internet access: the intellectual property chapter would strictly enforce provisions on copyrights, limiting artistic and intellectual freedom.

Stop local food and agriculture regulation:  multinational grain-trading and food-processing firms would enjoy favored corporate status, while farmers would be pitted in a race to the bottom in unregulated commodity prices. Don’t even think about banning GMOs!

Subject safety, environmental, consumer and labor laws to TPP oversight: the three-judge corporate trade tribunal can award damages if a country’s labor laws or safety regulations create a “competitive burden”. As one union leader I know stated, “The TPP is for those who think Chinese labor is getting too expensive”.

Privatize health care: this provision would effectively prevent the United States from adopting a single-payer health system, and compel privatization in countries with such systems.

Prevent public banks and banking regulation: the TPP would consider public banks a violation of free trade. TPP would lock in financial services deregulation and prohibit any restrictions on capital flow in and out of countries.

So now you know. No wonder they want to keep this monster under wraps. The American public, and citizens all around the world, would revolt en masse if this extreme free-market fundamentalist nightmare were imposed without their consent. The TPP would subvert our national sovereignty and end any prospect for a decent progressive policy agenda. Whatever your core issues might be, the anti-democratic TPP would permanently enshrine corporate profits over human needs and the health of the planet.

The smart money political experts tell us that the only real hope for defeating TPP is to oppose reauthorization of the expired Fast Track authority in Congress.  Contact your Senator or Congressional representative and demand that they hold public hearings on the TPP.  Once the TPP gets to Congress under Fast Track, it’s game over, given the vast amount of corporate lobby money that has already been spent to get the TPP done. You can get much more information at Citizenstrade.org.

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