Members of Congress are starting to pay attention to the upcoming, secretly-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “trade” agreement that isn’t really about trade. And the public is also becoming aware that this runaway job-loss express train is coming straight at us.
Not Really A “Trade’ Treaty”
The TPP agreement is being negotiated — in secret, even from Congress — between representatives of governments and giant, multinational corporations. (Government negotiators are not prevented from seeking lucrative corporate jobs if negotiations are completed in favor of those corporations.) Groups representing the interests of labor, environmental, consumer, human rights or other stakeholders in democracy are not at the negotiating table. And, not surprisingly, it appears that the agreement will promote the interests of giant, multinational corporations over the interests of labor, environmental, consumer, human rights or other stakeholders in democracy.
Negotiated in secret, what we know about the treaty comes from leaks. Only a few of the “chapters” of the agreement are actually about “trade” at all. The rest are about the “rights” of corporations and investors. Negotiated just as the worldwide democracy uprising threatens to reign in corporate interests, the agreement will limit governments’ ability to write banking regulations, energy policy, food safety standards and even government purchasing decisions. It will allow corporations and investors to sue governments for lost profits if the governments try to make and enforce environmental, labor and other laws.
Congress Waking Up
The corporations are asking Congress to pass “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority. This would mean Congress yields its authority and duties under the Constitution, and just has a rushed up-or-down vote on whatever is presented to them. So this will be about which legislators the giant corporations own, and which they do not. (Of course this vote will occur during a major corporate-funded PR campaign that will rival the propaganda “run-up” to the Iraq war vote.)
Some members of Congress are circulating letters opposing “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority and are getting plenty of signatures from the “left” and the “right.”
Last week conservative House Republicans Michele Bachmann and Walter Jones joined Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro began gathering signatures of both Democratic and Republican members of Congress on letters opposing granting “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority. They complain that Congress has not played their Constitutionally-mandated part in shaping this deal, and Fast Track removes their Constitutional authority to review and amend any such agreement.
In June 2/3 of newly-elected Democratic members of Congress warned against passing “Fast Track.” Also in June 230 members of Congress signed a letter asking that TPP address currency manipulation.
Last year many members of Congress signed letters objecting to the secrecy of the negotiations.
This public is slowly becoming aware of TPP and the threat it poses. (Corporate media is, of course, not covering this.) Last Saturday, for example, hundreds of people gathered at a rally in Madison Wisconsin to show their disapproval of TPP.
At the rally people chanted, “Secrets, secrets are no fun! TPP hurts everyone!”
Interestingly, those parts of the Tea Party that are not fronts for corporate interests are also trying to spread the news about this treaty. Gotta give them credit, their radar is really catching this one.
Tea-Party concerns include the fact that the treaty would elevate a corporate-council above American sovereignty, and Fast-Track Trade Promotion Authority would strip Congress of its Constitutional role in shaping and approving the treaty.
Here are some examples from Tea-Party outlets,
The third evil is flying under the radar. Few people know about it. That is by design.
It is called the Trans Pacific Partnership. It might as well be called the American Suicide Agreement.
Do Your Part
Let your Representative and Senators know that you oppose Congress voting for “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority because this means that Congress cannot carefully consider the TPP and amend it as needed.