Revolution's Matchstick: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Above: Rivera Sun, an Auburn native now living in Taos, N.M., performs her one-woman act, “The Education of Lala Girl,” on Sunday at the Olin Arts Center at Bates College in Lewiston. Sun Cook performs the story of Lala, an African-American girl growing up in the small town of Lovely, Kan., chronicling her spunky, indomitable spirit. The Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.

Rolling down the corporate-political assembly line is a trade deal so treasonous to the peoples of the world that it should serve as revolution’s matchstick. The treaty is secret, but one fact is well known: the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is being negotiated by transnational corporations without a single US legislator present.

Each time I hear this, my eyes blink in disbelief. Without a single legislator present . . . without their presence at negotiations, without so much as seeing a draft of the deal, and most treacherously, without objection or outcry at their exclusion!

The President has requested our legislators to “fast track the TPP”, which would allow him to sign the deal prior to sending it to Congress for approval or disapproval. If they agree to this, then Congress eschews its right – and its responsibility – to reject parts of the trade deal and reopen negotiations.

This complicity of the part of our legislators sinks an iron weight in my gut.

It smacks not of exclusion, but of willing collusion with transnational corporations that have a proven track record of criminality, destruction, and abuse. In my short lifetime, large corporations have been responsible for poisoning two major gulfs with oil spills, blowing up more than five hundred mountains, destroying numerous watersheds, wrecking the food system with toxins, and causing one in six Americans to be evicted from their homes. They have used the media apparatus to deny the existence of climate change, fomented wars, and obstructed truth and justice so often that it is practically “industry standard”. The list of grievances can be only partial here, but these abuses alone must sound the alarm bells of our conscience.

The largest trade deal since NAFTA is being written in secret by entities that have consistently abused the global population for the sake of profit.

A single thought rings bell-like in my mind.

We must revolt.

It is a quiet statement. Pragmatic.

Revolution is not a stirring thought. It evokes a great sadness in me, as if a member of my family had sunk so far into alcoholism that I must declare my separation and call on the collective strength of society to rein in his behavior so he does not cause death and destruction to us all. I am old enough to have cut through romantic idealizations of revolution, but smart enough to understand that this collusion of government and pathological corporations must be stopped.

I regret that it has come to this. Even as I steel my heart for the work ahead, I look to the seats of power and wish they would turn their self-involved gazes from their profits and see the suffering they are causing.

Wishes alone will not change anything. Action is required. So, with pragmatic determination, I look out across the unlikely landscape of my nation. Violence seethes just under the surface. Ignorance abounds. Despair, helplessness, and apathy afflict us, along with addiction and ill health. Police brutality is on the rise. Authoritarian power is replacing democracy and civil liberties. The pervasiveness of the surveillance state is so widespread that honesty is our only option.

We must, despite these odds, prepare for struggle with great determination.

And since the government knows our secrets, let me tell you one of theirs. They are hoping for violent insurrection. Armed uprisings can be thoroughly and violently suppressed and quell the rest of us into fearful submission. Those who work toward change know that violence is not only strategically unwise, it is exactly what our opponents want.

Our politicians control the largest, most well funded military in the world. The corporations employ private mercenaries. And, while there are many noble reasons to advocate that the people use nonviolent struggle, the most strategic one is this: by using violent means, we will have chosen the very type of struggle in which our opponents excel. Their superiority is unquestionable at this time.

Realistic alternatives exist. Strategic nonviolent action has been used around the world to dismantle regimes far more repressive and overtly controlling than our own . . . but these nonviolent struggles require that the populace rouse itself from stupor, apply their minds to understanding how such strategic nonviolent action succeeds, and set their hearts firmly on the effort towards a truly democratic society.

Striving for revolutionary change is never easy, but the haystack of tyranny and injustice has been piled high by the abuses of the government and the corporations. Every citizen will find a different matchstick for revolution; the Trans-Pacific Partnership is mine.

Author/Actress Rivera Sun sings the anthem of our times and rallies us to meet adversity with gusto. In addition to her most recent novel, The Dandelion Insurrection, she is the author of nine plays, a book of poetry, and her debut novel, Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, which celebrates everyday heroes who meet the challenges of climate change with compassion, spirit, and strength.  http://www.risingsundancetheater.com/wpblog/

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  • Elmo Prankster

    I hope you are right. But if the ongoing apathy towards the NSA, US torture, illegal wars, billions lost without explanation, cuts to food stamps and the other thousand Randian fantasies inflicted upon us daily by the neocon Right, I fear the TPP is a done deal. Any meaningful protest must now be a militant one. It is time to cut the many heads from the fascist Hydra that governs our lives. It is as simple as taking out the brothers Kochs of the world. And by take out I mean kill. Period.

    • kevinzeese

      The TPP is far from a done deal. The momentum to stop it is on our side. There are Republicans and Democrats circulating letters for their colleagues in Congress to sign onto opposing Fast Track. The TPP can be stopped, 14 trade agreements in about a decade have been stopped. They are keeping this secret because they know if people find out what is in it, it cannot be passed. Don’t give up the fight. We are going to stop the TPP, and Rivera is right, it could be the matchstick for a broader revolt. When the people beat the transnational corporations we will realize we have power.

      • Southernfink

        Kevin, if it can be stopped in the US will that have an effect other nations that wanted to sign on ?

  • larrysherk

    Rivera Sun, my new hero! The future is ours to make or ignore, but as Chomsky asks “Is there time?”. We have hope or we have despair. I ain’t giving up and I seek leadership like Rivera Sun. My new hero.

    • Southernfink

      Yes there is time to go out and print 50 copies of this article and hand them out or leave them in strategic places for people who do not have internet access. we can try flooding the MSM with an awareness campaign and then there are phone calls to radio shows, yes there is still some time left time, but it’s crunch time for journalist to start asking the really hard questions, no doubt this will be done by the Independent media, the MSM is all wrapped up but it does not hurt to engage them in a debate either….

      • larrysherk

        Well put, my friend! I am also distributing copies I had printed of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. People around me seem already well aware of what’s happening. We hope for the organizational skills to minimize the blood letting ahead.

  • Southernfink

    Excellent article , Rivera Sun is correct about the authorities trying to turn every peaceful demonstration into a violent brawl to gain a tactical advantage.

    Police everywhere have adopted this tactic and are simply assaulting peaceful protesters, working for a hidden agenda? obeying instructing to get arrests under false pretenses..

    I could not help but notice that ever since 911 civil rights have been in steady decline everywhere, while corporate rights have only been on the rise, so have the powers of many police departments around the world.
    For the moment we are still able to communicate almost freely via the internet, but wait until the Trans Pacific Partnership starts kicking people of the web. The MSM will not cover these topic’s like they should as they are limited to their owners/editors hidden agenda’s and content control.

  • al92653

    Wishfull thinking.
    Can you imagine the American people making a non violent revolution? Hell, we can’t even make a non violent computer game!
    I