Leaks on the secret trade agreement, the TPP, are worrying social organizations that deal with health issues in Peru. They predict that the adoption of such a treaty will result in many deaths. On Monday, after the release of new information by Wikileaks, social organizations defending the interests of health patients have spoken out against the TPP. Representatives from the Peruvian Network for Patients and Users claim the treaty will allow for pharmaceutical companies to dominate the use of a drug for decades. The Trans Pacific-Partnership agreement (TPP) is a free trade agreement that is being negotiated in secret by 12 countries including Peru. One of the most controversial aspects of the treaty is the one that protects medicine patents, benefiting the interests of large pharmaceutical companies.
Today, Thursday 16 October 2014, WikiLeaks released a second updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the world’s largest economic trade agreement that will, if it comes into force, encompass more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The IP Chapter covers topics from pharmaceuticals, patent registrations and copyright issues to digital rights. Experts say it will affect freedom of information, civil liberties and access to medicines globally. The WikiLeaks release comes ahead of a Chief Negotiators’ meeting in Canberra on 19 October 2014, which is followed by what is meant to be a decisive Ministerial meeting in Sydney on 25–27 October. Despite the wide-ranging effects on the global population, the TPP is currently being negotiated in total secrecy by 12 countries. Few people, even within the negotiating countries’ governments, have access to the full text of the draft agreement and the public, who it will affect most, none at all.
Millions are rising globally to challenge corporate domination of government, people, and the commons, and building a ‘movement of movements’. Hundreds gathered in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the ‘Moving Beyond Capitalism’ Conference in August, 2014, and we share the millions’ principles for building a new world. This new world is founded upon the basic human rights principles of universality, accountability, transparency, and equity. It is rooted in interconnection, interdependence, and love. It is based on a popular sovereignty which involves direct, democratic participation in shared, from-the-ground-up, cooperative decision-making for collective action that serves the common good, with higher levels supporting the lower.
Nov. 8th to 14th Week of Action: Say NO to Fast Track and Unjust Trade! This fall, communities across the U.S. will once again join international allies in a global week of action against unjust trade. With Obama pushing to announce a TPP “framework” in November and the threat of Fast Track tripling in the lame-duck session, we need to demonstrate that hundreds of thousands still oppose corporate agreements meant to put profit before people and the planet. Let us know if you think your community can hold an action of any kind this November, and help us stand beside those resisting unjust trade from New Zealand to New York.
Brave resistance actions of all types are necessary to stop the march toward greater extraction and burning of fossil fuels. If they build it, it will be used and we must keep carbon in the ground to mitigate the climate crisis. Resistance actions are having an impact, making extreme extraction of energy less profitable and stopping projects. But resistance alone will fail. If extreme energy extraction halts and there is nothing to fill the need for energy and other basic necessities, many people will suffer. We must build alternatives to fill the gaps. The success of alternative systems will draw people to them and make the current dysfunctional systems less relevant. As market demand decreases, dirty power plants will close.
The health of our planet depends on our ability to make big changes in our economy. These changes include moving beyond fossil fuels and building local green economies. However, our current model of free trade, which is written into agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and free trade pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), threatens nearly every aspect of this much-needed economic transition. And yet, the U.S. is currently negotiating massive new free trade pacts, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 Pacific Rim nations and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. These deals would severely restrict the ability of governments to restructure our economy and address the climate crisis.
Before arriving at Oventic, I hadn’t realized how much I’d hoped to find answers: answers about the systems of colonization and neoliberalism; about how they operate within me and the work I do; about how to build alternatives to them personally, locally, and in solidarity. While conversations I had delved into all of this, one of the most central answers shared was that of questions, and of the importance of continuing to act with a commitment to reflection. Zapatista communications in no way claim perfection, or a goal of being a token answer to the world’s struggles; instead, they speak to a dedication to learning while doing, to thinking while trying, to walking while asking questions.In preparing to continue our action this fall, we can both reflect on what we’ve done so far and ask new questions of our work – from those focused on the next steps for our fight against the TPP to those that connect our resistance with taking on corporate power and injustice at large. (One recent example of walking with questions comes from our allies at United Students for Fair Trade, who undertook a Movement Connection Project to reflect on their own hopes for building student power as part of larger resistance to unjust trade.)
The resolution declares Berkeley to be a TPP and TAFTA Free Zone where Berkeley will not recognize trade provisions and tribunal rulings related to these agreements. Specifically, it states: “to every extent allowable by law, rules which do not promote the interests of workers, protect the environment, and improve the quality of life in all participating countries and which were negotiated without transparency as well as meaningful congressional and public input, and related tribunals’ rulings, will not be recognized.” The City Council resolution, which follows similar resolutions passed by Dane County WI and Madison WI on the TPP, encourages communities to take “peacefully powerful actions for self-determination such as becoming TPP/TAFTA-Free Zones.”
We already know that so-called “free” trade agreements aren’t free — they hurt jobs and wages and are deeply irresponsible. Indeed, just two past “free” trade deals, NAFTA and China’s addition to the World Trade Organization, resulted in a net loss of almost 135,000 Florida jobs. In addition, when — and if — those workers got another job, their annual wages plummeted an average $13,500. That net loss cost Florida’s economy almost $2 billion in annual wages. The TPP will make things even worse because we’ll be competing with corporations relocating to countries like Vietnam, where the average minimum wage is a meager 56 cents per hour. This agreement will allow foreign corporations to sue the United States through international tribunals over nearly any laws that they allege would cut into their expected future profits. That includes laws designed to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food on our dinner tables.
What do rigged corporate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Treaty, an international climate agreement to be signed in 2015, have in common? They are both tools being pushed by the power elite to rip away our hopes for democracy and to commodify all things to monetize them for profit. It is this drive by multinational corporations to patent and control even living beings such as plants and animals and to privatize even elements that are essential to life such as water which connects all human beings on the planet. We are in a global battle of the people versus the plutocrats and this battle has a ticking timer called the climate crisis. The global financial elites meet regularly to plan their strategy and tactics. If they can’t push their agenda through the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization, they move to secret massive trade agreements.
As elections get closer, Democratic Party leaders in Congress are getting the message out to inside-the-beltway activists groups that they are unifying to support giving President Obama some form of Fast Track. Recent letters from member of Congress to the President indicate support for trade with particular stipulations, but the overall message is to continue negotiating. Washington advocacy groups believe that they must also show support for Fast Track or they will find themselves without access or influence. Rather than kowtowing to the usual ‘on the table’ threat from the corrupt bi-partisan Congress, the movement needs to tell them that the only thing on the table is a complete transformation from the failed global trade that rigs profits for big business at the expense of the ecology of the planet and the necessities of the people. It is time to declare the TPP, TAFTA and the Services agreements as dead, develop a new approach to trade and begin to renegotiate past trade agreements like NAFTA that are doing ongoing damage to the economy, planet and people.