The Obama administration and its Office of the US Trade Representative have been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the past three years largely in secret except for their 600 or more closest corporate friends. Corporate ‘advisers’ have immediate access to the text as it is being negotiated so they can shape the language. For the rest of us, including most members of Congress, it’s anybody’s best guess as to the details of the agreement.
This is a sharp detour from past free trade agreements for which the text was made public even during the negotiations.
So, what are they hiding? Leaked portions of the text and statements by the few Congress members who have seen the text indicate that the TPP is the largest corporate power grab ever. Alan Grayson says that it will undermine US sovereignty and even former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk admits that if people knew what was in it, it could not be signed.
That is why groups of concerned people around the country are taking it into their own hands to expose the secret TPP. On #TPPTuesdays, people go to public spaces to hold signs about the TPP and hand out TPP OccuCards.
This past Tuesday, people in Olympia, WA and Baltimore, MD took action.
People in Olympia held a large banner over a highway. This was followed the next day by a similar action in Bellingham, WA. TPP teach-ins were held the day before.
In Baltimore, a large banner was held at the entrance to a highway ramp near the train station. Others passed out OccuCards to commuters who were entering and leaving the station. Overall, the response was very positive. Most commuters were unaware of the TPP and were willing to learn more. Messages that were particularly effective were calling the TPP “NAFTA on steroids” or “the largest free trade agreement ever” and letting people know that the TPP will undermine food safety, raise the cost of health care, worsen worker’s wages and degrade the environment.
If you care about these issues, and others such as internet privacy and further de-regulation of the big banks, take the pledge to “Flush the TPP” and spread the word to the people you know. If you do a #TPPTuesday action, you can post it on FlushtheTPP.org.
Together, we can expose the TPP and fulfill Ron Kirk’s warning that if the people know what is in it, it can’t be signed. Are you in?