Above: TPP protest in Seattle, the Backbone Campaign
13 Cities Mobilized to Shine a Light on Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership “Trade” Deal Telling Congress “Don’t Fast Track a Train Wreck – FLUSH the TPP!”
On Tuesday evening citizens in Seattle and 12 other cities appeared on overpasses and roadsides to pull the Trans-Pacific Partnership, aka TPP, out of the shadows and into the light of public scrutiny. From Dallas to DC, San Diego to Seattle, Tucson to Detroit, Baltimore to Bellingham, Spokane to Chicago people took their messages to interstate overpasses, prominent monuments, and busy city streets using coordinated daytime and nighttime, high visibility tactics.
They deployed giant banners saying No New NAFTA, mobilized LED light panels saying “(thumbs up) Democracy, STOP The TPP,” and projected with spotlights messages like “Don’t Fast Track A Train Wreck.” These coordinated citizen’s actions coincided with ongoing TPP negotiations taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah from November 12-24 and today’s anticipated release by Congressperson Rosa DeLauro and George Miller detailing the growing opposition to “Fast Track” among Congress, and preceded today’s surprise release by Wikileaks of a leaked chapter of the secretive “TPP” agreement. [Here is Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch initial interpretations of the chapter on intellectual property.]
The TPP has been called NAFTA on steroids, a “Corporate Coup,” and concerned citizens from across the nation are calling on Congress to “Flush It!” and to oppose President Obama’s request to renew “Fast Track” authority to commit our country to this secretive agreement that has less to do with trade, than it does with dismantling any domestic policies that undermine future profits for transnational capital and corporations.
Bill Moyer, Executive Director of the Backbone Campaign stated “Only a bought a sold government would sign a treaty that sacrifices our capacity as communities and country to pass laws for workers benefit, and the protection of our communities and our natural resources.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been negotiated under secrecy for 3 years. Obama is now pushing to have it swiftly approved to much to the dismay of members of Congress, most of whom haven’t even been allowed to see the text. While Congress is constitutionally required to negotiate any international treaties, Fast Track or granting Obama Trade Promotion Authority would forfeit the Congress’ responsibility and the public’s right to weigh in on the TPP negotiations.
Perhaps in response to growing citizen outrage letters were release today from both Democrats and Republicans challenging President Obama’s request for renewal of Fast Track authority. [From Today's Public Citizen announcement: The 151-signature DeLauro-Miller letter, additional letter from Democratic Ways & Means members, One of two letters, this led by Representative Walter Jones (R-NC)]
One of the illuminated messages on Tuesday read “Corporate Tribunals WTF?” This referred to how the TPP would give more power to corporate interests including the ability for foreign companies to sue for taxpayer compensation if any domestic law diminished the company’s expected future profits.
Masked as a trade deal, the agreement has been negotiated under supervision of 600 unelected corporate “trade advisors” while the text has been hidden from members of Congress, the press, and the public. What has been learned about the TPP has come through leaked texts, and is alarming to members of Congress worried about sovereign powers being negotiated away, public health officials, labor representatives, environmental groups, and advocates of consumer issues.
“The TPP, the largest ever of it’s kind, is a race to the bottom international agreement on domestic and international policies of food safety, internet freedom, medicine costs, financial regulation, and the environment,” says Kristen Beifus, executive director of Washington Fair Trade Coalition.”
Trade Justice organizations have declared December 3rd a “Global Day of Action Against the TPP to resist toxic trade agreements.” Citizens are urged to take action in their own community, contact their congressperson, and learn more about the TPP’s dismantling of democracy by visiting VoteNoFastTrack.org. Citizens can find out where their congressperson stands and tweet them at pdamerica.org/tpp.
Tuesday’s coordinated actions were organized by the Backbone Campaign, which specializes in “amplifying citizen engagement with creative tactics and artful activism” in collaboration with Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, PopularResistance.org, Fair Trade Coalitions in Washington and Oregon, and more.
The coordinated day of action follows on the heals of an action in September when to the surprise of secret service, members and allies of PopularResistance.org and the Backbone Campaign “redecorated” the United States Trade Representatives office by scaling the building and unfurling giant banners demanding a release of the TPP text. The Backbone Campaign is grateful to Wikileaks for beginning that process.
View the growing collection of photos from the 11-12-13 actions HERE. To speak with organizers of yesterday’s day of action please contact Bill Moyer at 206-356-9980 or Eric Ross at 805-776-3882.
Info and Collaborator Web Sites:
Thanks to our many awesome collaborators both mentioned and not!
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
Washington Fair Trade Coalition
Oregon Fair Trade Coalition
Expose The TPP
Overpass Light Brigade PDX
Occupy Rogers Park
Chicago Overpass Light Brigade
North Texas Light Brigade
San Diego Overpass Light Brigade
South Sound Rising Tide
TPP Talking Points
Backbone Campaign’s mission is to provide creative strategies, artful activism trainings, and creative action support to progressive activists, organizers and organizations around the US and beyond in order to invigorate and nurture a people-power, community-based, and internationally-networked nonviolent social movement for human rights, thriving communities, and ecological well being. Backbone Campaign’s vision is a world where human dignity, community resilience, and ecological well being is built upon a foundation of democratic economic and political systems and diverse, thriving culture where human rights, the rights of communities and nature are truly inalienable and honored.
Help amplify the message by tweeting the media and twitterstorming your representative! #VoteNoFastTrack @FLUSHtheTPP @backboneprog
We can stop the TPP by stopping Fast Track! Let’s pull the TPP out of the shadows and into public scrutiny.