By Andrea Brower & Marti Townsend – In a galvanizing call-to-action, hundreds gathered today outside of secret TPP negotiations to put out a global kahea (call) to stop the corporate assault on people and planet. At least four hundred people took part in a unified sounding of the pū (Hawaiian conch shell), setting a new world record that will be officially submitted to Guinness Records. Event organizer Trinette Furtado said that in blowing the pū, “we are putting out a mighty kahea(call), past the shorelines of Maui, to connect with others standing up for their ‘āina (land) and people.” Following the record-setting sounding of the conch, powerful ancient chants echoed down the beach, beginning with “I Ku Mau Mau”—“Stand Up Together.” Long-time Native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte spoke, “We don’t need another layer of colonialism and bureaucracy. We had the sugar and pineapple barons, now we have the chemical-GMO barons and the tourist industry. We don’t need anymore. It’s pilau, pilau, pilau (rotten).”
By Flush The TPP! – Hundreds of local residents and representatives from international advocacy groups are gathering on the shore of Kā‘anapali Coast to express their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because it would sacrifice fundamental protections for public health, the environment, local jobs, and indigenous rights in order to enrich a few major corporations. “The TPP is a threat to our sovereignty as Native Hawaiians, and as human beings,” said Kaleikoa Ka‘eo, professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i. “This secret trade agreement would allow corporations to control decisions about how we live without any accountability to us, the people of this land. We call on everyone who cares about the environment, public health, jobs, and basic human rights for Hawaiians and all people to join us on Wednesday for a gathering on Kā‘anapali Beach.”
By Staff for Northwest Labor Press – The damage to their relationship to organized labor is beginning to be felt. The Northwest Oregon Labor Council resolved not to invite them to its annual Labor Day picnic this year. The announcement of that decision was greeted with general applause at the July 7 meeting of the state AFL-CIO Executive Board. Likewise, the Oregon AFL-CIO won’t be inviting any Fast Track Democrats to its biennial convention in Seaside this October. That’s never happened before. And there’s more to come. “Our message is: ‘You damaged the relationship. It’s up to you to fix it,’” Oregon AFL-CIO president Tom Chamberlain explained at the Executive Board meeting. Senator Wyden is up for re-election in 2016, and so are all the Fast Track Democrats in the House, since they must run every two years. United Food and Commercial Workers, both nationally and in Oregon, has resolved not to support to the re-election campaigns of members of Congress who voted for Fast Track, in any way. And at least one other national union is ready to back a primary challenger to Wyden, if one should emerge.
By Alex Wilts in Reuters – Washington lobbying by companies and groups involved in global trade boomed in the past nine months, records show, as Congress debated a landmark trade pact proposed by President Barack Obama, the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Lobbying expenditures by members of a pro-TPP coalition increased to $135 million in the second quarter of 2015, up from $126 million in the first quarter and $118 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Senate Office of Public Records reports reviewed by Reuters. The spending surge occurred among members of the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP, a group that hopes a final TPP deal can be completed by the end of 2015. Trade negotiators from the 12 TPP countries will gather in Hawaii next week for meetings aimed at wrapping up the deal.
By Lori Wallach for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch – TPP proponents are eager for Congress to vote on a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in late 2015. But to do so, given Fast Track’s statutorily-required timeframe of notice periods and pre-vote reports, TPP negotiations must be completed – and the TPP text itself – by the end of July. If notice to Congress of intent to sign the TPP were sent by August 1, a final TPP vote could be held the last week Congress is in session in December. Assuming the quickest timeline conceivable under the Fast Track rules and that somehow a required International Trade Commission (ITC) report on TPP impacts could be completed faster than has ever occurred for past pacts*, a TPP vote could take place about four and one half months after Congress is given notice of intent to sign a deal. Thus, negotiations must conclude at the July 28-31 TPP ministerial and a text must be ready for notice of intent to sign by August 1. That text must be publicly posted on August 30. This would allow for a vote the week of December 14. After that, Congress goes on recess and a vote would roll to 2016.
By David Solnit for the Indypendent – “Seattle,” shorthand for the 1999 anti-WTO mass actions, was a moment when organized protest and resistance became a genuine popular uprising of thousands of ordinary people who successfully shut down the opening day of the WTO meeting, took over and occupied the downtown core of a major American city, and contributed to the collapse of negotiations that would have increased poverty, destruction, and misery around the world. Several years after the Seattle actions, a group of us calling ourselves the People Powered Strategy Project reflected on the key elements that made the one-day mass urban action and week of struggle in Seattle successful. We came up with the following principles in an effort to bring a people-power strategy to the antiwar movement, which had none after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, and I have added a few more. These same principles worked in San Francisco on March 20, 2003 — the day after the U.S. invasion of Iraq — when 20,000 people from the area shut down and occupied the Financial District, 2,000 of whom were arrested.
By Andrea Bower, for the Hawaii Independent – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive international treaty being negotiated, in secret, by 12 Pacific Rim countries, side-by-side with 500 corporate advisers. After five years, they are aiming to wrap-up the deal on Maui at the end of this month. Meetings with Chief Negotiators begin July 24, followed by what they hope will be the final Trade Ministers meeting from July 28-31. Both the Westin and Hyatt Regency in Lahaina are reportedly hosting the meetings. Hawaii has been a favorite location for several of these high-security meetings because it is geographically isolated, seemingly far away from mass protests that might disrupt their agenda.
By Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins in Flush the TPP – In less than two weeks, from July 28-31, “the United States will host a meeting of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Ministers in Maui, Hawaii, preceded by a meeting of TPP Chief Negotiators from July 24-27” (USTR). People in Hawaii are leading the charge to organize protests in opposition to the meetings. The protests will educate and unite people on Hawaii against corporate imperial “trade” deals that will threaten indigenous sovereignty on the island, increase the use of GMO crops, diminish worker rights, and reward multinationals that pollute the environment on the islands and around the world. There will also be solidarity actions across the country. Many of the countries involved in the TPP negotiations are ready to close the deal, despite major concerns from other countries.
By James Moreland in Economy In Crisis – The New York Times has reported that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations will see a wrap late July. However, many of the 12 countries still have big issues that need to be solved before this agreement can move forward. Regardless of any issues these countries may have, America is ultimately going to be the biggest loser with this trade deal. We are the largest consumer nation in the world. Countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Japan need our economy to continue thriving. Whatever issues they may have, they will soon get over it since they need us more than we need them. Regardless, citizens in their countries are protesting against the TPP in the streets and their protests have helped slow down the TPP. People in Japan, Canada, Australia, the U.S., and New Zealand have been up in arms about the TPP.
By Margaret Flowers and Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins for FlushtheTPP.org. Germantown, MD – It has been one month since Fast Track passed through US Congress. Now we are starting a mass mobilization effort to stop the TransPacific Partnership (TPP). One part of the effort to Stop the TPP is to hold members of Congress accountable, by birddogging them wherever they go and challenging them in upcoming elections. Already, this has been happening across the country. On July 16 a small group from Communication Workers of America (CWA), FlushtheTPP, and Popular Resistance protested Congressman John Delaney’s vote to Fast Track the TPP at a community forum. See the video here: filmed and edited by Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins.
By Communications Workers of America – Advocates for human rights and anti-trafficking efforts have been expressing outrage about the news that Malaysia is poised to receive an improved ranking on the U.S. State Department’s annual assessment of human trafficking across the globe. The assessed improvement is at odds with the recent and troubling facts on the ground, many experts are pointing out. Perhaps most troubling is the notion that the upgraded Malaysia ranking is driven by the Obama Administration’s desire to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact. AsReuters reported last week: “The upgrade to so-called ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ status removes a potential barrier to President Barack Obama’s signature global trade deal.
By George Zornick in The Nation – When Congress finally passed fast-track trade authority last month, there was a major problem for President Obama and his trade negotiators: a provision of the bill forbid any fast-tracked trade deal from including countries on Tier 3 of the State Department’s human trafficking list. That’s the worst classification the United States gives to countries in its Trafficking In Persons annual report, a status earned by countries like Zimbabwe, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and North Korea. Also on the list: Malaysia, one of the 12 potential signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that is in the final round of negotiations this month.