Sunday, September 8, 2013

Create a TPP-Free Zone where you live!

Taking to the streets in
Madison WI to derail fast-track
and the TPP
Don’t let the Trans-Pacific Partnership take away our democratic rights as individuals and as a community. Now is the time to organize to create a "TPP-Free Zone" in your town, city, or county.

If you are not yet familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), now is the time to find out. TPP is a massive trade pact being negotiated between the United States and 12 or more Pacific Rim countries including Japan. It is being written by and for the transnational corporate elite and is cloaked in extreme secrecy. No member of Congress has been allowed to participate in the negotiations, yet President Obama wants Congress to approve the TPP under Fast Track authority which would only allow for an up or down vote on this corporate-negotiated trade deal.

Like other free trade agreements, TPP’s provisions will trump local, state and federal laws and regulations whenever they interfere with “free” trade—free, that is, for corporations, but very costly for the rest of us. Like with NAFTA and CAFTA, the TPP’s investor provisions would privilege the “right” to profit—even the right to anticipated future profits—over democratic decision-making.

From leaked text and previous trade agreements, it is clear that the TPP would --
•  Undermine financial industry regulations needed to prevent another meltdown
•  Restrict free use of the internet
•  Greatly expand copyright protection
•  Dismantle “Buy Local” and “Buy American” preferences which promote local business
•  Restrict use of cheaper generic drugs
•  Challenge food safety regulations including GMO labeling
•  Delay action on climate change, if not prevent it outright
•  Prevent government limits on the export of fracked natural gas, as well as coal and water
•  Allow the U.S. and countries to be sued by foreign corporations for lost profits as a result of laws and regulations, even those protecting health and the environment

Yet, labor, environmental, health care, internet/free press, climate justice, green energy and democracy organizations have been excluded from the negotiations. They cannot see the text, nor comment on it despite the impact of the TPP on all these issues.

We know that most members of Congress are bought lock, stock and barrel by the corporations and Wall Street. So while we must  raise our voices against Congress agreeing to  fast track the TPP,  we must not end our advocacy at their doorstep. We must take our resistance to a world ruled of,  for and by the corporations right to our doorstep, right to where we live. We must assert our right to self-governance, to a nation of, for and by the people.

How can we do this? Many communities across the country have passed rights-based laws, establishing their right to self-governance, asserting their right to a clean and safe environment, establishing the rights of nature to thrive as ecosystems, and denying corporations the right to use the US Constitution or state constitutions to challenge these fundamental rights.

Now it is time to assert our right to a local economy, free of rules negotiated in secret, without our consent, by transnational corporations for their own benefit.  It is time to say we will not abide by decisions reached by secret trade tribunals which will impact our health and safety when we do not even have a right to be represented. It is time to pass local laws to create TPP Free Zones.

It is time to build a democratic movement of resistance.  It is time to start right where we live, in our own community.  It is time to say to President Obama and to the corporations which are sitting at the negotiating table

“If you, our unelected representatives, create this corporate-driven monstrosity and then go to Congress and get a rubber stamp, WE WILL NOT OBEY.”

We will be following in the footsteps of the successful resistance to an earlier trade agreement, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. This was the first global mobilization against a proposed trade agreement and an important part of the campaign was organizing locally.  In the U.S. and Canada, some municipalities declared themselves to be MAI Free Zones.  The MAI was defeated in 1998.

We must organize to defeat the TPP and if it is not defeated, then we can do no other than say “We will not obey.”

For information on creating a TPP-Free Zone, see this page on the AfD website.

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