By now many of us have heard of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Especially since President Obama has been traveling and pushing it around the country recently. But why is he supporting something that is so obviously for the corporations and not the 99%? How will this trade agreement affect the people? Do we want to follow President Obama or begin to organize and share the truth with the public so we are prepared to hold our soon elected Madam President accountable for her statement that she will not support it? Have you discussed this in your local meetings? If not, then it is time to start.
What we know…
The TPP was written over 7 years in closed door negotiations with the public, policy makers, and the press locked out. Those who wrote it were among 500 top corporations including oil, coal, pharmaceutical, and America’s biggest welfare queen, Walmart.
Yet one of the most terrifying aspects of the TPP is that it would drastically expand Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS. This is not a new thing and is currently the reason US taxpayers are being sued for upwards of $15 billion because the public (The Obama administration) rejected the Keystone pipeline. You might think, surely no judge or jury in their right mind would allow this to happen… the pipeline was stopped because of the environmental impacts of the project that supposedly wouldn’t have profited the United States at all; No way that would be held up in the court of law! -you might say…Wrong.
Investor State Dispute settlement allows for corporations to sue countries over any laws or regulations that could “hurt the bottom line.” What court hears these cases? Tribunals made up of three CORPORATE LAWYERS. Ask yourself, to whom is their allegiance to? The TPP would hand over ISDS rights to 9 THOUSAND more corporations according to a Public Citizen estimate. That is nearly double our current number.
Environmental regulations will be threatened as well as jobs; According to the Sierra Club, “Job losses and lower wages notwithstanding, the TPP would move U.S. manufacturing to places like Vietnam where production is 2-4 times as carbon intensive as the U.S, also increasing shipping related emissions.” As well as according to a study done in 2016 by Global Development and Environmental Institute, the TPP would also result in an estimated loss of up to 448,000 American jobs.
Pharma gets a seat in the TPP as well. Pharmaceutical companies will be given stronger patents delaying generic versions of the drug, giving them a mandatory 12-year exclusivity agreement for name brand drugs. This will allow the rights and powers to increase pricing of life saving drugs at their discretion and limit consumer access to cheaper drugs. Doctors without borders made an official statement against the TPP by addressing the concerns that the trade agreement would force governments to expand existing monopolies on patents past the already 20-year term, just if the Pharm company requests it.
Remember these terms “expected future profits” and “the court that rules the world.” This is the common theme in every TPP discussion. We must not rely on corporations to write our laws. We cannot allow them to place our house, safety, jobs, and environment beneath their “expected future profits.”
Who has signed on opposing the TPP? As of January 2016, over 1,500 groups have signed a letter to oppose the TPP. The Teamsters, Alliance for Democracy, Sierra Club, Climate Action Coalition, Progressive Democrats of America, Greenpeace, Coalition for Better Trade, Center for Environmental Health, Public Citizen, and Moveon.org just to name a few.
Hillary Clinton states in a 2015 interview with Judy Woodruff, “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it. I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.” While there are still many who do not think she will support the TPP, there are just as many who know that she DID once support it and wish to ensure that she keeps the bar that high.
What can you do to raise awareness to stop this deal?
Talk to your local county Democratic Party Chairman. Request a speaking slot during your meeting to make sure all Party members know what is really in this deal. Create a rally in your state capitol and collect signatures to turn in to your state leaders, the DNC Chairman of your state included. Time is running out and we need to show the Democratic Party that the majority of their members do not support the TPP.