The current round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership ended today. The trade negotiators were met with a week of protest against the largest trade agreement in history.
"The secret is out, after three years of secret negotiations, except for 600 corporate advisers who participated throughout, people are finally becoming aware of the Trans-Pacific Partnership," said Margaret Flowers, co-director of Its Our Economy who blocked the entrance to the Landsdowne Resort by climbing into a 15+foot tripod where the TPP was being negotiated, see article and photographs here. Flowers explained in an article that she blocked the TPP because "millions will lose their jobs or have poverty wages and slave working conditions, will suffer or die because they are unable to afford necessary medications and that the planet will be poisoned even more by large corporations if the TPP isn't stopped."
The protests began with a rally against the TPP. While the rally was going on representatives of labor, environmental, economic justice, anti-corporate, indigenous groups spoke out against the TPP at a "stakeholders" meeting. The next night delegates were greeted with a light show when they returned from a tour of Washington, DC. The resort where they were staying was covered with slogans among them "Trading People for Profits," "Obama's Trading in Secrets" and "TPP Kills-Flush the TPP". The next day the entrance to the TPP negotiations were blocked (article, video). On Wednesday, members of Occupy DC were able to get inside the TPP and do a mic-check criticizing the treaty. And on Thursday, AVAAZ, Rainforest Action Network and Health GAP delivered 350,000 petitions opposing the TPP, actress Q'orianka Kilcher, known for her roll as Pocahontas, was arrested for filming the police.
"The more people become aware of the contents of the TPP, the more opposition will grow. People are seeing that while Obama is inside the Democratic Convention saying he will stop outsourcing of jobs, he is secretly negotiating the largest job outsourcing treaty in history," said Kevin Zeese, co-director of Its Our Economy, which organized Flush the TPP. "The administration is working in secret because they know the American public will oppose this global corporate coup. People do not want to see special trade tribunals that allow big business to sue governments in courts where the judges are corporate lawyers on leave from their corporate job. They do not want to see wages shrink, the environment degraded, the economy decimated, profiteering for pharmaceuticals at the expense of health and dangerous products produced."
Not only are citizen's protesting but divisions are evident between the United States, which is advocating greater corporate power, and nations that oppose extending patents to artificially increase the cost of drugs, the lack of regulation of big finance, copyright laws that extend protection for 120 years on texts, attacks on freedom of speech on the Internet and trade tribunals dominated by corporations that make big business more powerful than government.
"We will continue to work to prevent enactment of the TPP. This negotiations need to be re-started in an open, transparent and democratic way. Trade affects all of us and should be for the benefit of all, not just the profits of transnational corporations," said Flowers. "There are alternatives to agreements like the TPP that empower corporations at the expense of people and the planet." See the 21st Century Trade and Market Access Act.