SAN JOSE, CA — On June 10 the Green Shadow Cabinet released an urgent call for resistance to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a massive new free trade agreement currently being secretly negotiated by the United States and ten other Pacific Rim countries. On May 24, Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizen Trade Campaign gave a briefing to a special meeting of the Green Shadow Cabinet. He pointed out that global corporations are dissatisfied with ongoing, worldwide political resistance to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and seek the TPP as an end run around political constraints built into the existing pact.
Although the TPP now involves primarily the US and several smaller countries, it will include a “docking agreement” to allow other countries to sign on later. Stamoulis projected that ultimately 40% of the global economy will be covered. Although some 600 corporate lobbyists are working on the TPP text, US trade representatives have flatly refused to release it to the public. Senator Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Trade Committee, had to introduce a law to gain even partial access to the very agreement he is supposed to oversee.
It is easy to understand why. Provisions of the TPP are so dangerous to our economy and our democratic institutions that it will never see the light of day if the people ever find out what is in it. Mainstream media has not disclosed that it even exists. The Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable have begun a campaign to stampede congress into passing fast track legislation that would slam it through without hearings, testimony, or any public involvement or commentary whatsoever.
According to partial texts leaked by international sources, the TPP would radically step up offshoring of jobs to countries like Vietnam where workers earn only a third to half of what workers in China are paid. It would block our governments from regulating banks, protecting the environment, requiring adequate food safety measures, or accessing affordable generic medicines.
The political implications are even worse. Ratification of the TPP would mean the death of American democracy as we know it and evisceration of our constitution. Corporations complain that the WTO is ineffective because it only allows complaints between one country and another, and political considerations then enter the process. The TPP on the other hand will include an “investor-state” provision that empowers global corporations to directly challenge any law or regulation of any country that reduces their profits as a “regulatory taking.” That country would then be taken to a private international tribunal that entirely circumvents all public judicial authorities. This tribunal would be authorized to force countries to either rescind their laws or pay “damages” from their treasuries directly to global corporations.
If the TPP passes, the transition to fascism—the total merger of corporations with the state—would be complete. The Green Shadow Cabinet and others are pledging to resist fast track legislation and torpedo the treaty.
Sandy Perry is Secretary of Housing on the Green Shadow Cabinet, an opposition cabinet formed out of the Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala 2012 Green Party presidential campaign.