We Are in the Midst of Defeating the Largest Corporate Trade Agreement in History
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These are times of great secrecy and misinformation. Government and corporations hide their actions to avoid public disapproval and accountability. Courageous truth-tellers are persecuted for exposing the deep corruption. We depend on whistleblowers to expose the lies and shine light on information that is hidden from the public so we can understand what is happening around us. We need to know the truth in order to participate in the great debates that shape our futures.
This week, we learned that a brave whistleblower gave the text of the full intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to Wikileaks. This text was released to the public on Wednesday and has spurred quite a stir as we discover that our concerns about the TPP are justified. We learned that the United States stands out in bullying other countries on behalf of multinational corporations and that the TPP will provide extraordinary patent protections and internet restrictions designed to further enrich the wealthy while the race to the bottom accelerates.
A confluence of events this week has weakened the chances of the TPP’s survival. On Tuesday night, there were light brigade actions in 13 cities from coast to coast. And three letters signed by 180 members of the House of Representatives were submitted in opposition to the President’s request for Fast Track, an authority that would allow him to negotiate and sign the TPP before it would go to Congress for limited debate and only an up-or-down vote. Two letters were signed by Democrats, another by Republicans. Three-quarters of Democrats oppose Fast Track and one-third of Democrats on the committee responsible for Fast Track oppose it as currently constituted. The former US Trade Representative said in 2012 that to complete the TPP “ We’ve go to have it.” Now, Congress will not consider Fast Track until the do-nothing election year of 2014, if even then.
Opposition to the TPP continues to build. Next week, negotiators will be in Salt Lake City, UT and actions are being planned to protest those meetings. Communities are starting to pass resolutions saying that they will not obey if the TPP changes laws in a way that harms them. You can learn more about this on an open training call on November 20. A global day of protest against toxic trade agreements is being organized for December 3. And that same day, two members of the Australian Parliament will submit a request that the text of the TPP be made public.
We are in a historic moment of people vs. the corporations. We are in the midst of defeating the largest trade agreement in history. We can defeat the TPP if we keep working together in a movement of movements. That success will be a huge win for the people over corporate power. Join the effort.
As we write this, Jeremy Hammond, the young man who hacked into the private security firm StratFor’s emails is facing his sentencing hearing and up to ten years in jail. While we hope the best for Hammond, we are not confident that his judge, Loretta Preska, can even be fair. She refused Hammond bail, even though he is not a flight risk, and refused to recuse herself, even though her lawyer-husband’s email was part of the StratFor documents Hammond disclosed. The appearance of justice in this case is already lost.
Chris Hedges calls Hammond “one of the nation’s most important political prisoners.” The information he released to Wikileaks and other media outlets revealed the cooperation between private and government security agencies and methods used to stifle dissent, including monitoring the Occupy movement, as well as their strategies for defeating movements. Hedges used information leaked by Hammond in his case against President Obama over the section of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows indefinite detention of Americans using a vague definition “terrorist.”