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Dragging Secretive Trade Talks Into the Light: Activists Expose Slow-Motion Corporate Coup

A highly secretive trade agreement aims to penalize countries that protect workers, consumers, and the environment. Luckily, the growing opposition goes beyond the usual trade justice suspects.

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Civil society groups representing  millions of members worldwide have joined together in raising the alarm. And, given the stunning audacity of the TPP’s prospective corporate power grab, activism is reaching beyond the  environmentalconsumer, labor, family farm, and  access to medicines groups who have been the mainstay of movements against past “trade” agreement attacks. Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Avaaz, Consumers International, tobacco controls groups, and many other organizations have  become involved

From the United States to  Australia and even to  Malaysia (where any public gathering the authorities consider to be a protest is illegal and participants are subject to arrest), protests are growing. Outside each posh resort where TPP negotiators meet behind closed doors, citizens gather to chant  “Flush the TPP,”“Release the Text,” and “Peoples’ Needs, Not Corporate Greed!”

At the next round of negotiations, which will be held in early December in Auckland, New Zealand, negotiators hope to finish several chapters of the deal, so they can sign the whole thing in the first quarter of 2013. 

Each of us can make a difference. Given the threats that the TPP poses to a stunningly broad range of fundamental rights and public needs, this is a fight—like the  Battle in Seattle in 1999—that can unite a powerful coalition of movements. And it is people power that will be victorious against the TPP corporate power grab, if you help spread the word.


Lori Wallach wrote this article for  YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. A Harvard-trained lawyer, Ms. Wallach has promoted the public interest regarding globalization and international commercial agreements in every forum: Congress and foreign parliaments, the courts, government agencies, and the media. She is director of  Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

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