Growing protest and indignation

Corporations hoped TPP would ram through under a cloak of secrecy, only finding out years later what was in the deal. As citizens of the 12 TPP countries and 38 TTIP countries wake up, the cat is out of the bag. Here are some citizen responses from around the world. All dates are 2016 unless otherwise stated.

USA

Feb 5: The Washington, DC: two days of protests in 38 other US cities, as well as in seven other countries. They claim that 9,000 corporations could sue the US if laws are passed in the public interest that undermine their profits. In New York, Flush the TPP’ protesters held a large banner outside The New York Times news building criticizing the lack of coverage on TPP. Ref

One reason for Donald Trumps popularity is his stand against free trade agreements. Bernie Sanders will not ratify the TPP, and Clinton has switched positions as far as the public is concerned but is not releasing her correspondence with US Trade Representatives. Ref As President Obama completes his final term in office, his administration is working closely with Big Business and Big Finance to sneak the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress during the lame duck session after the November election. Ref

The lack of TPP cover in mainstream media is staggering, but thoughtful articles abound. See Ref

November 16 – 18 2015: A coalition of 63 organizations protested in Washington DC.

April 21, 2015: Washington: Trade unions, populist activists, and Democratic lawmakers rallied to protest the TPP claiming this secretive treaty is harmful to US workers, the economy, and the environment. The protesters chanted, “This is what hypocrisy looks like!” They carried signs.  One sign stated, “Dump TPP: Don’t trade away our future.” A few US senators are joining activists demanding the release of the entire treaty.  Many senators are concerned the treaty was written by corporate lobbyists thereby providing corporations the benefits of the treaty while shouldering the cost of the treaty on the backs of workers and taxpayers. Ref

May 14, 2012: An activist group staged a fake “2012 Corporate Power Tool Award” for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for negotiating the TPP despite what the U.S. public thinks, and invited Ambassador Kirk to the stage to accept the award on behalf of the USTR.

Mexico

65,000 people rallied at Mexico’s Monument to the Revolution and marched to the historic Zocalo Square. Taking the lessons from NAFTA, they are planning strategies to confront the TPP. Mexico, Canada and the US have all suffered environmental destruction, threats to union and community organizing, and, in all sectors, a marked increase in corporate concentration as companies gained new abilities to move different aspects of production across borders in search of lower costs and higher profits. Mexico’s dependency on food imports has increased dramatically since the agreement began, from 16 percent before NAFTA, to more than 42 percent today. Ref

Canada

June 7: 15,000 Canadians have already submitted their views on the TPP to the government. The Council of Canadians wants to get that number up to one million. Send your letter to ciit-tpp-ptp@parl.gc.ca before June 30th.

June 6 – Chrystia Freeland’s sparsely attended meeting at Concordia University brought hundreds of people to Montreal streets to protest TPP Ref

Canada’s government appears to be consulting with the public. However, the public can’t help noticing how they are only given a few hours notice that a consultation is happening, there is little time to question, the questions are written down but not answered.

Australia

June 8: Protestors vow to keep fighting. “There is growing opposition in New Zealand and Australia to trading away health and other social policies which should be decided through open democratic processes, not secretly signed away in trade deals,” said Dr Ranald. Ref

Nov 8, 2015: Photos of TPP protests in Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne here. Video here

Europe

TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is the trade agreement the US is attempting to make with Europe, and appears similar in content to TPP. Being better informed people, the opposition in Europe is fierce. 30,000 turned up in Hannover April 23rd on the eve of President Obama’s visit. October 2015 250,000protestors gathered in Berlin. They claim TTIP is anti-democratic, threatens, food safety and environmental standards, and gives too much power to multinational corporations at the expense of consumers and workers. Other protests took place in Amsterdam and London .Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said, “Everything that we know about this secretive trade deal shows that it is very little about trade and very much about enshrining a massive corporate power-grab.” Ref

Japan

A group of 1063 Japanese citizens have sued the Japanese government, arguing that the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement would violate that nation’s constitution. Masahiko Yamada is leading a group of 1,063 people that have filed a 45,650,000 yen — about $370,000 — lawsuit against the Japanese government in Tokyo District Court. The group aims to halt the Japanese government’s participation in the TPP negotiations on constitutional grounds.” Ref

Masahiko Yamada, aged 73, is a lawyer who served as agriculture minister in 2010 as part of the Democratic Party of Japan government. He says, “The TPP could violate the Japanese right to get stable food supply, or the right to live, guaranteed by Article 25 of the nation’s Constitution,” Yamada, who abandoned his party in 2012 over then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s push to join the TPP talks, said Thursday before the court filing. The envisaged pact would benefit big corporations but would jeopardize the country’s food safety and medical systems, and destroy the domestic farm sector, according to the plaintiffs.

Jan 16 Japan has been a hotbed of protest against the TPP. See video ref

New Zealand

Feb 5: The New Zealand minister was hit by a sex toy during the Waiting Day TPP protest. Nurse Josie Butler yelled “That’s for raping our sovereignty” while she threw a large rubber penis at Steven Joyce’s face. Ref

1,000 activists blocked roads paralyzing Auckland as the delegations signed the TPP, staging a sit in at the intersection of Federal and Victoria Street, and a large sit in at Hobson St and Fanshawe St, blocking entrances and exits to the northern and southern  motorway. Activists oppose TPP arguing that it will lead to job loss, stagnant wages, and increasing inequality among other negative consequences for workers. They also argue that TPP will likely protect the rights of large investors and corporations at the expense of workers. Protesters are also worried about currency manipulation, environmental and health protections, food safety, and internet privacy. Ref

Feb 4: Hundreds of protest groups rallied outside the Skycity convention centre at the signing of the TPP in Auckland. “It’s kind of a Cold War by proxy of trade and investment agreements,” Kelsey told Al Jazeera. “Make the TPPA document available for public examination before you sign it – not after,” documentary filmmaker Bryan Bruce said, addressing protesters in Wellington. Ref

Feb 4: Maori lead mass TPPA protest in Auckland. They believe the pact will erode democracy and undermine the country’s founding document, the 1840 Treaty of Waiting. Ref  Protesters targeted what they have dubbed the “propaganda machine” in Whangarei: a group of government officials in town to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Ref

Feb 3: National on-line activist organizations delivered to Congress more than a million signatures on anti-TPP petitions.

Malaysia

Jan 23: KUALA LUMPUR: 5,000 Malaysians staged a three-hour protest against plans to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) fearing TPP will compromise national interests and favour foreign multinational corporations. “We are afraid our country will be sold and pawned to other stronger countries,” said Mr Azrul, an undergraduate student  Ref

Chile

April 16: The Confederation of Chilean Students protested across the country in Chile. Confech President Camila Rojas was quoted saying, “If the initiatives are decided in a backroom, then they don’t take into account the realities of the communities or today’s social needs”. Student leader Marta Matamala said at the rally, “The problem isn’t just that it was discussed without consulting the people, but a large part of these matters block the positions of organized social groups. They are treaties that are going to force us to act in a certain way”. Ref

Feb 4: Demonstrators shouted “Chile better without TPP” at Citizenship Square in Santiago, capital of Chile, on Feb. Hundreds of Chileans protested on Thursday in front of presidential palace of La Moneda in Santiago against the TPP. Ref

Peru

Feb 26: Police in Peru clashed with demonstrators protesting in Lima against the government’s plans to commit to TPP. The protest turned violent when angry demonstrators hurled Molotov cocktails at security forces who in turn responded with tear gas, sticks and shotguns. At least 25 people were detained by the police, according to local media. Ref

Updates on where the other 12 countries stand

USA

The USA stands to gain the most, and yet Hilary Clinton will not ratify, nor will Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Bernie Sanders, and numerous others. TPP will have difficulty being passed in the USA given the substantial opposition. 10 cities, including NY, LA and San Francisco have declared opposition to TPP. Ref

Japan

Japan is fiercely resisting removing tariffs and the Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party is recommending Japan withdraw from the TPP.

 

Singapore and Mexico look to be in support.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist party will take up to two years to review it.

Malaysia is experiencing considerable protest.

There is much opposition in Peru, and with a government change in July where TPP could become an election issue.

New Zealand is disappointed that US dairy failed to open its doors.

Opposition is building in Australia over the ISDS lawsuits.

Japan

A group of 1063 Japanese citizens have sued the Japanese government, arguing that the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement would violate that nation’s constitution. Masahiko Yamada is leading a group of 1,063 people that have filed a 45,650,000 yen — about $370,000 — lawsuit against the Japanese government in Tokyo District Court. The group aims to halt the Japanese government’s participation in the TPP negotiations on constitutional grounds.” Ref

Masahiko Yamada, aged 73, is a lawyer who served as agriculture minister in 2010 as part of the Democratic Party of Japan government. He says, “The TPP could violate the Japanese right to get stable food supply, or the right to live, guaranteed by Article 25 of the nation’s Constitution,” Yamada, who abandoned his party in 2012 over then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s push to join the TPP talks, said Thursday before the court filing. The envisaged pact would benefit big corporations but would jeopardize the country’s food safety and medical systems, and destroy the domestic farm sector, according to the plaintiffs.