Flashmob Choir Interrupts TTIP Congress
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a secret EU/US trade agreement that “puts the right to profit above all other rights,” in the words of one MEP.
Like its cousin, the Trans Pacific Partnership, TTIP is being negotiated by trade officials and industry reps, without any oversight from elected legislators and without any participation by citizens’ groups, environmental groups, or labor groups. And like TPP, it is expected to arrive with Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions that lets offshore corporations sue your government to overturn the democratically enacted environmental, labor and safety laws that undermine their profitability.
At a pro-TTIP congress where the Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister was promoting the treaty, a flashmob of attendees stood up singly and then in bunches, singing “Do You Hear the People Sing?” a rousing revolutionary song from Les Miserables, as the moderator sputtered with comic ineffectualness into the microphone. It’s a hell of a video.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, well, so what? It’s not like interrupting this one meeting will stop TTIP from grinding on.
You’re right. This won’t stop it.
The reason TTIP and TPP are steamrolling on is that, like all the most dangerous evils in the world, they are profoundly boring. It is virtually impossible to get anyone out there interested in them, and so there’s virtually no discussion of them, even though they will affect every bit of your life and your kids’ lives, in ways large and small, ranging from whether the water in your tap comes out literally on fire to whether you’re entitled to compensation when your employer’s negligence maims you for life.
Dullness is a huge fitness factor for bad stuff. And what these brave, singing people have done is make TTIP slightly less dull. They have created a video that you can show to your friends, which is intrinsically interesting, if only because it’s not every day you see high-level business meetings get disrupted by flashmobs with showtunes. And once you’ve got your friends watching this video, you can tell them about TTIP.
These folks have not ended TTIP. That’s up to us. They’ve given us one of the tools to do it.