Thursday, November 21st, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY – Protestors outside the Trans-Pacific Partnership meetings in Salt Lake took to the skies to get their message to negotiators this morning. At approximately 10:00 AM organizers with the Backbone Campaign used weather balloons to lift a 75-foot banner reading “TPP: What Are You Hiding?” up the exterior of the Grand American Hotel where negotiations are taking place.
“If the Trans Pacific Partnership is really a good deal for Americans why won’t the Obama Administration release the details to journalists or even Congress?” Said Bill Moyer, executive director of the Backbone Campaign. “If TPP negotiators were listening to the public or congress instead of their corporate advisors we wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of using weather balloons to ask them what they’re hiding.”
The chapter of the TPP on intellectual property released last week by the group WikiLeaks have caused tremendous alarm among environmentalists, consumer rights groups, development organizations, internet freedom activists and organized labor. Critics argue that leaked documents show the TPP would include provisions from the widely opposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and new patent agreements could restrict access to HIV drugs and other life saving medicines. Protestors in Salt Lake also express concern that the TPP would limit regulation of risky financial deals like those contributing to the recent recession. Local governments would only be allowed to pass laws and regulations that were consistent with the TPP on these issues.
“The TPP would preclude signatory countries from banning highly risky financial products, and force disputes to be heard by a foreign tribunal instead of U.S. Courts,” said Nathan Goodman, a member of the TPP Welcoming Committee. “The secretive process used by the Obama Administration to bring the TPP to conclusion is a blatant attempt to line the pockets of Wall Street at the expense of the American people.”
On the ground a group of activists, dressed somberly in black, held a mock “Funeral for Our Freedoms” complete with hearse, casket and tombstones representing clauses of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“When will enough be enough for those who exploit workers, destroy our environment, and seek to further diminish the foundations of our constitutional republic?” asked Rocky Anderson, former Mayor of Salt Lake. “We need to call it as it is and recognize that these TPP promoters are traitors to our republic, traitors to the public interest, and traitors to the concept of government of, by and for the people?”
Since talks began on Tuesday the TPP Welcoming Committee has staged six protests outside the negotiations. Last night activists projected their message onto the Grand American Hotel with light projectors. Tuesday local labor leaders from the AFL-CIO and United Steel Workers spoke out against the trade deal alongside representatives from the Sierra Club and Utah Tar Sands Resistance.
“This is a pact for corporations who not only think that American workers are overpaid, but think that Chinese workers are overpaid. It would be disastrous for working families at home and throughout the globe.” Said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of the Citizens Trade Campaign.
Photos of light projections: http://www.flickr.com/photos/
Photos of Aerial Banner: http://www.flickr.com/photos/
Photo Credit: Jerrick Romero/Backbone Campaign
The TPP Welcoming Committee is a coalition of individuals and organizations including Backbone Campaign, Sole de Utah, Utah Tar Sands Resistance, the Justice Party, Center for a Stateless Society, Popular Resistance, Occupy.com, Washington Fair Trade Coalition, HESA-Heterodox Economics Student Association at the University of Utah, and March Against Monsanto.
Follow Backbone Campaign on Twitter: @backboneprog Action Hashtags: #votenofasttrack #flushthetpp #FlushTPPSLC