Hypotheticals On The TPP

| Resist!

This isn’t as much a diary as a few questions to start a discussion.

Supposing the TPP gets rammed through and American states, counties and cities lose some of their autonomy to the ‘Star Chamber’ of multinationals.  I suspect they won’t like it – and their constituents won’t like it.

0) Can state and local governments practice ‘civil disobedience’ to protest an unjust law?

1) Could a state use this as a basis to secede from the United States since it will be placing the State under ‘foreign rule’ with no way to petition this ‘shadow gov’t’?

2) Could a city or state just ignore the ruling of this ‘court’?  I mean, how much power does that court have?  Who enforces it?  What could they do if a state said “Try to stop us from prohibiting the sale of those products and good luck collecting your settlement from us.”   If the multinational tried to seize state or local assets it could get the citizens mobilized and national guard deployed and even provoke a civil war!   And that probably wouldn’t be good press for that company.

3) Suppose a state winds up paying billions to a multinational and publicizes how many tax dollars went into the coffers of that multinational? (Most of us hate wasting our tax dollars).  And encourages boycotts of all products from that multinational – all with plausible deniability, of course.

4) What about requiring merchants to place ‘consumer awareness’ signs prominently … like those signs: “This Product/Location has chemicals known by the State of California to cause cancer in lab animals.”   It isn’t a ban but it is making customers aware of the chemicals so they can make an informed choice.  (BTW: If that gov’t banned it – chances are more consumers there don’t want to buy it)

5) What about all of those ‘buy local’ programs supported by chambers of commerce and labor groups alike?   What about requiring imported products, American products and local products be separated on the shelves?

You probably have many more ideas than I do how state and local governments can oppose TPP for the sake of their constituents – and I look forward to reading them…

  • Aquifer

    Let’s face it – local gov’t.s controlled by D/Rs will knuckle – besides the fact that they don’t have the resources to contest the suits ….

  • Al Tinfoil

    You ask: ‘Could a city or state just ignore the ruling of this ‘court’? I mean, how much power does that court have? Who enforces it? What could they do if a state said “Try to stop us from prohibiting the sale of those products and good luck collecting your settlement from us.”’

    Usually the answer is that the agreement is between the top levels of governments, so any enforcement of a penalty for the act of a state, city, or county government would be in the form of a penalty against the US federal government. Penalties can be in the form of allowing some trade action against the “offending” country, such as levying a tariff on that country’s exports, or could be in the form of a cash judgment in favor of a “wronged” corporation, collectible from the US federal government under the terms of the treaty.

  • Helga Fellay

    It’s not a matter of “could” a state ignore the ruling of this court. This is happening even as we speak. Just one example here:
    “Canadian mining company, Pacific Rim, is in court suing the government of El Salvador for 100 million dollars. It claims that by not awarding the company an exploitation permit for its proposed gold mine, the tiny country is in breach of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (known as CAFTA). Canada is not a signatory to the trade agreement, so the Vancouver-based company is filing the suit through it’s US subsidiary, Pac Rim Cayman, which it moved from the Cayman Islands to Nevada in December 2007.”
    There are numerous other transnational corporations presently suing tiny impoverished countries for millions of dollars for so-called “potential lost profits” because a planned mining project could not go forward because of indigenous resistance – people refusing to allow the foreign corporation to poison their drinking water, as transnationals are not required to prevent environmental devastation. These lawsuits are taking place in an international court controlled by the corporations, not subject to any judicial systems in any country, including the US court system, even less US state jurisdictions