Newsletter – Resistance Is Necessary
This week, hidden amidst the news of the massacre in Charleston and the Supreme Court decisions on the health law, fair housing and marriage equality, the Senate passed Fast Track legislation and sent it to the president’s desk to be signed into law. Now the path is clear for the president to push the triple threat of treaties through Congress, unless we resist and stop them. The first one, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), is expected to come to a Congress this fall. It will be followed by the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in-Services Agreement (TiSA).
The choreographed corruption required to accomplish this feat, given the massive opposition to Fast Track, was obvious. Both the House and Senate had exactly the number of votes needed and not one more because they knew everyone who voted for the unpopular Fast Track risked their political career. Members who supported Fast Track in the House received nearly $200 million from corporations who will profit from the treaties.
Indentured to the power elite
Rivera Sun, an author and proponent of nonviolence who actively worked to stop Fast Track, accurately summarizes the consequences if these treaties become law:
“This is the end of the United States. Our colonizing nation has been colonized by corporations and rich people – many of whom identify as transnational entities. Sovereignty has sold to the highest bidder. We, the people, are indentured to the power holding elite.”
Storm Clouds Gathering explains the specific threats to sovereignty that we will face if the TPP passes this fall. We will not be able to pass laws that protect the health and safety of our communities but the profits of corporations will have legal protection. Necessities such as access to health care will be available only to the wealthy. Ralph Nader urges people to “send the legislators who supported the fast track handcuffs a CITIZENS’ SUMMONS to appear at a town meeting where you, not they, present the agenda. If the lawmakers think 500 or more determined people will show up, it is very likely they will relent and meet with you.”
Legal scholar Alan Morrison argues that there is legal precedent to find the extrajudicial trade tribunal system in the TPP and TTIP unconstitutional violating Article III of the Constitution. In fact, using Fast Track to pass these treaties also arguably violates Article I of the Constitution by transfering congressional responsibility for trade to the president. Fast Track is for trade agreements, and although they are often called trade agreements, the TPP, TTIP, and TiSA are much broader than trade and are really treaties. In a functioning democracy, they would undergo a full review and require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.
We live in a Plutocracy, rule of, by and for the rich, a government and judicial system that have little regard for the people. To get a sense of what is in store for us, just look at what is already happening. Erik Loomis describes toxic zones created in communities without the resources to fight back. Chris Hedges writes about the forced labor in the prison industrial complex. Did you know that McDonald’s burgers and chicken tenders are made by prisoners? And perversely, while prisoners are not paid for their work, they are charged high fees for basic necessities. This is what an extractive economy looks like.
Truly recognizing our current predicament without giving up hope for the future is a challenging feat. But it is also necessary if we are to understand what we are up against and how to stop it. What is being called “The American Century” has wreaked havoc upon the world and it is our duty to stop it.
It will take a coordinated mass resistance movement to stop the triple trade treay threat. Stopping these treaties will strike a blow at growing corporate power, which, along with racism, imperialism and colonialism, is an important root of the many crises we face.
We have a real opportunity to connect our movements this fall and rise together. Already, thousands are organizing climate actions to Flood the System through Rising Tide North America. Will the climate justice movement recognize that its success also depends on defeating the treaties? Will the same happen for the Black Lives Matter and other rapidly growing movements? Will Labor step up its game and mobilize courageous acts of resistance? Can we shut DC and other major cities down?
The TPP is likely to come to Congress in the midst of the re-election season for Congress and heading into the first votes in the presidential primaries. The free traitors have sought to keep the TPP secret and out of the media, but with elections happening this will become an impossible task.
Building a coordinated movement of movements to stop the TPP will be a major focus of Popular Resistance’s organizing heading into the fall. If you would like to join in that organizing, a first step is to participate in the National TPP Resistance calls. Click here for more information and to register.
Success could be around the corner
Time and again, history demonstrates that movements have achieved success when they least expected it. Sometimes all seems lost and victory feels far away, and then something happens and suddenly major change occurs. We could be in just such a moment.
Look at the way that the massacres in Charleston have suddenly catalyzed the decades-old movement to remove a prominent symbol of racism and slavery, the confederate flag. On Friday, a brave woman, Bree Newsome, climbed the flag pole in front of the South Carolina state capital and removed the racist flag. Her action is receiving attention worldwide. The flag is being removed not just from lawns, but also from state flags and license plates in the South. This is one small and important change, but we are reminded that we still have much more to do.
The work to stop the TPP, TTIP and TiSA builds on decades of resistance to corporate globalization and neoliberal policies that exploit the poor and people of color. If we work with intention over the coming months, we could defeat the TPP and reject this paradigm.
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