Protesters Creatively Expose Obama’s Secret Trade Deal
Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Give Corporations Immense Power (Photos and Video)
Activists dropped banners and marched in a “Fast Track” train to draw attention to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that corporations are trying to quickly make law.
Photo Credit: Ellen Davidson, September 25, 2013
Imagine a law that would allow corporations to sue countries whose labor laws, environmental legislation or food safety regulations result in a loss of profit. Well, it has a name: the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This agreement would further undermine the last traces of our democracy by allowing corporate power to permeate through various areas of our society.
And it’s all being negotiated in secret. About 600 representatives of corporate-interest groups, including Walmart, Monsanto, Chevron and Halliburton, have been advising the White House on the new agreement. Meanwhile, Congress has been completely left out of the matter, and now corporations want to “fast track” the legislation in order to quickly make their dreams come true. This process, known as Trade Promotion Authority, allows the president to sign legislation into law without congressional approval. Congress will then only get to weigh in with an up or down vote on the matter, without expert testimonies, hearings or opportunities to make amendments. This could all happen within the next few months.
That’s why dozens of activists recently took to D.C.’s streets to raise awareness and protest these shady dealings. On Sunday [correction: Monday], the activists, which included members of Flush The TPP, Backbone Campaign, Veterans for Peace, CODEPINK and Earth First!, dropped banners on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which advises Obama on trade policy.
The banners read “Corporate Coup Against the People and Planet,” “Democracy, Not Corporatocracy” and “Transparency: Release the Text:”
On Monday [correction: Tuesday], protesters continued their actions by marching nearly three miles in a “fast track” train.
Beginning at the White House, the activists once again paid a visit to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative before making a stop at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The protest concluded in front of the Capitol.
The protesters have plans to escalate their tactics if a lack of transparency and congressional oversight continues. Congressmembers from both parties, including Elizabeth Warren, Alan Grayson, Michelle Bachman and Walter Jones, have also vocally opposed the fast track process and are demanding that TPP’s text be released.
According to Flush The TPP, citizen opposition has stopped 14 trade agreements from becoming law in the last ten years. This means the people can do it again.
To learn more about TPP and how to get involved in the movement, visitflushthetpp.org.
Photos by Ellen Davidson. Below is a video of the banner drops:
**Staff: Here is a video of the Tuesday TPP Express:
Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @alyssa_fig.