The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been negotiated in secret for more than three years. This is a rigged corporate trade agreement (falsely called “free trade” for marketing purposes) that will do very little to get the economy going but will add to many of the mistaken market policies that hinder the economy and make it unfair.
A study published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research made some amazing findings about the TPP: (1) the impact on economic growth will be almost nothing, only a 0.1% increase in the GDP, but (2) the impact on most Americans will be negative with 90% of workers seeing their wages decline. The TPP will add to the decline of the middle class, the race to the bottom in wages and continue the expansion of the wealth divide.
As it comes down to the wire, we expect a push by the President for Congress to grant him Fast Track (Trade Promotion Authority) so that he can sign it before Congressional review as resistance to the TPP is growing. In Maine, where the state House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution opposing “Fast Track,” Rep. Sharon Anglin Treat sees a broad, bi-partisan opposition developing. The OWS made the TPP a focus of its anniversary protest with Adam Weissman of Occupy Trade Justice describing it as the “anti-Occupy” agreement, “a 1% power grab.”
In Washington, DC, a coalition of unions, environmentalists and Public Citizen organized a protest against the TPP on Friday, while lead negotiators were inside discussing the agreement. Over the weekend as part of a TPP Training organized by Flush The TPP (which includes both authors), activists produced light projections on a federal building. And, then on Monday, protests escalated as activists scaled the US Trade Rep’s building and covered it with four massive banners in order to expose their secret negotiations, as captured in this video. The Washington Post said the “guerrilla theater demonstration could rank among the best ever.”
On Tuesday the activists celebrated with a “Don’t Fast Track a Train Wreck” march that began at the White House and went to the US Trade Rep, the World Bank, the US Chamber of Commerce, and through the business district, which ended at Congress. You can see a video of the Fast Track train march at the end of this article summarizing the spectacle protests.
Opposition to the TPP is going to continue to grow as more of the secret agreement becomes public knowledge. This week information about the impact of the TPP on two of the hottest environmental issues (hydro-fracking and tar sands) came out. The TPP could allow an end run by the oil and gas industry around local opposition to fracking and gas exports. And, the US Trade Rep, Mike Froman, is pushing less regulation of the already inadequately regulated tar sands industry.
As environmental justice activists realize the TPP could undo all of their good work to stop extreme energy extraction, they will join the effort to stop the TPP. Already 75,000 have threatened civil disobedience if Obama approves the KXL pipeline, and they reiterated that threat in letters to President Obama this week.