Monday, December 09, 2013

Urgent Fast Track Trade Deal Alert

By Dave Johnson
This is an urgent warning that the country’s big-corporate elite are about to try to push something called “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority through Congress, in preparation for pushing through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) corporate “investor rights” agreement. (Note that I did not write “trade agreement” because most of TPP is something else entirely.)

People need to “get it” about just how dangerous this is. Fast Track and the current TPP — as it appears to be negotiated — should be as much of an electoral test for progressives as Social Security is. We have to make Fast Track a line that cannot be crossed. This is all about democracy vs big-corporate dominance of our economy and society.

1) Fast Track is about bypassing democracy and Constitutional government so the giant multinationals can do a huge PR effort to push this TPP agreement through. Fast Track means Congress can’t make changes to the agreement and has to pass it in a rush — so democracy and our representatives can’t meddle with what the Serious People have laid out for us.

2) The agreement itself is also about getting democracy and government power out of the way of the big corporations. It actually sets (certain) corporate (“investor”) interests above the law of any country. For example, word has leaked that TPP negotiators are arguing over whether to prevent countries from running anti-smoking campaigns, because this interferes with tobacco-company profits. One side says this is going too far and they should “carve out” tobacco from the agreement, the other side says carving out tobacco sets a precedent of allowing governments to protect their citizens from other things corporations might want to profit from. This should tell you all you need to know about why Fast Track must not pass, enabling them to push TPP through with no changes.

3) Fast Track is about continuing a rigged process designed to come to certain conclusions to benefit a few people. TPP was negotiated between corporations by people in government who can leave government to receive lucrative paychecks from the corporations. An agreement negotiated without other stakeholders at the table means those stakeholders are ON the table. Labor, human rights, consumer groups, environmental groups were not at the table, only LARGE and already-dominant corporate interests. (This also means that smaller companies, potential innovators and competitors, etc. are at a disadvantage.) This is really about the elites and billionaires who own things now locking in their dominance.  READ THE REST.


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