TPP Signing in New Zealand Overshadowed by U.S. Presidential Candidate, Congressional Opposition
U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Tulsi Gabbard, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Sierra Club, MoveOn, CREDO and Other Online Activist Groups Kick Off TPP Protest Activities
Washington, D.C. – As representatives of the TPP countries meet in New Zealand to officially sign the trade deal, its prospects of going into effect remain uncertain at best. The pact does not enjoy majority support in Congress, and changes that some members are demanding are strongly opposed by other TPP nations. No U.S. presidential candidate polling over five percent in any state supports the deal. At a press conference today, speakers addressed the failings of the TPP, and the political environment surrounding the deal.
“The American people have been left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the beginning and the results show. From an ISDS process that allows foreign corporations to overrule our domestic rule of law, to unenforceable labor and environmental protections, to no protections against currency manipulation, this deal helps the corporate class while selling out working Americans and their families. The American people deserve a better future that empowers our middle class and domestic economy; that protects people and our planet,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02).
“The TPP agreement is toxic, and the American people are not buying it,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Working people are determined to end the era of corporate trade deals that lower our wages and kill our jobs. To all those on the ballot in 2016, we have a simple message: either you’re with us or against us.”
Debbie Sease, Senior Lobbying and Advocacy Director, Sierra Club, had the following to say at the event, “Signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership puts our economy and our climate on the line. Congress should reject the toxic trade deal and build a new model of trade that puts the health and safety of people before the profits of big polluters.”
Also at the event, the following national on-line activist organizations delivered to Congress more than a million signatures on anti-TPP petitions: Avaaz (http://bit.ly/1o36deO), CREDO (http://bit.ly/20n5iHA), Care2 (http://bit.ly/1VHxoGD), Corporate Accountability International (http://bit.ly/1KUEP7I), Fight for the Future, Public Citizen, MoveOn, SumOfUs (http://bit.ly/1Qa21R6), and the Sierra Club (http://bit.ly/20Eyab0).
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a corporate giveaway that’s bad for consumers, workers, and the environment. We don’t need our elected leaders to hand multinational corporations even more power over our daily lives. That’s why hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members have fought against the TPP and other deals like it over the years—and why we’ll fight it in Congress this spring,” said Ben Wikler, Washington Director, MoveOn.org Civic Action who spoke at the event.
“Time and time again CREDO’s 3.9 million activists have demonstrated their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other job-killing trade deals,” said Murshed Zaheed, CREDO’s Deputy Political Director. “The TPP is a massive giveaway to big corporations that will erode environmental, labor, and intellectual property standards and we are 100 percent dedicated to defeating it in Congress,” Zaheed continued. Since 2013, CREDO has generated more than one million petition signatures and 40,000 phone calls in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.
In 30 locations nationwide, activists are holding protests against the TPP to oppose the signing and energize local opposition organizing. TPP signing-day rallies are also occurring in Auckland, New Zealand and capitals of other TPP signatory nations.
“The TPP is a dream come true for the Monsantos of the world, but for regular people it will be a disaster — a tool for big business to attack our public health, internet freedom, and the rule of law,” said Joseph Huff-Hannon with Avaaz. “That’s why more than 860,000 Avaaz members are calling on Congress to reject this corporate giveaway.”
Corporate Accountability International representative Cloe Franko had the following to say about their actions around TPP: “This corporate-driven trade deal not only fails people and the environment, it represents an enormous threat to the democracy and sovereignty of all twelve nations involved. Negotiated in secrecy behind closed doors, this deal is poised to rewrite trade rules in the name of corporate profits. With allegations of corruption of one of the lead negotiators now calling into question the integrity of the entire TPP, Congress must heed the demands of the people rallying here today and the millions more around the world opposed to this agreement and reject it when it’s up for approval.”
Care2, who also participated in today’s event, said that their members tend to be the most concerned about ISDS and the lack of enforcement for the wildlife and environmental protections in the TPP. “The TPP was negotiated in secret for seven years with very little congressional oversight, but a lot of corporate influence. As a result, we now have a trade deal that would allow corporations to sue the U.S. government. We have a deal that has sold out environmental and wildlife protections, food safety, and human rights. We have a deal that will turn democracy as we know it up-side-down. And that is why over 135,000 Care2 members are demanding that Congress vote ‘no’ on the TPP. We will never support a trade agreement that attacks everything we care about and have fought to protect,” said Lacey Kohlmoos, Care2 Online Organizing Strategist.
“The TPP signing today is largely theater. Everyone knows the real fight here will be in Congress, where this unpopular and anti-democratic deal faces fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle. A massive coalition of activists are gearing up to fight the TPP. Once we’ done with it, secret trade deals will be as politically toxic in DC as SOPA after the Internet Blackout,” said Evan Greer, campaign director, Fight for the Future.
And finally, Ledys Sanjuan, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs.org, concluded “The TPP is one of the largest corporate power grabs we’ve seen. Not only will it cost hundreds and thousands of US jobs but it will significantly reduce internet freedom and give power to corporations to sue our governments for regulating them. We need to come together and stop our governments from ratifying this dangerous trade deal.”