WHY THE TPP OR TRANSPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP PACT MUST BE OPPOSED AT ALL COST: IT'S MUCH WORSE FOR YOU THAN YOU THINK.
The TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the corporate Mega-deal on “free trade” has been concluded between the partner states, and is now in the final stages of its ratification.
This deal involves the US and 11 other countries (Canada, US, Mexico, Chile, Peru; Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Brunei, Japan) of the Pacific Rim, representing 40% of global economic activity. The text was secretly negotiated by hundreds of corporate lobbyists. It has now been released, and Congress will have 90 days to examine the 6000 page text before approving, which will allow the President to sign it in to law.
For six years, this corporate-drafted legislation was a pig in a poke. Nobody knew what was in it– except the hundreds (550) of corporate lobbyists that had been drafting it for years in total secrecy. They wouldn’t say what was in it. They would only say it was good for you. They just wanted you to support it. Critics were told to shut up on the grounds that they knew nothing about it. But the outline that people had been able to discern through leaks were monstrous.
The text has been just released—by the orders of a New Zealand court–and it is, as anticipated, monstrous, explaining the Manhattan-Project-level secrecy. It’s a total corporate giveaway, and despite some pathetic attempts to put lipstick on it, it’s every bit as bad as we had anticipated, and a little bit worse. Here are some of the key issues:
Subversion of Democracy and Sovereignty: ISDS refers to Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism. Think of it as really: Intentional Subversion of Democracy & Sovereignty. This is the extrajudicial process written into the TPP (Chapter 28), whereby governments can be dragged before tribunals by corporate lawyers if they think national (health, environmental, consumer protection, public policy) laws violate their TPP rights or limit future expected profits.
This is a panel of bespoke-suited corporate lawyers deciding whether environmental laws, safety regulations, public policy, or labor laws get in the way of profit or not. Imagine how they will decide. Profits or people? The outcome, written into the very raison d’être of the TPP, is a foregone conclusion. These results will be unaccountable and binding. No appeal is possible.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that corporations want profit the way that sexual predators want sex: at any cost. Instead of moderating, controlling or preventing this, this agreement enshrines into transnational law a supranational corporate entitlement to profit, regardless of risk or danger to the state, democratic sovereignty, the people, or the planet. For that reason alone, the TPP should be opposed at all costs. But there’s more.
Global Immiseration: Job Loss and proletarianization will be the inevitable results of this agreement. Although the pitch from the White House has been that the TPP is “a high standard trade agreement that levels the playing field for American workers, and businesses, supporting more made in America exports and higher paying American jobs”, in fact the logic of neoliberal trade agreements like TPP drives jobs to wherever they are the cheapest, decimating labor rights and labor protections along their path.That implies the general immiseration of wage workers everywhere as they are forced into a race to the bottom, to compete with the hungriest and most desperate in the world. If you thought NAFTA was bad for jobs, imagine the Lance Armstrong of neoliberal trade deals: doped-up, ‘roid-flushed, viscous-blooded, deceitful, win-at-any-cost, brazen, in-your-face, winner-take-all, corrupt, corporate leviathan.