Unless the TPP deal is challenged, we could be looking at a bleak future overrun by megalomaniac multinational corporations who are free to act unaccountably  

 

What multinational corporations do not require are more rights. They already hold governments by the balls, advertise in every spot that our eyes can see and are using their ties with the media to slam the increasingly popular anti-capitalist ideas that are embodied by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders (of course this goes without mentioning causing critical levels of inequality and indulging in practices which are proving rather catastrophic for our environment).

The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), not to be confused with TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) though considered by the US Government as a companion agreement, is set to be the single largest trade deal in the history of the United States. An agreement has been reached between twelve countries (Singapore, US, Brunei, New Zealand, Chile, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada and Japan), with heavy interest from six others, on a deal experts forecast to affect up to 40 per cent of the global economy. The TPP is an agreement for the lowering of trade barriers (a.k.a. market deregulation) and the establishment of an investor-state disputer settlement (ISDS), and what this means is that corporations and their representatives will be able to sue the governments of countries that stand in the way of projected profits.

Alongside the TTIP (a deal between the US and the EU), this TPP is part of a sustained effort by large companies to enforce a monoculture, where everything comes through them. Do we need supermarkets to feed the world? What about localising our food production and boycotting the likes of McDonald’s and Monsanto? Does China need to make everything? Is the TPP good for ‘everyone’ or is it a Trojan horse for multinationals? These are questions that we all need to engage with pretty quickly.

From the chapters leaked to the public by WikiLeaks, it is not only trade monopolies that are being created by the TPP as the agreement will also tackle online freedoms. TPP will, for example, ‘Criminalize whistleblowing by extending trade secrets laws without any mandatory exemptions for whistleblowers or investigative journalists’. It also intends to ‘Compel ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to take down websites without any sort of court order, just like SOPA (Appendix Section I)’. It also wishes to ‘Extend the US’s copyright regime to require copyrights stand for life plus 70 years, preventing anyone from using works that belong in the public domain (Article QQ.G.6)’. It further aims to ‘End anonymity online by forcing every domain name to be associated with a real name and address (Article QQ.C.12)’, ‘Make it illegal to unlock, modify, or generally tinker with a device you own (Article QQ.G.10)’ and ‘Export the US’s broken copyright policies to the rest of the world without expanding any of the free speech protections, like fair use’.

FFTF (Fight For The Future), a non-profit advocacy group which specialises in digital rights, is one of many groups running a grassroots campaign against the TPP agreement. In a press release the group stated:

‘Contact your Congresspeople now and tell them to vote against the TPP. Then get ready to do more because we’re going to unleash some of our strongest campaigns ever. Already we have plans to work with hundreds of different groups as a massive coalition to fight the TPP, coordinate gigantic on-the-ground protests in key cities across the country, and produce compelling content to spread the word to as many different audiences as possible just what is at stake in the TPP’.

The release continues to say how:

‘The worst part is that this is just one of the TPP’s 30 chapters. For years, governments have held critics of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in a perfect Catch-22. Officials brushed off public outcry and concern by claiming that the dissenters didn’t have all the facts. This was by design—the 12 country trade deal was negotiated entirely behind closed doors by industry lobbyists and government appointees, and even now the text of the agreement is still classified. But late last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the Intellectual Property chapter, meaning those excuses won’t work anymore’.

You can call on the US Congress to vote ‘NO’ to the instalment of the TPP agreement by following this link: https://www.fightthetpp.org/?t=dXNlcmlkPTUxODg4NjM3LGVtYWlsaWQ9MTAwMzA=

FFTF are also calling for all sorts of involvement. For those who don’t wish/are unable to take to the streets or vote, the link to donate an amount of your choice to a cause fighting the power of multinational corporations is here: https://donate.fightforthefuture.org/?tag=tppleaked2&t=dXNlcmlkPTUxODg4NjM3LGVtYWlsaWQ9MTAwMzA=n

We need an international agreement that puts people before profit and cooperation before corporations.