“TPP Is Not a Trade Fight – It’s a Fight for Democracy”

Jim Hightower, Nation of Change (6/19/2015)

Over the past 25 years, in secret, a cabal of multinational corporations, the Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street, and a cadre of political and academic elites have been crafting what amounts to a separate private world government. This “super group” will have the power to override any national laws that might interfere with future profits.

Democratically enacted environmental protections, worker wages and safety standards, public health regulations, country of origin food and drug labeling could all be overturned in the name ofloss of anticipated profits.

How would such a loss of national sovereignty occur? Embedded in the secret “agreement” is a forum called the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which gives corporations “investor state” status. ISDS would grant the corporations supremacy over nation states by empowering corporations to bypass domestic courts and directly sue the U.S. government (or other nations) before a tribunal of private lawyers.  The tribunal would operate outside of any domestic legal system.

Corporate challenges to any national law are settled in secret by three “tribunalists” who are drawn from a pool of international corporate (World Bank, United Nations) attorneys. Of course, the attorneys’ names will also be secret.

Only corporations may issue such challenges. Unions, environmental groups, individual legislators, even the president of our country, have no standing to contest an ISDS decision. Furthermore, an entire nation can be fined billions of dollars for the loss of anticipated future profits. And there is no redress. Decisions are final and also secret.  (The Hightower Lowdown, vol.17, #1, Jan 2015).

Unions, environmental groups, Americans for Democratic Action, candidate Bernie Sanders, TheNew York Times, many religious groups, many American legislators have argued fiercely and eloquently against this “corporate world power” creation. All of the congressional Republicans, President Obama, and too many democratic legislators have swallowed the “Kool- aid” of increased exports and profits, which will “trickle down” to all. The pro TPP advocates refuse to realize the devastating effects on American jobs, wages, health care, and our environment, or they simply care about nothing but profits for an elite few.

What can we do? Call your representatives and senators: if someone is pro TPP, give them an “earful”; if they voted against the TPP, thank them and send money. And call the White House!!

The TPP is an irrevocable tsunami of destruction for democracy, the environment, and workers. We must all speak out NOW.

Karen J. Pataky
Vice President for Public Policy and Political Action

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