Update: Nov.27 op-ed published in Charleston Gazette-Mail: Bill of Rights for corporations trumps ours
We are in the midst of a #FallRising to Stop TPP, TTIP, and TiSA, with people converging on Washington, D.C. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and similar secret trade agreements like TTIP and TiSA, are nothing less than a bill of rights for corporations, designed to legally trump any rights humans may claim. The time to fight back is now! Those of us who can’t get to D.C. can still take action.
Why take action? Here are just a few reasons:
You should take action if you care about defending clean water, clean air, safe food, our mountains and rivers, because the TPP is a threat to our environment.
Take action if you care about your rights on the job, and don’t want to compete against people in Asian sweatshops earning less than a dollar an hour, because the TPP is a threat to workers.
Take action if you want to continue to be free to access information via the internet, because the TTP may terminate that access, forcing ISPs to shut down websites accused of violating copyright.
Take action If you appreciate government services like the post office, schools, police, and safety inspectors, because the TPP may demand that these services be privatized — and thus become more expensive and less accountable.
However, don’t take action if you are a large corporation and you’re tired of putting up with mere humans telling you what you can and can’t do.
Okay, what do I do?
Congress just passed Fast Track, which is designed to facilitate the passage of undemocratic agreements like the TTP, a trade agreement that would give foreign corporations more rights than U.S. citizens.
Only one of West Virginia’s five federal representatives voted “yes” on Fast Track — Senator Shelley Moore Capito. Those who voted “yes” on Fast Track will likely vote “yes” when the time comes to decide whether to approve TPP. West Virginians need to ask Senator Capito to vote “no” on TPP. Please call Senator Capito at one of her offices and ask her to vote no on TPP. You can pick several of the above or below points to mention when you talk to her office. Please take time to call this coming week, and please ask your friends and family to do the same.
Here are a few more reasons…
- Allow foreign corporations to sue our government for any laws that might impinge on their expected profits, using the infamous ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) tribunals, held in secret, with corporate lawyers as judges, no conflict-of-interest provisions, no appeal.
- Force internet service providers to take down content someone claims violates their copyright rights; TPP guarantees they can’t be sued for doing so, which will push ISPs to err on the side of copyright holders, limiting free speech.
- Make medicine more expensive worldwide, condemning many to death, because of the many ways it increases patent protections.
- Encourage corporations to ship even more U.S. jobs to low-wage sweatshop countries, including those that use slave labor. If the country raised its minimum wage, the corporation could sue for lost profits.
- Force governments to rescind labeling laws, country-of-origin laws (this has already happened in the US) and any food safety laws more stringent than some other government or corporation deems necessary.
- Make programs to favor local producers illegal.
- Remove the right of governments to decide against a toxic mine, waste dump, etc. We could be forced to build the XL pipeline, and gas export terminals. It would trump any agreement made in Paris to mitigate climate change.
Please call Senator Capito today, and ask others to do so, too. If you are feeling ambitious, please contact the other members of West Virginia’s Congressional delegation to thank them for their “no” vote on Fast Track and to tell them to vote “no” on TPP when the vote comes up.