Activist Wednesday: Tank the TPP
Posted January 22, 2014on:
Widdershins, we haven’t talked too much about Obama and his corporatist ways lately. You can hardly blame us – we spotted him as a tool of the oligarchy/patriarchy about 7 years ago, and time has not altered his essential nature. One can only say “Obama is an unprincipled hack” so many times before it becomes really, really old.
What has changed since 2007? Some folks on the left have lost their blind puppy love for the President, and have organized around the principles they always claimed to espouse. They don’t like the latest Grand Randian Bargain Obama is trying to engineer and shove through Congress – not one little bit. (If only he would use his powers for good, instead of eeeevilll!) It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. and its essence appears to be:
Everything that exists can be claimed by a corporation and turned into a profit-making engine. This includes plants, animals, and other naturally occurring products – er, uh, living things. Oh, and we’d very much like to make our money without giving a crap about the environment as well. Mmmmkay, we all good with this, folks?
Well, clearly this is not something most non-corporate people would ever agree to. (I can even think of some corporations who would find it ooky.) This is why the TPP has been percolating like some cauldron concoction for the past four years, smoldering and bubbling under cover in hopes that the citizenry wouldn’t catch wind of its eye-of-newty odeur. But thanks to the efforts of various grass-roots organizations, the TPP is becoming more and more unpassable.
After four years of secret negotiations with more than 600 corporate advisers, the once seemingly invincible largest trade bill in history, covering 40% of the world’s economy , looks very much like it can be defeated.
The TPP is becoming politically toxic. Over the last year there has been a steady stream of emails and phone calls to Congress. Members have faced constituent meetings and protests where TPP is being raised. Some examples of protests: Los Angeles, Seattle,Washington, DC, Salt Lake City,Minneapolis, US Trade Rep Office, Vancouver, Leesburg, New York City . . . we could go on. Americans have sent a clear message to members of Congress that they better not be associated with the TPP in an election year.
Of course, Obama won’t let a little thing like checks and balances stop him when he really, really wants something. So, he has gotten two pet Congresscritters, one Republican (David Camp, R-MI) and one “Democrat” (Max Baucus, DINO-MT), who is shortly leaving the Senate to become Ambassador to China, to create this crazy bill, colloquially named the Fast Track. What it does is leave Congress entirely out of the negotiating process, and give them only an up-or-down vote once everything has been done. In secret.
Does this seem like the democratic process to you? It doesn’t seem like it to me, or to Congresscritters of any stripe.
Baucus says he will not be holding a mark-up of the bill because of the divisions on the Finance Committee. Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) who will be taking Baucus’ place told Politico there was “broad frustration” with the lack of transparency. . Majority Leader Reid has put fast track on a slow track in the senate saying he does not plan to bring it to the Senate Floor, saying there was too much controversy around it.
As bad as the Senate sounds for the administration, the House is even worse. Opposition has been building in recent months with Democrats and Republicans writing President Obama opposing Fast Track.
They could not find a Democratic co-sponsor and now Politico reports that Speaker Boehner says he will not bring the bill to the floor for a vote unless 50 Democrats support it.
So, this is Activist Wednesday. What can we do to support the efforts to Tank the TPP?
Every Tuesday there is a TPP twitter storm at 9 PM Eastern. Follow the hashtag #TPPMediaMarch to participate. There will be a special TPP storm during the State of the Union on January 28.
Scores of organizations have come together in a movement of movements to create a webpage StopFastTrack.org. We’ve planned ten key days of pressure on Congress from January 22 to January 31. During this period, people will be making phone calls to Congress through the website which will provide simple tools to call Congress. In addition, during this period, people are organizing for the State of the Union on January 28 and an Inter-Continental Day of Action on January 31.
During the State of the Union, people opposed to the TPP plan to stand vigil outside of the Congress beginning at 8:30 PM so they can be there when the president arrives for the speech that begins at 9 PM. During the speech a special State Of The Union TwitterStorm will be held from 9-10pm EST, follow #TPPMediaMarch to participate.
Imagine if we had this kind of organization and social media power when the Iraq War was getting slammed through Congress! Although millions of us had feet on the street, the media didn’t cover the marches (or reported them as small and equally attended by pro-war protesters) and our Senators and Representatives didn’t have FaceBook pages where we could directly and publicly tell them how we’d like them to vote on the war. The combination of social media pressure, street theatre and in-person protests is powerful indeed.
Has Obama changed since 2007? No, and I hope none of us expects him to do so. But unless and until this country becomes a full-blown fascist state, he can be stopped. Let’s remember that, and stay as true to ourselves as we always have been.
This is an open thread.
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