Michigan Greens Oppose Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Green Party of Michigan
January 15, 2014
For More Information, Contact:
John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI Platform Committee Chair
GPMI Urges All Michigan Voters to Contact Members of Congress to Oppose "Fast-Track" Authority for Secretive Trade Treaty
Leaks Provide Only Public Glimpses So Far at "NAFTA on Steroids"
The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) has unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty -- and an urgent position against "fast-track" authority for the United States Trade Representative (USTR), to protect the public's chance to find out about and openly debate the secretive trade treaty.
GPMI urges all Greens and all voters in Michigan to call on their US Senators and Congresspeople to vote "no" on fast-track for TPP. That procedural maneuver, promoted by Rep. Dave Camp (R, MI-04) among others, has been re-branded as "Trade Promotion Authority". But just as it greased the skids for NAFTA, fast-track for TPP would still block all amendments, limit Congress's oversight, and make it harder for the people to hold their members of Congress accountable.
It is particularly hard to have a real debate about the contents of TPP when they have been so aggressively kept secret. Negotiations have been held in increasingly secret sessions for years -- but the only texts publicly available are leaked drafts. WikiLeaks revealed the draft chapter on intellectual property in November, and the environmental chapter just today.
"The worst thing we know for sure about TPP," notes GPMI vice chair Art Myatt, "is that the provisions have been negotiated in secret and the terms are still kept secret. When the terms are actually revealed, then we'll know the actual worst.
"The immediate action we can take -- feeble though it may be -- is to urge our 'representatives' in Congress to deny fast-track authority. They should take whatever time and effort is necessary to make all the currently secret clauses public -- and so should we. I suspect this treaty is worse than NAFTA, and I would very much like to know the details the 1% want to keep secret until it is too late for us to object."
Leaked proposals include allowing corporations to sue to override national, state, or local laws and regulations in the US and eleven other countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. Protections for the environment, food safety, and people's rights could be wiped out as "barriers to free trade" -- or, more honestly, limits on unrestrained corporate profits. This is what has led some analysts to dub TPP "NAFTA on steroids".
Linda Cree, an Upper Peninsula member of GPMI, feels that President Obama is attempting to keep the TPP secret and fast-track it because he knows people will be very opposed once they realize what the TPP is attempting to do.
"From what we've learned, the TPP will consolidate even more power in the hands of corporations, and tie the hands of citizens. It will greatly increase the difficulty of protecting ourselves from GMO foods, environmental degradation, and any other abuse that will increase profits for corporations. It's incredible that our Congress should go along with this effort in any way."
"It would set up international tribunals to allow corporations to challenge any laws they took exception to, and even to file pre-emptive lawsuits against possible proposed legislation -- such as legislation banning fracking! If ratified, the TPP would make it impossible to protect labor, food safety, or environmental standards in the twelve nations involved."
Adds Aimee Cree Dunn, GPMI member and Upper Peninsula resident: "'Free' trade agreements such as NAFTA and GATT, and the rules promulgated by 'free' trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), have undercut the sovereignty of local governments and economies around the world.
"They penalize countries for favoring local products over foreign imports, for enforcing environmental and labor regulations, for banning dangerous foods such as genetically modified meat, and more. They also undermine the health of local economies, non-corporate farmers and businesses, and -- through the expansion of industrial projects such as mines and oil drilling -- the very land upon which we depend for survival."
Dunn continues, "The TPP is rumored to have even greater reach and impact than NAFTA or GATT. But Obama has not informed the US citizenry about what exactly is in the TPP and who is party to it. Not only has the agreement been hammered out by the Obama Administration in secret, Obama plans to fast-track the deal *without* informing American citizens.
"Secrecy leads to tyranny. It is not a trait conducive to democracy. Americans need to, at the least, demand that the full details of the TPP be made public. Without an informed citizenry, we have no democracy."
John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI's Platform Committee chair, agrees –- and adds that the Obama administration initiated negotiations with the EU a year ago for the equally secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. "If TPP sneaks through, TTIP will be next -- and the same anti-democratic, pro-corporate agenda will take over 60% of the worldwide economy.
"A fair and open discussion of TPP is vital -- but transparency alone isn't enough. We need a genuine chance to affect the result of the negotiations . . . to put people and the planet ahead of profits."
For more information about TPP, visit the links given below. For more information about the Green Party of Michigan, its values, and its candidates, visit: http://www.MIGreenParty.org
For GPMI's latest news, "like" the Green Party of Michigan US Facebook page and follow the party Twitter feed @MIGreenParty.
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GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:
Respect for Diversity
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Selected Links for More Information About the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Some of Its Secret Contents