Tuesday, February 25, 2014

TPP (Interim) Opposition to TPP growing across the Asia-Pacific region

Vanguard March 2014 p. 4
Bill F.

The long saga over the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement (TPP) was supposed to be well finished by now, but growing resistance from the people in the various participating countries has blown out the timetable for this US-inspired devious trade pact.

Substantial opposition has broken out in the United States as well, as many people there see the TPP, quite rightly, as a deal to enhance the profits of the biggest multinational corporations at the expense of smaller and medium-sized domestic companies.

(An anti-TPP rally in the US, above)

American workers fear the impact on jobs, wages and conditions, farmers and manufacturers fear cheap imported products will cripple them, and others are concerned for environmental protections and internet privacy and patents on medicines – the same things that threaten us.

In response to the building wave of opposition, and in a significant rebuff to President Obama, more than 170 members of the US Congress have said they will vote against his plan to “fast-track” approval for the TPP and other pending trade deals. “Fast-track” means that Congress could only vote Yes or No without any amendments.

Whether this will greatly delay the TPP, or the bullies will ram it through anyway, we will have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, advisors and trade bureaucrats have been meeting in Singapore to smooth the way for their Trade Ministers, including Australia’s Andrew Robb, to sign the final documents. Behind the scenes, US diplomats and trade envoys have been busy doing the rounds, putting pressure on the more reluctant countries to withdraw their objections to some sections and clauses.


(Above, anti-TPP rally in Sydney)

Needless to say, Australia has few, if any, objections to anything US imperialism wants, and Prime Minister Abbott is slavering to get it signed as soon as possible.

Here, too, organised opposition to the TPP has been building, as those sections of it revealed by WikiLeaks have become more common knowledge, confirming the worst fears of many and shocking those who have just learned about it.

For several years, organisations such as Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET), the ACTU, some trade unions and Spirit of Eureka have been agitating against the TPP. Now they are being joined by new groups, including farmers, small producers, students and people concerned about copyright laws and threats to cultural diversity, etc.  

Interestingly, some sections of the left that regard Australia as an ‘imperialist country’ and have until now largely ignored this issue, are starting to realise that Australia is itself a target /victim of imperialism.

In Melbourne, 140 people attended an informative public meeting on February 5, followed by a rally of similar size in the city in the late afternoon of February 7. Speakers at both events presented detailed information and urged people to continue to alert their families, friends and workmates.
A leaflet distributed at the rally said, in part,

“Foreign investors, multinational corporations and foreign banks will be empowered to sue our governments for hundreds of millions of dollars where local laws and regulations restrict their profit making.

“The US driven TPP is only about giving multinational corporations more freedom to exploit people and plunder the environment. 

“Under the TPP more local jobs will vanish. Our hard won wages, working conditions and workplace rights will be attacked, even harder. More local jobs, skills, scientific and technical expertise will be trampled down or sent overseas.

“Our environment will be trashed by the plunder of multinational mining corporations. Australia’s manufacturing, services and agricultural industries will be wiped out. The livelihoods of local farmers and rural communities will be destroyed.  Public health and public education will be gutted. The cost of medicines will go up. Food labelling would no longer be enforceable.

“The cost of living for the people will go up.  Local culture and the livelihoods of our cultural workers will be drowned by the flood of imported US commercialised “culture”. Multinational agri-business corporations will overrule our standards on clean, safe and GM free food.”

Another rally was held outside Parliament House in Canberra on February 11, attended by …..

 The political domination of Australia by US imperialism is enshrined by the ANZUS Treaty and the military domination completed by the permanent presence of US marines and an expanding network of bases and ports. All of this is encouraged and assisted by both the Coalition and the Labor Party.

If the TPP does get ticked off, it will formalise and accelerate the economic domination of US imperialism over our country. Inevitably, the people will see their real enemy and the collaborators more clearly, and lift the struggle for an independent Australia and socialism to a new level.  

Further reading:  This policy brief from the Centre for Health Equity, Training, Research and Evaluation at the University of NSW explores the likely impact of the TTP on Australia's health care system:

(Below, anti-TPP rally in New Zealand)

(Below, anti-TPP rally in Mexico)

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