Thursday, January 16, 2014

Michigan Greens Oppose Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The Green Party of Michigan opposes the under-covered new trade treaty.

Ecological Wisdom      *  Social Justice
Grassroots Democracy  *  Non-Violence

Green Party of Michigan

**  News Release  **
**  ------------  **
  January 15, 2014

For More Information, Contact:
John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI Platform Committee Chair
    (269) 781-9478

Michigan Greens Oppose Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
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:

    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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created/distributed using donated labor

Green Party of Michigan
PO Box 504
Warren, MI  48090-0504

    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:

    Ecological Wisdom
    Grassroots Democracy
    Social Justice
    Community Economics
    Respect for Diversity
    Personal/Global Responsibility
    Future Focus/Sustainability

For the latest news,
“like” the Green Party of Michigan US Facebook page --
and follow us at Twitter:  @MIGreenParty.


Selected Links for More Information
About the Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) and Some of Its Secret Contents