C4SS Senior Fellow and Lysander Spooner Research Scholar, Nathan Goodman, took part in and represented C4SS on the Salt Lake City, Utah, Trans-Pacific Partnership Welcoming Committee coalition and protest.
Salt Lake City, UT November 19, 2013
Delegations from twelve national governments are meeting this week at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement shrouded in secrecy designed to benefit multinational corporations. Activists and concerned citizens are planning actions throughout Salt Lake City to educate the public about the trade agreement and to protest the negotiations.
Citizens, journalists, activists and even members of Congress have been denied access to the agreement’s text, while representatives from multinational corporations have played a key role in the drafting process. This utter lack of transparency continues into the Salt Lake meetings, that were not disclosed to the public until very recently, and which journalists and community members will not be allowed to attend.
In spite of this short notice, the community has mobilized the TPP Welcoming Committee. On Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., these activists will hold an action at the Bureau of Land Management offices at 440 W. 200 S., to protest the selling off of our public lands to corporate interests. From there, they will march to a larger protest at Grand America Hotel, where organizers will speak out about the major problems of this trade pact and comment on actions that need to occur to halt this agreement which, if passed, will have pervasive negative effects on citizens of all signatory countries. On Tuesday night at 6 p.m., the TPP Welcoming Committee will hold a teach-in at the Utah Pride Center, 255 E. 400 S., to explain the impact the treaty will have on medical access, internet freedom, climate justice, labor rights and many other important issues. This will be followed by a creative nighttime light action at 8 p.m. outside Grand America Hotel, pulling the TPP out of the shadows and into public scrutiny.
Organizations like WikiLeaks have been able to obtain and release to the public only a small portion of the provisions of this secret agreement. They have exposed that the agreement expands copyright and patent monopolies, with alarming consequences. It enables pharmaceutical companies, for example, to use patents to substantially increase the costs of many drugs and therefore deprive people around the world of lifesaving medicine. The current draft of the agreement contains many of the same copyright provisions and controversial internet censorship powers previously contained in the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, overwhelmingly opposed by the U.S. populace.
In addition, the TPP would create international tribunals in which corporations could sue governments to overturn sovereign laws and extract vital resources from taxpayers and communities. These courts, completely outside U.S. jurisdiction, would expand corporate power while undermining national sovereignty and local control.
The TPP and the secretive negotiations undermine free speech, further entrench corporate rule, deny people around the world lifesaving medicines and erode national sovereignty.The agreement is yet another example of the corrupting influence of money in our political process. Accordingly, those involved in the negotiations will face significant opposition and dissent from the TPP Welcoming Committee and other concerned citizens.
The TPP Welcoming Committee is a coalition of individuals and organizations including Backbone Campaign, Sole de Utah, Utah Tar Sands Resistance, the Justice Party, Center for a Stateless Society, Popular Resistance, Occupy.com, Washington Fair Trade Coalition, HESA-Heterodox Economics Student Association at the University of Utah, and March Against Monsanto.