GPNJ is co-sponsoring a rally in Newark on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at noon. The rally will take place at 1 Gateway Center, located across the street from Newark Penn Station on Market Street. If you’re available, we need an outpouring of support for this rally.
The immediate ask for the rally is opposition to “Fast Track” authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If you’re not yet aware, the TPP is a global trade deal. Many of the critics have called it NAFTA on steroids. Like NAFTA, there are virtually no labor rights or environmental protections in these deals. Which means companies now have incentives to move their operations to other countries where they can pay workers pennies on the dollar, avoid health and safety protections, clear cut forests, avoid pollution controls, and pollute global water supplies.
Here’s where NAFTA decided to work out and take some steroids. This deal was negotiated entirely in secret. In fact, unless Wikileaks got brave participants to turn over some of the documents, we wouldn’t know the exact language in the deal. BUT, the Duponts and Exxons weren’t satisfied with negotiating in secret, NOW they also want so-called fast track authority, which would put the treaty’s consideration by Congress on an expedited schedule. Even more scary, under Fast Track authority Congress doesn’t get to amend the treaty. They are limited to an up or down vote on the executing provisions. This treaty is one of the single gravest threats to our Democracy.
Look, I get it, your eyes are rolling into the back of your head already, because trade policy is one of the wonkiest and most boring topics imaginable. Here’s why this matters. Do you care about about a higher minimum wage? about better banking regulations? about labeling GMOs? about banning fracking??? Then you need to be out in the streets on Tuesday fighting this thing with everything you have.
There is a provision in this deal called “investor-state arbitration.” Here’s what it does. It means that if a government passes a law that has a negative effect on a company’s investment that company can sue the state before a corporate kangaroo “court.” It’s not a group of judges, it’s a group of lawyers. And here’s what they’re deciding. Did the government somehow compromise that company’s “investment expectation.” Not whether it deprived it of its property, but did it deprive it of its investment expectation. In other words, the measure of damages isn’t what the company invested, it’s what it expected to profit from. So say we win a higher minimum wage – we just hurt McDonald’s profits. Say we win better banking regulations – we just hurt UBS’s profits. Say we win labeling – we just upset Monsanto. And say we ban fracking – we just upset Exxon. Any one of those companies could come take the state of New Jersey or the United States before that corporate court and get a massive judgement that the state or the country can’t pay. Remember we’re paying for what they expected to make over the life of the deal, not what they actually put in. Say they spent 1 million on a land lease. They can get a 100 billion dollar judgment because that’s how much gas they expected to pull out of the ground. So then they can come dangle that judgment in front of the government and say, if you want your money back give us an exemption. THIS IS THE FIGHT. There are no issues that fight corporate power that don’t run right into this issue. We need to stand up and we need to fight this.
And to fight this, we need YOU. The rally is at 12 noon on Tuesday in Newark. If you CAN, you NEED to be there. The bigger presence we have, the harder it will be to ignore us. The Green Party needs to show that we are ready to step in on day one and capable of running this government.
I will be speaking at the rally. If anyone is interested in helping me draft a speech/press release, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can easily make the speech a google document and we can work on it together through a gchat google hangout. It’s fun I swear. Let me know because I’ll be working on it throughout the weekend.
Please do everything you can to fight this. After the rally, we’ll be putting together a call script/email and you can reach out to Senators Booker and Menendez. All out to fight the TPP, ALL OUT FOR DEMOCRACY AND TRANSPARENCY!