ACTIVISTS DISRUPT Sen. SUSAN COLLINS APPEARANCE TO PROTEST
TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP TRADE DEAL
On Friday, January 24 activists from CODEPINK interrupted an appearance by Senator Susan Collins at an event with the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce in Augusta. Holding a banner about the threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is intended to be fast-tracked through Congress this year, the two women chanted “Vote no on the TPP! It's bad for Maine, and you and me!”
The TPP has been described as “NAFTA on steroids,” a reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement that cost Maine 30,000 jobs over the last 20 years.
“Calling TPP a trade agreement is a bit of a misnomer,” said Ridgely Fuller of Belfast. “The TPP will allow corporations to sue us for policies including Buy Local, organic food promotion, and environmental regulation of, say, fracking. Anything which interferes with their ability to earn maximum profits. And, all disputes would be decided by 'judges' on leave from corporations.”
Both of Maine's representatives in Congress have indicated they will not support fast-tracking the TPP, nor are they likely to support it even following a full and open debate of its pros and cons. Rep. Mike Michaud, currently a candidate for governor of Maine, issued a statement that read in part: “We know what happens when Congress passes this type of legislation granting fast track. Factories close, plants move overseas, and our workers are left behind. We simply can't afford to repeat the mistakes of the past." Rep. Chellie Pingree's statement on TPP claimed that “Congress should be figuring out how to create jobs here at home, not ship them overseas.”
Both of Maine's senators have remained mum on whether or not they will support the White House attempt to push the TPP through a fast-tracked approval process without divulging its contents or allowing debate in Congress. A highly secret draft of proposed TPP provisions was released by Wikileaks in November.
Activists on Friday evening held a banner created by the Artists' Rapid Response Team (ARRT!) which is part of the Union of Maine Visual Artists. The banner depicts the TPP as a giant octopus grabbing resources around the globe.
The TPP would govern one-third of global trade and usurp the sovereignty of citizens in its signatory nations: U.S., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Corporations doing business in these countries could sue individuals or groups perceived as limiting their profits, for instance, by means of environmental regulations.
Go here for more educational Occucards on many TPP related topics, including: