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General News    H2'ed 7/8/12

Coalition of local groups marches against TTP

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Nadin Abbott

Photos, Nadin Abbott

July 7, 2012 (San Diego)-- The mood at the Civic Center was defiant. The marchers were getting ready to take to the streets once again. They were protesting the Trans Pacific Trade Negotiations (TTP) happening at the Bayfront Hilton Hotel. 

Among them was Kathy Mack-Burton, a resident of La Mesa, who told me, that she was "interested in stopping this secret negotiation that is not in the interest of the American people." This treaty will come to a surrender of our sovereignty. Given the Finance Chapter that was leaked to Public Citizen has found arbitration will indeed move away from regular court systems, this fear is not unfounded.

She was not alone. According to Kim-Holmgrin of the Green Party, "the TTP pushes advantages away from the common person and expands corporate power. It even weakens our sovereignty." He added that the Greens are also "really concerned about environmental and global warming," and that the tribunals will be a violation of International Environmental treaties. He added that labor is at risk as well, with the weakening of labor standards.

Ivan Penetrante of Bayan USA, an alliance of Progressive Filipino groups in the United States, the TTP is "NAFTA on steroids." It is a treaty "Of the global 1%," and an imperialist agenda. It is no coincidence that the US Governemnt is pivoting it's armed forces to the Pacific, since they will be needed to enforce this treaty.  It is not just about China and containing China, but about making sure this treaty can be enforced. He later alluded to the fact that there are armed uprisings in the Philippines, just like the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas after NAFTA came to be. 

This treaty "will oppress 60% of the worlds people, who live in the Pacific Rim." The people will fight this, by any means necessary. 

According to Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign, what is needed is to "drag the TTP out of the shadows, 600 Corporate lawyers have access (to the treaty) while our representatives are denied access."  

We know that Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) was denied access, when he asked for it with the Office of Trade Representative,. Senator Wyden had this to say about this in the Well of the Senate back in May:

"If agreed to, TPP will set the tone for our nation's economic future for years to come, impacting the way Congress intervenes and acts on behalf of the American people it represents.  

It may be the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) current job to negotiate trade agreements on behalf of the United States, but Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress -- not the USTR or any other member of the Executive Branch -- the responsibility of regulating foreign commerce.  It was our Founding Fathers' intention to ensure that the laws and policies that govern the American people take into account the interests of all the American people, not just a privileged few."

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According to Stamoulis the fact that elected officials have been denied access, but lobbyist are free to have input, should worry all of us. 

Marching through downtown.

Once the march proper started, the groups formed in ranks by their different organizations. The march though downtown took an all but direct route from the Civic Center, to the Hilton Bay Front Hotel, where the negotiations are taking place.

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Writer, blogger, journalist, based in San Diego. Started doing this with Occupy and has grown from there. As a trained historian I was struck by Occupy, which will be considered an important moment in US History, at leaset in my opinion.
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