Action Alert

Stop The Trans-Pacific Partnership – Join the National Call-In Day

Guest post by Andrianna Natsoulas - reposted with permission from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York

Wednesday, September 14 is the National Call-In Day to Say NO to the Trans-Pacific Partnership – otherwise known as the TPP! Despite being in a lame duck session, the White House will be pushing for a vote on this enormous trade agreement. Contact your Members of Congress and tell them that the TPP is bad news for farmers, the environment and anyone else who cares about the food they eat and the environment!

What is the TPP? Simply, it is a multi-national trade agreement that would extend restrictions on global intellectual property laws, rewriting international enforcement rules and raising significant concern about citizens’ privacy and freedom of expression, spanning the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Free trade agreements have a track record of displacing people, compromising environment health and jeopardizing the sovereign rights of nations, states and communities. Free trade agreements endorsed and forced by the World Trade Organization (WTO) facilitate agri-businesses monopolies on markets and the commodification of food.  Just 10 years after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed, over two million farmers across Mexico, the United States and Canada were displaced. NAFTA forced the Mexican government to modify Article 27 of its constitution, which included the Ejido system in which communities, rather than individuals, owned land and natural resources. The Central American Free Trade Agreement has spun Central American countries into a downward spiral as violence and forced migration rages amidst economic insecurity.

The TPP would go beyond the WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA by giving banks and corporations the power to challenge democratic policymaking. Transnational corporations would be allowed to sue the U.S. government before a court of three corporate lawyers if they believe federal or state laws violates their right to access markets. That means any law protecting consumers, the environment or farmers could be challenged before an unaccountable, private body. They can even dictate how regulatory agencies operate and impose a structure for procedures of all domestic decisions and rule-making.

What does this mean to the Northeast U.S.? If the TPP passes, it can challenge any law – yes, any law - that supports organics, agro-ecology, consumers’ right to know or even the sale of raw milk.

Many Northeastern states allow for the sale of raw milk, as well as on-farm processing of 1,000 birds per year without a USDA approved and certified facility. Several communities in Maine have passed the Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance, allowing towns the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods in order to promote self-reliance, family farms and local food traditions.

People were outraged at the passage of the DARK Act, as not only did this prevent transparent labeling laws at the national level, but it also trumped state laws, including Vermont’s recently passed GE labeling law, despite all the hard work and support of this innovative bill. The TPP would create another layer that can usurp state and local laws. It could undermine the ban on fracking in New York State, threatening  water supplies, environment, and geological stability.

Who could possibly support this “agreement?” Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wal-Mart, Newscorp, GE, Halliburton and all their friends.

Who is against it? Hundreds of labor, environmental, family farm, consumer, faith, indigenous and other social justice groups.

More than 50 organizations across the United States are joining forces to generate tens of thousands of calls on Wednesday, September 14th. Add your voice to the opposition!

Take five minutes on September 14 to call or email your Members of Congress! Call 888-659-7351 to connect to your representative or visit Stop the TPP. Want to do even more? Share on social media and use the hashtag #STOPTPP

For more information, visit Food & Water Watch, Citizens Trade Campaign or Public Citizen.