imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - json version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

Community Activist Join Labor Against Phony "Trade" Deal

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Progressive San Diego's official opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a NAFTA-like agreement seeking to subject the U.S. and a wide range of other countries to corporate dictatorship — began July 2 with a rally outside the Bayfront Hilton Hotel, where the TPP's negotiators are meeting. Speakers from labor, environmental, women's and Queer organizations explained what the TPP means to them and why it should be stopped.

Community Activist J...
laborers.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

Community Activists Join Labor to Oppose TPP

Corporate, Government Officials Meet in San Diego to Negotiate Secret “Trade” Pact

by MARK GABRISH CONLAN

Copyright © 2012 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

PHOTOS, top to bottom: Laborers’ Union members turn out against TPP; Brooke Harper; Cathy Familiathe; Michelle Chin; Irma Zavala; Holly Husa; Mayer Souta; Kristen Smith; Cathy Mendonça; Ivan and his comrades with the banner; James Bartoli

If you’ve never heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that suits the people who are pushing it — the Obama administration, the governments of the other major countries involved and the corporations who stand to benefit from its far-reaching provisions against pro-labor and pro-environmental laws in the countries joining it — just fine. San Diego is currently hosting the latest round of talks between government and corporate officials to negotiate the details of the TPP, and labor and anti-neoliberal activists planned a response for the originally announced dates of the talks: July 2-10. Then the organizers of the TPP negotiations decided to jump the gun on the response by sneaking into town early — the weekend of June 30-July 1 — and getting to work right away so the TPP opponents would have nothing to respond to.

The secrecy with which the TPP is being negotiated has been a constant throughout the process. Though representatives of multinational corporations have been allowed to read the proposed TPP treaty documents and negotiate their contents, mere elected officials of the U.S. Congress — including Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), chair of the Senate Finance Committee’s subcommittee dealing with trade agreements — have been denied access to the terms of TPP. “No one has access to the documents that have such far-reaching implications,” said Brooke Harper of Global Trade Watch, a project of the Public Citizen watchdog organization that monitors trade agreements, at an organizing meeting in San Diego June 20. And when one of the treaty’s proposed sections — the one on multinational investment — was leaked to Global Trade Watch, the Obama administration responded not by pulling back on TPP but by raising the ante, inviting Mexico to join the pact.

What is the TPP? Ostensibly it’s a “free trade” agreement between the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam. But as with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and other so-called “free trade” agreements that have followed NAFTA and been patterned on it, TPP is really a huge machine to increase corporate profits by making it easier for multinational corporations to shift jobs overseas. It would forbid member countries from passing “domestic content” laws requiring that a certain portion of the parts in manufactured goods sold in their countries be produced there.

What’s more, the leaked section contains an elaborate provision for so-called “investor-to-state dispute resolution.” This idea, which first reared its head in NAFTA and was expanded in the late 1990’s in a proposed worldwide treaty called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), allows corporations to sue countries to have their labor or environmental protection laws thrown out as “restraints on trade.” MAI died as a result of the “Battle of Seattle” in November 1999, in which activists successfully disrupted a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and at least temporarily blocked expansion of pro-corporate trade agreements worldwide. But some of its more loathsome provisions are back in the proposed TPP.

What’s wrong with investor-to-state dispute resolution? To put it bluntly, it puts corporations ahead of sovereign nation-states in decision-making. In the 1990’s a Canadian company named Methanex sued the state of California, claiming it had no right to ban a Methanex-manufactured gasoline additive that contaminated drinking water. Methanex demanded $970 million in “lost” profits from the state, and it took California six years and $4 million in legal fees to defeat the claim. More recently, a Chinese company contacted the Vermont state legislature and ordered it not to pass legislation restricting electronic waste disposal and toxic chemicals in toys, or the Chinese would sue for alleged violations of U.S. trade treaties.

Asked at the June 20 meeting whether TPP could be used to supersede U.S. labor laws, Harper said that most of the cases already heard under investor-to-state dispute resolution have been “land-use or zoning laws.” But some of the most controversial challenges have been attempts by corporations to challenge laws restricting their ability to sell dangerous products, including the Family and Teen Smoking Act and the Food Labeling Law. “In Massachusetts, they had to fight to keep on the books their law against buying products from Myanmar,” Harper said. “They haven’t had challenges on labor law yet.” She also said that even without the TPP in place, Philip Morris was able to sue El Salvador to get smoking restrictions lifted under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) even though El Salvador isn’t a signatory to CAFTA, and more recently they’ve sued Australia via a subsidiary in Hong Kong.

TPP is being billed as an attempt to contain China economically, and some critics have drawn a connection between it and Obama’s Pacific Rim defense strategy aimed at boosting the U.S. military presence in the Pacific to control China militarily. At the same time, though, feelers have been sent out to invite China to join TPP.

San Diegans Speak Out Against TPP

San Diego’s response to the latest round of TPP negotiations began on July 2 with a spirited rally outside the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, next to the San Diego Convention Center. With the TPP negotiators housed inside the Bayfront and holding their meetings there, members of labor unions and community organizations challenged the pact in a small but spirited rally outside the building. The rally was MC’d by San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council chair Lorena Gonzalez, and among the speakers was Cathy Familiathe, president of the Southern California District Council of the historically progressive International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU).

“Those of our members fortunate enough to move cargo still work,” Familiathe said. “But the mission of our union is to look out for everyone, including our warehouse, nursery and cannery workers whose jobs are being outsourced. ILWU has historically been against these trade agreements.” She said she had got a good look at how dire the impact of so-called “free trade” could be when a delegation from her union toured a maquiladora factory in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico in 1992, a year before NAFTA went into effect. Though the inside of the factory was state-of-the-art, she said, “the workers still went home at night to houses built of pallets.” Their employers, she said, “went from paying $8 per hour in the U.S. Midwest to paying $8 per day.”

Familiathe called for an open debate on the merits of TPP and other so-called “free trade” agreements. “If members of Congress believe agreements like TPP are good for the nation, let them bring such agreements to us, and facilitate pro-and-con debates in their districts where opponents are given equal time.” This might be easier said than done; according to Brooke Harper, members of Congress won’t even see the TPP until its final draft is agreed on and submitted to them — and then they’ll have to vote on it under “fast-track” authority, which means they’ll have to decide yes or no without being able to offer amendments.

Michelle Chin of Friends of the Earth said she also experienced the direct results of so-called “free trade” up close and personal in the early 1990’s. “I went to high school 10 miles from here, at a Catholic school run by some pretty radical nuns, and they took us to a maquiladora,” she recalled. “We were teenage girls and we saw other teenage girls, not going to school but working. Later we learned about women being sexually harassed in the maquiladoras, labor organizers threatened, and just a few weeks ago a labor activist was kidnapped and a gun held to his head as he was driven and dumped out of town.”

According to Chin, U.S. law requires that U.S. companies that relocate manufacturing jobs involving toxic chemicals to Mexico must send the toxic waste from their operations back to the U.S. for safe disposal — but only about one-sixth of them actually do so. “The rest just dump their waste in Mexico,” she said. “As a result of NAFTA, all the rivers around Tijuana have been decimated by pollution.”

Irma Zavala, representing the hotel and restaurant workers’ union UNITE HERE, had a particular gripe against Brunei, one of the original participants in TPP. “I came here 31 years ago to flee the civil war in El Salvador,” she said. “I worked at the Hotel Bel Air for 20 years so we could save up to buy a house and send our daughter to college. But when the government of Brunei bought the Bel Air chain, they closed the hotel for ‘remodeling’ and when they reopened it, they hired almost none of the original workers. In Brunei women don’t have equal rights and being Gay is illegal. They supported Iran in its nuclear program and in repressing its protesters. You can see their history of human rights violations. Please protect job security and human rights in America.”

Other speakers at the event pointed to the myriad ways TPP’s provisions would help make corporations and the 1 percent richer at the expense of everyone else. Holly Husa of the Queer-rights group Canvass for a Cause (CFAC) discussed the way TPP would extend the length of drug patents — thereby ensuring that the cost of standard anti-HIV treatments would remain at $8,000 per year instead of the $400 per year they would cost without patents. Mayer Souta of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) said that the TPP would add 120 years to existing copyrights in member countries, thereby choking off innovation and creativity. It would also, she said, stifle the free use of the Internet in some of the same ways as the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA), dropped by the U.S. Congress after overwhelming public opposition.

Kristen Smith of Women’s Occupy pointed to the smoking regulations that have already been targeted by tobacco companies under existing trade agreements and would be even harder to defend under TPP — leading to millions of preventable early deaths. Cathy Mendonça of Affirm San Diego pointed to the disproportionate harm done to women in Mexico under NAFTA — including the virtual destruction of Mexico’s agricultural sector as well as the murders of over 400 women, most of them maquiladora workers, in Ciudad Juárez. She also said that female maquiladora workers not only have to deal with sexual harassment from their bosses, they are forced to use birth control and take regular pregnancy tests because they can be fired if they become pregnant.

One of the most dramatic appearances came from a young man named Ivan, a Filipino-American activist from the Bayan U.S.A. group. His organization brought a long anti-TPP banner they used in an action in the Philippines and unfurled it next to the podium as Ivan spoke. Ivan drew the connection between the TPP and the U.S.’s increasing military presence in the Philippines, and said the U.S. is trying to regain the bases in the Philippines they were forced to give up in the 1990’s. “The U.S. economy is dependent on Asia and the Pacific,” Ivan said. “The U.S. needs to exploit more people. The TPP is an example of the desperation of the 1 percent. They don’t want you to hear that in the Philippines there is a movement for national liberation.”

“The TPP is not a free trade agreement; it is a corporate bill of rights,” said James Bartoli of Occupy San Diego — who played against the usual image of Occupy by appearing in a suit and tie. “This is for the global 1 percent to expand their supply areas and outsource jobs both to low-wage areas within the U.S. and to repressive governments around the world. When Occupy started, our slogan was ‘People Over Profits.’ We can see that capitalism is broken, and expanding empire through direct foreign investments is their only way forward.”

San Diego’s anti-TPP opponents are planning a wide variety of actions against the proposal during the remaining week its negotiators will be in town, culminating in a pots-and-pans march Saturday, July 7, 10:30 a.m., from Civic Center Plaza to the Hilton site. For more information, visit http://www.stoptpp.org
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Brooke Harper

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Brooke Harper...
harper.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x843

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Cathy Familiathe

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Cathy Familiathe...
familathe.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x782

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Michelle Chin

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Michelle Chin...
chin_foe.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x757

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Irma Zavala

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Irma Zavala...
zavala.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x785

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Holly Husa

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Holly Husa...
husa.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x788

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Mayer Souta

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Mayer Souta...
souta.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x799

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Kristen Smith

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Kristen Smith...
smith.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x743

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Cathy Mendonça

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Cathy Mendonça...
mendonc__a.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x785

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Ivan and his comrades with the banner

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Ivan and his comrade...
ivan___no_to_tpp_barrier.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x383

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


James Bartoli

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, Jul. 03, 2012 at 3:06 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P. O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

James Bartoli...
bartoli.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x758

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

In LA, San Diego, Sacramento and 147 Other Cities, McD And Other Fast Food Workers Picket S05 1:08PM

Did LA pro-Israel group conceal right-wing identity from Hollywood celebs and media? S04 11:39AM

Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus S02 4:49PM

Anti-blackracism in the U.S. S01 12:10PM

New Zine on Activist Collective Living A29 9:19AM

LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 2 of 2 A21 9:09PM

LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 1of 2 A21 7:01PM

Running Down the Walls 2014 A20 8:48PM

Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery Extends Exclusive Engagement A19 3:37PM

Los Angeles Declares “Hands Up!” in Peaceful Protest of LAPD Murder of Ezell Ford A18 4:09AM

Ezell Ford and Ferguson Solidarity A17 6:35PM

Family and Supporters of #Justice4Fords Protest LAPD Execution of Ezell Ford in South L.A. A17 2:49PM

Southern California Swarms to Save the Bees in Solidarity with Honey Bee Day Around the Gl A17 5:30AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Creative Community for Peace S18 10:00PM

The Shortwave Report 09/19/14 Listen Globally! S18 4:59PM

UCLA Center for Near East Studies charged with racism S18 8:24AM

Anti-Assad Extremists and Obama Plan Coordinated Attacks on Syria S18 7:25AM

Ukraine's President in Ottawa and Washingto S18 4:31AM

Le système, ses agents, ses exécutants S18 1:24AM

The Failure of the Block the Boat tactic S17 8:38PM

Israel's Ruthless Agenda S17 11:46AM

National Football League Violence S17 11:29AM

Bomb Abroad Spank At Home S17 11:05AM

Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo S17 10:57AM

OECD Takes Strong Stance on Corporate Tax Avoidance S17 7:06AM

Sergey Lavrov: World Class Peace Advocate S17 5:14AM

War Winds Near Gale Force S17 4:31AM

Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus S16 12:14PM

Kiev Grants Donbas Limited Special Status: Hold the Cheers S16 12:13PM

Nuclear Bomb Witness, Mobile Audit Club Daily Forewords, ISIS good Sissies like Reid Fag, S16 10:15AM

police training problem S16 8:19AM

How Neoliberalism Gained Hegemony S16 7:11AM

Dreaming War, Threatening Humanity S16 5:56AM

18 Ways AntiHealth Departments Connected To Drug Co. Pawns In The CDC Do Harm S15 2:59PM

Israel's Genocidal War on Palestine Without End S15 1:55PM

Israeli Persecution of Palestinians Unrelated to Defense S15 7:48AM

Beat the Heat S14 6:32PM

Israeli High Crimes Against Peace Examined S14 1:30PM

Russell Tribunal on Ukraine S14 10:16AM

TISA versus Public Services S14 9:29AM

Russia Denounces New Western Sanctions S14 6:13AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy