We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

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

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Anti-Democratic Straitjackets

by Pia Eberhardt Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 at 11:23 AM
marc1seed@yahoo.com

The TTIP Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (also called TAFTA) is an undemocratic corporate investment agreement that allows corporations to sue sovereign states for lost profits. This agreement negotiated in secret since 2013 does not allow states to sue.

ANTI-DEMOCRATIC STRAITJACKETS



Global Governance – Reforms Long Time Coming



International investment agreements cement worldwide poverty- and rule relations



By Pia Eberhardt



[This article published in September 2013 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.inkota.de. Pia Eberhardt is an author and researcher with CEO, Corporate Europe Observatory.]



Corporations often use the international right of investment in the struggle against regulations, redistribution and counter-hegemonic forces. Unique rights to sue are a very effective instrument for implementing transnational capital interests. As an antithesis to global governance oriented in common interests, they undermine democracy and hinder developmental processes in the global South benefiting the majority of the population. As a remedy, the “Dracula strategy” is offered with which the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) was stopped at the end of the 1990s.



The multilateral investment agreement MAI negotiated in the OECD broke down 15 years ago. France’s anxieties over its cultural policy and a worldwide anti-MAI campaign against the globalization of corporate rule brought it to fall. The failure of the MAI was not the end of the international investment regime.



On the contrary, there are over 3000 so-called international investment agreements today. They enable foreign investors to sue states and any policy that threatens their property titles and planned profits from their investments, whether on account of health- and environmental protection conditions or a social- and economic policy that restricts their entrepreneurial freedoms.



For example, the energy-conglomerate Vattenfall is now suing the Federal Republic of Germany because the nuclear exit threatened its profits. In Australia and Uruguay, Philip Morris is taking legal action against warnings of health consequences of smoking. The Canadian oil- and gas corporation Lone Pine is suing its own government through a US branch office because the province of Quebec issued a moratorium against the deep drilling technique known as fracking on account of environmental risks in gas production. The oil multinational Chevron is attacking an Ecuadorian verdict throu9ghy an investor-state lawsuit that ordered the company to pay billion compensation for massive environmental destruction in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin.



A PARALLEL LEGAL SYSTEM



Since the turn of the millennium, the number of investor-state lawsuits has exploded. There was an increase around 250 percent compared with the procedures introduced between the 1970s and the end of the 1990s. The tendency is rising. Up to the end of 2012, the UN registered 504 lawsuits worldwide. The number of unreported cases may be higher on account of the lack of transparency of the system. The global South is most often in the dock. 66 percent of the cases filed in 2013 were directed against developing- and threshold countries. 70 percent of the cases decided in 2013 were in favor of the investors.



The procedures occurred before international courts of arbitration that as a rule consisted of three private persons named by the litigating parties. They usually take place behind closed doors in some hotel room in London, Paris or Washington. The arbitral awards are binding; an appeal or revision of the decisions is impossible.



The dangers for public budgets and democratic policy are obvious. Investor-state lawsuits could entail compensation payments in the billions. Profit losses of individual businesses caused by political freedoms are socialized in this way – even if the regulations are necessary to protect the public interest.



Costs for the states rise higher and higher. In 2013 a World Bank court of arbitration condemned Ecuador to a historically unique compensation of .76 billion. The US corporation Occidental had filed suit – and the court agreed – because the country unilaterally cancelled the oil production contract with the firm.



Even the threat of a lawsuit is often enough to strangle or dilute planned laws. This is called regulatory chill in the technical jargon. Five years after the introducti9on of the free trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the US, a Canadian government official described its effects in 1999 as follows: “With nearly every new environmental measure, there were letters to the Canadian government from law offices in New York and Washington. Chemical cleansers, medicines, pesticides and patent law were involved. Almost every new initiative was certified and most never saw the light of the world.” Businesses actually use international investment law as a weapon in political conflicts to prevent stricter regulations.



PUTTING DEMOCRACY IN ITS PLACE



Democracy is ultimately put in its place with investor protection. Two co-workers of Milbank, one of the leading law offices in international investment law, recently made that clear in an article for a technical journal. “There are not only undesirable measures of governments in the scope of autocratic rule. Populism which democracies can bring is often a catalysor of such actions.” No wonder that countries like Argentina, Venezuela and Ecuador that have rescinded privatizations after vehement social struggles and nationalized businesses are among the countries most frequently dragged before investment courts of arbitration.



Therefore global justice academics rightly see international investment agreements as an instrument for enforcing transnational capital interests – as part of the so-called new constitutionalism, political-legal structures that protect neoliberalism and existing property relations by limiting state intervention- and democratic control possibilities quasi constitutionally.



Investor-state lawsuits against policies in the public interest and in harmony with national law generally have a prospect for success because of the vaguely formulated but far-reaching rights guaranteed investors in international investment law. Some courts of arbitration interpret the standard of “always fair and just treatment” so states always had to act completely transparently and without contradictions and not disappoint the “legitimate expectations” of an investor relating to the regulatory field of his investment. While protection from “indirect expropriation” cannot be found in most national constitutions, this right anchored in investment agreements guarantees compensation to foreign investors when their property loses value through regulations. So the prohibition of a toxic chemical can be attacked like the nuclear exit.



BREACHES IN THE INVESTMENT REGIME



In the global South particularly, massive resistance rages against this neoliberal super-constitution standing above national law. Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela have cancelled several agreements and the convention establishing investment courts of arbitration of the World Bank. In Ecuador, a commission examined whether the investment agreements of the country are compatible with Ecuadorian law. Testing existing agreements and establishing a regional institution to solve conflicts with foreign investors were resolved at a meeting of the countries of the ALBA alliance (Bolivarian Alliance for America) in April 2013. South Africa announced it will not extend foreign investment agreements. India will review its agreements and Argentina refuses to pay compensations.



A paradigm shift is occurring even in international organizations like the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD). While the organization forced developing countries in the 1990s to sign investment agreements, it sketched options for reforming prese4nt investment policies – from clearly limited rights for investors to investor duties. Alongside UNCTAD, the International Monetary Fund warns that investment agreements could greatly limit states in fighting economic and financial crises.



On the other hand German and European investment policy is expanding the business of fighting policy through courts of arbitration. On Germany’s insistence, the European Commission and Council passed a series of corporate-friendly guidelines and mandates for future EU investment agreements – with countries like Canada, the US, India, the states of the Arab Spring and with China. Unfortunately the European parliament largely supports this course.



For a long time, most of these agreements were still in their beginnings. Therefore there are still chances for a new success of the “Dracula strategy” applied by the anti-MAI campaign at the end of the 1990s. At that time the anti-MAI campaign dragged the largely unknown MAI agreement into the light of the public where like a vampire it did not survive long.



Thus future free trade agreements with investment protection chapters should be unmasked for what they are: anti-democratic neoliberal straitjackets. If we don’t overcome these jackets, development to a just world will be hard.



[Pia Eberhardt works for the critical organization Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). She is co-author of the 2012 study on the role of law offices, courts of arbitration and trial financiers in investor-state proceedings (“Profiting from Injustice,” download at www.corporateeurope.org).]

RELATED LINKS:

"Alternative Trade Mandate," December 2013, 20 pages, by 50 NGOs

http://www.alternativetrademandate.org

http://www.citizen.org

Free Trade Agreements: Special Rights for Corporations

http://la.indymedia.org/news/2014/07/264753.php



Pia Eberhardt, "Investment Protection at a Crossroads," 16 lawsuits summarized

http://la.indymedia.org/news/2014/06/264714.php



John Hilary, "TTIP: Deregulation, Attack on Jobs and End to Democracy," 42 pages

http://rosalux.gr/sites/default/files/publications/ttip_web.pdf

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a comprehensive free trade and investment treaty currently being negotiated - in secret - between the European Union and the USA. As officials from both sides acknowledge, the main goal of TTIP is to remove regulatory 'barriers' which restrict the potential profits to be made by transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet these 'barriers' are in reality some of our most prized social standards and environmental regulations, such as labor rights, food safety rules (including restrictions on GMOs), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even new banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. The stakes, in other words, could not be higher.

Lea Susemichel, “TTIP Undermines the Constitutional State,” 7/2/2014

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2014/07/427575.shtml

www.freembtranslations.net

Report this post as:

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

FAKE NEWS J19 2:31PM

MACROTHSCHILD.2 J19 11:03AM

Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance J18 6:04PM

BATACLOWNS J18 9:28AM

FALSAS VICTIMAS J18 9:22AM

Paraphysique de proxémie guerrière J18 7:59AM

MACROTHSCHILD J17 9:38PM

FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM

DEAD MAN LIVING J17 10:46AM

DIARY OF A CON MAN J16 10:40PM

PR Debt Cancel, Judge Reviews Cofina Debt J16 9:04PM

Réseautage, fragmentation du capital J16 4:20PM

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale J15 9:51AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

Markets as a Fetish, Globalization, and Dissent Management J14 1:03PM

State Debts - The Primal German Fear J13 5:09PM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité J13 8:09AM

From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump - and Beyond J12 9:22PM

Copper Cures Cancer J11 1:42PM

Steven Taylor, Investor who Evicts J11 9:24AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J11 8:10AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J10 6:34PM

Patrick Kilpatrick discusses and signs Dying for Living J09 11:51PM

SexActs vs Sexuality USA 2018 Invitations to Power Marriages without Affection J09 8:36PM

Changer de mentalité, changer de société J09 9:17AM

Teacher Strike? Time for Labor Studies J09 6:26AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 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