Together with 200 citizens, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) attended a press conference and rally in protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Wednesday in Los Angeles where Hillary Clinton had her first campaign fundraiser since announcing her candidacy.
According to OCA, they and the protesters are "urging Clinton to come out unequivocally against the TPP, a trade agreement she touted as part of the pivot to Asia when she was Secretary of State and called 'the gold standard in trade agreements.'"
The trade agreement, which would affect 12 countries representing 40 percent of world trade, is a secretly negotiated deal that would be fast-tracked by the Congress as early as next week.
Many protests spoke out against the trade deal and what it effect it would have on America, according to OCA's press release:
Lauren Steiner, from Expose the TPP - USA, spoke about her family's clothing manufacturing business started by her grandfather during the Depression. It went from employing International Ladies Garment Workers Union members in the North, to employing hundreds in several factories in the South, to moving to Mexico after NAFTA and then China after the WTO and finally liquidating the business. "My father's factories were just a few of the 57,000 shuttered in this country since NAFTA. His workers were just a few hundred of the 5 million who lost their jobs. If the TPP passes, more factories will close and millions more workers will lose their jobs. On behalf of those factory owners and workers, I urge Hillary Clinton to oppose the TPP and Fast Track."
Mark Morris, a proud union member, read the remarks of Beverly Hills Vice Mayor John Mirisch. who could not be there in person due to a conflicting event but wanted to add his voice to the chorus of those asking Clinton to oppose the TPP. He expressed concern about the subversion of local locals to unaccountable corporate trade tribunals, the lack of enforceable human rights provisions in the bill and the secrecy of the negotiations. "Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate trade. They should not be handing it over to the president. Right now, if Congress even wants to see the 2000 plus page agreement, they are ushered into this room in a basement; they can't bring an staff member with expertise; they cannot take notes; and they are forbidden from talking about anything they read. This kind of cloak and dagger stuff should be reserved for national security not the protection of corporate profits."
Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org spoke about the affect of these treaties on Latinos in the US and other countries. “The TPP would be a disaster for Latinos across the Americas. Free trade agreements have destroyed the economies of many Latin American countries, driving our communities north in search of work into America to face xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments. And once in the US, so many Latinos are relegated to working in low wage service industry jobs and are subjected to poor working conditions and wage theft. ”
OCA’s Zuri Allen talked about how the TPP would affect food safety and GMO labeling laws. “Consumers across the U.S. are fighting for the right to know what is in the food they eat and feed their families, but the fast track would make it even harder to get these labels. We are very concerned about Hillary Clinton's involvement with biotech interests and the fast track. This process will weaken imported food inspection and labeling laws only to satisfy the corporate interests who are writing these trade deals."
Jack Eidt, Organizer with So Cal Climate Action Coalition/350.org spoke about the affect of the TPP on environment regulations. “Foreign fossil fuel corporations love free trade deals, and just forget about our ongoing drought, record-setting heat waves, and collapse of the Pacific Ocean ecosystem. TPP would sabotage our efforts to cut climate-disrupting greenhouse gases, ban fracking, and reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline by allowing corporations the right to sue governments to protect their profits in private trade courts. Instead of transitioning to a clean energy economy, TPP would extend our fossil fuel addiction for decades and export our coal, crude oil and fracked natural gas to the world.”
Without giving any inclination, Clinton's stance on the TPP is still unknown. But will we have an answer before the deal hits the floor of Congress?