Washington, D.C. joined Manila and ten other cities in protests against the Pacific trade agreement that is expected to affect all aspects of ordinary life. Crowds shut down traffic in Washington, D.C. on Monday and occupied various offices that are implicated in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which will be voted on soon.
The #FallRising National Mobilization featured over 60 groups—from environmentalists to migrants to food justice activists—and representatives from the Philippines, where actions are ongoing against the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, where 12 Pacific-rim countries are finalizing the TPP.
“The most beautiful thing is that people are starting to see the root causes of the many crises we see today,” Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins, organizer with Flush the TPP and Popular Resistance, told teleSUR English. “The root is altogether impacting us in different ways, in our own communities, in our own struggles. There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we don’t live single-issue lives.”
About a thousand protesters brought drums, banners and even an alpaca as they marched from the Chamber of Commerce to the offices of Morgan Stanley, Monsanto and the Reagan International Trade Center, each of which they occupied for several minutes. Bystanders often honked their horns and joined in, said McDonald Wilkins, who encouraged corporate businesspeople to “leave that job, become a whistleblower and join us.”
The 5,700-page agreement, authored by the lawyers of multinationals, is predicted to affect every market, though only five of its 29 chapters deal with trade. After seven years of talks behind closed doors, the text was released at the beginning of the month, with clauses touching on Internet access, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, labor, intellectual rights and environmental protections, among many other topics.
The Fall Rising website focuses its critique on three areas: deregulation, privatization, and the right of corporations to sue governments over expected future profits. Small businesses and poor and oppressed populations, it says, would be the hardest hit. Ten other U.S. and Canadian cities joined in the “Urgent Call to Action” to “stop the global corporate coup.”
Because the U.S. Congress has passed Fast Track, the TPP and its twin trade agreements, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement—are expected to be signed by President Barack Obama and voted on by Congress soon. Heads of state will join the APEC on Wednesday and Thursday, with Russia and China still hoping to push through the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which unlike the TPP, includes them.