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Stop the TPP rally-11/14/16

November 15, 2016


From Stop the TPP Rally from Union Station to City Hall, November 14, 2016, organized by Lorna Paisley
Livestream video by Lauren Steiner.

We’ve heard that the Trans Pacific Partnership is Dead, and we should be celebrating that, patting ourselves on the back for all our hard work, commitment and perseverance.

The campaign to Stop the TPP has brought a lot of hardworking, passionate and brilliant people together from all over the world, not just in this country but across Latin America and the Pacific and Asia.

And when we throw in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trade in Services Agreement, the other two bully agreements that make up this trade triumvirate, we become one heluva a large solidarity movement! And that is something I wear with pride—something we should all wear with pride.

So, when we hear that the TPP is Dead, we should ask whether it could also be UNDEAD. And I say that in all seriousness.

The TPP–like a vampire or a zombie– is the Undead. It is not going to die until all the other countries in the deal also kill it. As long as it remains in the international ether, it still has life and we need to remain vigilant until the very last country walks away.

But, there is another reason why the TPP may not be as dead as one thinks.

Way too much was invested in the Asia Pacific Pivot, the economic and military rebalance, and I would go so far as to say that Obama and Clinton gambled the future of this country on these trade deals.

So just because Obama says he will not push it, I’m not going to take his word for it. Or just because Trump says he won’t support it, I’m definitely not taking his word for it. We cannot let our guard down until every country involved kills it.

We have to understand that the TPP is not simply a trade agreement. The TPP is a Partnership Agreement for a reason. It is a strategic and economic partnership, and it is explicitly tied to a containment and obstruction partnership that is as much about trade as it is about China and the disputed territory in the South China Sea;

The TPP is explicitly tied to militarization and the weapons industry, which is as much about trade as it is about promoting fear and distrust;

The TPP is global corporate governance, which is as much about trade as ensuring that Wall Street’s vision of America continues to benefit the 1%.

Now I want you to forget everything you’ve heard about China’s aggression in the South China Sea. What has been reported is a manufactured lie. Everyone is and has been aggressive over territorial boundaries in the region…Not just China, but the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia as well. That is why a long time ago- way back in 2002, the South East Asian countries and China got together and ratified a treaty that would resolve territorial issues from within their own, within ASEAN, within their own house.

When the TPP started, the US used the Philippines as a proxy to file a suit in an international court to rule against China. China wasn’t even party to this case—and now the US is using this court’s decision to build consensus with the cooperation of TPP countries. And to be clear this decision was made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, not the International Court of Justice, and the rules that were applied in this case were not UN Law of the Sea rules or even UNCITRAL trade law—the rules applied were “other,” whatever the hell “other” means.

Now under Duterte– the new president of the Philippines– the US has hit a snag. Duterte has turned his back on the US and is moving closer to China. Duterte recognizes that these disputes are best left resolved in their own house, and not with US military intervention.

Also, to get a sense of just how invested the US has become, military contractors like Lockheed Martin have built a whole new fleet of battleships designed especially for the region. These are close to shore warships designed to move quickly through the rocks and atolls where China is building their outposts. When US Navy Admiral Locklear said that we “needed the TPP as much as a new aircraft carrier,” he was referring to the realignment of military and trade investments in the Asia-Pacific.

And to be clear, these island expansions are not illegal in international law as the US claims, the UN Law of the Sea gives explicit rights for these kinds of expansions within territories.

When so much is being invested not just in military offense, but by the entire military and corporate elite—no American president representing the Wall Street 1%– is going to simply let it die.

For it to die, it has to be killed by all the partner countries. Washington’s neoliberal policy must be rejected. The neo-conservative destabilization that Obama and Hillary have sponsored in Libya, Honduras, Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, including our own country with the Dakota Access Pipeline, Mauna Kea, and others, must be rejected. We must reject implementing wartime profiteering through international trade.

I want to say this again—TPP, TTIP and TISA have to be killed by all the partner countries.

• We have to reject Washington’s neoliberal policies.
• We have to reject the neo-con warmongering and destabilization efforts.
• We have to stop international trade from implementing wartime corporate profiteering.

And we have to continue this solidarity and pat ourselves on the back for taking on this fight to save our people and planet.

November 14, 2016.
Arnie Saiki
Coordinator Moana Nui Action Alliance

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