For All of Its Flaws, NAFTA Was Not Negotiated with This Level of Secrecy

The item below is from the Campaign for America’s Future. It is re-posted with the permission of its Co-Director, Roger Hickey.

The item provides a succinct description of how the agreement is being shaped to corporate priorities.

Although it does not address the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on academic institutions both here and abroad, higher education is becoming a major priority and, increasingly, “big business” in the nations of East Asia.

So, given the increasing corporatization of our institutions, the escalating efforts to privatize public education in the U.S., the relentless insistence that technology can be used to cut instructional allocations even farther than they have already been cut, and the concerns about the higher-ed-related provisions in the revised GATT agreements, it is difficult to imagine that this deal is going to be a largely good thing for higher education, either here or elsewhere.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive trade deal that is still being written in secret. Corporations and big banks had a seat at the negotiating table while the American people and their representatives were shown the door.

To get whatever is agreed to past the Congress, the corporate lobby, the president and the Republican congressional leaders want to force an up down vote on the final treaty, no amendments, after 20 hours of debate.

They are having trouble lining up the votes. They are opposed by almost the entire Democratic caucus, and by more than a few Tea Party legislators.

Yesterday, Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch announced he will not introduce the “fast track” bill until April. That gives us another month to mobilize opposition. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Republican leaders plan to use the month to line up votes so fast track can be introduced and voted on overnight. They want to “fast track” fast track!

We have to stop this. Campaign for America’s Future has joined with dozens of nonprofits, labor unions and citizen advocates to send a message to every member of Congress: Vote no on “fast-track.”

Over the next month, we will be organizing petitions and a campaign to flood congressional switchboards with calls. We’re writing articles and analysis to inform Americans what is at stake.

The TPP is a 12 country, twenty-nine chapter mistake comprising thousands of pages. It has less about trade than it is about corporate privilege and a grab bag of special interest giveaways.

Oil companies got the right to export natural gas without government approval. Fracking companies get the right to sue the US for damages if Congress decides to enforce protections for our water or air.

Drug companies won the right to extend their patents for years. Life-saving generics will be denied to many poor and working people. Medicare and Medicaid will strain under the weight of this profiteering.

Multinationals got a ban on Buy America provisions, giving them even more incentive to ship good jobs abroad. And that’s only the beginning.

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