by Alice Louise Wadsworth
It was only a month or so that I spoke to a –generally politically aware and active friend – about TTIP. I was surprised that she hadn’t heard of it. Only to be further surprised that many in the group I was with were also unaware of exactly what it means. Then, I felt I wasn’t confident enough with the details to explain fully. Partly due to the details of TTIP being mainly off limits to press and public
A month or so has passed now, and the secret is coming out. This shadily manufactured bill, even while the exact transcript is restricted from the pubic and media, has finally come to light. Now, many of those who were unaware have come our fervently against this enabling bill for further corporate power. Corporate ethics are not universally popular, surprisingly. On the 11th October over 1000 people gathered in Parliament Square, from Occupy, Friends of the Earth, Unite the Youth and more of the generally concerned, showing the secret is out. Over 400 actions in 22 cities held took place that day. The winds have changed away from ‘TTIP wtf?’ to ‘That means companies can sue the government, and essentially govern the county unelected, increasing privitisation? WTF?’
One of the main arguments raised against the bill is it opening up governments to being sued by trans national corporations. John Hilary, the executive director for War on Want – a campaigning organization with inequality causing poverty leveled in their crosshairs – said that ‘this elevates trans national corporations to the same status as the nation state itself’. Already our politicians regularly move into jobs in trans national corporations after their time in power, its known how close the two sectors already are. The government spends around 10billion a year conducting research and development for private companies; Vodaphone, Starbucks, Arms dealers, Oil firms all benefit from paying little tax with no benefit fraud complications; around 50% of public sector spending on goods and services (around 187billion) now lands in private pockets; Boris Johnson saw far more city bankers in his first term in office than public servants (and see’s anti-TTIP individuals as ‘numbskulls’…un-bialy). The TTIP may be the final tip towards countries, as well as their economies, falling under the complete control of Trans-nationals competing for profit. Capitalism is ruthless, and profit has been consistently ranked over people in Capitalist economics.
The main aim of TTIP is to open up EU businesses to American companies.
Creating new trade agreements that try to get around pesky regulation standards to get better profits for business.
If you are still out of the loop of the TTIP agenda, which to a large part the media and public are, here are a few salacious selections:
- TTIP gives corporations the ability to sue the national governments through new powers to bypass domestic courts.
- TTIP see unemployment as jobs switch to the USA.
- TTIP could also see the relaxing of private data laws
- TTIP’s lifting of environmental regulations:
- Lead to increase in CO 2 emissions
- Flood networks with GM foods
- Give corporations further power to commandeer protected land for farming
- Privatisation is highly likely to increase with TTIP
- TTIP promotes declining employer safety laws, employee labour standards, food safety and hygiene standards and fair wages
- TTIP allows frakking
Phillip Morris are suing Australia for billions, as the government wants all tobacco products to be marketed in plain packaging. Monsanto are trying to sue Vermont for wanting to put warnings on their labels for GM products. With these examples thus far, there appear to be no positive effects from TTIP, unless you’re already in the rich clique of corporate controllers.
TTIP is a slap in the face to the majority of the EU. The UK has already been dragged through austerity cuts, university fees, 0 hour contracts and the many, many failings of private businesses. Including those contracted to provide worse services and worse working conditions, in hospitals and universities, and the banking bailouts. There is a form of socialism in the U.K right now, but it’s for the rich. Those at Parliament Square on The 11th October were angry. At being kept in the dark, as well as over the effect of TTIP. Simultaneously, there was a sense of futility. If they can do this, secretively, then not listen to the criticism roaring around it; not listen to the protests; not listen to the people who can’t afford to heat, or live in, a home due to 0 hour contracts, little support and poor working conditions; not listen to the – gagged by law – overworked NHS workers.
What will it take to change a government more concerned with corporations than people? Nigel Farage – ex-city banker running a party funded by one rich man – is scratched off the list of possibilities of course, as are the major parties who have all in heir own ways contributed to this commingling of business and politics. We can’t sit back and allow the continued breaking up of the U.K, and EU, into bite size of corporate chunks without putting up a fight.
If you want to help action against TTIP, or find out more, read below:
Green Party: ‘TTIP trade deal is a corporate grab that must be stopped’
War on Want: ‘Say No to TTIP’: http://waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/more/action/18180-sign-up-to-say-no-to-ttip
Occupy London http://occupylondon.org.uk/stop-ttip-articles/
For information on dangerous thinking in private corporations watch ‘The Corporation’ by Joel Bakan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6zQO7JytzQ