Hundreds of Bay Area Fair Trade activists rallied and marched from the offices of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi at the San Francisco Federal Building to the tower of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office Friday night, joining the 50 other actions on January 31 to mark the Inter-Continental Day of Action to Stop the Tran-Pacific Partnership.
Joined by speakers from the San Francisco Labor Council, the Biosafety Alliance, the International Forum on Globalization, Food and Water Watch, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and of course the fabulous Raging Grannies, Global Exchange emphasized the need to put pressure on Congresswoman Pelosi to speak out against the Fast Track authority, as her partner in the Senate, Harry Reid, had done earlier in the week.
Fast Track legislation, if passed, would allow the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other pacts to be ‘fast tracked’ through Congress and not be tested by our representatives in government by ordinary review, amendment and debate procedures. The crowd took action – texting Congress using Food and Water Watch’s simple text action (text TRADE to 69866, and follow the steps) to say no to Fast Track.
The march left Congresswoman Pelosi’s office and headed down San Francisco’s main artery – Market Street – to arrive at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office with songs ‘exposing the TPP’ and to ‘connect the dots‘ between the TPP and corporate power.
Here’s what we had to say:
“The Economic Policy Institute has calculated the U.S. lost 700,000 jobs because of NAFTA. Why would we support fast tracking the TPP which would result in losing even more jobs and put more pressure to drive down wages. This should not even come up for a vote.” Tim Paulson, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council
“We’re here to acknowledge the harm that NAFTA has already caused North American communities, and to resist the new threats that the TPP poses. In the past, people coming together like this across geographic borders have defeated similar corporate power grabs. The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), the Millennial Round of the World Trade Organization, and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) all died when people stood up and said no. There’s no reason we can’t do it again with the TPP.” Carleen Pickard, Executive Director of Global Exchange
“Fast track approval would pave the way for the TPP, which could have disastrous implications for the environment and American consumers. The TPP promotes the privatization of public resources and corporate self-regulation. It would give companies the power to overrule local governing bodies on decisions about fracking, food safety, public health and the environment. Further, it pushes for expanded exports of natural gas to foreign countries, which will undoubtedly increase fracking across the U.S. Congress must stop devastating trade deals like the TPP by opposing fast track authority.” Tia Lebherz, Northern California Organizer, Food & Water Watch
“EFF is taking part in today’s rallies because we oppose TPP’s copyright provisions. Wikileaks’ publication of the “Intellectual Property” chapter last Fall confirmed our fears that the TPP enshrines and expands our broken US copyright system into international law, and paves the way for a future that makes us fearful of how we use and interact with technology.” Maira Sutton, Global Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation
“We expect Representative Pelosi to use her San Franciscan values of openness and democracy to define the opposition to Fast Track’s undemocratic and unconstitutional rules that would ram through more secretive free trade deals like TPP. She saw twenty years ago how Fast Track was needed to approve the corporate dream of NAFTA and the WTO, so she is aware that authorizing it again would predictably worsen today’s record inequality and ecological crisis. Rep. Pelosi’s stopping Fast Track and TPP could be a turning point in democratizing the debate over today’s failed globalization.” Victor Menotti, Executive Director of the International Forum on Globalization
NOW is the time to make your voice heard to Say No to Fast Track and the TPP. Here’s how: