Exactly 13 years after the #N30 actions to shut down the WTO, Global Exchange returns to Seattle with a similar message: #StopTPP!

We all know free trade agreements are politically, economically, and environmentally harmful.

But this weekend at TPPxBorder, hearing people speak to the real consequences of these deals brought my understanding of the dangers of these Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to a very human scale.

Listening to the voices of people who are affected by these FTAs – a pulp mill worker from Everett, WA, who got laid off two years before pension, HIV positive people who won’t be able to afford life-saving medication because of patent laws that protect profits instead of access, a Philippine woman who was forced to leave her family in search of work – these voices remind me that free trade isn’t just an ‘issue’ to discuss or debate. Free trade is about about profits at the expense of people’s health and safely. About trade over ethics. About politics over people and planet.

Free trade ‘agreements’ are anything but consensual.

In fact, the only partnering happening in the TransPacific ‘Partnership’ is is the stitching together of the 1%- corporations and politicians-  whilst the entirety of civil society is excluded and ignored… for now.

That’s why on Saturday December 1, a crowd of hundreds gathered at the U.S.-Canada border to demonstrate our unity and solidarity against the TransPacific Partnership. Representatives from four of the 13 negotiating countries – along with New Zealand by phone – spoke of the risks that the TPP presents to their communities, and the powerful international unity being built to stand up and protect our dignity, our planet, and our human rights.

Jill Mangaliman, Philippine U.S. Solidarity Organization pusoseattle.wordpress.com/

We called this one TPPxBorder: The People’s Round. What I loved about this rally wasn’t only the fiery speakers, the diversity, the music, the unity, the hot coffee, and the ultra-legitimacy of our opposition to this heinous version of the TPP…. what I loved was learning about what an alternative deal would look like- one by and for the people. Listening to speakers and experts articulately describe what fair trade looks like, what it offers communities internationally, reminds me why these fights are so important, and the promise of real, practical, and respectful trade solutions. We have answers – now is the time to join hands and fight for them.

After our rally, and piñata action (in which people managed to overcome ‘blindfolds’ of corporate greenwashing and lobbyist money to finally destroy the TPP piñata and release the affordable jellybean ‘medicines’ and GMO-free popcorn trapped inside!) we headed indoors to a warm meal and strategy sessions to plan future action.

Global Exchange & Witness for Peace co-led a “Social Media to #StopTPP” breakout group to discuss “Twitterstorming”  the corporations secretly negotiating TPP.

The breakout group I co-lead was about how we can use social media to #StopTPP. Our strategy is to call out the corporations negotiating the TPP in secret… and put their secrets in public view on social media channels. This week, our coalition members are calling out two corporate interests a day on their ties to the TPP… would you like to join the Twitterstorm? Just follow @GlobalExchange and @ElectDemocracy on Twitter, then retweet our actions every day this week at 11am and 2pmPST to help spread the word about #StopTPP using the very follower lists that these corporations have built. We can use your help and you can participate from anywhere.

The TransPacific Partnership is on a 1%-gilded beltway and it’s moving fast. But there is time (and enough of us) to stop it. The first thing we all can do is help spread the word. None of us can afford another NAFTA. Help us get the last 250,000 signatures needed this year to reach 1 million on the Avaaz petition against the TPP! And ask your organization to sign the Unity Statement.

VIDEO: Unity Statement at TPPxBorder Rally Dec. 1, 2012

For more information about the TransPacific Partnership and what you can do to stop it, see “10 Reasons to Oppose the TPP.” Thank you for supporting Fair Trade this holiday season, and telling corporations negotiating the TPP in secret exactly what you think of them. Together, we can #StopTPP.

That’s right folks, the sign says “Free Trade, my Ass!”


On March 11th, 2011, a magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit the coast of Japan, triggering a devastating tsunami that has since destroyed the northeastern part of the island nation. Entire towns have been swept away, leaving thousands dead or missing and countless others left in danger. The crisis in Japan continues as nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station explode.

Our hearts go out to the people of Japan and all those affected by this tragedy.

Ways to Support Japan Relief Efforts:

  1. Give to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS 90999 and a $10 donation will be made.
  2. Give to the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.
  3. For a list of ways in which you can help, please visit the COLORLINES website.

What important lessons can we learn now from this current nuclear disaster? In recent months, dialogue in the United States has favored nuclear power in the renewable energy debate, but if the growing crisis in Japan teaches us anything, it shows us the many risks associated with nuclear power.

The following ten points are adapted from Green Festival Reader by Kevin Danaher and Alisa Gravitz.

Ten Reasons to Oppose Nuclear Power

1. Accidents: As the situation in Japan demonstrates, natural events (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes), which we have no control over, can create havoc due to the instability and toxic content of nuclear power plants.
2. Terrorism: Nuclear power plants are prime targets for terrorist organizations. Imagine if the hijacked planes on 9-11-2001 had crashed into nuclear power plants. The devastation would have been far worse than what actually happened and large areas of the eastern United States would be uninhabitable for decades, if not centuries.
3. Nuclear waste: Waste from nuclear power plants will be toxic for more than 100,000 years. The human race does not even have a language that has lasted that long, so how can we store those toxic wastes in a way that will be safe for that long, plus write messaging that will warn people away from those storage sites?
4. Proliferation: The U.S. government and U.S. companies have been complicit in allowing nuclear technology to spread to many parts of the world. The fissionable material used in power plants can be spread in ways that jeopardize people, property and the planet.
5. Costs: The costs of building nuclear power plants have skyrocketed over the years. What killed nuclear power in the United States was capitalism: it is simply not profitable without massive corporate welfare from the government. While solar, wind and other less dangerous forms of energy have been getting less expensive over the years, the cost of nuclear power keeps going up.
6. Corporate welfare: Private investors have not been willing to finance the construction of nuclear power plants. Nuclear power would not even exist were it not for billions of dollars of welfare payments from the federal government. The same politicians who oppose welfare for the poor and sick seem to have no problem shoveling our tax money into the coffers of powerful energy companies to support dangerous nuclear power plants.
7. Environmental impact: The most important natural resource we have is water, and it is being poisoned and depleted at an increasing rate. Nuclear power uses more water than any other form of power generation: nuclear power takes 40,000 gallons per megawatt whereas wind energy uses just 2,000 gallons. This resource cost will increase as the supply of clean water steadily declines and population increases.
8. Not enough sites: Nuclear power plants must be located near large supplies of water, so drought (a more common occurrence with climate change) can reduce their productivity or shut them down.
9. Not enough “clean” uranium: Uranium mining in the U.S. southwest is notorious for its damaging impact on Native American nations and the workers who mine the uranium. Plus, the recoverable supply of worldwide uranium—nuclear power’s fuel—is dwindling. Scientists have shown that if we tried to generate all of the world’s electricity with nuclear power, we would run out of uranium in ten years.
10. Not enough time: We must find less-polluting energy sources during the next decade if we want to avoid catastrophic climate chaos. Whereas distributed renewables (wind and solar) can be built quickly, nuclear power plants are notorious for taking long periods of time to finance and build.

Once again, to support relief efforts in Japan:

  1. Give to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS 90999 and a $10 donation will be made.
  2. Give to the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.
  3. For a list of ways in which you can help, please visit the COLORLINES website.

If you know of other organizations not listed here that are doing great work to support relief efforts in Japan, please feel free to share links and information about them in the Comments section. Thank you.