New Plymouth Hits the Street

NP TPPAphoto by Moana Williams

Thousands marched in New Zealand’s nationwide mobilization against the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on March 29, with more than a thousand in Auckland, 400 in Wellington, 200 in Hamilton and Nelson, 125 in Whangarei, 100 each in Tauranga, Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin, 80 in Palmerston North and New Plymouth, and 30 in Invercargill. For a small town like New Plymouth, protests this size are rare, and it got good coverage in the Taranaki Daily Newsl

The TPPA is a free trade agreement which is currently 12 countries, including the US and New Zealand, are currently negotiating behind closed doors. Up to this point, the other 11 countries have caved in to US demands that the text of the TPPA be kept secret until it’s signed. About a month ago the Malaysian government  government announced they would release the text before signing it.
According to draft text released by Wikileaks, the new treaty would allow corporations to sue countries in a private tribunal for any laws that interfere with their ability to do business. In New Zealand, this would undermine our access to cheap generic medication, environmental and labor regulations and reduce Internet freedom.

Like NAFTA and the WTO (World Trade Organization), the TPPA only helps corporations – it’s a pretty shitty deal for ordinary Americans.

C’mon Americans we need your support in stopping Obama from turning the global economy over to Monsanto. Go to to find out how you can help.

9 thoughts on “New Plymouth Hits the Street

  1. “it’s a pretty shitty deal for ordinary Americans.”

    From where I sit, it looks like we Americans absolutely adore ‘pretty shitty deals’. We keep re-electing the ‘deal’ makers, so we must like the shitty deals they come up with. But with that having been said, I’ll click on the link and find out what I can do.

    Thanks Dr. Bramhall and good on you guys over in NZ. Keep fighting!


  2. That they can even EMPLOY the concept of secrecy via a theatrical hijacking of “treaty” to legitimize what essentially amounts to public policy legislation (without the legislation), is a marker of how entrenched these global economic systems already are:
    Labor, health and environmental regulations?
    How can that even be a conversation?

    The fact that we’re all willing to sustain a surreal status quo by discussing it instead of smashing it puts everything in a kind of fog. They make it a treaty by calling it one, and we help them do it by surrendering control of meaning, which is constructed by language,

    Let’s force them to name, with us, everything they do for what it is. Let’s seize the terms of the discussion. That’s one thing the masses can force.

    It’s vital to keep in mind, however, that regardless of any concessions we achieve, they will continue to do what they want
    Of course they prefer the smoother mechanisms constructed by these formal public agreements (which were settled privately before the “treaty” began.) And its most certainly worth challenging those vehicles – go, New Zealand! – because this slows them down and restrains (temporarily) their worst excesses.
    But they aren’t bound by them. They aren’t bound by anything. They don’t think about us enough to summon up even the level of feeling required for contempt Nothing stops fundamental business as usual – they may well go through the legal processes you referenced, but as they do, power’s interests will continue through channels invisible to us. Decisions we’re unaware of will continue to be made by people we’ve never heard of, in places we’ll never see.

    So we have to make up our minds exactly what we mean by “resistance”.

    Hey – thanks very much for this post.

    Love and Rockets,



    • Thanks for your support, Claire. The good news is that there are cracks in everything (just like Leonard Cohen says) and I understand from some Maori sources that several other 3rd world countries have committed to releasing the text. The same thing happened in Seattle in 1999. When the 3rd world delegates saw that us protestors had shut the city down they became brave enough to resist US pressure in the Doha round of negotiations. The Doha round is dead now, which is why they keep coming up with these new treaties that do virtually the same thing.


  3. Hmm…I see what you mean. That IS progress. I mean, it can’t be dismissed as insignificant.
    And every method and device that Third World countries learn can be safely employed to resist specific US policies and actions, or even to modify them, adds to a knowledge base that all of them may just tap into at a pivotal juncture – in ways that could catch the US off guard.

    I ordered The Most Revolutionary Act from Amazon, and read what was available in the online preview. It blows my mind that your essentially modest, or at least standard, left wing political life wasn’t recognized as such by US intelligence. I mean it infiltrated the entire spectrum of the Left back when we had a Left, and it knew stuff like which Maoist splinter group hated which Trotskyist splinter group. Its agents were some of the only people in America who read Kropotkin. I have often wondered why the decisions formed by this intelligence have so often been ignorant and clumsy. Do you think that impression is deliberately created?

    I am so sorry that you suffered at their hands so gravely and for so long. Too many people have remained undefended by this country’s activists, while others achieve instant national support. I don’t think much of a Left that can’t or won’t articulate its criteria for political defense. I think Americans should organize to demand public restitution for you, as well as a public apology, and sanctions against the officials involved. It won’t change US intelligence of course, but it will help to heal you from such a prolonged trauma.

    Well, I’ve held forth re my considered opinion before even receiving your book. The prospect of how much more I’ll have to say after actually reading it is one I’m certain the blogging world anticipates with delight.

    Har har.

    Big Mouth O’Brien

    “We want our rights.
    And we don’t care how.
    We want a revolution –

    From Marat Sade


    • Thanks, Clare, for your expression of support. As you will see when you read the book, I was supported and defended by activists in the African American community, many of whom were targeted in the same way I was.

      I’m really not concerned about any kind of restitution. I’ve been here in NZ over 11 years now and consider myself pretty well recovered from my trauma. That’s one of the primary differences I see between the NZ and the US left. Spying and infiltration by NZ intelligence is discussed openly at our meetings, as well as “typical infiltrating behavior” – whereas it’s more typical for most of the US left to deny it happens and accuse you of being paranoid for bringing it up.

      I couldn’t figure out why this was at first, until I began reading some of the literature on Left Gatekeeping Foundations (which received a big part of their funding from the CIA and right wing corporate types). I don’t now how it is for you in the Southwest, but in Seattle what passes for the left is very much dominated by foundations and “professional” grassroots organizers who are usually more interested in further their careers than ending corporate rule. Peter Davenloos devotes a whole chapter to this topic in The Failure of Nonviolence: From Arab Spring to Occupy.

      In case you’re interested, here’s an article I wrote about Left Gatekeeping Foundations 3 years ago:


  4. Thanks. I’m very glad to hear that you were supported and that you have recovered. Twenty years (can’t recall exact time frame) is a long time! Although I didn’t and don’t offer opinion as fact, I think nevertheless that “Read the whole book first” has become a new mantra for me.

    You know, I’m almost afraid to read your article. I have an important question:
    Do you consider my position hopeless? I realize that you can only give me your opinion, and I’ll treat is as such. But it’s an opinion I seek because it’s informed by an uncommon perspective.
    That is, based on your specific knowledge, experience (broadly construed), reading, and political instincts: that no organization, media platform, individual journalist, attorney and/or writer-activist in the world will even examine the evidence, nor, assuming its merits are obvious to them, take any action opposed by combined interests that include the New York Times, the ACLU, The First Amendment Center, Harvard Law School and GateHouse Media, which owns almost 400 newspapers.

    What about the press of a nation that would welcome my story for nothing more noble than its propaganda value re. the US claims to a free press and its condemnation of censorship elsewhere?I mean if the proven truth is used as propaganda, does that make it less true?

    I appreciate your time. If you can’t give an opinion, do you know who might be willing to?

    Thanks very much


    • Claire, to be honest I think the only option in your situation is to continue to publicize your case yourself. I don’t think there are any truly independent first amendment organizations in the US – too many get their funding from CIA-linked and other right wing foundations.

      I know the US claims to have a free press, but no one outside the US takes this claim seriously. Outside the US, it’s pretty well known that the corporate media is run by the same corporations that control the government.

      I don’t know if you have considered legal action (pro se) against the people who defamed you, as this is another possibility.

      Collating your experiences as a book is another option (if you haven’t done so already). It’s pretty easy to self-publish (and market your work) very inexpensively through Smashwords and Scribd. Publishing is free, though you may want to spend several hundred dollars on marketing.


  5. Thanks a lot.
    If only I had written a book earlier – I remained pretty feisty for at least two years. But I’m embarrassed to admit that by now, I’m not as tough as I thought I was – I just can’t re-visit the experience of trying to persuade people. It feels like repeating the whole legal case over and over and over again.
    I think I’m stuck with one post at a time, posted at intervals..

    Anyway, I really appreciate your input. You’ve certainly paid your dues, and then some.
    Thanks again – and keep up the good work!

    Over and out,
    Claire O’B


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