GUEST BLOG: Barry Coates – Whose rules rule? Democracy vs TPPA « The Daily Blog

Source: GUEST BLOG: Barry Coates – Whose rules rule? Democracy vs TPPA « The Daily Blog

4 Feb

The campaign against the TPPA is gearing up for opposition to the planned signing of the TPPA in Auckland on 4th February. It’s time to stand up and be counted.

In recent years, Kiwis have turned out in huge numbers to say that this government has no mandate to sign the TPPA. A majority of Kiwis reject the TPPA according to a TV3 Reid Research poll, but the government is planning to sign it anyway. They have responded to concerns over the TPPA with secrecy, arrogance and spin.

We need to make it clear that this lock-in of failed liberalisation policies and the transfer of our democratic rights to multinationals is not acceptable. Civil society campaigns have defeated pro-corporate global rules in the Multilateral Agreement on Investment in the 1995-1998 and in the WTO in 1999-2003. We now need to defeat the TPPA and its clones.

This is not our last chance to stop the TPPA – governments still need to get it ratified, and it is looking very shaky in the US – but this is the time to mobilise, build our movement and get commitments from all political parties that they will reject the TPPA. We need a strong enough movement so that, even if it does pass, a future government will defy the pressure and ditch the TPPA.

There will be a TPPA Don’t Sign tour of public meetings, starting at 7pm in Auckland Town Hall (26/1), Wellington St Andrews Centre (27/1), Christchurch cardboard cathedral (28/1) and Dunedin Burns Hall on 26-29 January, with Lori Wallach from Public Citizen and Jane Kelsey. They will be joined by a political panel in Auckland, including several party leaders. Please spread the word. We need to fill these venues. It’s free but we need donations to pay for the costs.

A number of local TPPA coalitions are organising a protest/alternatives events in public spaces in the weekend of 30-31 January, with music, performance, workshop, kapa haka and speeches, including an event in Auckland. The aim is to make it clear we reject the TPPA but also reach out and mobilise our allies from across society, in social justice, environment, workers rights, health, education, iwi, faiths, artists, musicians and others.

We plan a media blitz to publicise the Don’t Sign speakers tour and weekend events. This means supporters swamping the airwaves, social media and print media with a call for the government not to sign the TPPA and publicising the ‘Don’t Sign’ petition that has already reached 22,000 signatures in less than a week.

The government is obviously worried about protests and kept the signing secret, even after other governments had confirmed it is going to be in Auckland on Thursday 4th February. They are still not revealing the venue for their meeting. There will be a peaceful, visible and powerful march down Queen St, gathering in Aotea Square at midday to leave at 12.30. It’s a great way to spend your lunchtime! There will be other actions on the day.

There is anger and frustration over the government’s secrecy and arrogance on the TPPA, and the give away of our democratic rights. But the kaupapa of It’s Our Future is non-violent civil disobedience, and we call on all who might take action to respect those principles. We have strong support for the campaign and actions that turn off members the public are likely to focus media attention on public disruption, rather than on the TPPA. We call on all those who take action to do so in ways that will meet our common aims.

If the government ignores our voices again and does sign that’s not the end of the campaign. The government then needs to ratify the deal. We will work with our partner ActionStation to swamp the Select Committee with submissions, and we plan a speakers’ tour across NZ to support local campaigners. This will also publicise the expert peer reviewed research papers that counter government spin about the TPPA and expose the dangers of the TPPA to our environment, our health, human rights and our economy.

Political opposition to the TPPA is crucial.  The Green Party, NZ First and the Maori Party have given assurances they are against the TPPA but there have been mixed messages from the Labour Party. Our campaign will let political parties know that votes at the next election will depend on them rejecting the TPPA. The Waitangi Tribunal will hold a hearing in mid-March.

The TPPA campaign is entering its crucial phase. We have public support, committed activists, local organisation, research and international allies on our side. But John Key and this government are desperate to get the TPPA. We need to make it politically impossible to for them to ratify the TPPA, or if they do, build a united opposition that will be strong enough to walk away when they get into government. We can and must win this campaign.

Thanks to the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who have taken action on the TPPA, and especially to the group of key activists across Aotearoa who have been leading the campaign. Kia kaha!

Barry Coates, It’s Our Future spokesperson; http://itsourfuture.org.nz/; itsourfuturenz@gmail.com

4 thoughts on “GUEST BLOG: Barry Coates – Whose rules rule? Democracy vs TPPA « The Daily Blog

  1. I remember Ross Perot’s privately funded Presidential campaign T.V. ads in 1992. He bought a half hour of prime time T.V. time and explained to Americans that NAFTA/CAFTA, etc., was going to destroy the middle class in America. TPP is an extension of what he was talking about.

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      • The candidates that are marginalized by the media are usually the few that have a significantly different platform from the rest. This happened to Ron Paul in the last election. I really believe that Hillary will win, largely because the media will cheer lead her campaign. I think that she will bring some good changes including a wealth tax on the millionaires, and further reform to pharmaceuticals. Bernie would be the most progressive, if only the majority of the people were informed enough to vote their own interest! The downside to Hillary will be further deference to the entrenched interests of the Mil-Intel complex.

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