Gary Goff of “Brooklyn For Peace” spoke at a forum on the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday evening, August 20th in Park Slope. Below is what Gary had to say on TPP……..
How will the TPP impact the world’s political and military situation? This is the question the anti-war movement must ask.
Like all free trade agreements, the TPP will create more inequality – both within and between nations. Only the very richest in the affected countries will actually benefit. The rest of us will lose financially and politically. The off-shoring of production will increase unemployment and under-employment at home. And as income becomes more concentrated at the top, so does political power.
More free trade = more inequality = less democracy
The TPP allows corporations to override local and national laws. Significantly, this includes environmental regulations. The climate crisis will worsen. We will lose arable land and potable water. Pollution will increase and climate change will accelerate. There will be more droughts, floods, and food shortages.
There is already a global refugee crisis – people fleeing their homelands to escape political, economic, and environmental chaos. The TPP will inevitably exacerbate this situation.
We cannot afford to think of the TPP as a discrete phenomenon. At the very least, we must think of it in relation to its twin, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement between the US and the European Union. All of the negative consequences of the TPP that we have discussed apply to the TTIP as well.
In terms of geopolitics, one of the main objectives of the TPP is containment of China. Similarly, the TTIP in intended to contain Russia. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the economic arm of the US’s Asia Pivot. We need to understand that the Asia Pivot is not simply a political and economic plan. It is military as well. At the same time the US is negotiating new treaties in the area, it is building additional army bases and opening new naval ports. And similarly, the US is expanding its military presence in Europe via NATO.
If we are to understand the TPP and the TTIP, we have to recognize that they are major aspects of American imperialism. In the early 1950s, two economic historians, John Gallager and Ronald Robinson, published a paper called The Imperialism of Free Trade. In it they showed that imperialism is a continuous system of economic expansion. Its inner logic is the same whether it takes the form of fighting a war or negotiating a treaty.
We need to defeat the TPP and the TTIP. Because of all the reasons everyone else has mentioned – jobs and food security and so forth. But also because the world will be a safer, more peaceful, more livable place.