Thursday, 20 August 2015

38 Degrees, TTIP Day Of Action, And How To Get Involved

Me protesting ACTA with Anonymous
Three years ago I was involved in the anti-ACTA movement and took part in a day of action which effectively meant evangelising to raise awareness of the deadly deal. We won. Now we've got to do this all over again because the EU Commission won't accept that democracy is a thing, or whatever. This is important and if you want to get involved, this is what you do.

Join your local 38 Degrees group

It's a bit late to send off for the action pack but you can always join a local group. Find out more about it here. This is my effort: we're meeting at Eccles Cross on Sat 22nd Aug 2015, 11:00am, to give out leaflets, ask people to sign petitions, hand out leaflets, and talk to passers-by to explain what we're doing and why. It'll look something like this:

Get in touch with 38 Degrees

You don’t need much for Saturday - just your petition sheet and a smile. You definitely don’t need to be an expert to spark a conversation. But click this link for some answers to questions other 38 Degrees members have had about Saturday’s TTIP day of action that you might find useful:

Please by tomorrow, so the email team can make sure to get one posted out in time. Please use this email address for any questions before the day.

There's a Day of Action help page here with answers to any questions you might have.

Search "TTIP" for other events, etc.

If you can't make it on Saturday (I can't, I'll be away, but fellow Pirate George Walkden has kindly agreed to stand in for me), keep an eye out for other events you can be part of. Even signing petitions, writing to the letters pages in your local newspaper, commenting (where possible) on news sites, and writing to your MP or MEP really does help.

Talk about it on your online accounts, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc. People need to know about it and join you in fighting back. Don't worry about what people might think: most of my colleagues know I'm a Pirate and that I get political. I've never been pulled up about my online or offline activities.

Arm yourselves with the facts

Find out as much as you can about TTIP.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. Proponents say the agreement would result in multilateral economic growth,[1] while critics say it would increase corporate power and make it more difficult for governments to regulate markets for public benefit.[2][3] The American government considers the TTIP a companion agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Wikipedia

The trade negotiations are an assault on democracy. I would vote against them except… hang on a minute, I can’t
- What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you - Lee Williams, the Independent

It's a neoliberal initiative. You know it's bad when even right-wingers hate it.

The EU tries to make it sounds all cute and fluffy but their ridiculous claims are easy to debunk.

At the moment, it's on hold and the negotiators have instigated a ridiculous level of secrecy over the documents.

George Monbiot says it doesn't pass the laugh test when supporters claim it doesn't mess with democracy. He has a few suggestions for the negotiators:

...negotiating positions, on both sides, would be released to the public as soon as they are tabled. Then, instead of being treated like patronised morons, we could debate these positions and consider their impacts. Secondly, every chapter of the agreement would be subject to a separate vote in the European parliament. At present the parliament will be invited only to adopt or reject the whole package: when faced with such complexity, that’s a meaningless choice. Thirdly, TTIP would contain a sunset clause. After five years it would be reconsidered(16). If it has failed to live up to its promise of enhanced economic performance, or if it reduces public safety or public welfare, it could then be scrapped. I accept that this would be almost unprecedented: most such treaties, unlike elected governments, are “valid indefinitely”. - All Give And No Take - George Monbiot,

TTIP is problematic because it's a corporate wolf in sheep's clothing. Tariffs are already low; this is a corporate power grab and a concerted effort to complete the dismantling of the welfare state.

Talking points

  1. TTIP is a secretly-negotiated treaty pretending to be a trade agreement. We already trade extensively with the United States and tariffs are already low.
  2. TTIP is undemocratic: even though it will affect every one of us we have little say in it. Even though a public consultation was initiated by the EU earlier this year, the EU Commission has decided to ignore its findings.
  3. TTIP will undermine the democratic process: the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) enables companies to sue governments for "unfair expropriation," i.e. lost profits. There are thousands of examples, Phillip Morris suing over plainpacks on cigarettes being one of them.
  4. TTIP is already affecting our laws: in anticipation of the likelihood of being sued if it doesn't permit fracking, our Glorious Leaders are planning to force us to accept it whether we like it or not. This can only get worse if it gets ratified.
  5. TTIP will increase prices on medicines, etc. This is because the "intellectual property" chapter is all about "protecting" patents, etc. What this actually means is that abusive practices like evergreening get ring-fenced and drugs become so expensive only wealthy people can afford them.

These are the ones I can come up with off the top of my head, I hope they help. It's important to get involved as much as possible. First of all you're helping to make history like I did (though my efforts were small) three years ago. Secondly, you're helping to save us from the clutches of the corporatocracy, and finally, you're helping to provide a better future for us all. Aren't those good reasons to get out there on Saturday and spread the word?

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