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Global Justice Now: TTIP chaos in Strasbourg

By Khinezar Tint

On the evening of the 9th of June the EU Parliament decided to postpone a crucial plenary vote on the TTIP resolution a day before the vote was to occur. I was in Strasbourg representing Students Against TTIP in the Europe-wide campaign against the toxic trade deal when this snap decision occurred. Myself and other activists from across Europe had already begun planning our action for the morning of the vote when we heard the surprising news: that once again another spanner had been thrown in the works of the great whirring machine that is TTIP.

The plenary vote that was supposed to take place was to be on a series of amendments to the TTIP resolution that was voted on in late May this year. Hundreds of amendments were submitted, some focusing on the inclusion of public services in the trade deal, some on food and agriculture regulations, and a few key amendments concerned the ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) clause—a particularly controversial part of TTIP that gives corporations the right to sue governments for any perceived loss of future profit. Similar ISDS clauses have been included in past trade deals, ultimately undermining state sovereignty and the ability of governments to regulate corporations—inevitably leading to private profits reigning supreme over public good.

The fact that so many amendments had been submitted for the resolution showed just how devisive the issue of TTIP had become in European Parliament, something that would have not occurred if it weren’t for the dedicated effort of European activists and campaigners who have brought TTIP, a trade deal that could have easily passed by in obscurity, to light—as made evident by a recent petition against TTIP that has already received two million signatures (and still counting)!

However it wasn’t just the number of amendments that led to the decision to postpone the plenary vote, as some sources have suggested; there have also been deep divisions amongst the MEPs, especially in the Socialists and Democrats group, regarding TTIP and ISDS. It seemed like it was impossible to form a united block, or maybe there was enough discordance that those who were pro-TTIP, and specifically pro-ISDS, were concerned that the plenary vote would not turn out to their liking. The UK Labour party had a predominantly anti-ISDS stance, as stated by North East MEP Jude Kirton-Darling in a recent video interview, and this could have led to a rift in the Socialists and Democrats block, thus delaying the vote. Theories have been flying around left, right and centre, and as a fledgling activist and outsider to the inner workings of European Parliament the entire process leading up to postponement of the vote seems labyrinthine to me, but what does seem clear is TTIP has undeniably become a very contentious issue.

This postponement is a small victory for those who are fighting against TTIP, and highlights just how divisive it is despite the sheer amount of lobbying power and money that has gone into the attempt to actualise it. We may have won, or at least not lost, this battle, but the war between private interests of corporations and the public interests of the people still wages on. TTIP is just the tip of the iceberg.

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  • John Smith

    So the European Parliament can make amendments to the TTIP but Congress can’t? Goes to show that its a total lie if Congress was given real time to debate and amend that trade deals can still get passed. I guess if TTIP does go through we have to hope the European Parliament pass good amendments. I think they are more representative of regular people because they have strong campaign finance laws.

  • bsbafflesbrains

    Sometimes I think if we could get all the people who oppose these trade deals to boycott the Corps who are pushing for them to game the system in their favor we could completely switch the balance of power back to the consumer/99%. Stop shopping seems to more effective than petitions. If amendments were allowed in TPP I think that would kill it since special interests of all types would be introducing competing amendments like Tint details above. The votes are postponed is like the rich kid taking his ball and going home when he thinks he will lose. Gotta be a good sign.

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    We live in the United State of Oligarchy

    Obamatrade has the stench of inevitability

    TAA is an admission that free trade is yet another loser for workers but great for multi national corporations

    Trickle down is Obama pissing on our heads

    I guess they didn’t learn any lesson from Obamacare vote: Dems chose corporations over citizens and lost 80 seats

    Hope they lose the rest if Obamatrade is passed

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Only boycott that would matter is against the Dems for selling out their base yet again

  • JohnRedican

    Before he was first elected, Obama said in an interview that Ronald Reagan was a hero of his. At the time this surprised a great many supporters, but was ignored as perhaps a slip of the tongue. Not so much anymore, I’m sure.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Hey Tut,

    For your posting, to the front page, consideration.

    The Two Contending Visions of World Government
    by Eric Zuesse.
    The Origin & Broader Context of Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/06/the-two-contending-visions-of-world-government.html

  • Alice X

    Julian Assange, WikiLeaks publisher, said:

    It is a mistake to think of the TPP as a single treaty. In reality there are three conjoined mega-agreements, the TiSA, the TPP and the TTIP, all of which strategically assemble into a grand unified treaty, partitioning the world into the west versus the rest. This “Great Treaty” is descibed by the Pentagon as the economic core to the US military’s “Asia Pivot”. The architects are aiming no lower than the arc of history. The Great Treaty is taking shape in complete secrecy, because along with its undebated geostrategic ambitions it locks into place an aggressive new form of transnational corporatism for which there is little public support.

  • Alice X

    Thanks

    8,000 words – that will take all day – but it looks good.

  • Meghan Nova

    TTIP must include a guarantee that states could protect the environment with impunity.
    http://www.sgoal.org/TTIP-must-not-allow-companies-to-sue-EU-countries-for-environmental-protection-laws

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    *heh* And a boatload of links to link…! Mahalo, apres, but I’ll pass…! 😉

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    Btw y’all, the Spaniards are leading the way…! 😉

    https://youtu.be/9Di7R1jqi3M

  • Bluedot

    That is a really interesting comment. I seems the Pentagon is really worried about China. So line up your allies now while you still can. So a question is: are these treaties sufficient to counter the perceived threat from China and, perhaps, Russia? The game board will be Asia and east Europe versus the rest of the world. But China and Russia still have some influence in South America, Africa and Iran. India up for bid??

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    I have been saying this continually on various blogs I comment on

    These free trade deals are meant to keep the BRICS potential nations out of Eurasian markets

    That’s how World Wars get started, “folks”

  • http://Smilejamaicakrcl.com Bobbylon

    Here is what the “other team” is doing

    AIIB bank to counter the Troika
    ditto the BRICS nations on trade and economic assistance
    SCO – Shanghai Cooperation Org to counter NATO

    Time running out on the bloated and over extended West. They can’t afford competition

    It’s why Greece is being told to suck it up while theTroika keep “loaning” cash they know will be stolen or wasted in Ukraine.

    In the latter case against the IMFs own rules. Chocula and his Nazi pals shouldn’t be getting one thin dime from Leatherface LaGarde bc they are in civil war

    Rules no longer matter

    As our next President likes to say, “What difference does it make?”

  • Alice X

    Ok, I’ve gone through it, mostly. I have a few issues around the rhetoric, though not necessarily in the substance. My issue with the prologue to the basis of US 2nd Constitution is that it intended a democracy limited to white property owning males. No others need apply.

    The country was founded on genocide and slavery.

    The 2nd Constitution was a subordination of the individual states, where the propertied elites (the property having been stolen from the indigenous peoples) feared social upheaval.

    The first limits on that 2nd Constitution were the Bill of Rights which have been extended. But with every gain for the many there is a continued outflanking by the Plutocrats.

    That is a readily observed common trajectory in human affairs.

    That out flanking continues with the parsing of the meaning of the 2/3 Senate rule on treaties. That is my central take away of the piece.

    What do words mean? For me George Orwell is a trusted source.

    Excerpts from Politics and the English Language
    http://www.transaction.net/web/tutor/text/orwell.html

  • mulp

    “…a particularly controversial part of TTIP that gives corporations the right to sue governments for any perceived loss of future profit. Similar ISDS clauses have been included in past trade deals, ultimately undermining state sovereignty and the ability of governments to regulate corporations…”

    5th amendment to the US Constitution:

    “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    So, the objection in the EU is to the US 5th amendment being applied in the entire trade area.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Do I understand it correctly that the only way by which to post a diary/article is to make a request that you, or whomever else, does it for us?

  • clarasanta

    I read into the comments 3 or 4 deep and have come to the realization that Andrea Mitchell should be allowed to report on this situation for MSNBC. Then we can get a bourbon perspective on these world leaders which undoubtedly must include J. McCain the Great. I won’t settle for less.

  • mulp

    How does TPP keep “BRICS potential nations out of Eurasian markets” when the BRICS nations are all in the WTO and exercising great economic power in Europe as well as dictating terms in their regions based on their economic power?

  • DING DONG UKRAINE IS DOOMED!

    The EU puppet leaders had sold out the continent. The G1 was good show. Stop resisting!

  • mulp

    There is no TTIP to amend. The EU is setting terms for a negotiation. Congress may or may not agree to the EU terms if Obama signs a deal that incorporates them in some form yet to be determined. But its not clear that Obama will sign a TTIP agreement with those terms, so Congress may not get to reject the EU terms.

    And without TPA, I doubt Obama will get the chance to sign any TTIP because EU negotiators will not finalize terms until they know they are the final terms so those ratifying the agreement can benefit from the agreement and those rejecting it will not.

  • mulp

    You are arguing that if every progressive boycotted all corporations profiting from burning fossil fuels, Exxon, BP, the electric utilities generating power from coal, that would have no impact?

    That argues progressives are so small in number they are irrelevant in the US political economy. Which makes them irrelevant to the Democratic Party or any political faction.

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Stop driving to work, stop taking showers, stop eating; just die, already!

    What a plan, mulp!

  • http://firedoglake.com/ CTuttle

    You could always send an email to Kevin and ask for posting privileges, apres…!

  • http://mosquitocloud.net/ aprescoup

    Thanks but, no thanks. The Uber model is not exactly something I can get myself to embrace ;(