Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Senate Gives Green Light To TPP Juggernaught - New Mexico Democrats Smile And Wave As It Leaves The Station

Noam Chomsky

The US Senate today gave the president "fast track" authority to ram through TPP, his pet NAFTA-on-steroids trade treaty with US Pacific Rim allies that Republicans want badly and corporations are salivating over. TPP, in addition to NAFTA-like provisions that make it easier for corporations to outsource and ship jobs to other countries, vastly expands monopoly patent protections and gives corporations constitutional authority to thwart any legislation that impede profits in any way.
New Mexico's fiscally conservative senators, Democrats Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, admirably voted against the "fast track" authority but have always carefully worded any statement they made about the treaty to make clear they don't oppose the treaty itself; they merely want some oversight over the negotiations so they can make their constituents believe they are looking out for their interests. They want a few weak, unenforceable labor protection provisions like were tacked onto NAFTA, and they want some money to retrain workers who lose their jobs; that is, people who can prove their lives were devastated  by the treaty can get trained for other nonexistant jobs and delay by a few months being thrown out into the labor market.

Mass media reports about the secretive treaty are obscure about its details, although significant parts of the treaty have been leaked, like the ones setting up tribunals of corporate attorneys who can issue judgements that require governments to pay corporations the amount of any profits or "future expected profits" the corporation think it will lose because of a law the government passed. So for example if a city doesn't want a mine dug that will ruin its water supply, the city has to pay the corporation whatever profits the corporation might have made from the mine. This will in effect stop any environmental legislation before it gets started.

The treaty also extends by decades the number of years corporations can maintain monopoly patents on things like medicines, enshrining in the constitutions pharmaceutical companies' ability to gouge US consumers who rely on those medicines.

Just recall that no one is defending NAFTA these days. No one denies that it sent millions of jobs to Mexican Maquiadoras -- jobs that are now in China, by the way -- and devastated small farming in Mexico by allowing US agribusiness to dump cheap corn on the Mexican market, devastating small farming in Mexico and causing the mass migrations northward of 1990s and early 2000s that further suppressed already declining US wages. This new TPP treaty goes far beyond NAFTA, and no one is arguing that, either. They don't have to. No one knows what's in the treaty because no one will say -- except those few media outlets on the Left that have reported on the leaked portions.

Udall and Heinrich used the same sleight of hand House Democrats used earlier in posing against the TPP. Knowing the treaty is inevitable -- because they've done nothing to stop it -- they pretended to fight for the window dressing of a few ineffectual worker protections.

Barring a massive uprising of the American working class, an eventuality Democrats do everything they can do to prevent, there is no protection from the effects of an economy that's been gutted out by the Reaganomics policies Heinrich and Udall support, and by treaties like NAFTA and TPP.


If you've been following what's been happening in Greece, and the market fluctuations it's been causing, you know that the rest of the European Union -- that is, dominant members Germany and the UK -- on behalf of European and American banks, are trying to impose a severe economic austerity program in Greece. "Austerity" is what they call Reaganomics. They want wages halved, pensions halved, a permanently high unemployment rate that keeps wages suppressed. In other words they want to discipline the working class and make it an example to workers in other countries. They don't want people feeling empowered. They want to cut off the upswelling of hope the election of the Leftist radical Syriza party in Greece last year gave to working people across the continent. Every time it looks like that lesson won't be imposed, the US stock market plummets.

US workers are unaware of what's going on in Europe but the markets aren't because although the job of disciplining the US working class has been accomplished long ago in the US it can come undone.

As it stands now US workers are docile and subservient and making sure they stay that way is the Democratic Party's main function. You won't hear any calls for marches and protests from our Democrats. In keeping with the principle Chomsky outlines above, you hear a very limited range of debate from them. They want you to stay home, stay docile, and hand over your power to them so they can get on with the business of furthering Reaganomics with treaties like TPP.


  1. Allow me:
    a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution.
    "a juggernaut of secular and commercial culture"

    Test at 11.......

    1. Thank you, sir. One troll dispatched, and I didn't have to lift a finger. Thank you.