The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

OPINION: Say No to the Trans-Pacific Partnership


OPINION: Say No to the Trans-Pacific Partnership

By Rebel Fagin

Our ability to control the laws that govern our lives is in jeopardy if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is ratified by Congress this winter. We can stop it if we act now.

The TPP was secretly negotiated over six years between the U.S. and eleven Pacific Rim countries.  600 ‘trade advisors’ designed this corporate power grab.  These lobbyists included representatives from Chevron, Monsanto, Halliburton, ExxonMobil, Walmart, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, and other major corporations. Our elected representatives played no part in designing this binding treaty. Those few who were allowed to see parts of it were not permitted to discuss the details or record what they had seen.

On November 5, 2015, the text to the TPP was released on WikiLeaks. Here are some of the features of the TPP:

U.S. regulations concerning food safety, GMO food-like substances, and country of origin labels can all be challenged as illegal barriers to trade. Marin County and Mendocino County’s ban on growing GMO food-like substances will be overturned.  We will be required to import meat and poultry that do not meet current food safety standards. 

The Intellectual Property chapter extends patents on drugs so that more affordable generic drugs can be kept off the market for up to twenty years. People will die waiting for the medicines they need to become affordable.

The Intellectual Property chapter further requires internet service providers to monitor and report online activities for potential infringement of rights. Individuals will be treated as major for-profit violators, stifling freedom of expression and further destroying our right to privacy.

Jobs will be shipped overseas and workers will be insourced from member nations causing wages to plummet.

The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) court will adjudicate all corporate claims of potential lost profits due to health, safety, or environmental laws.  ISDS hearings are held in secret with three corporate lawyers rotating between being counsel for the corporations one day and passing judgments on the corporations the next. Who do you think they’ll favor? Secret evidence is permissible, there are no safeguards for human rights, and there’s no right of appeal based on the merits of the case. There are no corresponding rights for citizens and our communities as we have no standing in this court.  Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign stated: “The Tribunals that adjudicate these cases and don’t have the power to literally demand that a government change its policies, but they can award payments worth millions, even billions of dollars, such that if a country doesn’t want additional cases brought against it, gets in line.”

A new commission of unelected international bureaucrats will be established to promote the TPP as a separate institution with an agenda independent of U.S. interests.  It may make its own rules without input from Congress and is not bound to respect the U.S. Constitution.

The TPP is a gateway treaty to the equally catastrophic Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership and the Trade in Service Agreement both of which will further entrench corporate control over our lives.


The TPP goes before Congress this winter for an up or down vote. There is a lot of opposition to this treaty ranging from Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein to Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz.  We each have three votes on this matter if we act now.

Contact Senators Feinstein and Boxer as well as either Representative Thompson or Huffman (depending on your district). To learn more visit:

To get involved locally go to: .

This corporate power grab is a threat to democracy.  All go local movements and local legislation is threatened by the TPP. Now is the time to act! Contact your members of Congress today and tell her/him to vote NO on the TPP.

Sources: WikiLeaks 3/28/15, 11/5/15, Washington Post 2/25/15, This Changes Everything © 2014 Naomi Klein, Censored 2015 © Huff & Roth, Democracy Now 4/16/15, Trash the TPP

Rebel Fagin writes for the Sonoma County Peace Press and