Monday, November 10, 2014

#StopFastTrack Week of Action gets off to a roaring start

The international week of action against Fast-Tracking secret 'trade' deals like the TPP began Saturday with thousands of protesters taking to the streets in 17 New Zealand cities, protests in six Australian cities, door-to-door canvassing of a Chicago congressman's neighborhood, a rally outside a Colorado congressman's office and a march to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

And that's just the beginning.

The Stop Fast Track Week of Action coincides with President's Obama's visit to Asia for the meeting of 12 trade ministers at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. They are seeking to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, though that seems unlikely. However, activists are concerned the U.S. Congress will pass 'Fast Track' during the lame duck session. 'Fast Track' would allow Congress to rubber stamp any trade deals without making sure they benefit America's working families.

Even before the week of action started, Teamsters, labor allies, environmental, community and human rights activists fought back on Nov. 7 by delivering more than a half-million signatures opposing fast-track authority to a key lawmaker.
Saturday's march atainst the TPP in Auckland. 

The next day a group of anti-TPP activists marched to the Capitaol.

Saturday's action in New Zealand had broad support, according to news reports.
Edward Miller, one of the organisers behind the protests, said thousands of people had expressed their intention to be a part of the protests yesterday. 
"There has been a massive response to the call for Kiwis to fight back against a deal that puts the interests of big corporations ahead of ordinary people." 
President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Helen Kelly said: "We are urging people to support this day of action because the TPPA contains threats to our health system, our public services, our ability to use government purchasing to develop our economy and improve our environment and working conditions, and our right to make changes to our laws and regulations in the interests of most New Zealanders." (Watch a video about the protests here.)
On the nearby continent of Australia, anti-TPP protests were held in six cities, including one in Perth, pictured below:
Perth, Australia
We learn from the Tweetosphere that  Chicagoans went door-to-door in @RepMikeQuigley's district explaining why we need to #StopFastTrack for the #TPP.
Door-to-door in Chicago, Ill. 
And a coalition rallied in Boulder, Colo., rallied on Friday to protest a congressional rubber stamp for the TPP: 
Rally outside Rep. Polis' office
Over two dozen people gathered at the office of Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO2) in Boulder to protest against “fast track” trade promotion authority for the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty. Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and Communications Workers of America coordinated the rally representatives from several environmental, political, and labor organizations.

Outside the office, Dave Felice of CWA said:
“Jared Polis is one of a few House Democrats who has not declared opposition to fast track.  We want to work with Polis to insure trade authority meets the criteria of fair trade.
On Thuseaday, a coalition -- including the Teamsters, CWA, Sierra Club, and Global Trade Warch --  delivered more than a half-million signatures against Fast Track to Sen. Ron Wyden, a key lawmaker on trade legislation.
This is what more than a half-million signatures against Fast Track look like. 
And on social media, an anti-Fast Track tweet reached 623,138 tweeters.

Many more events are planned around the world. It's not too late to get involved. There are rallies, literature drops, social media actions and Overhead Light Brigade demonstrations all over the country. Click here for more information.