On the 3ed of February Washington Time or Feb 4 New Zealand time, Obama was in Sky City Casino in New Zealand to sign the TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership at 5:30PM EST. This is an ugly NAFTA style trade deal the likes of which have not been seen since the FTAA, CAFTA, and the failed Seattle/Doha trade talks. As protesters and heads of state gathered in New Zealand, a broad coalition of groups sent representatives to a protest in front of the White House calling the trade deal “betrayal.”
Hours after this protest, protesters blockaded the streets of Newe Zealand around the Sky City Casino (site of the ceremony) in an attempt to isolate the casino and physically block the heads of state from signing this dirty deal. Bridges and roadways were blocked, but the presidents and dictators managed to get around the blockades and sign the TPP anyway. Ratification might be another matter. The kind of unity and widespread opposition to this deal hasn’t been seen at least in the US since the “Grand Convergence” of so many different groups that killed the Seattle/Doha WTO talks.
The coalition represented at the DC protest included labor activists, small town activists, climate activists, opponents of fracking and of Dominion’s Cove Point gas export project, and a group of Vegan activists. This unusually broad coalition called to mind the “Teamsters and Turtles” alliance that broke the back of the World Trade Organization’s attempt to negotiate a similar global deal at Seattle in November 1999. For several years after Nov 30,1999, no trade summit could be held without being beseiged by tens of thousands and in some cases hundreds of thousands of determined activists.
With the 16 year old victory at Seattle hanging in the balance, activists the world over are once again coming together for al all-out fight to prevent ratification of the TPP no matter what it takes. It was reported at the White House protest that activists in New Zealand were preparing direct action for later in the day to shut down the Sky City Casino where heads of state were preparing to sign the treaty. Announced plans are to blockade all entrances, which if sucessful will amount to “another Seattle.” Assuming Obama and the other heads of state manage to get in to sign the TPP, this begins a two year period in which the treaty must must be ratified or else it dies. There are good odds for blocking ratification in the US, as few politicians and almost no Democrats will want to vote on it during this election year, almost half of that two year period. It is believed Obama no longer has the votes to ratify it between the election and the dirty details that came out when the treaty was finally published after years of secrecy. There remains the danger of a “lame duck” vote after the election, but protesters would challenge that globally as they did GW Bush’s stolen election in 2000. That kind of controversy could block ratification in other countries and kill the TPP anyway.
In addition, all of the front-runners for both major political parties’ nominations for President claim to oppose the TPP. Sanders is vocally opposed, Clinton claims to oppose it but is not to be trusted, even Trump and Cruz are opposed. The US Chamber of Commerce will have to corrupt the winner into going back on their stated word on the TPP, as it is a near-certainty that the next President of the United States will be a publicly stated opponent of the TPP. If this thing dies, there is a very good chance it will stay dead for good.