We were out on the streets this week to march against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in the U.S. Capitol. We were there to demonstrate the beginning of a unified movement of diverse organizations calling on officials to review and reject the deal based on its substance, which we can finally read and dissect now that the final text is officially released.
Contained within these 6,000-plus pages of the completed TPP text are a series of provisions that empower multinational corporations and private interest groups at the expense of the public interest. Civil society groups represent diverse concerns, so while we may disagree on our specific concerns about the TPP, we commonly recognize that this is a toxic, undemocratic deal that must be stopped at all costs.
So on Monday, we kicked off the new phase of TPP campaigning to call on U.S. Congress members to reject the entire deal in the coming ratification vote in a few months.
Roughly a couple of hundred people came out to meet in front of the Chamber of Commerce. Some organizers and leading activists gave speeches about the impacts of the TPP on our local and global communities. Maira Sutton, EFF's Global Policy Analyst, spoke about the effects of the TPP's restrictive digital policy provisions that empower the rights of Hollywood and other corporations, and that it does little to nothing to safeguard the rights of the public interest on the Internet or over our digital devices. Other speakers discussed how the TPP would impact environmental protections and the raise the costs of affordable life-saving medicines and treatments.
We then started the march, with large banners and people carrying dozens of toilet paper-shaped lanterns with the words "flush the TPP" written across it.
The rally picked up many more people as we snaked around the downtown area and marched towards the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center:
Another rally was held on Tuesday morning, where we marched to each of the TPP country embassies to demonstrate our support of those who have been protesting it in other regions of the world. Protesters carried a 10-foot-tall figure of Mr. Monopoly, which puppeteered the flags of the 12 TPP countries participating countries. Others carried flags with "stop TPP" in all the languages of the TPP countries, and a gigantic globe of the earth on their shoulders to signify our common responsibility for the rights and interests of people and environments worldwide:
People from all over the United States came to attend these events in DC this week. We met people from Texas, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, and Washington state. They all traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to voice their opposition against the TPP, as well as the other secretive trade deals that harm our digital rights and actively erode transparent, public-interest driven policymaking.
While we had a pretty good turn out of several hundred people at these events at the Capitol, a recent poll showed that 60% of people in the United States have no opinion on the TPP. Clearly, we still have a lot of work to do to make more people in the United States aware and actively working to stop this deal before it goes to Congress.
Stay tuned as we develop more materials and resources to spread the word about the TPP's impacts on your digital rights. For now, you can start by taking this action to urge your lawmakers to call a hearing on the contents of the TPP that will impact your digital rights, and more importantly, to vote this deal down when it comes to them for ratification: