Freedom, Corporate Power and the TPP

At the end of 2013 it became clear that President Obama would make pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) a Hallmark of his second term. While the Obama administration has been promoting this unprecedented treaty as a “Free-Trade”deal, we know thanks to leaked documents from Wiki-leaks that only 2 of the proposed 26 chapters in the TPP have anything to do with trade. The rest? Well, they deal with increasing corporate power at the expense of democratic freedom.

The TPP, which has been negotiated in secret by over 600 corporations from the US and 11 Pacific Rim Nations, would impact nearly every aspect of our lives. It will harm working families by increasing our reliance on imported foods instead of encouraging sustainable, locally grown food production. It will wreak havoc on the environment by increasing the production and exportation of liquefied natural gas from fracking that has already contaminated our air and water. It would even challenge our right to know if the ingredients in our food have been genetically modified.

But the most frightening aspect of the TPP might be the authority it grants corporate entities to undermine local democracy. Many decisions about public health, infrastructure and the environment that are currently made in our communities through local city councils or county governments could actually be overturned by international corporate tribunals. Why? Because if your town votes to ban water privatization or fracking, for example, that decision might challenge the financial interests of a multinational corporation. Tragically, the TPP would allow financial interests to exploit clean water, safe food and local democracy.

And now the Obama administration is pressuring Congress for Fast Track Authority, which would limit any public involvement or Congressional oversight of this massive international law. Here at Food & Water Watch, we regard every single chapter of the TPP as unacceptable according to the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. Free trade agreements have already proven how they can disenfranchise American workers, undermine domestic policies and even interfere with attempts to promote smart economic development.

This is why it’s so critical that you get involved now by contacting your member of Congress to tell them to oppose this potentially devastating corporate coup. Because when all of us engage in democracy, freedom rings.

About the Author: Matt Smith is a regional organizer for Food & Water Watch in Northern New Jersey. He is responsible for developing and implementing legislative, field organizing and media strategies and campaigns in support of Food & Water Watch policy goals.  He holds a bachelor of science degree in Finance from Philadelphia University and can be reached at