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Category: Journalism

#TPP: Out of the Shadows Today (UPDATED)

Posted in Occupy Wall Street

Crossposted at Approximately 8,000 Words

TPP "Bat Signal" earlier this week in Addison, Texas.

Today I join Occupy Austin and members of Occupy San Antonio (in its newest incarnation as Occupy Bexar) travel to Addison, Texas with a wide coalition of unions and activist organizations at the Out of the Shadows Rally and March. This protest is a demand for transparency and accountability in the negotiations of the TransPacific Partnership (on Twitter, #TPP, hijacking the hashtag of the ‘Tea Party Patriots”).

This is the latest secret deal being cut by the 1% and world leaders. Over 30 legal professionals begged US Trade Representative Ron Kirk to make the process more transparent:

We write as legal academics from the US and current or potential future Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) member countries to express our profound concern and disappointment at the lack of public participation, transparency and open government processes in the negotiation of the intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). We are particularly and specifically concerned that the United States Trade Representative (USTR) took the opportunity of its hosting of the latest round of negotiations in Dallas, Texas, to begin this week, to further restrict public involvement in the negotiations by eliminating the full-day stakeholder forums that have been hosted at other rounds. We call on the USTR and all TPP negotiating countries to reverse course and work instead to expand, rather than contract, the opportunities for public engagement in the formation of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter.

Kirk blew them off. The agreement would be wide-ranging in its influence, affecting environmental law, jobs, and more, but it is the intellectual property and copyright portions which are raising the most ire on the Internet among activists and Anonymous. Like the similar ACTA, they see TPP as another round in the retaliation from the 1% over the defeat of laws like SOPA & PIPA. If they can’t be forced through Congress, it seems they’ll be turned into global mandate instead. Activists are further angered by the obscure choice of meeting location which is seen as another way to avoid scrutiny.

The bus from San Antonio and Austin will arrive in the Dallas suburb this afternoon. where we meet at a park and march on the negotiation site. This event is permitted, but I’ve heard reports from those already on site that police seem nervous; we will see how they react if there are acts of civil disobedience.

Occupy Austin’s livestream will be active around 2pm Central Time (12pm FDL time). I will livetweet throughout the day, and update this blog when I am able.

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