A group of anti-corporate and pro-labor and environment organizations are planning a series of demonstrations against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks taking place this week at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka`anapali, says Sierra Club Hawaii Director Marti Townshend in a July 27 news release.
“TPP negotiators cannot escape public scrutiny in Hawaii,” said Kaytee Ray-Riek, the Campaigns Director of the environmental and labor activist group SumOfUs, in a July 27 news release from Sierra Club Hawaii. “These demonstrations in Lahaina are part of a global movement of millions demanding transparency and speaking out against corporate favoritism. Journalists, activists, and voters are among the hundreds of thousands urging politicians to not sign this trade pact.”
As negotiators from a dozen nations thrash out what is likely the final agreement on a massive new free trade pact, activists are planning to gather at noon on Ka`anapali Beach in front of the Westin starting on Wednesday, July 29. The news release says there will be a 2pm press conference there, followed by a “world-record attempt for most conch shells blown at one time” at 5pm.
“Highly secretive international agreements like the TPP will decimate our way of life in the islands by threatening Hawaiians’ rights to resources that allow for a subsistence lifestyle, crippling our local food economy, allowing higher levels of pesticides on crops and weakening the regulation of chemicals, lowering worker protections and opening the door for wider environmental and human rights abuses, and weakening food safety standards and food labeling requirements,” said Mary Lacques of Hawaii SEED in that same Sierra Club Hawaii news release.
Calling the TPP controversial is like saying the sunrise at Haleakala is pretty. In fact, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, Maui’s own U.S. Congressional Representative, denounced the TPP this morning on the floor of the House of Representatives.
“Not only were the American people shut out of this trade deal when Congress passed fast-track authority legislation, these negotiations continue as we speak in a shroud of secrecy, with the American people reliant on sites like WikiLeaks as they seek information about how this agreement will impact us,” Gabbard said. “People from Hawaii and around the world are gathering tomorrow on Maui to protest this secret deal. They are sick and tired of multinational corporations benefiting on the broken backs of working-class Americans, and they will not stop until their voices are heard.”
Photo of 2014 protest against the TPP in Wellington, New Zealand: Neal Ballantyne/Wikimedia Commons