1000 AT THE TTIP PROTEST BUT RESERVED MAIN STREAM MEDIA COVERAGE
By Inka Stafrace
The UK day of action saw 15 protests in major cities in the UK united against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), on Sunday July 12th 2014. In London 1000 people gathered outside the Business Innovations Services (BIS) at 1 Victoria street.
TTIP is the largest free trade agreement ever negotiated and it threatens to be the greatest transfer of power to transnational capital in a generation. The ISDS provision included in the current negotiation of TTIP allows corporations to sue governments for any acts (ie laws) that may affect their future profits, such as banning poisonous additives to petrol, as was the case in Ethyl vs Canada via NAFTA , the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. There is no equitable access to justice in ISDS, that is, governments cannot sue corporations within ISDS.
A long list of NGOs and watchdog organizations question why these negotiations are being done in secret, increasingly, as all their worst fears are being confirmed by sporadic leaks.
Organisers guided the crowd to march through the Westminster area which was jam packed with site seers and commuters chanting the message that TTIP is a threat for democracy and for all the civil protection rights that have been hard won in the last 100 years or so.
The destination of the march was the European Parliament on Smith St where the protest felt more like a civilised street party with speakers, workshops, performers and participant activities. Of particular interest was an unbalanced soccer match played between corporate lawyers who broke all the rules and public services towards whom the referee took issue with constantly. War on Want and World Development Movement had funded this day and had worked collectively with Occupy Londoners and UKUncut to organize a wonderful day.
There was no TV coverage and below you can find a comprehensive list of the most main stream media coverage. The coverage by the BBC in particular does not question the secrecy of the negotiations or the dangers of the ISDS.
Nick Dearden, director of the World Development Movement, said today:
“This deal would hand multinational companies unprecedented powers over life in this country, including the ability to sue a future government for billions of pounds if they didn’t like its decisions. David Cameron waxes lyrical about national sovereignty, but in pushing for this deal he is wilfully handing sovereignty to big business. The deal is not really about trade, it’s about entrenching the position of the one percent. It should be abandoned.”
Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
“The proposed deal threatens to blow apart the power of our democratic decision making. TTIP is a huge threat to hard-fought-for standards for the quality and safety of our food, the sources of our energy, workers’ rights and our privacy.
“The harmonization of food standards is particularly concerning. Under the deal food products include chemically washed poultry, livestock treated with growth hormones, and genetically modified crops – all allowed in the US – could be sold in the UK.”
Jean Lambert MEP said:
“TTIP supporters push the myth that more trade means more jobs. It doesn’t.
“There is no guarantee that TTIP will be good for job creation – let alone decent jobs that pay enough to live on, respect labour rights and promote high health and safety standards. Why should we assume those standards will be upheld when other standards are likely to go down? These are the standards seen as barriers to business and TTIP is all about promoting business.”
Keith Taylor MEP said:
“Though huge chunks of this trade deal are shrouded in secrecy what we do know is that TTIP poses a very real threat to the quality of life of people in the UK.
“This deal, favoured by multinationals, threatens to slash regulations that protect our environment and health. But, most worryingly, it represents a serious threat to democracy in our country.
“It’s astounding that the Lib Dems, a party with the word ‘democrat’ in their name, are attacking those who want to protect Brits from a trade deal written by big business.”
Molly Scott Cato, the first Green MEP to represent the South-West and Green party Finance spokesperson, said:
“Greens are totally opposed to TTIP, which threatens to undermine our ability to protect the high standards of environmental protection, employment rights, and animal welfare that we take for granted.
“The proposals to protect corporate investors against the democratic interests of citizens must not be allowed to stand. As Greens in the European Parliament we pledge to do everything in our power to prevent TTIP from being agreed.”
END OF EXCERPTS FROM THE ECONOMIC VOICE
You Tube Clips of Protest.
The following is live streamed footage of the first part of the event can be..
Live streamed footage of the second part of the event..
“..we keep corporations civilised”
Paraphrased:- ” if it were not for us we would still have chimney sweeps (child labour) and the 7 day week”
Protests in 15 other locations.
Vice did a write-up of the protest, including lots of pictures and interviews (14 July) (online)
The BBC website has a story on the EU-US trade talks, including mention of the nationwide protests (14 July) (online)
The BBC Radio 4 programme The World This Weekend had a 9-minute segment on TTIP, starting with the protests, followed by a debate between Natalie Bennett of the Green Party and Ben Wallace MP (Listen from about 9 minutes in) (13 July) (broadcast)
ITV News has a piece on its website about the protests – not sure whether there was also a TV report or not (12 July) (online)
The Glasgow TTIP protest featured on STV News on Saturday evening (12 July) (broadcast)
The Independent on Sunday did a piece on the protests (13 July) (print and online)
The Sunday Herald used a pig picture of the ‘corporate robot’ protest in a comment article arguing that a ‘Yes’ vote in the Scottish independence referendum is necessary to protect the Scottish NHS against TTIP Read a scan of the first page here and the second page here (13 July) (print)
The Scotland on Sunday paper (Sunday version of the Scotsman) ran a comment piece TTIP and the protests (13 July) (online)
The Belfast Telegraph ran a piece ahead of the protests (12 July) (print and online)