Activist panel discusses downsides of Trans-Pacific Partnership

A panel of activists and experts argued against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in a panel Wednesday evening before an audience of 26 Washington University students and St. Louis community members.

The panel, hosted by the St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA), convened with the aim to discuss the negative implications of the TPP on climate change, food systems and many other aspects of daily life.

The TPP, drafted on Oct. 5, 2015, is a proposed trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries. The agreement was proposed to dismantle trade barriers and tariffs and create new opportunities for workers and businesses.

Susie Chasnoff, an activist involved with the St. Louis IFCLA, began the evening by introducing the TPP and the potential effects it may cause if approved by Congress, which span hourly wages, union opportunities, food safety and decreases in medical care availability.

“These pacts will affect every aspect of our lives,” Chasnoff said. “This is an extremely violent agreement.”

Chris Singer, a former WU student, spoke after Chasnoff about the effects the TPP will have on climate change.

“The reason why this is important for climate change is that emissions are going through the roof, and there’s no way to think about how to solve this problem if we’re always just concerned with constantly growing this capitalist process,” Singer said.

Junior Divya Babbula was part of a limited undergraduate student presence at the panel.

“I am here because of a personal interest in the TPP, and because there is a general lack of information about this agreement, even though it has far-reaching consequences,” Babbula said. “I feel that the event provided an overview of the agreement and current situation that the mainstream media is not covering and appreciate the discussion of alternative ways of empowerment and activism.”

The panel continued after Singer’s comments with discussions about the effect of the TPP on food systems, intellectual property law and the peoples of Latin America, all of which are at risk of becoming targets of the detrimental consequences of the TPP.

After a series of questions from the audience regarding the technicalities surrounding the TPP, as the evening wound to a close, Chasnoff encouraged the audience to contact their legislators on the issue.

“Meet with your representative,” Chasnoff said. “Your senator, or whoever represents your district in the House. A face-to-face meeting is the most effective type of meeting you can have…and ask them questions.”

You may view the article in its original format here

Alex SiegmanComment