May 5th, 2015
From the streets… to the UN? Experts back the campaign against TTIP
By 38 Degrees team
38 Degrees members are at the forefront of the fight against dodgy trade deal TTIP – and this week saw experts condemn the deal as well.
A year ago barely anyone knew about this dangerous deal which could erode our democracy and threaten our environment and public services.
But the public outcry has been huge – millions across Europe are spreading the word and standing up to TTIP. Across the UK, tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members have signed petitions, emailed their politicians, held street stalls and talked to friends and neighbours about the threat posed by TTIP.
In Scotland the campaign has had massive success. We’ve taken to the streets in 19 towns and cities, from Inverness to Saltcoats, and pushed politicians to take a firmer stand with big petitions and email campaigns.
Just last week we made a splash in the Scottish parliament, emailing our MSPs in huge numbers about the debate on TTIP and getting mentioned by most MSPs that spoke on Wednesday. Just the day before, the SNP took a firmer position on TTIP after thousands of us contacted our parliamentary candidates; they’ve now guaranteed that any deal with ISDS in it (that’s the clause that would allow corporations to sue governments in secret courts) would not be supported by their MPs.
And now the deal is being criticised by the United Nations – a senior human rights campaigner at the UN has said that TTIP poses such a threat to human rights that negotiations must be suspended.
Leading economist Joseph Stiglitz also issued warnings about the dangers of TTIP. Speaking on BBC World Service last week, he said that such deals are really about “enhancing the profits of big pharmaceutical companies at the expense of generic medicines, at the expense of lives and health of people throughout the world.”
TTIP is currently being negotiated under a cloak of secrecy – what we know so far is mostly due to leaked information. Stiglitz said on the radio programme that this lack of transparency “undermines democracy”.
Joseph Stiglitz was clear about the dangers of TTIP: he warned it would “make it more difficult for governments to regulate to protect the environment, to protect workers, to protect consumers; enriching the profits of corporations and enabling them to take advantage of the rest of us. It’s that simple.”
On the same programme, a senior law lecturer at Birbeck University described TTIP as “a huge bias in favour of corporations”. Oscar Guardiola-Rivera also warned of the “dire consequences” experienced by Latin America as a result of existing bi-lateral trade agreements.