Guest blog from James Angel, #noTTIP campaigner.
government have ramped up the privatisation of our public services, a
process dating back to the Thatcher government of the 80s. As our
schools and hospitals are sold off to profit-hungry business giants,
the social fabric of our society is coming under attack.
But the Tories
aren’t the only threat to our public services. Behind closed doors,
the EU and US are planning the biggest corporate power grab in a
decade. If agreed, the EU-US
trade deal (TTIP) would
grant corporations the power to sue governments for policies that
could harm their profits. This threatens to lock-in the privatisation
of our schools and hospitals. Labour might have pledged to repeal the
Health & Social Care Act, which has opened up our NHS to
profit-making companies. But if TTIP is agreed, bringing the NHS back
under public control could become extremely difficult – any
government attempting to do this would risk being sued by supremely
powerful private investors.
workers, the environment, food safety, digital rights and privacy
would be undermined by TTIP, with harmful industries like fracking
and GM technologies encouraged.
If agreed, TTIP
would have devastating and irreversible impacts on our society. But
we are being entirely shut out of the decision making process.
Negotiations are shrouded in secrecy. There is no access to the draft
text of the agreement – even for MPs. If ever there was an
agreement that politicians and big business wanted to push through on
the quiet, this is it. But we won’t let them. As politicians
and lobbyists meet in secret, the
international movement to stop TTIP is growing.
Bringing together farmers and trade
unionists, environmentalists and privacy campaigners, new and diverse
coalitions are emerging in opposition to TTIP. Protests are gathering
pace across the EU and US, with a mass arrest of 250 protesters –
including MEPs and political candidates – at the last round of
negotiations in Brussels.
On Saturday 12 July, just two days
before the next round of negotiations on TTIP, people around the UK
are coming together to say: hands off! From
Brighton to Bradford, Cardiff to Cambridge, Sheffield to Swindon,
actions are planned. Hundreds of people have
pledged to take creative
action ‘with a few surprises’ in central London,
meeting outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 1
Victoria Street at 12pm. Find out about your nearest action at
TTIP negotiators are working against
the clock. For the US this agreement must be concluded by early 2016
to avoid running up against the presidential election. We can prevent
that happening. President Obama has already been refused special
powers to negotiate the deal through congress. The European
Commission has been forced to hold a public consultation. In the UK,
MPs and MEPs who support TTIP are on the back foot and more and more
people are becoming clued-up on the threat we face. We are winning
the argument. Now, we must raise our voices together.
On 12 July, anti-cuts groups, NHS
campaigners, anti-fracking groups, major trade unions, local food
growers and many more (see the list of supporters below) will be
taking to the streets together. This is the beginning of a broad and
exciting new UK campaign, part of an international movement with the
power to defeat this agreement and strengthen the position of the
many against the few.
The #noTTIP day of action is
15MLondon, 350.org, Biofuelwatch,
Campaign Against Climate Change, Community Food Growers Network,
Corporate Watch, Disabled People Against Cuts, European Greens in
London, Frack Free Sussex, Frack Off London, Friends of the Earth,
Fuel Poverty Action, Globalise Resistance, GMB, Green Party London,
Green Party of England and Wales, GreenNet, IOPS, Jubilee Debt
Campaign, Keep Our NHS Public, Lewisham People Before Profit, London
Federation of Green Parties, Occupy London, Open Rights Group,
OurNHS, People & Planet, People’s Assembly Against Austerity,
Pirate Party UK, Platform, Public and Commercial Services Union
(PCS), Reclaim the Power, Red Pepper, Roj Women’s Association,
STOPAIDS, Student Stop Aids Campaign, SumOfUs, Tax-payers Against
Poverty, UK Food Group, UK Uncut, Unison, University and College
Union (UCU), War on Want, We Own It, Women’s International League
for Peace and Freedom, World Development Movement, Young Greens.