TTIP: A charter to increase corporate power

By Manus Lenihan

Imagine if working class people in Ireland forced the government to abolish water charges and bring the water services under public control again. Imagine if, in the meantime, various multinational corporations had come in and taken over parts of the water services for themselves.

Protecting corporate profits

Under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), these companies would have the right to sue us directly for every cent in profits lost to them because of us taking our water out of their hands. An unelected troika of corporate lawyers, government advisors and gravy-train riders would decide behind closed doors whether the Irish government had “unfairly” impacted on corporate profits.

This process is called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS). Today it’s used by corporations to shake down Latin American countries, for example when El Salvador tried to stop Pacific Rim from pumping arsenic into rivers in 2012. TTIP would allow this to happen between the US and the EU, setting loose a stampede of anti-worker, pro-corporate litigation.

Destroying our living standards

So we might see an EU-based company suing a US state for raising the minimum wage, or a US company suing a future UK government for trying to stop the privatisation of the National Health Service.

Another threat the TTIP poses is a drive to make life easier for rich people and harder for everyone else by scrapping regulations. The free-market fanatics in the US and EU establishment think that this will lead to hundreds of billions of euros being “created”. But in the real world, ending health, environmental, safety and labour laws equals huge profits for private companies, at the expense of wages and conditions, secure jobs, services, society and the planet.

Here is the wish lists of some of the biggest lobby groups pushing for the deal:

– US companies want free access to the online data of people living in the EU – and to hell with privacy laws.

– US food companies are outraged that they have to tell EU customers where their food comes from and what’s in it.

– EU food industry giants want the US Food & Drug Administration to stop its tiresome practise of recalling contaminated foods.

– Limits to financial sector gambling and scamming are in the firing line too – they don’t seem to have learned anything from the financial crash

Many people in Europe and the US are well aware of the threats posed by the TTIP. When the European Commission was forced to hold a public consultation on it, they were flooded with 150,000 contributions, mostly from anti-TTIP campaigners. The potential exists to derail this power-grab by the capitalist class and the trade union movement internationally must mobilise the power of the working class to stop it.


Previous Article

NAMA fire sale: Vultures make a killing

Next Article

The State – a tool to defend the rule of the 1%

Related Posts
Read More

Press Release: Paul Murphy MEP to travel to Greece to assist Syriza

“I am looking forward to joining in with Syriza's vital election campaign over the next few days. During my trip I will be blogging daily on my website, Those opposed to disastrous austerity policies across Europe will all be looking to Greece and hoping for a victory of Syriza. If a left government committed to fighting the austerity policies being pushed by the capitalist establishment can be formed, it will have huge political implications across Europe. It will challenge the ideological onslaught which says that there is no alternative to austerity policies and demonstrate that policies that put the needs of working people before the profits of banks and bondholders can be implemented.

Read More

Spain: Miners light up Madrid and show workers the way to struggle!

Thousands of coal miners arrived in Madrid, last week, completing another march on the capital as part of the struggle to defend their jobs. They were greeted by thousands of workers and youth from Madrid who poured onto the streets to express their solidarity. Fire-fighters escorted the miners through Madrid, stripping off in front of the parliament to show their solidarity.