Unite & Fight! New Jersey Philippine Solidarity Committee Condemns Signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Launches Philippine Solidarity Week

Philippine Solidarity Committee

For Immediate Release
Press Statement
February 4, 2016

Reference:
Nina Macapinlac
Matt Smith
(973) 641-9735, njphilsolidarity@gmail.com

Unite & Fight! New Jersey Philippine Solidarity Committee Condemns Signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Launches Philippine Solidarity Week

To announce its official launch, the New Jersey Philippine Solidarity Committee condemns to the utmost extent today’s signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in New Zealand. As an anti-imperialist coalition of individuals and organizations, the New Jersey Philippine Solidarity Committee opposes the TPP as a one-sided “free trade” agreement that will only benefit the interests of the global elite class at the expense of the poor and working class peoples of the world, especially in underdeveloped countries like the Philippines. Incidentally, the New Jersey Philippine Solidarity Committee also commemorates today as the 117th anniversary of the Philippine American War as part of BAYAN USA’s Philippine Solidarity Week. With the acquisition of the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam, the Philippine American War was the birthplace of US imperialism whose legacy lives on today through US economic and political hegemony. Pushed for by the Obama administration, the TPP is a testament to the relevance of the Philippine American War in today’s world and is a living manifestation of the United States’ continued stranglehold on the economies of the Third World. By launching a series of events for Philippine Solidarity Week, the New Jersey Philippine Solidarity Committee demonstrates the strength in unity across movements in the fight for national and social liberation.

Anticipated to be the largest “free trade” agreement in the world, the TPP encompasses 12 nations that make up 40% of the global GDP. These nations, consisting of the United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries (New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam), will formally sign the agreement today but each member state will still need to ratify it for the TPP to go into full force. If two years elapse and not all member states have ratified the agreement, the TPP can still go into force if at least six countries have successfully ratified and represent 85 percent of the total GDP of the original member states between them. This means that the TPP is effectively dead if the United States does not sign on, making it more urgent that US-based communities and organizations come together to strategize and organize against the approval of the agreement domestically.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an egregious corporate power grab. While it’s being promoted by corporate and political elites under the guise of “free-trade,” in reality, only 5 of the 29 chapters included in the agreement have anything to do with trade. The majority of the agreement seeks to undermine national economic sovereignty through trans-national corporate governance, putting profits before the rights and needs of the 99%. The TPP affirms and expands existing agreements made through international bodies such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund that promote the extraction and exploitation of developing economies through forced financial and economic dependency.  One of the most devastating components of the TPP is the Investor State Dispute Settlement. Any law or regulation that stands in the way of a company’s profits such as health safety laws; workers rights; women’s rights; food safety; gay rights; animal rights; minimum wages; unions; civil rights; nuclear power plant regulations; environmental protections; etc., can be “challenged” in this non-democratically elected international court. Corporations and big business will be able to sue entire countries through a corporate tribunal if the TPP is passed.

Moreover, the TPP is the economic centerpiece of the so-called “U.S. Pivot to Asia,” a term that refers to a deliberate foreign policy strategy of consolidating and ensuring US hegemony in the Asia Pacific region. The second part of the “pivot” is militarization, which is used to secure US control over trade routes, markets, and territories. Having a very strategic location in the Asia-Pacific with easy access to China and surrounding countries, the Philippines is used to deepen U.S. aggression in the Asia Pacific region through the indefinite basing of U.S. soldiers, many of whom are being deployed to the Philippines from the Middle East. The recent unconstitutional upholding of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) by the Philippine Supreme Court will further entrench the U.S. military in the country and pave the road to more bases. The TPP, as well as the shift of military troops to Asia Pacific, is an intensification of an ongoing trend of trade liberalization and imperialism.

The Philippines is already one of the most liberalized economies in Asia and one of the closest allies of the U.S. government in advancing its interests. In recent months, the United States and the Philippines have publicly supported the Philippines’ potential membership in the TPP. Given these developments, the New Jersey Philippine Solidarity recognizes the urgency of intensifying domestic efforts against the TPP to stand in solidarity with the struggling masses in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific region who will be most affected by the agreement.

By commemorating the Philippine American War through the coordination of Philippine Solidarity week, the New Jersey Philippine Solidarity Committee honors the People’s movements that have been raging for centuries against colonial intervention and, up to this day, are still fighting threats to national  sovereignty like the TPP. During the Philippine American War, the United States murdered over 1.5 million Filipinos and used the country as a laboratory to develop war tactics, torture methods, occupation, and counterinsurgency operations that would be employed in future wars of aggression in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. As the birthplace of US imperialism, commemorating the Philippine American War means not only honoring the resistance of the Philippine people but all ongoing struggles of oppressed peoples around the world.

The organizations within the New Jersey Philippine Solidarity Committee that led the planning of the Philippine Solidarity Week are Anakbayan NJ, People’s Organization for Progress, Food & Water Watch, Newark Student Action Collective, and New Jersey United Students. If you are interested in joining the Committee and building with a group of anti-imperialist freedom fighters, please email njphilsolidarity@gmail.com!

RSVP to the “Philippine Solidarity Week in New Jersey” Facebook event and check out other events being planned throughout the Northeast by BAYAN organizations!

“From New Jersey to the Philippines: State Repression and the War on Terror”
Hosted by: Newark Student Action Collective
Wednesday, Feb 10 @ 2:30 PM
175 University Avene Newark, NJ 07102, Room 351 Conklin Hall

“From New Jersey to the Philippines: Struggle for Climate Justice”
Hosted by: Food & Water Watch
Thursday, Feb 11 @ 6:30-8:30pm
St. Paul’s Church 440 Hoboken Ave. Jersey City, NJ

Upsurge I ❤ Solidarity Open Mic
Hosted by: Anakbayan NJ, People’s Organization for Progress, & Peers Educating Peers
Saturday, February 13 @ 5-8pm
Intrinsic Cafe, Newark (Rutgers campus), 5 Sussex Ave, Newark, NJ 07103
Email anakbayannj@gmail.com if interested in performing!

Fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement!
Long live international solidarity!

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