With President Obama in Asia working to finalize the TPP and corporate donors in districts ramping up the pressure on members of Congress, communities across the U.S. are working to change the narrative around Fast Track and corporate free trade agreements. As part of the national “Save The World Stop Fast Track” campaign, Marylanders concerned about the impacts of the TPP gathered to hold their own Fast Track Town Hall this Thursday, sharing the truth about the secret agreement and making sure their voices are heard as loudly as those of corporate donors.
A wide range of groups joined together to oppose the undemocratic process known as Fast Track, including the Communication Workers of America, the Sierra Club, Divest Montgomery County, the Progressive Democrats of America, Maryland United for Peace and Justice, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, and the Flush the Trans-Pacific Partnership Campaign. Students part of the University of Maryland’s Clean Energy Club hosted the event.
“What concerns me is the utter secrecy with which the TPP negotiations are occurring,” said Geoff Kidd, a constituent of Rep. Delaney and member of the local Sierra Club. “Fast-Track Authority would allow the President to ignore input from anyone. Of course, 600 corporations are allowed access to the negotiations, but everyday citizens are not.”
While most of Maryland’s congressional representatives have already joined the more than 150 House Democrats who oppose Fast Track, Congressmen Delaney and Hoyer have remained silent. During the town hall, Marylanders shared reasons why the congressmen should vote ‘no’ on Fast Track and why their silence is unacceptable.
“When we speak with students about the TPP, so many have never heard of it and are unaware of its consequences,” said Shaina Paulsen, of UMD’s Clean Energy Club. “That’s why I think it’s so important to be here, to end the secrecy and to let our members of Congress know that we are sharing the truth and taking action.”