Over a hundred people surrounded Representative Joe Crowley’s office in Jackson Heights on the cold morning of Friday, January 31st. Despite the cruel weather, activists and people from all over New York came to participate in a rally that would highlight the many dangers of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
TPP is an international trade proposal that is being debated in Congress as of this moment. President Barack Obama as well as Congress is trying to “fast track,” or simply push through as quickly as possible, a trade deal that would cause much harm to Americans in a variety of ways.
Seth Gladstone, one of the organizers of the rally, spoke about the many cons of TPP and how it will not only affect the U.S. but also the world.
“For one it would ship American jobs overseas and lower wages for both workers here and abroad. TPP would also cause problems for state and environmental organizations that communities throughout the United States fight extremely hard to keep in place to protect clean water, clean air and environmental standards” he said. Gladstone added to this surmounting list, saying, “These international trade deals would chip away at these environmental standards, so that’s a real problem. This is something that would really spell disaster for American consumers.”
Corrine Rosen, an organizer with Food & Watch, a consumer protection group, delved into these issues even further.
“The Trans Pacific Partnership could spell disaster for communities large and small that are seeking to protect themselves from all sorts of public health and environmental dangers – dangers like fracking for example,” said Corinne Rosen, a organizer with Food & Watch, a consumer protection group. “These monstrous trade deals, negotiated secretly in the halls of Washington, are boons for multinational corporations that seek to profit at the expense of American jobs and American health and safety standards.”
A variety of other activism groups were present including Occupy Wall Street Special Projects Affinity Group, Expose the TPP New York, Veterans for Peace Chapter 34, NYC Raging Grannies and many more.
At the rally, many activism groups presented their reasons for opposition of TPP through speeches, signs, dance and even song: a method the Raging Grannies excelled in.
The group consisting of fierce elderly women sang cheerful nursery rhyme-like songs with tunes of the well known “Old McDonald” and “Bye Bye Blackbird”. The lighthearted songs were catchy, humorous and informational all at the same time.
Lyrics of these songs included “600 corporations and 11 countries, Can knock the whole planet to its knees! Trans Pacific Partnership, TP Ohhhh Nooooo!” that caused even bypassing pedestrians stopped and joined in for a bit.
After the songs, passionate speeches were given out by many participants including Malu Huachuja del Toro, a Mexican author and activist in the movement against the first free trade agreement in Latin America.
Adam Weismann, another organizer of the event, was extremely happy with the results of the rally. “This is an enormous crowd, especially for this part of the city. I think it really shows just how motivated the people are about the issue. I think it’s really great.”