The TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) aka US-EU Free Trade Agreement together with the TTP (same, for the Pacific Rim) are the biggest threats today to national sovereignty and democracy. If imposed big corporations will be able to drive privatisation of health and other services as well as lead an attack on environmental and food safety regulations. They contain the ISDS, (Investor-State Dispute Settlements) which allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits. In effect it means unelected transnational corporations can dictate the policies of democratically elected governments.

This is not new. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has been giving us a preview on many cases, one of them reported by Pressenza yesterday, in which Ecuador is being forced to pay $1 billion dollars in compensation to an US oil company it evicted for not fulfilling its contract.

Similarly in Germany a Swedish energy company (Vattenfall) is suing the German government for billions of dollars over its decision to phase out nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

The Indonesian government was sued in June 2012 by a London-based mining company Churchill Mining after the local government revoked the concession rights held by a local company in which the firm had invested.

Irish oil firm Tullow Oil took the Ugandan government to court in November 2012 after value-added tax (VAT) was placed on goods and services the firm purchased for its operations in the country.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris sued Uruguay for alleged breaches to the Uruguay-Swiss BIT for requiring cigarette packs to display graphic health warnings and sued Australia under the Australia-Hong Kong BITS for requiring plain packaging for its cigarettes. (Wikipedia)

Some years ago the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was created in a similar vein. Latin American countries rejected it and set up instead the ALBA, formally the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Spanish: Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América), as an intergovernmental organization based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Following this example the self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative is conducting a campaign against TTIP and CETA (EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, more of the same) which has already gathered more than 3m signatures across the EU.

In spite of the disaster looming ahead these negotiations are kept so much in secret and they seem to be so complicated that the large majority of the population are not engaged in any way with them.

New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been one of the Labour MPs speaking out most vociferously against TTIP from the start. He referred to the European Parliament recommendations and amendments on the EU’s negotiating position on TTIP as “lipstick on a pig”.

We are accelerating towards the scenario predicted by Silo in Letters to my friends:

“Global Capital”

“This is the great universal truth: Money is everything. Money is government, money is law, money is power. Money is basically sustenance, but more than this it is art, it is philosophy, it is religion. Nothing is done without money, nothing is possible without money. There are no personal relationships without money, there is no intimacy without money. Even peaceful solitude depends on money.

“But our relationship with this “universal truth” is contradictory. Most people do not like this state of affairs. And so we find ourselves subject to the tyranny of money—a tyranny that is not abstract, for it has a name, representatives, agents, and well-established procedures.

“Today, we are no longer dealing with feudal economies, national industries, or even regional interests. Today, the question is how the surviving economic forms will accommodate to the new dictates of international finance capital. Nothing escapes, as capital worldwide continues to concentrate in ever fewer hands—until even the nation state depends for its survival on credit and loans. All must beg for investment and provide guarantees that give the banking system the ultimate say in decisions. The time is fast approaching when even companies themselves, when every rural area as well as every city, will all be the undisputed property of the banking system. The time of the parastate is coming, a time in which the old order will be swept away.

“At the same time, the traditional bonds of solidarity that once joined people together are fast dissolving. We are witnessing the disintegration of the social fabric, and in its place find millions of isolated human beings living disconnected lives, indifferent to each other despite their common suffering. Big capital dominates not only our objectivity, through its control of the means of production, but also our subjectivity, through its control of the means of communication and information.

“Under these conditions, those who control capital have the power and technology to do as they please with both our material and our human resources. They deplete irreplaceable natural resources and act with growing disregard for the human being. And just as they have drained everything from companies, industries, and whole governments, so have they deprived even science of its meaning—reducing it to technologies used to generate poverty, destruction, and unemployment.”

These “Free” Trade Agreements are not just economic disasters, they are human disasters, they are forms of violence, and they kill people, communities and nations. Even the most enlighted campaigners often fail to link the corporations takeover with who is behind it: the Banking sector always pressing for more profit.

There is not much time left…