Trade workshop report

This weekend, GMTAN visited Partisan, the exciting new activist space in Manchester.  Taking part in POW (Partisan Open Weekend) we had a stall at the community fair on Saturday and held a workshop with Global Justice Now.

At the highly successful workshop, we discussed the current state of international trade negotiations and what we can do about it.  Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now came up from London to give us the benefit of 20 years experience campaigning on trade issues.  He summarised some of the history and identified the main challenges ahead.  A lively discussion followed, in which participants, some of whom are newly active on trade, explored the issue and proposed actions.

Currently the momentum is with us.  The defeat of TTIP last year, was an important victory.  Nick described it as one of the worst treaties he’d ever seen.  While we were unable to stop CETA in the European Parliament, we did win important concessions.  In addition, the treaty must still undergo the torturous ratification process in all 28 EU member states before the hated corporate courts system can be implemented.

The big issue facing us now is Brexit.  With arch corporate globaliser Liam Fox, running around the world attempting to fix up dodgy deals, while mighty US based corporations slaver over the prospect of carving up our little island, there is much to fear.  Recent research has shown that 90% of meetings with the Department of International Trade were with corporate lobbyists, squeezing out civil society groups.

We were urged to contact our MPs and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 128 calling for greater powers of scrutiny for the public and elected bodies and for the right of Parliament to debate and amend treaties.  If you would like support in contacting your MP, please contact us.  Plans are already afoot to visit the surgeries of Afzal Khan (Gorton) and Jeff Smith (Withington), if you’d like to come along, please get in touch.

We also planned street actions to target symbols of corporate power in Manchester.  If you are interested in joining in, please get in touch.

Picture: Partisan

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