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WAR ON WANT

TTIP successes and what's next - get your MEP to take action NOW

21 May 2015

We're frantically busy trying to stop TTIP, with your help, here's what's happening right now, and a round up of recent activity in our campaign against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Right Now - if you do one thing, do this: 

MEPs are preparing to vote on the mechanism that allows companies to sue governments if their actions impact on company profits, in specially created courts. This puts our very democracy in jeapordy. Tell your MEP to vote against special rights for foreign investors.

Read this Guardian article by our campaigner Mark Dearn 'Privatising public services is no way to fund sustainable developement'

In the USA, TTIP is being fast-tracked through Congress, and campaigners are battling hard to stop it. If it succeeds, it could hit the Palestinian boycott movement and solidarity campaigning
What we've been up to:

Global Day of Action

On 18 April, War on Want joined activists and organisations across the world who came out to challenge corporate agreements masquerading as 'free trade' deals, including TTIP, CETA (the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). In total, there were some 750 protests in towns and cities across the world, with tens of thousands taking to the streets of Europe.

In London, some 400 people engaged in a NoTTIP assembly in Shepherd’s Bush, supported by War on Want and other organisations in the NoTTIP coalition. This included creative direct actions targeting KFC, BP and Virgin – for their engagement in attempting to lower food standards, change the EU’s fuel import rules, and NHS privatisation.


In the UK, War on Want activists joined events which took place across the country, including in Manchester, London, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Liverpool, to name but a few.In Manchester, activists from StopTTIP Manchester engaged in a lively ‘flashmob’ inside the Arndale Shopping Centre – the action was captured on a video available to watch here. For more details and pictures on the Day of Action, see our report back here.

Ahead of this, on 11 April, War on Want was delighted to be one of the supporting organisations at the launch of 'Scotland Against TTIP'. Some 200 activists turned up for the event, which featured talks and lively workshops. The coalition is planning a series of activities, including 'teach-ins' for activists and campaigning targeted at Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), among others. To join the coalition's Facebook group, visit here.

May Day, general election

Soon after this, War on Want spoke about TTIP at May Day rallies in central London (Trafalgar Square), in Redbridge, and in Manchester.

This was followed by the UK general election. Ahead of the election, War on Want compiled the manifesto positions of the UK's political parties on TTIP – this was picked up by the BBC, which cited the research in its most in-depth article on TTIP to date.

The night before the general election, War on Want hosted a screening of Russell Brand's new film, The Emperor's New Clothes, in Stratford, London. The film, which focuses on inequality and the financial crisis, also features an interview focused on TTIP with War on Want executive director, John Hilary. You can watch the trailer, which features a clip of this interview, here.

War on Want talks TTIP

Working with partner organisations, in April, War on Want put together the third edition of the NoTTIP Times, a newspaper entirely focused on TTIP carrying a range of articles on different areas affected by the deal. As with all our materials, if you need copies to help in your activism, fill out this form and we will send you them free of charge.

In addition to the NoTTIP Times, we also wrote articles on TTIP appearing in, among others,openDemocracy.net, the Morning Star, and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

We've also put together a new introductory video on TTIP featuring John Hilary. The video serves as an ideal short introduction to what TTIP is – and, crucially, what it isn't.
John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, gives an introduction to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the EU-US deal now under negotiation that threatens jobs, public services and democracy itself.
European Citizens Initiative, more petition signatures needed, ISDS 'reform'

Hoping to head-off opposition to ISDS in TTIP, the European Commission (EC) prepared an ISDS 'reform' package to deal with issues such as the lack of public access to investment courts, the absence of a right to appeal, and corporate lawyers, rather than judges, serving as arbitrators. The 'reforms' however fail to deal with the fundamental problem of ISDS: that it creates a separate, 'VIP' court system for big business, in so doing detroying equality before the law.

However, the launch of the package did not go as planned for the EC, with the USA instantly citing its opposition due to it seeing no problems with ISDS in the first place. This was followed by an embarrassing leak which suggests the EC has no intention of placing a reformed ISDS into TTIP, indicating that the whole 'reform' agenda is little more than a smokescreen.

Ahead of the European parliament vote, it's crucial that the European Citizen's Initiative, which we've played a central role in creating and promoting, reaches 2 millions signatures – this will send a clear and strong message to MEPs that the European public does not want TTIP. If you haven't already signed, please do click here to join the now more than 1.8 million people across Europe who have.

Upcoming dates for your diary

In June, War on Want will take up its usual slot at the Glastonbury music festival. This year we'll be focusing on TTIP. If you're coming to the festival, please do come and see us at the Green Futures Field!

War on Want has been working with education trade unions to produce a flyer highlighting our shared position against TTIP, with a focus on the threat to education from the deal. Keep an eye out for this in June. We will also be publishing more articles on the wider implications of TTIP for the Global South.

The European Citizens' Initiative comes to an end, after a year, in October 2015. To mark this, activists across Europe are planning another international day of action on trade, scheduled for 10 October. Stay in touch, and we'll keep you updated of our plans.

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