“Films, football, beer, and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult….” ― George Orwell, 1984
As Americans train their attention to Super Bowl 50, their way of life — and for nearly half a million people, their livelihoods — just got one step closer to being signed away. This Thursday, in Auckland, New Zealand, representatives of the twelve nations participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership gathered to sign the massive trade deal turned corporate coup, bringing an end to the obligatory 90-day period ostensibly set aside for debate, following the close of five years of negotiations in October.
Agreed to by the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Chile, Peru, and Brunei, the TPP will regulate ‘trade’ among the twelve nations. The deal is estimated to account for 40 percent of the global GDP — yet even the congressmen and congresswomen who will cast the deciding votes for U.S. participation were not privy to negotiations as that occurred.
Infamous both for secrecy among the top U.S. officials and multinational corporate lawyers who designed its structure, the TPP has made headlines more often for the fact it hasn’t made headlines, than for the sovereignty-crushing rules tucked into its multi-thousand-paged text.
Among the contents, some of which had been revealed in pieces by WikiLeaks thanks to concerned whistleblowers, is the notorious Intellectual Property chapter. This chapter acts as a vice grip on copyright law as well as guidelines for so-called “corporate tribunals,” which will allow “injured” corporations to sue governments (even local governments) for predicted future losses. Internet service providers (ISPs) would be forced to cough up customers’ names over instances of copyright infringement for the purposes of prosecution.