Vote for an exit and vote no to TTIP

A vote to get out of the EU is a vote against TTIP.

The European Union is currently negotiating secret trade deals which would institutionalise irreversible mass privatisation of public services that working people rely on, lower safety standards in the interest of profit and abolish tariffs for the world’s largest corporations, that’s tax to you and me.

These treaties, currently known as TTIP with the US and CETA with Canada, would create secret courts that would allow transnational corporations to sue nation states for huge sums of money for any breaches of this charter for finance capital.

It is important to note that TTIP means Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, so it’s all about protecting investors. Any measure a foreign investor claims is equal to “indirect expropriation”, such as policies reducing their profits, can be challenged in these offshore secretive courts, created by treaties containing ISDS clauses, bypassing any democratic legal system.

“Each Party shall accord fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security to investments and investors” that is the phrase used in the EU’s draft text and well known from many other ISDS treaties guaranteeing the right to sue governments for protection from regulatory measures they deem to be “unfair and inequitable”.

This Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) procedure is already being used in other ‘trade’ agreements designed to simply suck billions from nation states and into the coffers of the world’s largest companies – a sort of Wonga. Com scam written very very large.

The most recent United Nations survey of ISDS proceedings in international trade agreements — where they have leaked into the public domain — shows that the number of claims by multinationals against states under ISDS mechanisms is rising and that claims in 2014 ranged between $8 million and $2.5 billion. The largest award made in 2014 was $50bn.

ISDS claims made in 2013 included claims for alleged losses arising from the imposition of levies on solar power plants in the Czech Republic and from a reduction of subsidies for renewable energy in Spain.

There was a claim for €824m against Cyprus for increasing its stake in the Cyprus Popular Bank as a stability measure in the crisis.

Regardless of the names of these trade deals, the ISDS model is clearly a strategy for world domination by the world’s richest people and, not surprisingly, there has been a public outcry as these secretive plans become known more widely.

As John Hilary of War on Want warned recently: “If the Greek crisis has shown how the institutions of the EU will stop at nothing to force through their own brand of capitalist discipline, TTIP is confirmation that we will all soon be tasting the same medicine”.

Yet the European Commission has just rejected a two million signature European Citizens’ Initiative these trade deals despite the fact such petitions are written into the Lisbon Treaty.

That is because EU institutions and treaties broadly concur with this model of corporate domination as directive after directive has poured out all demanding the same thing of different industries and sectors, that is, mass privatisation and so-called ‘free market competition’ which actually means institutionalised monopoly capitalism.

So these ‘trade deals’ are nothing new, just good old fashioned imperialism; a word that EU enthusiasts in the labour and trade union movement rarely like to use and with good reason.

The EU is nothing more than a cartel for the major imperialist powers in Europe, which operate solely in the interests of their most powerful corporations, in order to impose structural adjustment on to the 500 million souls that live under their thrall.

We have been here before. As British elites instruct us to ‘celebrate’ the carnage of World War One the parallels between then and now are startling.

As we all know, the origins of World War One lay squarely at the door of imperialism and the capitalists which profited so much from the conflict.

And so imperialism remains with us today. For instance the Berlin Conference between the European powers of 1884-85 launched the ‘scramble for Africa’ and even set up a committee to settle inter-state disputes over who owned what colony.

The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity by European powers and was a sort of gentlemen’s agreement not to fight militarily with each other to minimise expenditure. Simultaneously they eliminated most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance based on tribes and embryo nations. The participants in the carve-up were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden-Norway, and the Ottoman Empire.

Although invited the USA didn’t participate. It was not in a position to mount expeditions and preferred to not give the conference further legitimacy.

The powers at the conference just sat down and literally partitioned Africa between themselves including the use of straight lines on the map some of which still exist today. They gave themselves the ‘right to conquest’. African races, tribes and nations were deliberately not invited to the conference rather like we have not been invited to TTIP negotiations, for obvious reasons.

Today we have a ‘scramble for the world’ using a raft of treaties on trade and investment. The real object of TTIP and all EU treaties is to sweep away national government powers and all forms of democracy along with it.

Our very own Tory Prime Minister David Cameron says speeding up TTIP negotiations is his top priority. For all their posturing on the EU, the Tories want to accelerate the biggest assault on parliamentary sovereignty since the Lisbon Treaty.

So we come to the referendum on EU membership. David Cameron is assembling an alliance which runs from the CBI boss organisation to the more unhinged components of British Trotskyism such as the Alliance for Workers Liberty to ensure we stay in this neoliberal empire.

EU policies, echoed within TTIP and every other trade deal, have decimated entire industries. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has laid waste to entire countries. Before Lithuania joined the EU is was largely agriculturally self-sufficient, today millions of acres lay unused as the CAP is designed to control prices within the EU and to protect farmers in Europe’s most powerful member states including France.

As a result Lithuanians, young and old, have been forced leave their country in order to join the huge reserve army of labour created by the EU’s ‘free movements’ rules which lift all control on the movement of capital, goods, services and labour, all for the benefit of the richest people in Europe.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in an insane recipe for overfishing and waste which has destroyed many fishing ground and is decimating many more around Africa leading to many more to flee that region.

The EU’s Eurozone is a world economic black spot which is destroying entire economies. Greece and every other state would be better off outside this neo-liberal torture chamber. Moreover Britain and every other state would be better off outside the EU.