A handful of activists gathered outside the La Jolla offices of Representative Scott Peters on Monday morning (August 1), flying a 25-foot inflatable blimp and demonstrating their disapproval of Peters's stance in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial trade bill Peters and others in Congress voted to give "fast-track" negotiation status last year.
"The Trans-Pacific Partnership was negotiated in secret, with no public input," said Lizzy Jean, an activist with Fight for the Future. "It's going to be NAFTA on steroids — it's going to drive jobs further outside the U.S., since we'll be in direct competition with countries that don't have a minimum wage. It's going to make it harder to get generic medicine, our food safety is going to decline — there's a lot of reasons the TPP is just awful.
Fight for the Future, based in Massachusetts, was in town for the group's Rock Against the TPP concert tour that featured Jolie Holland at Spin nightclub on Saturday night. (The Denver kickoff included Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who is helping organize the tour.)
"It's going to give corporations the ability to sue governments that put regulations in place that limit their profits," warned Jean. "So, for example, if California were to put more stringent environmental regulations in place, a company or another country could sue to recover lost profits, even future lost profits."
The protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations by anti-TPP groups, which have targeted Peters and other congressional representatives, including fellow Democrat Susan Davis, for their support of (or failure to condemn) the trade agreement.
"They told me that many other groups have been here opposing the TPP. But you've got us now, and we're the troublemakers." said Chris McKay, a representative of Artful Activist San Diego, who said his group was denied an audience with Peters's staff to air their grievances. McKay promised an increased level of protest, including measures aimed at causing sufficient disturbance to make management at the office complex uncomfortable.
"We'll get him evicted...we'll get him kicked out of here, kicked out of La Jolla."
(corrected 8/2, 1:25 p.m.)