21.6 C
Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

TPP dystopia

Latest News

Deep listening and housing ideas under Mullum’s fig trees for RenewFest

Around a hundred presenters, musicians, other artists and community activators plus a bumper crowd of punters all came together under the fig trees at the Mullumbimby Showground over the weekend for Renew Fest 2021.

Other News

Assange’s father to beg Biden for son’s freedom

John Shipton, father of detained WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, says he’ll return to the United States to ask President Joe Biden to drop legal action against his son.

On-farm restaurant’s sustainable vision

Frida’s Field is an on-farm restaurant based in Nashua, just ten minutes from Bangalow. Hosting three long lunches per...

Water strategy

Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads The people of Mullumbimby would be aware that Byron Shire Council (BSC) intends to hand over...

Respect for Country

Léandra Martiniello, Whian Whian It is the night of the full moon, I have just watched it rise. On the...

Government fails to support dying at home in Northern Rivers

Approaching the subject of dying is always tricky, often awkward, and never easy. But when you are faced with caring for someone at the end of their life, it helps if you can find support from people who have already navigated the path.

Byron Council to introduce car-free Sundays in the centre of town

Byron Council has taken a further step toward getting cars out of, and pedestrians into, the centre of Byron, by voting to introduce car-free Sundays.

Sapoty’s convinced me: a campaign bred of Don Quixote and Monty Python cannot but prevail (Letters, December 16, 2013). Confronted with a phalanx of play-power Davids armed with half-MOs, the fossil fuel Goliath will crash like a stoner after one too many.

But seriously, our species is notoriously poor at taking precautions today against tomorrow’s consequences. Dangerously rising greenhouse gases are just one of the assaults on the life-support systems of our planet that some environmental scientists say amount to a war against nature; an immensely profitable war. Like booze-soaked adolescents, the greed-intoxicated corporate profiteers don’t give a stuff about the morning after. The awful truth is that this is happening when governments are explicitly ceding our sovereignty to corporations. Abbott’s ‘open for business’ mantra says it all.

We are entering a time when the narrow and nasty interests of corporations are being codified into enforceable, international agreements, which will explicitly privilege corporate profits above community welfare. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, driven by the US government on behalf of US multinationals, contains provisions, which will enable corporations to sue governments for losses of expected profits if those governments act to constrain corporations for our common good.

So forget carbon taxes, constraints on tobacco or alcohol advertising or packaging. The very existence of public health and education systems could be challenged. David Lovejoy’s article (Echo, December 31) is a cameo of life under the TPP. A fuller vision of such a dystopia is Terry Gilliam’s film masterpiece Brazil.

If the subordinate countries in the negotiations (Australia as usual the first to prostrate itself) agree to US demands and the TPP comes into force, then we will be subject to laws which will place corporations above individuals and the community not just in fact but in law. In exchange, corporations are being required to exercise the state’s illicit, coercive power against individuals who have annoyed or embarrassed it.

Guantanamo Bay victim Mamdouh Habib has just had his whole family’s Commonwealth Bank accounts, some of 30 years’ standing, cancelled for no reason. Well, for the reason that he is taking legal action against Australian government agencies that, he alleges, cooperated in his torture. Banks are not just corporations, they are necessary civil institutions that exist to serve the whole community. That the state can cut off a citizen, who has been convicted of no crime, from access to the institutions of civil society: this is to enter a dark age.

So, off to the front line armed with our half-MOs. We have few other defences left.

Adrian Gattenhof, Mullumbimby


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Eating vegan is no longer like Mac Vs PC

Remember back in the bad old days when you used either a PC or Mac? Those were your choices, and never the twain could meet. They were so many miles apart in operations that they were like different countries with different languages and appearances

‘Endless land releases’ not the solution for Byron’s housing crisis, says Country Labor mayor hopeful

Northern Rivers-based trade unionist and MBA student Asren Pugh has announced his candidature for Byron Shire Mayor in September’s local government elections on behalf of Country Labor. 

Global predicament

Dudley Leggett – Director of Sustainability Research Institute, Suffolk Park Phillip Frazer’s article, (Echo 6 January) is an excellent summary of our global predicament, and a...

How full is that glass?

Cr Alan Hunter, Byron Shire Council Council Staff recommend opposing the proposed changes in the Exempt Development provisions to be considered in this week’s Council Ordinary meeting. The...