We Need Your Help
Military V. Health
Right V. NEA, Again
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
MJ's Queer Family
You, Me & the SPP
Schwartz's Solidarity Stories
Gordon's Anarchy Alive
Yates's Working Class
Rich's Human Eye
SCENES OF RESISTANCE
Coups, UNASUR, U.S.
Hug Them While They Last
Nowhere To Fall
Hoodboy on Pakistan
Ramiro on Drug War
Zaps - 10-09
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
You, Me and the SPP
Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule
Directed by Paul Manly; Manly Media Productions, 2009, 91mins.
Canadian filmmaker Paul Manly did not originally set out to make a documentary about the Security Prosperity Partnership (SPP). The SPP, signed between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in March 2005, aims to harmonize trade regulations between the three nations. However, the more Manly delved into the agreement, the more it disturbed him.
The result is the documentary You, Me and the SPP: Trading Democracy for Corporate Rule. Manly reveals that the SPP is really an agreement modeled on NAFTA that threatens to further erode democracy, the environment, and living standards across North America. It is about big corporations wanting to lower a broad range of regulations and practices. "Whichever province or state [that] has the lowest standards, that's the standards these companies are allowed to use as their benchmark," says Maude Barlow, Council of Canadian's chairperson.
According to New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Peter Julian, the SPP would lower standards in 300 areas of regulation in Canada. Julian cites the Canadian government's decision to allow the import of more pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, putting at a disadvantage Canadian farmers who have higher standards while also harming human health.
The SPP is also about North American economic integration and ensuring the U.S. a secure supply of natural resources. Academic Gordon Laxer says that the SPP would lower Canada's environmental regulations to allow more oil and gas exports to the U.S. It will also allow Canada to bring in more Mexican workers with few labor rights. Exporting Canadian water to the U.S. is also being discussed.
Barlow said that when she asked U.S. embassy officials in Ottawa why the SPP was never brought to elected bodies for discussion and approval, she was told that they wanted "to avoid another losing NAFTA debate."
The documentary also sheds light on the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), a supposed free trade agreement between Canadian provinces that eliminates trade barriers. Journalist Murray Dobbins asserts that TILMA is an essential part of the SPP. Because most regulations are controlled by the provinces and municipalities, the Canadian government cannot negotiate deregulation and harmonization with the U.S. and Mexico until this obstacle is dealt with. TILMA is really an investors' rights agreement under the guise of dismantling trade barriers, few of which even exist. Like NAFTA, it allows corporations to sue provincial or municipal governments and school boards that raise standards. Dispute panels that meet behind closed doors will make rulings, not the courts. Even when panels do not rule against elected bodies, it creates a chilling effect, say critics, discouraging democratic bodies from improving standards.
Dobbins remarks that the SPP is "a parallel government where important decisions are made outside elected legislatures or parliament or they make it impossible for these types of decisions to be made in these elected bodies." How do proponents of the deal respond to the accusation that the SPP will erode democracy and living and environmental standards? Each federal or provincial government minister Manly contacted was too busy to answer questions. According to constitutional lawyer Joel Bakan, trade agreements like the SPP "are very powerful, secretive and very difficult for us as citizens to penetrate and have any say over."
One of the most disturbing segments of You, Me and the SPP occurs when Manly films a peaceful group of citizens and trade unionists protesting against the SPP at a joint Canadian, U.S., and Mexican 2007 summit in Quebec. Suddenly, three masked men dressed in black clothing begin throwing rocks at the police from behind the protesters. The demonstrators confront the three masked men, still clenching large rocks in their hands, and demand that they drop their stones, accusing them of being provocateurs from the police intent on starting a riot. Later a Quebec police spokesperson admitted that the three masked men were indeed police officers.
Manly's You, Me and the SPP deserves to be widely seen. It sheds light on how the SPP will further undermine democratic rights and the ability of elected bodies to pass laws and regulations that protect the environment, workers' rights, and ensure that the economy serves the public.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.