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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Haiti's descent into destitution as a portent of why 'Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership' would be bad for Human Rights in the UK

Swheatie attended an International Women's Day fundraising event for Haiti on Saturday 8 March and learned why Haiti is such a poor land. Basically, before slavery was officially ended in the USA, former French colony Haiti was a haven for escaped slaves. And colonialist France thought that was very unfair to French slave owners and thus worked out means of penalising Haiti for standing up for Human Rights and opposition to slavery.

Thus, between 1825 and 1947, France forced Haiti to pay the equivalent of  £21.7bn as 'compensation' for slave owners' loss of their human 'property, paid over 100 years, impoverishing the country.* Leaving aside the matter of subsequent US intervention by way of coups in that land in support of murderous dictators and the ousting of Liberation Theologist President Aristide who pledged to "take Haitians 'from destitution to poverty', starting with women, children and subsistence farmers,"** let's turn now to the matter of the 'Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership' — aka 'TTIP' or 'EU-US free trade agreement'.
TTIP and TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership, that parallels TTIP in America's insistence that rights of corporations transcend democratic rights of citizens] will also include Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), allowing transnational corporations to sue governments directly for the loss of any future profits resulting from any government action, at any level, such as new legislation.  Where ISDS is already included in ‘trade’ deals, it is shown to lead either to big pay-outs from governments to transnational corporations or to deter governments from legislating – the ‘chill’ effect.

Thus, if a corporation does not like, say, a guaranteed minimum wage or any other such anti-slavery measure, we have some idea of what they will do to 'remedy' the situation. What do you think about that? And with EU elections coming up this May, what do UK political parties have to say about where they stand on the matter?

Why not ask them, or search for references to TTIP on their websites. Do not trust the BBC to give you the information you want on the matter. They seem to be only concerned with the UK's biggest political parties whenever they are not giving UKIP free publicity.

Wikipedia reports regarding Haitian history: "Fearful of the influence of the slaves' revolution [in Haiti], President Thomas Jefferson refused to recognize the new republic, as did most European nations." but Jefferson did leave us with a useful quotation to bear in mind when making democratic decisions: "Democracy presupposes knowledge."

PS: If you are in a political party, what does your political party say about its stance on TTIP?

* Source: Global Women's Strike factsheet 'Haiti: 10 Years of Resistance to 29 Feb 2004 Coup and its Bitter Legacy'
** Source: ibid

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