Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
The Dane County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution this week condemning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a NAFTA-style agreement they say has been negotiated in secret over the last five years.
County Board Chair John Hendrick, Common Council President Chris Schmidt and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin jointly announced the resolution at a press conference on Wednesday.
Speaking to members of the press, Mayor Soglin warned that the treaty will lower accounting standards for corporations all over the world, creating lax oversight and allowing Enron-style methods to become "commonplace."
"The consequence of that is that Enrons will become commonplace and ordinary," he said. "Everything from what we see in real estate transactions to the protections of our pensions, our security, of our economy, will be threatened. For decades, there have been efforts to get American regulators to lower our accounting standards to this lowest common denominator. But they can't get it by going through the front door. They're going to attempt to get it by working their way through this treaty."
The TPP is being negotiated between the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, with the possibility of other Pacific Rim nations like Japan, China, Chile, Peru and Mexico joining later.
The press conference was organized by the South Central Federation of Labor and David Newby, former head of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and current President of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Coalition.
Here's David Newby explaining some of the details of the TPP, as well as the fast track process it may go through to be ratified by the U.S. government:
And here are local elected officials explaining how the TPP would hurt our communities:
The Dane County board passed the resolution Thursday night with one member abstaining and one member in opposition. None of the public comments supported the treaty. The Madison Common Council is scheduled to vote on the resolution at its meeting on October 29.
Photo: Screenshot via YouTube.