Scores of protestors descended on Tollefson Plaza for a Star Wars-themed protest to influence elected representatives’ positions on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Washington Fair Trade Coalition, Backbone Campaign, and local 350.org chapters put on a lively street performance encouraging Congressman Derek Kilmer and other undecided officials to support constituents over the corporate interests advanced by the TPP.
Protestors in Star Wars costumes made up the Rebel Alliance of “We the People” in a stand off against the “Corporate Empire” to win over life size replicas of Congress. Light sabers were drawn in the epic battle between Luke Skywalker’s alliance and the dark forces of a massive blow-up TPP Death Star.
“These corporations have betrayed The Republic. They are strong with the dark side of the force,” said Luke Skywalker.
Sith Lords descended on the scene in black hooded capes that read “Big Ag,” “Oil,” and “Pharma” pointing to the sectors that would most benefit from the trade deal. The performance called out the prominence of corporate interests in the TPP, which could threaten laws we rely on for environmental protection, financial stability, affordable medicine, safe food, and local jobs.
Trade negotiators representing twelve countries around the Pacific Rim signed the TPP in Auckland on Feb. 4th, but the agreement will not go into effect unless ratified by the participating countries. Congress could vote any day, putting the fate of democracy on the line as the US considers finalizing the biggest trade deal the nation has ever brokered.
“The Rebel Alliance represents a wide spectrum of public interests that the TPP jeopardizes,” said Director of the Washington Fair Trade Gillian Locascio. “Today, we fight against corporate interests and we will continue fighting to get our elected officials to reject the dark forces behind this agreement.”
The performance ended in a cry for help from the Rebel Alliance, signifying the work still needed to be done to sway Washington’s elected officials against the TPP. Participants then carried signs reading, “Stop the TPP” and marched to Kilmer’s office to deliver their message against the trade agreement and make sure the decision-making power of their elected officials are used for good.
Those present at the event represented the more than 70 Washington labor, faith, environmental, farmer and social justice groups that make up the fair trade coalition and that are calling on representatives like Rep. Kilmer to reject the deal.