Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Please Support Common Dreams This #GivingTuesday

Our staff has grown and our coverage of the climate emergency, COVID-19, and rising authoritarianism has intensified over the last two years. But, our expenses during the pandemic have gone up as well. This has been one of the toughest years we’ve ever faced. Donations are down. Traffic to the website from Google and Facebook have inexplicably fallen off a cliff. If we have any chance of meeting our fundraising targets for the year, we need this to be the best #GivingTuesday ever. Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers ever make a donation. We're counting on you. Can you make that gift today to help Common Dreams end the year strong?

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Tens of thousands of people, including farmers driving their tractors against corporate-friendly trade agreements, marched in Berlin. (Photo: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)

We’re Fed Up! 50,000 in Berlin Say No to TTIP

We are hearing more and more news from Europe that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is running into stiff head winds, and I had the pleasure of seeing this growing storm of opposition first-hand in Berlin last week. I attended a series of events culminating in the WIR HABEN ES SATT! “We’re Fed Up” march, a massive mobilization of people saying no to industrial agriculture. This year, a special focus was on TTIP and GMOs and demanding new protections for animal welfare. This was the fifth year of the march, and at 50,000 people, the biggest so far.

One of the organizers of the march, ARC2020, described the event: “Farmers and beekeepers, tractors and stiltwalkers, samba bands and chanting citizens of all ages made their colourful way from Potsdamer Platz to the Angela Merkel’s chancellery. Their aim? To say no to a broken industrialised globalised food system and yes to an alternative.”

IATP’s Shefali Sharma spoke at the We’re Fed Up rally following the march, along with Alessa Hartmann from the German organization Power-Shift. Shefali spoke about the reasons people in the U.S. are opposed to free trade agreements. We’ve seen what happens when corporations gain power at the expense of family farmers and local economies. “But,” she added, “the corporations and the Obama administration haven’t accounted for the massive organizing of unions, environmentalists, faith and farm groups to stop fast track and set our food systems in a different direction.”

Alessa pointed out that this agreement is not about U.S. corporations taking over the EU food system, but rather a corporate-driven agenda from both sides of the Atlantic. Citizen action must be transatlantic too. Shefali went on to say, “We have a vision for our agriculture that gives power back to family farmers, workers and consumers of the food system to produce agroecological, ethical and healthy food. We have to stop corporations from capturing our regulations that can make this vision a reality! We have to stop TTIP.”

After the march, at the “Soup and Talk” gathering at the Heinrich Boell Foundation, people met to talk about next steps. I met Walter Haefker, the head of the European Professional Beekeepers Association. IATP and ARC2020 organized a webinar last month to consider the possible threats of TTIP on new rules to limit the use of neonicotonoids, a pesticide linked to bee colony collapse. Walter told me that TTIP is already hurting beekeepers, as the European Commission recently gave in to longstanding U.S. opposition to GMO labeling of honey. Honey, of course, isn’t genetically modified, but consumers want to know if the pollen is from GM plants. TTIP could eliminate European consumers’ right to know that fact, especially for imported honey. We all discussed plans for a global day of action against free trade agreements on April 18.

Right now, U.S. groups are mobilizing to block fast track, a legislative mechanism that would let the administration negotiate trade deals in secret and then present the completed deal to Congress for an up or down vote. We’ll likely hear more about that tonight in President Obama’s State of the Union address, which is expected to hold up this tired and false solution for rebuilding our economies. In the EU, much of the center of attention on trade is on investment. Those are key campaigns, and with this kind of massive mobilization, there is potential to pave the way for a different kind of food system on both sides of the Atlantic.


© 2021 Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Karen Hansen-Kuhn

Karen Hansen-Kuhn is International Program Director at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Her work has focused on bringing developing countries' perspectives into public debates on trade, food security and economic policy.

khansenkuhn@iatp.org

 

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

WHO, South Africa Urge Nations to Lift 'Naive' Omicron Travel Bans

"The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic."

Brett Wilkins ·


EU Joins Rights Group in Condemning Israel's 'Day of Destruction' of Palestinian Homes

"Demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace."

Brett Wilkins ·


GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo