Chronicle of the talk

“Answers to the neoliberal offensive in the Trump era”

A year after the provisional approval of CETA, the Spanish government and the European Union are negotiating new Trade and Investment Treaties with Japan, Singapore and Mercosur. Meanwhile, Washington and Brussels are negotiating to strain the TTIP “through the back door”. In this context, the Spanish campaign against Free Trade Agreements «Campaña NO a los Tratados de Comercio e Inversión», in association with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, organized a round table discussion on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 to discuss the social and environmental impacts of these international treaties and their possible alternatives. The speakers included the actor Juan Diego Botto, the Madrid councilman Carlos Sánchez Mato, the OMAL researcher Erika González, the Ecologistas en Acción member Tom Kuchartz and the CGT unionist Irene de la Cuerda.

The event had a dynamic format where the speakers answered questions raised by the organization and the public. The first interventions aimed to describe the current situation of international trade and corporate power. According to the speakers, Trade and Investment Treaties create a “legal architecture of impunity” that allows multinationals to continue accumulating wealth at the expense of social and ecological deterioration. At the same time, far-right parties use xenophobic, racist and patriarchal discourse blaming migrants for the current crisis, while continuing to support the formerly mentioned companies that plunged our society into this crisis and lead us to a new one. The speakers further discussed the relationship of these neoliberal treaties with the precarious labor in Spain that began with the reform of the labor law in 2012.

The second part of the forum focused on the answers and alternatives to the neoliberal offensive. One of the possible pathways exposed was municipal policies, which can serve as a palliative for the impacts of free trade agreements, though not a definitive solution. Another strategy is international alliances as Dismantling Corporate Power and their proposal to create an International Court of Human Rights Violations of the Transnationals. However, all the speakers agree that the fundamental response must stem from citizens’ massive mobilization in favor of a more just and sustainable trade.