Tuesday, 1 October 2013

TPP protest songs: CI takes a pop at secretive trade agreement

Jeremy Malcolm blogs on two new music videos launched today which challenge the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and aim to raise awareness of  this consumer rights issue.

As negotiators for the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement meet in Bali this week, consumers remain in the dark about how it will affect them. 

Two new music videos that we release today send a strong message to the negotiators – either open up the agreement, or we need to stop the TPP!

The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement could overturn rules on topics as diverse as intellectual property, food labelling and financial services regulation in twelve countries of the Pacific Rim. 

From today senior officials from those countries are meeting at the APEC meeting in Bali, where they hope to advance the negotiations towards closure this year.

Consumers deserve to be a part of these negotiations.  So until we find out what the officials are planning to agree on our behalf, we need to stop the TPP! 

That is the simple message that Consumers International sends out today with the release of two new shareable music videos to raise public awareness of this impending threat to consumer rights.

The videos could not be more different from each other, either musically or visually, but both brilliantly convey our concerns about this undemocratic treaty under negotiation.

The first is 'No to the TPP' (No Al TPP), a beautiful and stirring bossanova-style song in Spanish by the Grammy Award nominated Chilean musician Ana Tijoux, with an evocative music video directed by Fourd Alzamora.

The second music video is an irresistibly catchy J-pop number called 'Stop the TPP!' (みんなでストップ!TPP) by Japanese musicians Emi Nakada and Citron178.  They released the audio of their original Japanese version earlier in the year, but today CI launches an accompanying animation video as well as an English language vocal version.  We even have a karoke version to which you can sing along!

Emi explains why she made the song: “The subject matter of the TPP is so complicated that people can't easily understand how it affects them.  To alert the people as soon as possible to the risks surrounding the TPP, I wrote lyrics that explain the TPP to everyone in simple terms, while singing happily!  I want you to please use this song as one quick way to simply convey this message to a lot of people!”

Emi collaborated on the track with Citron178 who is a composer of anime (Japanese animation) songs.  This is particularly apt given that the anime fan subculture is one of those threatened by the TPP's rules on intellectual property, which would interfere with the creation of homages such as fan art and “cosplay” (fancy dress) designs.

She writes: “In Japan, not much is known about the effects of the intellectual property chapter of the TPP, but it is likely to regulate the creation of fan fiction.  So in order to send a message to geeks, who like to make secondary creative works like this, I had to make a song in the style of anime songs.”  But the threat of the TPP goes further.  “Once you join the TPP, genetically modified foods come in, food safety is lost, health and life are threatened... The risk of losing everything you need for living is high.  It is no doubt that it is a primary concern for consumers!”

Please share both of these brilliant music videos as widely as you can, to send a strong message that we need to Stop the TPP!  In the words of Ana's song 'No to the TPP':

A treaty is not democratic if it is made behind the people
And your deal is not a deal if it is made secretly and without consensus
We all have the right and we all want to decide
The future and present of our children and how they want to live
No to the TPP

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