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Photos: Hundreds Rally in Beverly Hills Against Obama's Trade Policy

Environmental and progressive groups march in Beverly Hills against the Trade Pacific Partnership, a regional trade agreement, in connection with the fundraisers, demanding more attention to domestic issues.

Credit: Tell Obama: Flush the TPP (Trade Pacific Partnership) Facebook page
Credit: Tell Obama: Flush the TPP (Trade Pacific Partnership) Facebook page
Hundreds of Californians rallied in the streets of Beverly Hills Monday afternoon and night calling for an end to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement, while President Barack Obama and party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid attended a Democratic fundraiser at Ervin "Magic" Johnson's house.

“Four years into these secret negotiations, the secret is out. The TPP is a trade agreement of, by and for the one percent,” said protest organizer activist Lauren Steiner. “The president has clearly done a one-eighty on all his campaign promises regarding trade. The question is whether members of Congress are going to follow him or stand with their constituents."

Obama also attended a fundraiser Monday at the home of Saban Capital Group Chairman Haim Saban benefiting efforts to elect more Democrats to the House.

The environmental and progressive groups marched in Beverly Hills against the TPP, a regional trade agreement, in connection with the fundraisers. The partnership includes the United States, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Peru and Chile. Opponents of the partnership claim it will undermine food and environmental protections in the United States.

The Beverly Hills protest was planned by individuals connected to No War with Syria Coalition and Occupy Venice Beach. Grassroots activists, concerned citizens and members of civil society organizations listened Monday to speakers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Organic Consumers Association, Citizens Trade Coalition, Health Care for All and the Communications Workers of America.

"People are sick of politicians in the pocket of big business who continue to push these corporate power grabs disguised as trade agreements," Steiner added. "We are calling on Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to immediately abandon the TPP, and focus instead on the work that needs to be done to improve
the health of our economy and our environment.”

The 20th major round of negotiations on the 12-nation TPP concluded last week in Salt Lake City, Utah, without a final agreement. There were protests there as well.

According to protest organizers, trade ministers from each of the countries involved will be meeting again from Dec. 7 to 10 in Singapore in another attempt to conclude the 29-chapter pact, which covers not only tariffs and quotas, but also financial regulations, food safety standards, energy exports, medicine patents, Internet protocols, government procurement and more.

"Anyone that cares about promoting sustainable agriculture, labeling genetically engineered foods, or protecting food safety, should oppose the TPP," said Zack Kaldveer, a spokesperson for the Organic Consumers Association. "This secret trade deal would grant a few transnational corporations unprecedented power to undermine the health and well-being of consumers and the planet in the pursuit of profits."

Labor, environmental, consumer, public health and family farm organizations have all expressed serious reservations about the direction of the TPP, if not outright opposition. While the administration has kept its proposals for the TPP a tightly guarded secret, leaked texts first published by WikiLeaks and others have been criticized by a range of typically left-leaning constituency groups, according to Steiner and other protest organizers.

"The copyright enforcement provisions in the TPP pose a huge threat to a free and open Internet and imposes harmful restrictions on how users can use their digital devices, “ said Maira Sutton from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Hollywood industries have heavily influenced the TPP negotiations to strengthen copyright restrictions, in ways that will censor content and stifle digital innovation."

"The lack of transparency and the degree of secrecy surrounding the process for negotiating the TPP raise serious concerns about an agreement that will affect 40 percent of the world's economy, and necessitate a thorough evaluation by Congress,” added Lance Simmens, California Director of Citizens Trade Coalition. “Recent revelations by Wikileaks suggest that these concerns are warranted and that this agreement should not move forward."

On Tuesday, Obama conducted a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the Hancock Park home of Marta Kauffman, a co-creator of the 1994-2004 NBC comedy "Friends."

The trip is Obama's 16th to the Los Angeles area since taking office. All but three of his trips have included political fundraisers. He has made 10 trips to the area solely for fundraising.

What are your thoughts about the TPP?

Lauren Steiner November 27, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Love the article. Hate the photo of me. I look like I had a migraine headache or something. Here is a link to the Flicker stream of a professional photographer that covered the event. http://www.flickr.com/photos/barryelevine All in all it was a very successful action. Around 250 showed up to protest this free trade agreement that is really a rigged trade agreement, a global corporate power grab. We all marched up Benedict Canyon and chanted. Many in cars stopped to ask what the TPP was. So we were able to educate the public at large. Many hiked up two miles to get as close to the fundraiser as possible. Protesters did media interviews there. So along with the ones we did at the park and on the march route, we were featured in several TV news reports that night on several different stations. Plus, we got a photo in yesterday's LA Times. But the best of all was that Obama's motorcade saw us in three locations. One, we unfurled our 10 foot banner that said "Stop the TPP: Transparency Release the Text" on Whittier South of Sunset when he drove by at 6:45. Two, the Occupy LA Overpass Light Brigade were there with their lit up letters NO TPP on Benedict Canyon south of Tower when he drove by there. And three, several marchers were stationed down below the fundraiser. So his motorcade was able to see them before they turned off the side street they routed him on. Thanks for covering this, Beverly Hills Patch. You did a better job than the LA Times who covered Obama's visit as if they worked for the White House PR department.
Alex White November 27, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Great article! Yet, this needs to be stressed above all else:.... The TPP would THREATEN our states' and NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY ..... go to www.exposethetpp.org (look under "Affects You" tab to learn more. ...... GOALS over Next Few Weeks: ..... #1 STOP FAST TRACK AUTHORITY, ... #2 STOP THE TPP. ... This is absolutely critical to the USA to STOP the brazen attempt of a Global Corporate Coup. ... (185 US House Reps have signed DeLauro/Bachman letters to vote against FT... we need at least 217 to defeat FT. ... Call congress, leave a message!! .... Demand they VOTE NO ON THE UPCOMING FAST TRACT BILL !!! .... It's up to us... .... THE TIME IS NOW ! ... 202...224...3121 ....
Alex White November 27, 2013 at 02:26 PM
*Fast Track Bill

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