21st Century Protest: Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux’s new release opposes the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal

We were very proud to host Ana Tijoux‘s debut UK gig at Favela Chic in 2011 – it was a wicked night, she’s a lyrical showstopper. At the forefront of the international Hip Hop movement, Ana is only the second Chilean musician to be Grammy nominated, has collaborated with the likes of Julieta Venegas (on the hit ‘Eres Para Mi’), Control Machete, and Bajofondo, was #1 Latin album of the year on Amazon in 2010 and broke new ground on iTunes charts around the world.

Ana started out with rap group Makiza whose lyrics were full of social commentary, particularly about the injustices against the indigenous people of Chile. The radical slant of her new Bossa Nova style track, then, is not surprising. What is surprising is that, unlike most popular artists – who tend to bow the status quo as they climb the ladder of fame – Tijoux’s radicalism is growing as quickly as her reputation is. Her new song “NO AI TPP” (video above) focuses on opposing and exposing the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal (TPP). You can download the track for free via MediaFire on YouTube too. If you haven’t heard about the TPP, we’re not surprised. It’s being kept secret by some of the most dangerous secret keepers in the world.

We’ve tried to break the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal down as briefly as possible here, as far as we understand it:

The TPP is a pact that the United States is negotiating with twelve countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Chile, Peru, Mexico and four more in the Pacific region. It’s called a “free trade” agreement. In fact it has little to do with physical trade or with freedom – it seems to be about digital trade (copyright law) and corporate monopoly.

Six hundred US corporate advisors have negotiated and have had input into the TPP, and the proposed draft text has not been made available to the public, the press or policymakers. Apparently the level of secrecy surrounding the agreements is unparalleled – with many members of the Senate also kept in the dark. Wikileaks have even been offered a reward of over $60,000 to get their hands on the deal and publish it – check out salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1439/content_item/freetpp. If only.

Rumours are that the main thrust of the deal will impose strict regulations that give multinational companies unparalleled power over the taxpayer, restrict access to common medicines and give the biggest corporations greater control over the environment and national food supplies by limiting food labelling and banning smaller food traders.

Refreshing, and brave, then that Ana Tijoux chooses to publicly highlight this rather terrifying ‘top secret’ deal – that will have serious local (to participating countries) and global (even for those countries not participating) repercussions. If popular music and culture has active power, then this here could be a fine example. Without this song, it is likely that we wouldn’t be writing this blog. But, were the TPP already in effect, it may very well be illegal for us to share Ana Tijoux’s video with you, let alone the news that the TPP’s proposed legislation on Intellectual Property could mean that any household, business or organisation found guilty of ‘copyright infringement’ – such as sharing YouTube videos – would have their internet terminated via IP restrictions.

These regulations, that will be imposed when the deal is passed, are both a testament to the powerful socio-political connotations of music and art and also tragically suggest that our age of internet freedom, as some call it ‘digital socialism’, as well as our vital food sovereignty, could soon be hindered even further by the unelected, unrepresentative powers that be. That is, unless we follow Ana’s lead: start talking about it and organise some boycotts.

Further reading:

www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/03/trans-pacific-partnership-corporate-power-tool-of-the-1/

www.americasquarterly.org/next-big-thing-trans-pacific-partnership

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/27/pacific-free-trade-deal

Trans-Pacific Trade Pact backgrounders from Naomi Wolf via Curtis Ellis -

TPP and Internet Freedom:

www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/08/tpp-creates-liabilities-isps-and-put-your-rights-risk

www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/08/whats-wrong-tpp

TPP and pharmaceuticals:

www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=6663

www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/blog/2011/10/22/leaked-trans-pacific-fta-texts-reveal-u-s-undermining-access-to-medicine/

By Rosa Weber

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