Well, it sure didn’t take long, did it? Just a few days after the rejection of ACTA by the European parliament, Michael Geist reported on a leak of a trade agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and Canada (see also his follow-up post). The treaty, dubbed the Canada – EU Trade Agreement (CETA), contains a near word-for-word copy of ACTA in its chapter on intellectual property rights. CETA is a much more extensive treaty than ACTA was, so if it ever actually comes up for vote in the parliaments, it’ll be more difficult to reject, since it would also mean rejecting a wide variety of completely unrelated points. This is typical of the current mode of legislation in the EU: private interests are being smuggled into the process as part of these all-encompassing packages that are presented on a take-it-or-leave-it-basis, so that all discussion of individual issues therein gets mooted.
This is also indicative of a more general way “democracy” works here in the West: you get the freedom to choose (whether it’s by proxy in a parliament, or by a referendum), but only as long as you make the right choice (as determined by the money elite). In case you fail to realise what’s good for you and make the wrong choice, you can be sure that the same proposition will be presented to you again and again (with slight variations to deceive you) until it goes through. This is how it will continue to be as long as the political agenda is set by the corporate lobbyists and not us, the people.
This is why we need to take a proactive stance and start setting a whole new agenda from the ground up ourselves. We can no longer trust the politicians to do this for us. Parliaments should only be voting on legislation initiated by us, the people, not legislation drafted by corporate lobbyists. Treaties should be negotiated by us, the people, via an open process, not by faceless bureaucrats behind closed doors. The case of Iceland shows that this is not a pipe dream, there are ways to at least take steps in this direction. But those steps need to be taken by us. This thing cannot be done by proxy. If we’re not prepared to do this now, all we can expect from the future are more defensive battles over ever more oppressive legislation and treaties, many of which we are bound to lose.