We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, December 3, 2018

US coal firm launches NAFTA suit against Alberta over coal phase-out

Click here to access article from ISDS Platform.

The ISDS Platform, a non-profit NGO, tracks such cases throughout the world. I am posting this article to illustrate the powerful control that the advanced version of capitalism, neoliberalism, has, and that their capitalist beneficiaries enjoy, under the domination of the US-led Empire. One little clause that is inserted in every neoliberal agreement requires a nation to submit to a private court any laws that are passed that might result in a loss to private owners. 
ISDS is a mechanism included in many trade and investment agreements to settle disputes. Settling these investor disputes relies on arbitration rather than public courts. Under agreements which include ISDS mechanisms, a company from one signatory state investing in another signatory state can argue that new laws or regulations could negatively affect its expected profits or investment potential, and seek compensation in a binding arbitration tribunal. Corporations typically seek compensation which may amount to millions or billions of US dollars.
Capitalists have always regarded the ownership of economic property as sacred. International corporations have managed with the backing of the US Empire to insert such clauses in every economic agreement between and among nations. Nations must accept such neoliberal clauses if they want to do business with nations under the control of the US Empire which is most of the world. Also recalcitrant nations will likely be denied loans from international banking agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank. Such agreements are especially onerous for nations that have suffered many decades, even centuries, of exploitation by foreign corporations under colonial regimes.

In this example where a Canadian province decided to stop coal production as a means to allay global warming, they are likely to be forced to pay billions of dollars in compensation to the coal companies. While reading this article, you might also notice other examples this organization has tracked.