Globalisation

Donald Trump welcomed the New Year in his own inimitable manner: surrounded by his social and political clan in the opulent surroundings of his exclusive Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, accompanied by a representative gathering of all segments of US society – from movie stars to billionaires.

The ‘Paradise Papers’ revelations aren’t surprising, only enraging. Over 13 million leaked documents detailing the offshore tax-avoiding activities of the global elite tell us what we already know: that while they cut healthcare, education, and welfare for the rest of us (with the excuse that there’s no money), the super-rich don’t pay tax.

The equivalent of a silent, unilateral war has been going on for years in the Mediterranean Sea. It is not a war in the traditional sense, because it lacks contending armies, but a war of the entrenched 'civilised world' against hundreds of thousands of unarmed people. Their only crime is a desperate attempt to flee poverty, unbearable living conditions and the destruction of their livelihoods in their home countries, and follow the dream of a better life for themselves and their families in Europe.

Budget airline Ryanair recently announced the cancellation of nearly 2,000 flights over the next 5-6 weeks, accounting for 40 to 50 flights a day. Officially, the company blames various delays, air traffic control strikes in France, weather conditions and a modified holiday schedule of pilots and cabin crew. However, this is all a smoke screen.

The isolationist Trump has had a change of heart. Instead of his promise to keep out of the Middle East, he has used the outrage over a chemical attack on civilians in Khan Shaykhun in Syria to send 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian government air base. The White House was quick to announce that the action sent a strong signal not just to Assad, but to the rest of the world.

The year 2016 ended with two more dramatic and bloody occurrences: the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Istanbul and the brutal murder of people in Berlin who were peacefully enjoying preparations for Christmas. These events were linked to the bloody morass in the Middle East and more specifically to Syria.

The following document was discussed and approved at the recent congress of Lal Salaam, the Pakistani section of the IMT.

Across the world, centre-left governments and the traditional parties of the working class are in crisis. Reformism has hit up against the rocks of reality, unable to offer anything to workers and youth in this age of austerity. Daniel Morley examines the crisis of social democracy and points the way forward for leaders, such as Corbyn, in the fight to defend the gains of the past.

The recent NATO summit in Warsaw was full of contradiction and tensions between members of the alliance. The fragility of NATO’s power and the instability of world relations were on display for all to see.

For Marxists elections provide a valuable way of ascertaining certain tendencies in society. It is true that they are not the only way of judging the mood of the masses – nor even the best barometer of the real state of the class struggle. At best they are a snapshot of a certain mood at a given time. But having made these necessary reservations and qualifications, one has to take these indicators seriously, as Marx and Lenin certainly did.

At the 2015 Labour conference, shortly after Corbyn’s victory, Labour members voted in favour of a Unite motion to only support air-strikes on Syria if they have United Nations (UN) backing. More recently in the Commons vote to authorise this bombing, in the absence of UN support, Diane Abbott, a key Corbyn ally and Labour left-winger, urged caution, saying that “if some MPs are intent on military action, surely their first step should be to pressure Cameron to obtain some kind of UN resolution?”.

“Out with the Old. In with the New”. That was always the encouraging message of New Year. But amidst all the parties and the popping of champagne bottles, there was no sign of any optimism or hope for the future on the part of the ruling class and its strategists. On the contrary, the columns of the bourgeois press are filled with pessimism and foreboding.

The recent FIFA corruption scandal has adorned the front pages over the past few weeks. Beginning with the news on 27th May, just two days prior to the presidential election, that several officials had been subject to FBI raids and leading to the standing down of president Sepp Blatter after 17 years in the position and just a few days after being re-elected, the events have no doubt had a big impact at the top of FIFA.

We live in a time when the whole establishment is not only corrupt and rotten to the core but is seen as such by a large section of the working class, both in Britain and throughout the rest of the world. Bankers and financiers are manipulating the markets for short-term gain; politicians are pocketing whatever they can whilst demanding that the poor accept pay cuts and declining services; rich and powerful individuals are exposed as having carried out acts of extreme depravity right under our eyes with nothing being done about it; bosses carry out illegal blacklisting aided by the state...the list goes on. However, if you were to ask the average person in the street to come up with

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The main outcome of the NATO summit that took place in Newport, Wales on 4th-5th September appears to have been the decision to launch a new ‘spearhead’ rapid response task force. This ‘achievement’ is something that NATO’s political and military leaders seem to be very proud about. In reality this new project is yet another landmark in the weakening of US imperialism, the crisis in world relations and the decline of the global capitalist system as a whole.

In Britain, a handful of super-rich plutocrats control our lives. On a world scale, according to Oxfam, a mere 85 top billionaires, who could all comfortably fit into a double-decker bus, own more wealth than half of the world's population put together.

The farce has ended, but the tragedy continues. In the idyllic surroundings of a secluded lakeside resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland the leaders of the United States and the other major industrialized nations met last week to discuss Syria and the global economy. The leaders, we are told, were casually dressed, presumably to assist friendly and informal conversation.

In the last few months we have seen two “surprise” exercises by the Russian military. This is the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union that such exercises have been carried out. Meanwhile, in the South China Sea a naval arms race is developing with China in the lead. And at the same time American imperialism is withdrawing ground forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and is increasingly reluctant to engage in Bush style invasions.

The Swedish state has requested the extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden to be questioned about rape allegations. This is portrayed by the media as an attempt to “seek justice”. But the extreme determination with which they are pursuing the case indicates that there are other interests at play than concern with justice. Contrary to the carefully cultivated image of a neutral country, Sweden, in order to protect its own interest, is deeply involved in the intrigues of US imperialism.

The persecution of Julian Assange represents an all-out assault on democratic rights. For what “crime” is this man being persecuted? The Swedish authorities are trying to get him extradited on a trumped up “rape” case that has long been exposed as fraudulent. No serious person will believe for a single moment that this is the real reason for the witch-hunting of the founder of Wikileaks.

Today we publish reports from May Day celebrations in Quebec, Indonesia, Austria and France. The reports relate how there is a growing anti-Capitalist mood across the world as the Capitalist class is making the workers pay for the crisis.

As Barak Obama took the podium to speak at the annual session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday (of last week), his speech seemed to be coming from another planet, about another planet. His posture and sophistry of oration had waned. He was saying things he didn’t really believe in.

On the tenth anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers millions of people will relive the horrors of that fateful day. The television screens are filled with shocking images of death and destruction.

It is ten years today since in 2001 an outrageous attack killed 3000 innocent people and maimed hundreds of others in New York. This anniversary will be commemorated at a grand ceremony in New York where the US elite will gather in an outpouring of more pseudo-patriotism and chauvinism to dupe the working classes of the mightiest empire in history which is now plagued with economic disaster and social decay.

A decade ago George W Bush and the neo-cons took advantage of 9/11 and combined pseudo-democratic demagogy with a thirst for revenge to launch American foreign policy on the road of brute military force. But after the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the wake of the deepest slump since the 1930s, the mood has changed.

How the mighty have fallen! Whatever the truth of the allegations of sexual assault and rape brought against him in New York, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is guilty of horrific crimes. As the head of the IMF, he is guilty of the political rape of the working people and the poorest sections of society in many underdeveloped countries. He is guilty of the rape of Greece and Portugal. Before finding himself in prison, he contributed to locking millions of people into a living hell. His brutal “remedies” inflict suffering and hardship on the poor in order to protect the interests of the bankers, the capitalists, the rich.

The case of Julian Assange has been the subject of intense speculation and dispute in the media and also among sections of the Left. In order to take a correct position it is necessary to cut through the fog of propaganda and lies, to separate the essential from the secondary and to distinguish what is progressive from what is reactionary.

The cables published by WikiLeaks revealing the underhand, secret dealings of imperialist diplomacy are the largest leak of state secrets in human history. They lay bare what the bourgeois state really is, what class interests it defends. That explains the undisguised rage of the bourgeois class that is now mustering all its forces in a desperate attempt to silence WikiLeaks.

In the last year, the world’s governments have been rattled by several major leaks of secret documents through the WikiLeaks website. First releasing thousands of US Military reports from the war in Afghanistan, then the same from the Iraq war and finally tens of thousands of secret diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks has stunned the world.

When watching Comic Relief or any other sort of international aid fundraiser, viewers are often startled with images of starving children, and an attempt is made to portray the African continent as a complete humanitarian disaster, composed of destitute countries that are plagued by famine, drought, disease, corruption, and civil war. Whilst it is true that natural disasters and adverse conditions have hindered the development of many African countries, these media sources do not attempt to address why the continent is prone to civil war and corruption and no effort is made to explain the root cause of the problem: imperialism.

Toward the middle of December, 2003, the bourgeoisie of Central America celebrated the signing of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with US imperialism. This new trade agreement is presented as the "road to the development of Central America" and as a means to overcome the economic backwardness of the region. But is this certain? Will there be any type of benefit for Central American workers and peasants?

We have received the esperanto translation of a message of solidarity to the World Workers Esperanto Congress in Brashov, Romania, in August, sent by Alan Woods on behalf of the IMT. Socialism is internationalist by its very nature. Our internationalism is not dictated by sentimental considerations. It reflects an imperative necessity. Since the world is already united in a single, indissoluble economic entity: the world market, the struggle for socialism is internationalist by its very nature.

The call issued by President Chavez to set up a new revolutionary international, the Fifth International, has provoked a passionate discussion in the ranks of the workers’ movement in Latin America and on a world scale. It is impossible for Marxists to remain indifferent to this question. What attitude should we take towards it?

In the society in which we currently find ourselves, class society, a small minority of the population holds ownership and control over industry, banks and all major means for producing wealth. Because we, the workers, do not get to enjoy this wealth, although we create it, our lives are reduced to working for wages that disappear when we pay the bills. How does the ruling class keep us putting up with such a lifestyle? One way is the fact that the ruling class’s ideology permeates contemporary culture and dominates the media.

Luc Rousselet, who manages one of 3M’s French factories, recently told reporters that talks between his company and its employees were a good thing. This, however, was only after he was kept in his office for more than 24 hours by workers he was intending to fire. This case, along with similar situations, has been dubbed a “bossnapping.”

The G20 is in process as we go to print. Yet we can already make predictions as to the outcome of the talks. The poor will gain nothing from the summit.

As the leaders of the ‘free world’ at the G20 summit sit down to champagne, caviar and the grand task of ‘solving the economic crisis’, the last thing likely to be on their minds are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two shattered countries with no infrastructure and over one million dead and they tell us that 'the objectives have nearly been achieved'!

Today, April 1st 2009, leaders of the G20 nations meet in London. The G20 covers two thirds of the world’s population, 80% of all trade and collectively produces 90% of the world’s income. Their leaders will dine well, enjoy fine wines and strut the public stage. They are here to discuss the world economic crisis and how to solve it. We confidently predict they will achieve nothing.

We are told that there is not enough food for everyone, that there are too many human beings on the planet and therefore we must all reduce consumption - a handy idea in the hands of the bourgeois propagandists. The real facts and figures reveal that the world produces enough food. So where does the problem lie?

"Neoliberalism", sometimes called "market fundamentalism", i.e. the policy of non-intervention by the state in the economy, has been the dominant ideology of the bourgeoisie for close to three decades, involving widespread privatisation and all the other policies that go with it. The present economic meltdown, however, is forcing governments to intervene, regulate, and even nationalise firms because they have no choice. So is "neoliberalism" dead?

We received this interesting comment on the food crisis, originally published in the Manitoba Society of Seniors' monthly journal "Fifty plus".

As the recent Rome summit of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) fades from the headlines (as few as they were in the U.S.), the workers and peasants of the world, and particularly those of the so-called Third World, are once again left to fend for themselves.

There are about 1 billion people in the world subsisting on $1 a day or less. These people typically spend 80% of their income on food. For them the present food price rises mean catastrophe. Why are so many going hungry? Why are food prices going up all the time? These are the questions the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has been asking at its meeting this June. So far it hasn’t come up with any solutions.

Yesterday workers all over the world were celebrating May Day. The general mood reflected the sharpening class contradictions and anger against capitalist misery, but also against the bureaucracy of the labour movement. Here we are publishing reports of our supporters from the USA, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Britain and Spain (in Spanish).

This is a book that every young activist, trade unionist or socialist will want to read. The book, based on historical examples from the past 190 years, shows that the workers are facing basically the same problems as ever, in spite of what any of our "post-modernist" friends would like us to believe.

The big corporations in North America, Western Europe and Japan are moving more of their factories abroad in search of lower wages. But in the process they are tying the interests of the international working class more closely together. In global companies like Ford, the interests of a section of workers on almost every continent are directly linked. The answer to capitalist globalization is to link up workers’ struggle worldwide.

In Britain and internationally supermarket chains have come to dominate the food distribution market. The tendency to monopolisation is evident. But with it go many practices that literally endanger our health, and with it also working conditions, wages, the environment and so on. The only answer is to take them over, remove the profit motive and run them in the interests of all working people.

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