Globalisation

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.