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New Communist Party of Britain

WORLD TRADE

One of the most notable signs of the potential for chaos and disorder can be seen in the challenge that exists to capitalist state power by the monopoly capitalists - whether it be the banks’ manipulation of Libor or News International’s phone hacking and bribery of state officials. This is yet another example of the contradictions in monopoly capitalism. The state and the big economic monopolies are essential to each other, yet also challenge each other. The harnessing of these monopolies to a new system of discipline is a chief pre-occupation of capitalist states while the monopolies seek to limit the powers of the state.

Globalisation, the internationalism of the division of labour, has continued apace since the turn of the millennium; it is a product of science, technology and the development of the productive forces and should be at the service of humankind with the right of every human being to develop and practice their talent, skills and knowledge. But globalisation, when put to work by monopoly capitalism, is nothing else but raw imperialism.

Imperialism, represented by the leaders of the developed countries, has striven through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to tighten their grip on the economies of all countries, in particular those of the developing world.

The view of the imperialists is that the raison d’être of these extra-governmental organisations is to remove any restrictions on trade, regulation of internal markets in trade or services, to drop any restrictions on the movement of capital and removal of export subsidies and import tariffs which protect home grown industries and agriculture - in other words to give maximum freedom to the monopoly capitalists. They confirmed this in the communiquéé issued after the 2008 G20 summit in Washington: "We underscore the critical importance of rejecting protectionism... We will refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services." And then went on to instruct their trade ministers to conclude the Doha trade talks by the end of 2008.

Since then the talks have stalled, the EU insists that developing countries should open their manufacturing and service sectors to competition from EU companies. The EU strategy is about domination of the developing world; most of the developing countries are in no position to compete with the imperialists. The EU strategy is based on the assumption that poor countries should satisfy themselves with being agricultural suppliers to rich nations and should forgo attempts to promote their own manufacturing and service sector industries. This is nothing other than the extension of the implementation of the single market in the EU, whereby the less developed countries have seen their economies devastated by the EU monopolies.

The WTO is becoming the focus of the struggle between the developing and developed countries. The developing countries such as Brazil, China and India see the current rules as being heavily weighted in favour of the monopoly capitalists and are negotiating for more equitable rules and practices in world trade.

In May 2012 Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO, almost admitted that the strategy of the developed countries had been defeated when he proposed that negotiations should take "small steps, gradually moving forward the parts of the Doha Round which were mature, and re-thinking those where greater differences remained”.

It remains to be seen what happens next. When economic bullying fails, imperialism, led by the US and Britain, has a tendency to actively engage in war or the threat of war, when it sees its economic and political demands rebutted. But wherever there is oppression there is resistance. The Cuban people have defied the might of US imperialism for over 50 years. The peoples of Iraq continue oppose imperialism even though US and British imperialists occupy their countries. Syria is defying the war drums of Nato imperialism and the Palestinians demand the restoration of their national rights and continue to resist the US proxy - Israel.

In contrast to imperialism, socialism, the system upheld and developed in People’s China, Democratic Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba, continue to develop its economies despite the crisis in the capitalist economies. The socialist countries continue to advance along the revolutionary path charted by their communist parties in applying the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions that exist in their own countries. All have developed closer economic ties and are seeing positive levels of growth.

The DPRK in particular has shown the possibility of building an advanced industrialised economy catering to the economic, social and cultural needs of its people on the basis of self-reliance, with no concessions to the international capitalist institutions (the IMF, World Bank, WTO and so on).

The peoples of Latin America have elected governments prepared to defy the US and its proxy trade and banking organisations. There are setbacks, such as the 2012 US-inspired military coup in Paraguay, but overall these countries are charting a course that protects their sovereignty.

In developing their economies through equitable trade, many countries in Latin America and Africa are finding that they too can maintain above average growth levels by trading with the socialist countries.

China is deepening its ties with the developing countries through equitable trade relationships by selling consumer goods and power-generating equipment. China’s banks provide loans to expand roads, rail and ports in a way that accelerates growth and boosts trade. Between 2010 through 2011, $110 billion long-term loans were made of which $65 billion was in the energy sector. This is much more financial help than the World Bank has achieved.

China’s is expanding trade with the developing countries to reduce its dependence on the crisis-prone US and Europe. Half of China’s $1,898 billion of exports now go to developing countries; its imports from the rest of the world total $1,743 billion.

China is implementing a 10 to20-year-plan to make the Yuan into a fully convertible international trading currency,. And a growing number of countries including Japan, Malaysia, India and Brazil are conducting trade on the basis of Yuan reserves held by their respective central banks.

In Latin America US imperialism is also being challenged. The US failed to establish the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which would have enabled US agriculture and industry to swamp the markets of Central and South America; it would have destroyed local production and converted those countries into mere satellites of the US economy. The FTAA was opposed by Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Nicaragua and Honduras, some of whom are now members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

With the establishment of a regional currency for mutual settlement ALBA, comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela, the hegemony of the US dollar in the region is coming to an end. In challenging the US, ALBA has set member countries the task of constructing their own solutions to the food and ecological crises, without the interference of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and in so doing has protected ALBA members from the worst effects of the EU and US capitalist crisis.