imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The First Shots of the Trade War

by Workers Action Thursday, Sep. 24, 2009 at 3:16 PM

With the G-20 summit approaching, cheerful talk of “international cooperation” fills the White House press-room. These comments carry with them the implication that “free trade” is integral to “cooperation,” a fact made explicit in the last meeting of the G-20. There, in the name of “united action,” world leaders agreed not to install any new protectionist measures. Since then, protectionist measures have flourished. Instead of global cooperation we have its opposite: international tensions are on the rise as trade disputes sharpen.



For example, the Obama administration “slapped a 35 percent tariff on Chinese tires… and China responded this past weekend by threatening to retaliate against U.S. chickens and auto parts. That followed French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s demand on Thursday that Europe impose a carbon tariff on imports from countries that don’t follow its cap-and-trade diktats.” (Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2009).

The U.S.-China skirmish is especially explosive, since the relationship is central to the functioning of the global economy. China stood silent for years as the U.S. imposed tariffs on various Chinese products, a passiveness that lured Obama into his recent action. China’s quick response sent a strong signal: enough is enough.

China’s Commerce Secretary warned that the U.S. tariff “not only violates WTO rules, but also runs against U.S. pledges at the G-20 summits, constitutes an abuse of trade remedy measures, and sets an extremely bad precedent in the current backdrop of a world economy in crisis.”

One aspect of this “bad precedent” is that the tariff could inspire other U.S. corporations to apply for China-specific protections, perhaps setting off an avalanche of tariffs that China will inevitably respond to. The Wall Street Journal confirms:

“Trade lawyers said the [U.S.] decision could invite a raft of similar petitions for temporary protection from Chinese imports. Such so-called safeguards.” (September 14, 2009).

If the China-U.S. relationship sours, much of the global economy may spoil with it.

Another recent trade spat flared up between U.S.-based Boeing and Europe-housed Airbus. Years ago the U.S. filed a grievance at the World Trade Organization (WTO) claiming that Airbus received unfair subsidies from European governments (Europe’s identical grievance against the U.S. is still pending). A preliminary decision finally announced that Europe is guilty of illegally subsidizing Airbus, with the full implications yet unknown.

An immediate outcome of the dispute is the demand from some U.S. congressmen that a multi-billion dollar U.S. military contract be awarded to Boeing instead of Airbus. Politicians are using the nationalistic “buy American” slogan to pressure the government to bless the mega-corporation Boeing with mountains of U.S. tax dollars instead of its European counterpart. If the U.S. government were to freeze Airbus out of the gargantuan U.S. military market, large-scale retaliatory measures would surely be expected. As it stands, the seeds for such a conflict are being planted. Business Week notes:

“On sheer politics, Boeing clearly has an edge over Airbus: The company has a big presence in such Democratic strongholds as Illinois, Connecticut, and the state of Washington and it can count on labor unions to work Congress on its behalf.” (September 16, 2009).

So not only does Boeing’s billions of dollars enable it to purchase politicians, which is out of the reach of Airbus, but misguided labor leaders are encouraging workers to fight alongside the corporate giant as it battles an international competitor. The same Boeing that threatened to leave the state of Washington for a union-free South has labor leaders singing its praises until the factory doors shut.

Workers should not lend their voices in defense of the corporate shareholders that squeeze profits from them; an independent position is needed — less they’re suckered into the corporate “partnerships” preached by CEO’s, politicians, and defunct labor leaders.

One way to gain a worker’s perspective on trade is to study history. A simple appraisal of the Great Depression proves an undeniable fact: protectionist measures taken by governments deepened the depression, led to a trade war, and helped fuel the national conflicts that ignited World War II.

With this conventional wisdom known by every world leader today, why are protectionist measures on the rise? Why does Obama speak against trade protectionism while at the same time imposing protectionist tariffs?

Although free trade is crucial to the functioning of a capitalist economy, the desire for short-term profits sometimes supersedes rational considerations, especially in a recession.

Large recessions create huge drops in corporate profit rates. To help maintain profits, corporations force politicians to use tariff walls to exclude foreign competitors. In an earlier article we wrote:

”In normal times, market warfare is kept at bay by such institutions as the World Trade Organization and more importantly the profit-induced cooperation of the rich countries. In times of deep recessions, however, these niceties fly out the windows. The banks and corporations that ultimately control politics in each country demand bailouts and other forms of protection from the cruelty of the once-friendly “free market.” (Will Obama Start the Next Trade War? February 5, 2009).

Some U.S. corporations may find that having a seller’s monopoly over the highly valued U.S. market — by imposing tariffs — is more profitable than cooperating with the Chinese. But these U.S. corporations aren’t mom and pop local producers, they’re world exporters. And while they’re making super-profits by blocking Chinese imports, these U.S. companies subsidize their exports abroad by the monopoly profits at home, which is considered “dumping,” causing further retaliatory measures from the Chinese and other countries suffering from the competition.

Not only does protectionism create global conflicts, but it also destroys the jobs that some claim it saves. When tariffs cut off imports to the U.S., consumers are forced to buy more expensive products, creating inflation that hurts the economy as a whole. More importantly, when U.S. corporations are shut off from foreign markets via retaliation, job slashing and wage cutting are the inevitable results.

It’s true that free trade is essentially an agreement between corporate-controlled governments to unleash raw, unbridled competition among the world’s corporations. Such a system deserves zero support since workers are constantly asked to make sacrifices so that the company they work for can survive. Protectionism, on the other hand, equals a breakdown of the global capitalist system, creating a vicious battle between corporations for access to the best markets, rarest raw materials and cheapest labor.

As long as the economy is controlled by the super wealthy and produces things only for their profit, neither free trade nor protectionism should be a concern for workers. We cannot afford to link our fate with that of “our” corporations, since the corporations are not ours to begin with. Their profits are raised at our expense by lowering wages, administering frequent layoffs, and reducing benefits.

Groveling to politicians to “protect” American corporations is a losing strategy for workers. Instead, workers must demand and fight for living wages and good benefits from their employers. If a company threatens to move to a place where labor is cheap, workers are not powerless. In Latin America workers have developed militant methods to keep jobs in their community: mass protests, strikes, and factory occupations are used interchangeably to assert control over their workplace. As long as workers see themselves in competition with workers in other countries, ALL workers will inevitably be caught up in a race to the bottom. Companies all over the world will tell their workforce that in order for the company to survive foreign competition, the workers will have to accept lower wages and reduced benefits. But if workers begin to forge alliances across borders, then we can all begin to demand that our wages and benefits rise collectively, and the corporations will have no place to go.
Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80 A05 12:14PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy