Free trade

n.gant at genie.geis.com n.gant at genie.geis.com
Sat Feb 18 12:15:00 MST 1995


As a new subscriber, allow me a short introduction for your information:

As a reader of the People's Daily/Weekly World, I mailed in my membership
 application to CPUSA in 1983.  I've had a completely informal relationship
 with the Communist Party so far.  I do not consider myself an activist in
 any particular socialist group.  I am tuning in to Chomsky, Gorz, Ranier
 Land, Habermas, Luhmann.  I appreciate the references you are citing as
 recommended reading.

Now, as for the free trade argument,

Doug:  "...stated by Marx himself in his famous 1848 Brussels speech, is
 that since free trade heightens the tension between capital and labor he
 cast his vote for free trade. Anyone want to step into *that* minefield?"

No pain, no gain -- that is a good rule, I think.  As for NAFTA, it was
 kind of the bourgeoisie to have built a fancy economic health club for all
 of us.  They have in all their benevolence enrolled us in it where we can
 really breakout a sweat.  And in working against our fellow Canadians and
 Mexicans, some of us might develop some wonderful revolutionary muscles to
 show off.

Better for us to have chosen to build our own workers-only, economic
 health-club instead.  So that we might bear our own burdens to strengthen
 ourselves in a collective sense, working-out on our own time schedule and
 at our own leisure.  Not by the get-rich-quick schemes of the bourgeoisie
 and their NAFTA arrangement.  Without considering Marx's free-trade speech
 in question, it seems stupid to allow the working class to be purposely
 manipulated into a subservient position by free trade, just to lay the
 groundwork for a future worker's revolution.  NAFTA as a catalyst for
 revolutionary change?  It was never part of the worker's agenda to begin
 with.  No labor group I know of supported it.

A related point.  You can carry an Machiavellian argument, of the ends
 being used to justify the means, to an extreme.  One might want to vote for
 the Nazis into office on the basis that it will sooner bring about a
 violent struggle against fascism.  Somewhat the logic of Nietzsche, that
 what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.  Was it necessary for the
 Jews to have survived the horrors of Auschwitz so that Israel could sooner
 become a mighty nation?  I would hope not.  This sort of logic serves the
 interests of monopoly capital very well, at least in the short run.

I think the guerrilla movement in Chiapas decide to take advantage of NAFTA
 from a tactical standpoint, as a stepping-stone for increasing their
 military offensives and to further publicize the campesino's desperate
 conditions which had already been a reality before NAFTA.   In the final
 analysis, bourgeois economic agreements are simply to be treated as
 stepping-stones, ones you must walk over in the most opportune fashion to
 reach a more democratic society.  They are fundamentally illegitimate from
 the worker's standpoint.

N. Gant





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