platform for the anti-WTO

Sue T Simonson progressivesociety at SPAMjuno.com
Thu May 18 11:52:25 MDT 2000


        There are a number of issues that "divide" the "new progressive
movement" and sooner or later they will all be hammered out. But I think
that if there were a platform like that above, the debates at least would
be centered.
     Is the purpose fo this new "progessive" mvoment to abolish the WTO
or change it?
Sue Simonson
     My ideas of a platform:
1. elimination of the 3rd world debt
2. establish genuine, beneficial aid to the poorest countries, with low
or no interest loands, repayment schedule dependent on the ability of the
recipient.
3. substantially increase the wages paid to workers in foreign owned
factories
4. establish and enforce these workers' right to form unions
5. establish and enforce anti-sex discrimination rules of foreign owned
factories-
i.e. in many factories only women are hired
6. abolish child labor
7. enact equal rights for immigrant workers
8. in the US: abolish the border patrol
9. abolish the fascist 1996 immigrant reform act
10. increase the minimum wage for "illegals" in the US

*****************************************************

UNITED STATES: `Fair trade' or international solidarity?

SAN FRANCISCO -- The demonstrations in November-December in
Seattle against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have rightly
inspired activists in the labour movement.

Many have commented on the coming together of youth and students
concerned about the destruction of the environment and US
corporations imposing sweatshop conditions in their factories in
what used to be called the Third World, with tens of thousands of
trade unionists concerned with the loss of better paying jobs,
the reduction of real wages and increasing economic insecurity.

The consciousness of most of these forces could be summed up as
``anti-corporatism''. The big corporations and banks are seen as
dominating the world for their own greedy self-interests at the
expense of the majority of humanity. But which way forward for
this movement, if indeed it becomes a movement as we all hope it
will, has become a burning question in practice. Key to this will
be the struggle between two opposite political strategies.

One is the road of ``America firstism'' and US protectionism,
advocated by the top bureaucracy of the American Federation of
Labor-Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO), and by some
ultra-right politicians such as Pat Buchanan. The counterposed
strategy is international working-class solidarity, which must
include solidarity with the world's peasant masses and with the
nations that are exploited by the imperialist countries.

The answer appears to be obvious for labour activists on the
left: we are internationalists, opposed to US nationalism. But it
is not so simple. Disagreements have arisen over just what
internationalism means in the context of this movement.

The sharpest expression of these differences has been whether or
not to join what has become the axis of the AFL-CIO's
protectionist campaign, the drive to keep China out of the WTO
and to prevent Washington from granting China normal trade status
with the US. Some left labour activists say ``yes'' to this
campaign. Others, like myself, say an emphatic ``no''.

Imperialism

Before discussing the case of China, let's recall some basic
facts about the world. Fact number one is that the nations of the
world are not equal. There are a handful of advanced capitalist
countries, with about 15% of the world's population, in which the
corporations and banks not only exploit their own workers and
small farmers, but suck super-profits out of the so-called
developing countries as well.

Since the early 20th century, this system of national oppression
and exploitation has been referred to as modern imperialism, and
the advanced capitalist countries as imperialist.

The Third World doesn't consist of developing countries, a term
which implies that they will catch up with the imperialist
countries sooner or later. A better term would be super-exploited
countries, for the truth is that the gap between these countries
and the imperialist ones is growing, not diminishing.

Within all countries, imperialist and super-exploited, the gap
between the rich and the workers and peasants is growing. The
neo-liberal policies being promulgated domestically and
internationally have exacerbated the situation.

After more than a century of imperialism, the world has now 800
million hungry people, 1 billion illiterates, 4 billion in
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