Wallerstein (2 questions)

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Sun Apr 29 09:48:37 MDT 2001

> >Question 2 to Xxxx Xxxxxx or anyone else:
> >If I'm correct in interpreting your phrase "further
> >semi-peripherialization," you hold the view that if Eastern European
> countries join the European >Union then the living (and political?)
> conditions of workers there would be negatively affected.  >How do you
> support this view, factually and/or logically?  (Just to state the
> obvious, IMO, the >comparison should be made between what can happen to
> Eastern European countries if they >don't join versus what can happen if
> they do join.  It is an speculative exercise, but a necessary >one.)

This is an important speculative exercise, Julio. The question is how would
EU affect east european countries if they enter EU? I don't have the data
at hand, but from what I see, in many east european countries, governments
are implementing neo-liberal structural adjustment programs to _accelerate_
their membership to EU. Workers are suffering not only because
of  concessionary governments in power, but also because of weakening of
commitment to revolutionary struggle in general. If they don't downsize the
state, privatize the economy, open their markets, they won't become members
of  EU in the future. And in the eyes of EU, these countries are still not
capitalist _enough_ so they are expected to _further_ downsize and
marketize the economy (race to the bottom formula!). Worse, EU  is using
this membership weapon hypocritically (lack of democratic freedoms,
political rights etc..) to impose neo-liberalism. So EU is de facto in
place, if not de jure. How would this affect the conditions of workers? We
need to look at a couple of  variables:

1) downsizing of the state  (socialist state of the East europe variety
versus state capitalist of the turkish variety)

2) dismantling of state enterprises (which they _lay off_ a lot of workers
as a result)

3) dismantling of the welfare state and limited gains of the working class
(such as pension rights, wage protection, government subsidized programs,
health care, child support etc..)

4) liberal labor laws making it more difficult for the workers to strike
and easier for employers to fire.

5) wage negotiation and regulation based on a "free market model"

Note that EU  and IMF-type austerity programs are NOT against reforms. They
advise _institutional reforms_ , which they think are necessary to develop
and consolidate the free market model and private property regime of the
western variety (hence the theoretical importance of  Karl Polanyi!). They
developed, sustained and eventually overthrew the Asian model in a similar
way too.

EU  is a good example of how it is diffcult nowadays to sustain the
national development possibilities within capitalism because of
globalization. but, we should, nonetheless, as marxists,
protect what we have and oppose further liberalization and downsizing of
the state, while still being committed to revolutionary struggle. This is
especially important for third world countries where workers are suffering
relatively worse because of low labor standarts and protection.

adios, Xxxx
Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D student
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
Department of Political Science
135 Western Avenue, Milne 102
Albany, NY, 12222

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