Response to Louis' posting

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at
Sat May 5 11:54:05 MDT 2001

J. wrote:

> IMO, the proletariat in Mexico must
> have political independence.  But political independence doesn't mean
> the opposition to NAFTA and FTAA, or to any policy that may mean the
> advancement of capitalism per se, the core of its strategy or tactics.
> would be a waste of political energy.  Direct producers in Mexico should
> focus their struggle on better living and working conditions.  If NAFTA
> FTAA are going to enhance profitability and growth as their promoters
> (and this is not unlikely), then the focus should be on making sure the
> fruits of NAFTA and FTAA go to workers.

In the current situation what you are saying is absolutely unrealistic (and
apologetic). NAFTA and the Mexican/US capitalist agencies do not give a
damn about the fact that  the fruits of NAFTA should go to workers. Albeit
rhetorically, NAFTA  is not about fruits or comparative advantage. It is
about exploitation--reducing labor costs by having free markets.. Who is
gonna create better working and living conditions for Mexican workers ? the
state? IMF? WB? US? There is a reason *why* the Mexican labor is
approaching NAFTA with distrust. NAFTA  did *not* improve the situation of
workers, given what they have _experienced_ under free trade relations.
This is not because of  "bad" or "wrong" implementation of NAFTA. It is
because of what NAFTA is designed for: reducing labor costs. Look at the
situation of Apparel and Electronics Maquiladora Industries licensed under
NAFTA on Mexican border. Most of them are _nonunionized_ plants. The plants
that have improved working conditions did so by avoiding unionization. The
only improvement, if that is considered to be an improvement at all,  is
that the wages of workers in those plants is $2.27 compared to wages in
plants with collective agreements ($1.85 per hour) (Jorge Carillo, "The
Apparel Maquiladora Industry on the Mexican Border" in Global Production,
p. 225). Working conditions in NAFTA plants suck from whatever perspective
you look at--unionization or salaries..That is why the workers are
approaching  free trade with *distrust*.

>As a Mexican, as someone who
> has been on the side of poor Indians and peasants in Mexico and with
> workers, and as a worker from capitalist Latin America, I feel entitled
> express my opinions openly on what I consider best for Mexico, Latin
> America, and stretching it a little, what is best for workers in rich
> capitalist countries.

If you don't know, there was a considerable political activism in the US
(Seattle demons) that expressed solidarity with third world laborers in
their struggle against NAFTA, WTO, etc.. The only way to increase
international working class solidarity is to *oppose*   global capitalism.
It  is,  I assume,  the oligarchic segments of the working classes (coapted
by the bourgeoisie) who prefer not to oppose NAFTA . They have what Marx
would call  "false consciousness"


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