[Marxism] Forwarded from Anthony (reply to Julio Huato)

Suresh borhyaenid at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 11 21:57:18 MDT 2004

Outside of the category of imperialist super-profits,
there might be other mundane ways in which the working
classes of the industrialized world, and especially in
the United States, might benefit from the relative
deprivation of their Third World brethren. For
example, in the last period, Americans have enjoyed
low rates of inflation, which can be tied to low
commodity prices. If America is the leading
shareholder in the IMF, and the IMF promotes
structural adjustment plans which prioritize the
production of agro-exports and raw materials, and if
this in turn helps to provide cheaper costs of living
for workers in the U.S., then perhaps we can speak of
imperialist privilege in these terms. This might in
part explain the startling lack of class consciousness
and labor activity in the United States during a
period of stagnating and declining real wages and the
shredding of the safety net. 

If the United States can continue to print dollars and
propel itself deeper into both public and private
debt, with only minor corrections such as the last
recession being the repercussion - then it would seem
to be self-evident, to those not used to looking
beneath surface appearances, that the "there is no
alternative" axiom retains its validity and relevance.
I suspect a major element in this is the de facto
military dominance of the U.S. with the disappearance
of its socialist antithesis, and the leverage that
this gives in global economics. If newly developed and
developing East Asian states like China, South Korea,
Taiwan, Singapore, and even Malaysia, not to mention
the more venerable member of the rich man's club,
Japan, cannot stake out a path of geopolitical
independence from beneath the American hegemon, why
would they then stop underwriting the U.S. debt? And
likewise, the war in Iraq and the military supremacy
Washington has attained in the Middle East, acts as a
subsidy for petroleum in the states, and even with
relatively higher prices prevailing at the moment,
hides the true costs of continuing to rely upon an
outmoded energy source.

Perhaps the era of neoliberalism still appears
lustrous - to certain echelons of white workers in
particular -  in comparison to the final years of the
Bretton Woods consensus during the 70's, when high oil
prices, stagflation, and "malaise" dominated the
national scene. Frankly, there has to be some genuine
sentiment, however painfully confused and misguided,
behind the scenes of tens of thousands of mostly
Caucasian and middle class workers appearing in
throngs to mourn the passing of such a committed class
enemy as  Ronald Reagan. 

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