Agricultural subsidies ( Was: Re: [Marxism] Wild, hysterical WSJ attack on Chavez, Fidel, Kirchner, Evo Morales, etc.)

James Daly james.irldaly at
Wed Nov 23 05:19:08 MST 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joaquín Bustelo" <jbustelo at>
To: "'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition'" 
<marxism at>
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 2:56 AM
Subject: RE: [Marxism] Wild, hysterical WSJ attack on Chavez, Fidel, 
Kirchner,Evo Morales, etc.

JB -- "A coalition of Third World countries in which Brazil plays a 
leading role has drawn a line in the sand: an imperialist commitment 
to carry out a 50% cut in the [home, agricultural] subsidies when an 
agreement resulting from these negotiations goes into effect, and a 
commitment to the complete elimination of subsidies in a reasonable 
period of years, are the indispensable conditions necessary to BEGIN 
serious trade talks".
JD -- I am not looking for controversy but for information and 
enlightenment when I point to a problem in the area of state subsidies 
to agriculture.  I have no great knowledge or understanding of the 
issue, so I will just explain my unease.

Joaquin makes the abolition of such subsidies in the imperialist 
countries a third world demand on them.  That would seem to concede 
the principle of "free trade".  It is a striking fact that Blair 
justifies his continuation of Thatcher's neo-liberal attack on the 
European common agricultural policy by claiming to support the very 
demand Joaquin raises -- thereby polishing up his spurious Boy Scout 
image, as he did in the debt relief scam.

The French left delivered a blow to their right-wing government and 
its social democratic acolytes by rejecting the "Anglo-Saxon" 
neo-liberal European constitution which they claimed, among other 
things, aimed at a "rural desert".  I know some on this list did not 
think much of that success, but I think the European left justifiably 
found it heartening.  Such protectionism is rational from the point of 
view of what European bureaucrats call the policy of "social 
cohesion" -- something from which the ungrateful 26 County Celtic 
Tiger has greatly benefited, while it is now a junior ally in 
Britain's Atlanticizing of the European Union.

Does helping third world farmers require devastating those in the 
first world, and the communities they are part of? (I don't like using 
the "world" terms, but someone may suggest better).


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