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Don't blame China

Published Mar 16, 2005 3:54 PM

There is a growing anti-China undercurrent in the big-business media focusing on the increase in Chinese exports to the U.S. These increases follow the removal of 40-year-old textile quotas by the World Trade Organization at the end of 2004. This anti-China campaign aims to pit workers in the U.S. against China, based upon the alleged concern over job losses.

In the first place, the capitalist media’s expressed concern over U.S. textile job losses has nothing to do with concern for workers. The primary concern is the loss of profitable markets and the fear of growing Chinese economic strength that can challenge U.S. capitalists for global markets.

China has already begun to export its own automobiles. It is signing trade agreements on mutually favorable terms in Latin America, the Middle East, and other spheres that U.S. imperialism and the European and Japanese capitalist powers regard as their territory. This gives developing countries an alternative to the harsh terms of trade the imperialist powers impose.

In the second place, it is pure hypocrisy for the U.S. capitalist establishment to cover its profit-hungry goals under cover of concern about workers’ jobs. Every boss seeks to cut wages, reduce or eliminate benefits, use speed up, enforce overtime or put workers on part time depending upon what is best for the bottom line. And every company, large or small, always looks to introduce labor-saving devices that throw workers out of jobs.

If there were really concern for unemployed textile workers, the corporations and the government would simply continue to pay the salaries of the laid-off workers. Meanwhile they would retrain and place the workers in decent-paying jobs—with benefits—conditions that every worker deserves. This is the way it is done in socialist Cuba. With the U.S. $10 trillion economy, this is not much too ask.

Above all, no one should be drawn into the false argument of blaming China for the economic problems of U.S. capitalism, either the problems of the workers or of the bosses. China was carved up and held down by the colonial powers in a state of underdevelopment for close to two centuries. With one fourth of the human race, China was known as “the land of hunger” up until the middle of the last century. Only the socialist revolution of 1949 liberated it from colonial bondage and made possible the conditions for economic development.

In its struggle to overcome underdevelopment and poverty, China has shifted from its early emphasis on socialist construction to an emphasis on capitalist development and foreign concessions—but all under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. China has every right as a formerly-oppressed country to use trade as a means of development. While we have differences with the orientation of
this policy and believe it endangers China’s development toward socialism, that is a different question.

U.S. capitalists thought it was fine for them to take advantage of economic concessions to invest in and profit from China. But as China develops and enters the world economic arena to challenge the very profiteering powers that once held China in colonial bondage, the anti-China undercurrents here begin to rise to the surface. The working class in this country should know that its enemy is not China but the anti-labor, exploiting capitalist class that runs this country and has sweatshops here and all over the world.