•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle


‘Free trade’ imperialism

Published Oct 23, 2011 10:44 AM

That the U.S. Senate took four years to endorse the “free trade” accords between U.S. imperialism and its vassals in Panama, Colombia and south Korea is no sign there was anything good about these agreements for working people in any of the countries.

A Free Trade Act sounds so harmless. It isn’t. It is not an agreement between peoples to work for their mutual benefit. It’s an agreement among the ruling classes in the countries signing the accord to better exploit the laboring masses, that is, the working class and the individual farmers. It enriches the 1 percent — or maybe the 1 percent of that richest 1 percent — who control areas of trade and finance at the expense of everyone else.

The biggest advantage from these agreements usually goes to the ruling class in the imperialist countries, who gain a commanding foothold in the “developing” countries that they never give up.

Some 163 years ago in the Communist Manifesto Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels called attention to the ability of the capitalist ruling class to use the “cheap prices of commodities” they produce with their developed technology as “the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls” to penetrate any country.

In the current situation, U.S. agricultural technology — agribusiness — can produce many foodstuffs more cheaply than individual peasant farmers can. That’s one reason the south Korean farmers’ organizations have been fighting against the FTA. They know what happened in Mexico after the North American FTA went into effect in 1994. Within a few years the peasants growing corn in Mexico were undersold by U.S. corn and a million farmers were driven off the land.

Desperate to earn a living, many migrated north despite the dangers of the border, where the Senators who voted for NAFTA and for this new law could then insult them, persecute them and oppress them for daring to cross the border to stay alive.

Under the capitalist system — and especially during a capitalist crisis — these FTAs destroy jobs in both the imperialist and the oppressed countries. They drive workers and peasants to despair while a handful of people grow fabulously rich. They are everything that the occupiers of Wall Street are fighting against. And we join with the Occupy forces here as well as the movements in south Korea, Colombia and Panama that condemn this new round of FTAs.

Solidarity between the workers and farmers of all countries! Down with the FTAs!