Fight the TTIP

A cluster of economic treaties is under negotiation between the leading imperialist countries and their satellites. Imperialist powers are faced with a serious problem of profitability. All these negotiations and wheeler-dealing are no coincidence. They include:

  • the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Europe and Canada, which awaits ratification;
  • the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between Europe and the USA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the US and a number of Asian countries;
  • the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) between some 51 countries in the World Trade Organisation, which is still being negotiated.

US companies are sitting on about $1.8 trillion of idle cash which would be invested, if only it could be invested profitably. The situation is similar elsewhere: in the UK, companies’ cash reserves total about £550bn ($850bn); in Europe the figure is about €900bn ($1.1 trillion); in Japan about ¥250trn ($2.1 trillion), a staggering 51% of GDP. These enormous sums are sitting idle, not because firms don’t want to invest, but because of the lack of profitability. This situation has been going on for several years. Now capitalism is trying to break out of this stagnation with the help of these treaties, which are intended to steamroller any obstacles to capitalist exploitation.

The US, as the leading imperialist power, is the main player in these talks, but all the leading imperialist powers of Europe and Asia are also trying to cut advantageous deals at each other’s expense.

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Third phase of the global economic crisis

On 18 September Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, warned that the global financial crisis is entering a third phase of turmoil. Speaking to the Portadown Chamber of Commerce, he particularly highlighted the risks to the global economy from China, where an economic downturn and sudden currency devaluations have accompanied dramatic falls in the stock market. Together with the mounting crisis in many other large ‘emerging market’ economies, these developments have sent shockwaves through the world’s financial markets. David Yaffe reports.

Haldane is keen to point out that these developments in the global economy should not be seen as independent events, as lightning bolts from the blue, but are part of a connected sequence of events that have affected the global economy over the past decade. He argues that: ‘Recent events form the latest leg of what might be called a three-part crisis trilogy.  Part one of that trilogy was the “Anglo-Saxon” crisis of 2008/09. Part two was the “euro-area” crisis of 2011/12. And we may now be entering the early stages of part three of the trilogy, the “emerging market” crisis of 2015 onwards.’1

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50 years on: remembering the Indonesian massacres

It is now 50 years since the massacre of around one million communists, trade unionists and sympathisers in Indonesia in 1965. The killings were carried out by the Indonesian army, and other forces of reaction, with the direct support of British and US imperialism. The powerful Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) was entirely destroyed, paving the way for the savage military regime of General Suharto to facilitate the subjugation of the country to imperialist capital. The story of these events has been largely buried by those who have profited from them. Exposing the Indonesian massacres, and the extent of British and US involvement, is essential for new movements to understand the lengths that the imperialists are willing to go to destroy any opposition. Toby Harbertson reports.

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No to British strikes on Syria! - Imperialism out of the Middle East!

Following the massacre of 38 people – 30 of them British – in the Tunisian city of Sousse on 26 June, Prime Minister David Cameron seized the opportunity to announce plans to expand air-strikes against the Islamic State (IS) into Syria as well as Iraq. This would overturn a 2013 parliamentary vote against British strikes on Syria. Days later, Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget that British military spending would increase every year for the next five years. With Labour expected to support the government in a new vote to extend strikes to Syria, it is likely that soon British planes will be bombing yet another country in the Middle East. The lack of any coherent strategy is clear. Bombing IS in Syria will not stop terrorist attacks elsewhere. Continuing to support forces fighting the Syrian government will only strengthen IS. The only sure result of imperialist strategy is continued war in the region for decades, and a continued justification for a huge military budget.

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Hiroshima

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 126 August/September 1995

‘The historic fact remains that the decision whether or not the use the atomic bomb to compel the surrender of Japan was never an issue.’ Winston Churchill

‘The greatest thing in history’ US President Truman

On 6 August 1945 the US Air Force dropped ‘Little Boy’, named after President Roosevelt, on Hiroshima. 140,000 people were killed, they are dying still. Three days later ‘Fat Man’, named after Churchill, killed 110,000 in Nagasaki. This terrifying force was unsheathed not primarily to bring Japan to its knees, but to announce US imperialism as the dominant world power. The bomb would guarantee dominance.

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