Red warning lights for global economy - Class war to intensify in Britain

Full of self-importance after his jaunt to the G20 meeting of world leaders in Brisbane Australia, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, declared in an article in The Guardian (17 November 2014) that ‘red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy’. He pointed to the eurozone on the brink of a third recession, the slowing of growth in the emerging market economies, the stalling of global trade talks, the Ebola epidemic and the escalating conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East as ‘all adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty’. He contrasted this to the British economy which, he said, is the fastest growing in the G7 major capitalist countries, with record numbers of new businesses and the largest ever annual fall in unemployment. But Cameron, preparing his excuses well in advance of the coming General Election, warned that ‘in our interconnected world’ these wider problems in the global economy ‘pose a real risk to our recovery at home’. David Yaffe reports.

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Luxembourg: tax avoidance with friends in high places

Luxembourg Ville

The craving for money yields fantastic devices invented by the best minds capitalism can hire. What is one to make of this: if you earn Britain’s average annual income of £26,500 you will pay the basic rate of 20% income tax, but if your income is £6bn you can get away with less than 1% tax, and it’s all perfectly legal? Tax avoidance, money laundering, rigging money markets – these are the chosen means of enhancing profits used by many of Britain’s biggest companies. Receive child tax credits that are later ruled to have been mistakenly paid and you are relentlessly pursued for every penny, even into the courts, by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs; make the most minor infraction of the Job Centre’s commands and you are sanctioned and denied benefits; head a company with a household name, shift fortunes abroad, out of the government’s reach, and you are knighted for services to the country. Trevor Rayne reports.

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Unending global crisis reinforces divisions over Europe

In a document prepared for the 20-21 September 2014 meeting of the G20 group of finance ministers and central bank governors in Cairns, Australia, the IMF warned that global economic recovery from the 2008 crisis is precarious. Rising ‘geopolitical tensions’, excessive risk taking and the prospects of tighter monetary policy in the US pose new threats to what is already an unbalanced and weaker than expected recovery. The IMF pointed to lower growth rates in the developed capitalist and emerging economies, continuing high public and private debt and growing risks associated with low inflation despite the stimulative monetary policies in place for over five years. Escalating conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East will further undermine prospects for the global economy. This is the context in which the growing economic crisis is reinforcing divisions within Europe. David Yaffe reports.

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British state suffers setbacks in its war on migrants

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 240 August/September 2014

Since passing the Immigration Act in May, state attacks on migrants have suffered a number of significant setbacks. Although limited, they demonstrate that resistance is possible.

In June the Home Office launched Operation Centurion, a high-profile campaign of immigration raids on businesses and homes. Documents leaked to the Anti-Raids Network exposed Home Office claims that the operation was ‘intelligence-led’ as nothing more than racial profiling: targets included ‘Vietnamese nail bars in the Manchester area’, Nigerian security guards in Sussex, and phone stalls in the North of Ireland. Networks of activists across Britain and the North of Ireland mobilised to warn as many as possible of those being targeted, and to inform people of their rights. Reports suggest the operation resulted in only 20 arrests, and the Home Office was unable to claim it as a victory.

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Imperialists responsible for South Sudan collapse

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 240 August/September 2014

In July 2014, South Sudan’s elites ‘celebrated’ the third anniversary of the world’s newest nation. However, a civil war that began last December has displaced 1.5 million people (a third are children) out of a total population of over 9 million; a predicted famine as early as August 2014 looms which could affect 4 million people; nearly 400,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring countries; the UN states that 5 million people desperately need humanitarian assistance. There exists a scarcity of basic goods, hyperinflation, outbreaks of preventable diseases such as cholera, mass hunger and homelessness. Several of South Sudan’s largest towns are deserted with homes, churches, medical facilities (patients shot in their beds, wards burned down) and even UN bases attacked, looted or destroyed. There is nothing in this catastrophe for the majority of South Sudanese people to ‘celebrate’.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011, with Britain and the US orchestrating events from behind the scenes, as part of their balkanisation strategy for regime change in Sudan. The imperialists unwisely plan to divide Sudan into north, south and west (Darfur). Britain plans a long-term military presence in South Sudan which BP estimates holds sub-Saharan Africa’s third biggest oil reserves. The imperialists fear being squeezed out of opportunities for exploitation in the region and intended that South Sudan would be another client state in an East African reactionary bloc with Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, geared up to help imperialism exploit strategic resources to the exclusion of China.

South Sudan’s crude oil production (98% of government revenue) is predicted to fall to 100,000 bpd (from 350,000 bpd in 2011) in a decade; production has already halved due to fighting. Additionally, problems which preceded independence persist with no solution in sight: since South Sudan gained autonomy from Sudan in 2005, there have been brutal clashes between the army (SPLA) and various militia groups (backed by powerful but sidelined military elites), as well as brutal violence between various ethnic communities, resulting in large-scale displacement and thousands of civilian deaths ignored by the ‘free press’. A third of oil revenues from 2005-2011 were embezzled. These crimes have never been satisfactorily investigated, nor have perpetrators been held to account by the South Sudanese authorities. Imperialist interests meant that these issues, and unresolved disputes with Sudan (border demarcation, oil-wealth sharing and the disputed Abyei region) were ignored in the rush for ‘independence’.

In January and May, the imperialists forced president Salva Kiir and his erstwhile deputy Riek Machar on pain of arrest to sign phony ceasefire or peace agreements (ignored by both sides), to maintain a facade of control rather than looking to solve chronic, deep-seated problems. Seemingly interminable ethnic strife, a divided army, poor socio-economic prospects (almost half the 2013/14 budget was used to pay back bank loans), and the loss of life means South Sudan is considered a failed state.

The imperialists’ plans are in tatters – Sudan has lost 80% of its oil and been forced to develop its agrarian economy. They hoped Sudan would collapse following the south’s secession; this hasn’t happened. Rather, with established infrastructure and an understanding of its internal politics, Sudan may now be South Sudan’s only hope. South Sudan’s corrupt elite and the imperialists are responsible for the country’s near collapse. Britain and the US used people’s genuine desires for freedom from poverty and oppression to balkanise the country. It’s time Britain and the US stopped interfering in the two Sudans’ internal affairs.

Charles Chinweizu

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  4. The collapse of CAR and South Sudan
  5. When corporations rule the world
  6. Economic recovery on rotten foundations
  7. Global economic recovery falters / FRFI 236 Dec 2013/Jan 2014
  8. China Enter the dragon / FRFI 236 Dec 2013/Jan 2014
  9. Repartitioning Africa / FRFI 236 Dec 2013/Jan 2014
  10. Remembering Susan May
  11. Chemical weapons: truth and lies/FRFI 235 Oct/Nov 2013
  12. British capitalism: a recovery built on sand/FRFI 235 Oct/Nov 2013
  13. The British economy - Spinning a recovery/FRFI 234 Aug/Sep 2013
  14. Imperialism and wiretaps – a web of control
  15. European Union and Britain: Tories self-destructing over Europe
  16. The two faces of class struggle: the motor force for historical regression or advance
  17. Crisis of British capitalism - Ruling class in denial /FRFI 232 Apr/May 2013
  18. UK Budget: Osborne spins as economy sinks /FRFI 232 Apr/May 2013
  19. Housing crisis deepens / FRFI 231 Feb/Mar 2013
  20. Cameron fuels ruling class divisions on Europe / FRFI 231 Feb/Mar 2013
  21. Divisions and conflicts resurface as immediate threat to the eurozone recedes/ FRFI 230 Dec 2012/Jan 2013
  22. Offshore tax havens - wonders of the modern world – October 2012
  23. Relentless austerity: the price of a European imperialist bloc / FRFI 229 Oct/Nov 2012
  24. Imperialism turns the screw on Eastern Europe / FRFI 228 Aug/Sep 2012
  25. Something rotten in the heart of the City / FRFI 228 Aug/Sep 2012