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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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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Capitalism in crisis stagnant, predatory and corrupt

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ),1 the business newspaper of the large US corporations, argues that the glut of capital and labour throughout the global economy represents a major challenge to policy makers. The global economy, it said, ‘is awash as never before with commodities like oil, cotton and iron ore, but also with capital and labour’ – an oversupply which is creating serious difficulties for policy makers attempting to boost economic demand. As a result, we are experiencing ‘a low-growth, low-inflation, low-[interest] rate environment’ which could take a decade for the global economy to surmount.

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