Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 5 Num. 27

("Quid coniuratio est?")

THE GLOBALIZATION OF CAPITALIST PRODUCTION [From The International Workers Bulletin, 10/25/93] [Excerpts]


(6.7) The bourgeois policy and think tank journals are replete with declarations that the present mission of the United States is to provide order to a disordered world. They already speak of Greater China, defined as south China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as an emerging capitalist client state and potential threat to U.S. interests. One pundit called for the formation of an English- speaking union, embracing Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain and dominated by the United States. Another published a detailed proposal for the United States to annex Siberia and prepare it for admission as several new states into the union. These and similar scenarios are by no means considered within the bourgeoisie to be the ravings of crackpots. Steps in this direction are already underway. Over the past year Chevron has acquired the Tengiz oil fields of Kazakhstan and newspapers have leaked reports of Pentagon plans for the military occupation of parts of Russia. Without any public statement or explanation, the Clinton administration signed an order called "Directive 13" {2} that lays the basis for U.S. military intervention in border conflicts and ethnic strife within the boundaries of the former USSR.

(6.9) The basic article of faith of Clinton's foreign policy is that it must be driven directly by the need of American capitalism to reverse its decline in the global economy and expand the access of U.S. banks and corporations to markets all over the world...

(6.11) In sum, the policy of the Clinton administration is to accustom U.S. forces to carry out bloody aggression against peoples all over the world, and to inure the American public to the likelihood that on any given day in some part of the world American troops will be killing and getting killed.

(6.12) Today, even more so than when he wrote them 59 years ago, these words of Trotsky apply: "U.S. capitalism is up against the same problem that pushed Germany in 1914 on the path of war. The world is divided? It must be redivided. For Germany it was a question of 'organizing Europe.' The United States must 'organize' the world. History is bringing humanity face to face with the volcanic eruption of American imperialism."

(7.1) But American imperialism's grandiose schemes rest upon rotten foundations. The debt-fueled boom for big business of the 1980s has run its course, having further exacerbated the underlying crisis. This crisis is expressed in record budget deficits, chronic trade deficits, soaring debt and an ongoing hemorrhaging of jobs in virtually every sector of the economy.

(7.2) The huge budget and trade deficits of the Reagan and Bush years, in which the national debt went from $1 trillion to nearly $4 trillion, have further undermined the world position of American capitalism. Over the four years of the Bush administration, the U.S. economy experienced the slowest growth of the postwar period, an average of 1.2 percent per year. By that point the value of the American dollar had dropped two- thirds against both the mark and the yen, as compared to their relative values 20 years earlier...

(7.3) It is symbolic that Clinton's inauguration coincided with IBM's announcement of a $5 billion loss for 1992, the biggest yearly loss for any corporation in U.S. history. During Clinton's first week in office major corporations including Sears, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, McDonnell Douglass and Kodak announced a total of 100,000 job cuts. The wave of layoffs and corporate downsizing has continued unabated, including the report of 10,000 job cuts at Proctor & Gamble, another 85,000 on the way at IBM, and an additional 50,000 jobs to be eliminated at GM.

(7.5) The changes in social relations produced by this upheaval at the economic base of society have profound implications for the political superstructure of the United States. American society has become sharply polarized. Over the past 20 years, there has been a huge accumulation of wealth within the bourgeoisie and the most privileged layers of the upper middle class.

(7.6) The greatest rewards have been reaped by those sections of the ruling class associated most directly with various forms of financial swindling -- real estate, currency, stock and bond speculators; specialists in corporate takeovers; etc.

(7.7) The same period has seen the general impoverishment of growing sections of the population. The working class has been devastated by plant closures and the permanent loss of decent- paying jobs. More than 10 million workers saw their jobs destroyed during the 1980s, and the process has continued in the 1990s. Combined with the gutting of social welfare programs, housing, health care and education, and a government-backed campaign of union busting and wage cutting, the mass layoffs and plant closures have produced a drastic regression in the social position of the working class...

(7.9) Tens of millions of workers, and especially young workers and youth, have been reduced to the status of marginal, part-time or temporary labor, and forced to subsist on poverty-level wages. Temporary employment grew 10 times faster than overall employment between 1982 and 1990. In 1992 temporary jobs accounted for two- thirds of new private sector jobs.

(7.11) At the same time, growing sections of those who have thought of themselves as middle class are being displaced and financially ruined by the convulsive shakeout of basic industry, including the computer, telecommunications, aerospace and defense industries. White collar, professional and managerial employees are being hit by a sweeping cost-cutting drive to slash middle and lower management positions. Computer analysts and engineers by the hundreds of thousands, who thought they had lifetime jobs at firms such as IBM, are finding themselves on unemployment lines. Civil servants and government employees are facing budget cuts at the federal, state and local level. College graduates are finding that their degrees no longer provide entry to good-paying careers, and many face the prospect of long-term unemployment. The economic slump is driving record numbers of small businesses into bankruptcy. This crisis within the middle class has the most explosive and far-reaching implications for the traditional structure of capitalist rule in America. These are precisely the intermediate layers of society which are employed to administer the affairs of the bourgeoisie. The economic well-being and stability of the middle classes have provided a strong foundation for capitalist rule throughout the postwar period. These social layers have moreover served as a social buffer, helping to suppress the class struggle and smother any independent political movement of the working class.

(7.12) Working class living standards have been declining steadily since the early 1970s, but the growth of poverty at one end of society and accumulating wealth at the other sharply accelerated over the past thirteen years. The gap between the rich and the great bulk of the population reached levels unseen since the 1920s. In the course of the 1980s the top 1 percent increased its share of all stocks and bonds, real estate and other business assets from 20 percent to 36.3 percent. Today the richest 1 percent control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. In 1992 the average income of the top 1 percent of the population was $567,000, almost twice what it was, in constant dollars, in 1977. Corporate chief executives saw their average salary soar from $190,000 in 1960 to $549,000 in 1970 and $4,356,000 in 1992, for a cumulative increase of 2,188 percent. In the 12 years of the Reagan and Bush administrations, the annual incomes of corporate CEOs multiplied seven times over. In 1992 their total compensation reached 170 times the level of an average worker's paycheck.

(7.19) As all restrictions on the subjugation of the working class to the drive for profit are removed, the most barbaric forms of exploitation, such as child labor, indentured servitude and outright slavery, are once again gaining ground...

---------------------------<< Notes >>--------------------------- {2} "Directive 13":

The August 8 assassination of CIA agent Fred Woodruff outside the Georgian capital of Tbilisi has brought to light extensive US interference in the affairs of the former Soviet Union. A secret State Department memorandum, titled "Directive 13," calls for the United States to become the arbiter of disputes among the 15 states that have emerged from the collapse of the USSR.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal August 18, Directive 13 "proposes external mediation of disputes that have arisen or might arise between Russia and other former Soviet republics. It proposes internationalizing these problems, under the auspices of the US and the UN."

[Excerpted from the August 23, 1993 issue of "The International Workers Bulletin." Article, by Bill Vann, entitled "Growing Danger of Imperialist War".]

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