Thursday, May 22, 2014

Global capitalism and the TTIP. A War on workers and the environment

There is  relentless progress towards the ratification of the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and the USA which would abolish tariffs on trade and also sweep away powers to control quality and safety of products, stop genetically engineered foodstuffs and much else besides. Gregor Gysi of the German Linke pointed out that a similar agreement between the USA and Australia opened the legal route to sue the Australian government for implementing anti-fracking laws on the grounds that this would impede American firms in pursuing fracking projects, thus limiting the US firm's right to "act freely". Here is a rousing speech by Melenchon for the French Front de Gauche attacking the TTIP: Dan Armstrong
Thanks to Dan for sending us this video clip. Many environmental, trade union and other groups are opposed to TTIP, which, some say will endanger European consumers. The US uses ammonia in poultry breeding and is a proponent of GMO food says one Belgian politician from the ECOLO Party.   Police attacked Belgians protesting the TTIP last week.
Water cannons being used in Belgium
The TTIP is being referred to also as TAFTA after the North American Free Trade Agreement. It will increase the power of capital and mean further deregulation.  The agreement also strengthens already existing rules that allow investors and business to negotiate directly with nations on rules and regulations and for the decisions in disputes to be arbitrated by a private tribunals of international lawyers.

This means for example that US companies investing in Europe can challenge EU governments directly at these private international tribunals, whenever they find that changes in law in the area of public health, consumer, environmental or social protection interfere with their profits, similar to the Australian events.

US capitalism is driving this and is undoubtedly the most destructive and destabilizing force on the planet, economically and as a consequence of its economic terrorism, militarily. Nothing escapes the rapacious drive fro profits, not human beings, not the environment in which we live. It is not that Americans support the actions of their government, millions of them do not, after all, we are also victims of its drive for profits ourselves.  US workers have some of the worst social services and working conditions in the industrial world. Most Americans though do not see a way out. 

A major reason for its violent nature is US capitalism's declining influence on the global stage. Like a weakened animal, we have a nation state the size of a continent and armed to the teeth, paid for of course by declining US living standards.  The more it is threatened by the rise of China and Russia for example, the more violent it becomes as it tries to maintain its place in the pecking order.  It has the capability to blow us all up.  One of British Colonialism's most violent wars was fought against the Kenyan's (Mau Mau) as the British Empire was in decline.

There's some more detailed information on the TTIP here and throughout the Internet.

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