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(en) France, Alternative Libertair AL 11th Congress - Against free trade: productive autonomy (fr) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 10 Feb 2013 10:31:34 +0200

Since the global economic crisis began in late 2007, the criticism of free trade is now in vogue in Europe and in France. During the 2012 presidential campaign, there has been, the FN PCF, a revival of the idea of ââ"protectionism". -- If only FN defends protectionism French borders, all government parties - UMP, Modem, PS, PG, PCF, EELV - defend protectionism European borders, using various formulas such as "economic patriotism", the "fair trade" or "de-globalization". ---- This idea is also supported by a number of intellectuals in the social right as Emmanuel Todd, antisocial as Jean-Luc GrÃau, or left as Jacques Sapir, the movement of MPEP and Le Monde Diplomatique . ---- To enable this protectionism is mentioned most often the implementation of social and environmental standards that penalize manufacturing in emerging countries, but also tools like Buy European Act , which the U.S. model would reserve procurement companies occurring in the European territory.

It is also not just a speech, but a fact. Since 2008, protectionist measures are growing around the world, while the process of deregulation of markets, orchestrated by the World Trade Organization since 1994, has stalled.

The return of protectionism in the world
Manipulation of exchange rates, subsidies, non-respect of intellectual property, taxation of social and environmental standards ... the current trend in the world is to protectionist measures.

Observatory Global Trade Alert, London, has recorded a steady increase in these measures - total 1200 2008 to early 2012 - in the countries acceding to the WTO. Taxes and customs duties strictly represent only a minority share (16%) [ 1 ]. China, Russia, India and the Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay) are at the forefront of this protectionist movement [ 2 ].

Thus, in 2011, Brazil has decided to tax 30% manufactured vehicles with less than 65% of parts from the Mercosur area. Shortly after, Argentina has banned the sale of smartphones manufactured abroad, forcing manufacturers LG, Samsung and Nokia to locate their assembly on its territory [ 3 ]. End of 2011, the Mercosur is imposing 30% tax on imports. By March 2011, Russia banned the import of certain foodstuffs to support local production in June, she took measures to safeguard its automobile industry. In December 2011, India suspended plans to open the retail sector to foreign multinationals like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco. In March 2012, the U.S. Senate authorized the Department of Commerce to apply countervailing duties on Chinese imports to punish considered unfair competition, the Chinese government subsidizing massively companies.

The double discourse of capitalist
Powerful countries take when it suits them, liberties with the rules of free trade they gradually imposed on the world. Even say that it is unfortunate whenever they need to make an official statement, as in the G20 in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012!

Poor countries dependent on imperialist domination or direct control, however, are condemned to remain "open markets" for the benefit of Western and Asian multinationals.

This silent return of protectionism worldwide brand he a pause, not assumed, in the process of free trade, or the beginning of a regression of one? It is not for us to say. This will depend on the situation, both protectionism and free trade are two strategies that capitalists handle alternately, according to economic sectors, times interest.

Two fractions of the same bourgeoisie may also disagree about it. "Unfair competition" is always the other. The capitalist type is readily ultraliberal others. It may, on the one hand, vilifying "interventionism" and the other to accept the intervention of the State in its favor. It calls for the removal of trade barriers in the markets it wants to enter, and at the same time that he willingly accepts book captive markets. Should not seek ideological coherence. The only capitalist dogma, it is the private ownership of the means of production and distribution. Everything else is adaptable to circumstances.

The ravages of free trade
Presented as a condition of "development", free trade is the official ideology of large organizations created by rich countries to dominate the world economy, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, G20. Their credo: the removal of barriers and the international division of labor will be prosperity for all. In each country to specialize in the economic sector in which it has the greatest assets, and abandon others.

For fifteen years, the neoliberals have sharpened their rhetoric on this "new international division of labor" formerly the South provided raw materials, and the North manufactures. Today, Western capitalism always assigned to the southern supply raw materials to China and emerging countries to host the polluting factories and West high technology and brainpower. This presentation is the fantasy of a high-tech country, stripped of its factories and its workers. But it is undermined by the reality that the so-called "emerging" are eg producers of intellectual services and high-tech India for IT, China industrial design and electronics.

The big winners of the international division of labor are not the workers from any country whatsoever, but multinationals that control the entire game real consequences of free trade, it is social dumping , fiscal dumping, relocations, mergers, monocultures, mono-industries, the ratio of transit time of goods, increasing pollution, the market for "pollution rights" ... and monstrous profits for the capitalists North, South and emerging countries.

Free trade therefore leads to a triple disaster: a disaster social worker deindustrialization and unemployment in the West forced industrialization and working poverty in developing countries, farmers dispossessed and hungry in the South; ecological disaster: the relocation of production leads lengthening disproportionate economic cycles and the scaling of transport and pollution, with an impact on global climate catastrophe democratic a country deprived of all or part of its productive apparatus loses its economic autonomy, and sees reduced by all the leeway in its political and social. This considerably weakens the revolutionary perspective of socialization of the means of production and a collective choice on consumption patterns.

The two sides of the same coin
In the controversy that pits rising protectionism to free trade, many arguments are invoked in bad faith, which can fool the social movement, forced to choose between two "camps" none of which are his. A as Both are warmongers . If the protectionist policies of imperialist tensions can lead to control a captive market - what were the colonial empires of the past - the did not cancel this dynamic, as shown by the Iraq war. Tomorrow, more than the control of markets, it is the struggle for control of natural resources which can be a factor of geopolitical tensions. A Both his misery mongers . Protectionist policies may lead to higher prices and lower purchasing power of workers and workers in the North and the South. But free trade is organizing it, social dumping rampant, unemployment worker and peasant ruin. Both An organized competition between workers . If free trade is the fierce competition at the global level, protectionism is competition within a limited economic space: the European Union, for example, putting in competition 27 different social legislation. A Both are interclassist . Both try to believe that the proletariat must tighten their belts and agree with employers on behalf of the "national interest" or competitiveness in the global market. Neither one nor the other is anti- statist . They are in a multinational free trade, or monopolies in a protectionist, big companies need the device diplomatic, military and police power of a so-called public to defend their interests. Neither the other are not the "self-sufficiency" . This is exactly what the free traders blame most commonly protectionists while historically, this has never been made, even in the most protectionist phases of capitalism.

Three options to the crisis in the euro area
This false opposition between liberalism and protectionism is found in advanced solutions in response to the crisis in the euro zone in which the German economy occupies a key position.

However, it is easy to see by the dominant role played it, our commentators most often fail to specify the conditions under which exports were boosted by a strong social decline (decline in wages of 4.5% average between 2000 and 2009, insecurity and impoverishment of a large part of the proletariat).

Faced with this, few options are present in perspective: the supporters of free trade, mainly in France represented by the PS, UMP employers and their satellites, we propose to catch up on Germany and organize a "clash of competitiveness" through a renewed austerity: lower wages, lower social rights, breaking utilities, massive public subsidies to employers, etc.. , the most reactionary right, but also a part of the left more open to the sirens of protectionism offer for them to abolish the euro and return to national currencies in order to have other levers that the lowest social and wages to regain competitiveness. However, this would merely change the rules of competition in the capitalist market, contrary to the vision that opposes them countries like Germany to Greece, anti-capitalists should focus on the community of interest between working classes of all countries in the euro area. This is why we can only find ourselves on the goals of regaining lost social rights in Germany and elsewhere, to fight against the decline in the countries of the euro area as a whole, in a logic of international solidarity between workers.

The alternative: productive autonomy
For nearly twenty years, environmental organizations, workers and peasants of the North and the South - Alternative libertarian among them - have fought and are fighting against free trade and deregulation of markets. But now that protectionist rhetoric back in force, it must be clear that it is not under the flag as we continue the fight.

It should nevertheless be heard from workers' threatened by redundancy plans and relocations, and lend an ear to bourgeois politicians when they claim protectionism.

It is therefore crucial that the social movements, to avoid the risk of being led astray by the protectionist rhetoric that is a false choice, clearly state, with their own words, that the alternative to free trade, is the autonomy productive.

The international Via Campesina peasant said this way since 1996, defining the concept of "food sovereignty": each region must be able to feed itself without placing itself under the control of the multinationals of the agribusiness. So not to export agriculture, GMOs, to land grabbing, monocultures, imperialism, yes local production under the control of farmers and the population. International trade should be confined to so-called exotic. Anything that can be produced locally can not be imported from the other side of the world. The libertarians have accused the concept of "food sovereignty" aggravate hunger in the world and be protectionist. Instead, it was the internationalist cement peasant struggles in the South as in the North.

Due to the triple disaster social, ecological and democratic which leads free trade, we say that social movements in the West, Asia or Africa can now converge in the sense of "autonomy productive" every region of the world. This autonomy is productive in the interest of the people threatened by social dumping and relocations, whether in the West or in Asia, and in the interest of the people that free trade was sentenced to economic dependence, particularly in Africa . Relocation of production is a necessity. This does not mean spooky "autarky", but short circuits of exchange, and limiting long exchanges that can not be produced locally.

Productive autonomy involves reducing production to the needs of the people and to break with productivism. This reduction leads to a second: that of working time. And then a third: that of profits.

This is why the autonomy of each productive region of the world hinders the interests of capitalists. It can only come against them, under the pressure of the people and under the control of Workers.

The fight against free trade and productive autonomy must be part of a broader struggle for socialism against imperialism and ecology. It can match with claims that may be brought by social movements in the North and the South and in emerging countries against the fiscal and social dumping, against export subsidies for production indexed to the needs of populations, to break with the WTO, the abolition of public debt in both North and South.

Relocation of industry claimed by the current protectionist nÃokÃnÃsien are only marginally possible against the logic of the global market. However they are a nationalist discourse as opposed to building solidarity. Relocations we defend is only possible in a movement to break with the market economy and can wear internationalist activism advocating social equality, ecological and democratic global scale.

[ 1 ] The World Economy March 27, 2012.

[ 2 ] "From China to Russia, protectionist measures are growing," Echoes of 8 March 2012.

[ 3 ] The Expansion of March 2012.
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