A secret Free Trade Deal with the USA was sprung on an unsuspecting public, as the neo-liberal NZ Labour Party revealed both its contempt for democracy and its affinity with the blood soaked regime in Washington. However, the fact that this deal was done in secret also betrays the fact that such bilateral Free Trade deals are deeply unpopular with workers, despite being supported by most mainstream political parties and the craven CTU.
The support of both Labour and the CTU for the preceding Chinese Free Trade deal with the Butchers of Tienanmen Square has already resulted in disaster for Chinese workers. Fonterra gained a 43% stakehold in the corrupt Sanlu corporation, whose Managing directors are also provincial leaders of the murderous Communist Party. Sanlu ensured that the poisoning of Fonterra's dairy products were covered up during the "scandal free" Olympics, which also saw the imprisonment of leading activists and the oppression of Tibetan and Uighur independence movements. For Fonterra, Labour and the CTU, human rights and democracy were not more important than making money with a Stalinist regime so ruthless, it would cover up the poisoning of its own children.
In contrast, socialists were on the streets championing Chinese workers rights and the right of Tibetans to independence. We also opposed the many wars of the USA, and campaign to bring NZ troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Socialists also helped to build the Global Justice movement which was a significant factor in the collapse of the Doha round and the World Trade Organisation. Corporate Globalisation has lost the battle for political legitimacy, and free market capitalism itself now faces a gigantic ideological crisis as it appeals to States to intervene and prop up its banks.
The US ruling class are caught in a blind panic. Last Monday they allowed Lehman Brothers (US third biggest bank) to go to the wall, the very next day they bailed out the world’s biggest insurance company AIG. What we have seen is the biggest state intervention in world history. Over the last few days the World Bank and US governments have spent hundreds of billions of dollars buying up debts and bailing out collapsing institutions. This has certainly given them a temporary breathing space. But the problems of the system have not gone away.
The New Zealand economy now finds itself open to these rapacious forces which will be eying its remaining public assets for privatisation. Socialist Aotearoa will be to the fore in resisting any attempts by capital, foreign or domestic, to steal that which should be for the public good, not private profit.
23 September 2008