The United States has been at the center of the international financial system ever since the Second World War. The dollar has served as the main international currency and the United States has as previous leading Empires derived immense benefits from being the supreme capitalist power. Now this Empire and capitalism is on shaky ground and the bank crisis has developed into a serious state debt crisis.
There is no doubt that financial crisis of 2008 originated from the US center. The history shows that if the center itself becomes endangered, then, preserving the system takes precedence over all other considerations. The IWA Secretariat wrote the in First of May statement 2010 “Organize and fight against the capitalist exploitation”:
“Information indicates that the US and UK finance capital are using speculation in other countries economies as a weapon against competitors. Various Anglo-American financiers meant that a diversionary attack on the euro, starting with some of the weaker Mediterranean or Southern European economies, would be an ideal means of relieving pressure on the battered US greenback which was at a record low in November 2009”.
There has since been, and is still, a press campaign targeting the so-called PI(I)GS countries: Portugal, Ireland,(I)taly, Greece and Spain. The attacks and the workers and peoples` protests against them have not only come in Greece, but also in the other “PI(I)GS” countries Portugal, Ireland, (I)taly and Spain.
This race is not calming, it is escalation: Greece with its never ending austerity programs, Spain with cuts and new labour “reforms” and Italy is preparing massive social cuts and higher retirement age. Recently, the Portuguese government has announced further austerity measures and Ireland and France have announcing further cuts in their already-truncated budgets. And there are big cuts on its way in Britain.
A serious economic breakdown and depression in Europe will not only be a boomerang against the US, but also against Asia, as Japan. The Latin American countries that are trading with the US, EU, Asia will also get problems etc,
US counters China and emerging economies and used the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Honolulu recently to promote their own initiative called Trans –Pacific Partnership (TPP). They negotiate with Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei and Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru and Japan have shown interest.
The attacks must also be seen in connection with another important issue: As Big Capital was the engine behind the EU project- they are now pushing for a single market with the US. Especially when Angela Merkel came into office in Germany in 2005 the initiatives accelerated. The US and the EU signed up to a new Transatlantic Economic Partnership at a summit in Washington in April 2006.
They agreed to set up an Economic Council to push ahead with regulatory convergence in nearly 40 areas, including security, intellectual property, financial services, business takeovers and the aviation- and motor industry.
The schedule for the single market was set to 2015, and the European Union made a formal decision about the single market in May 2008. Now lately, multinational corporations* (Appendix) represented by the Trans Atlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) put forward their demands of more liberalization and de-regulation ahead of the G20 Ministerial meeting in October and G20 Summit, November 3-4 2011 in Cannes.
The austerity programs in the EU and the process for a single market is clearly making it easier to impose US policies on the EU system as the US and UK dominate the finance capital and most of the big corporations. The US also dominates the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that day by day gets a stronger grip on EU countries. The structural reforms will in fact start a process of leveling the EU social standards, working conditions and welfare to the ones in the United States.
The bureaucratic, reformist unions, which are dependent on legislative aid and subsidies from the ones who are pursuing the attacks, must either surrender or fight. If they mobilize at all, they are doomed to fail, since they are not built to counter attacks on broad fronts, and to rely on their own strength. So they instead adopt to the employers demands arguing to the workers that it is necessary in order to keep the jobs.
The US union, United Auto Workers (UAW), made recently contracts with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler by freezing pay for long-term workers and accepting “second tier” workers with lower pay and reduced health and retirement benefits. The Chrysler-Fiat CEO has threatened to close factories in Italia moving them to Poland and the US if the Italian workers do not improve “efficiency”. It is expected that the Italian authorities will use the European debt crisis as a pretext to destroy Italian workers rights and impose American style wage cuts and labour “flexibility”.
The ruling classes worldwide are united on this: The working class must pay through the destruction of social programs and a drastic lowering of wages and living standards. These measures can only be forced through by slaughtering workers and union rights and class tensions will be building up on a world scale.
When this is written there are strikes and mobilizations in Greece. The Spanish CNT-AIT is actively involved in work conflicts and participates in a week of struggle to mobilize with other unions and social organization for a general strike. There will be a action day in Britain against cuts in pensions on November 30th. The Occupy movement in the US and elsewhere is met with repression and students are continuing their riot in Chile, to mention some examples.
The UAW contract is one of many examples that show that the reformist unions are service-institutions and burdens on the back of the workers, not free tools for self-activity and emancipation. Contrary to the reformist unions, the International Workers Association (IWA) rejects integration into the capitalist system. We don’t class collaborate, have no paid union officials, and we don’t receive any subsidies from our enemies- and our goal is to replace the capitalism and the state by the free federation of workers free associations – the libertarian communism.
The IWA-Secretariat sends in this anarchosyndicalist and internationalist spirit its greetings and support to all workers who by self- activity, protests, direct actions and solidarity are engaged in the fight against the capitalist austerity measures, exploitation and oppression!
Oslo, November 16th 2011
Accenture, Airbus, Albemarle Corporation, Applied Materials, Audi AG, BASF, BBVA, British American Tobacco, British Petroleum, BT, Capstone Turbine Corp, Chartis International, The Coca-Cola Company, Covington & Burling LLP, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, European-American Business Organization, Ford Motor Company, Freshfields, GE, Heitkamp & Thumann Group, Intel, International Airlines Group (British Airways + Iberia), KPGM International, Lloyds, Merck & Co., Microsoft, Pfizer, Philip Morris International, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Siemens, Svenska LantChips, AB, ThyssenKrupp, Travelport, Umicore, Unilever