Friday, June 29, 2012

Aotearoa Sold Out | For a Socialist Pacific

The resistance to selling NZ assets reflects the growing public awareness that NZ has almost no assets left to sell, and that the profits from those assets are our biggest export. The leaking of the secret TPPA shows that the NZ ruling class is selling off total control over the NZ economy. Signing up to military relations with the US tells us that NZ is truly a neo-colony of the US. Now that the latest round of state asset privatisations is underway it’s obvious that NZ is fast running out of productive assets to be bought up by international capital. As if to prove that the cupboard is bare, John Key’s scheme to turn NZ into a Finance Hub aka tax haven for finance capital exploits NZs ‘timezone’ and contributes no added value to any asset anywhere in the world. Time for de-colonisation of Aotearoa!

Recolonisation of Kiwiland?

There is a foundation myth that New Zealand ceased being a colony of Britain and forged its independent identity at Gallipoli. Britain sacrificed NZ lives on the altar of empire, so NZ cut the apron strings. Nothing could be further than the truth. NZ began as an economic colony of Britain and its political sovereignty was always controlled by the Bank of England. Even the Fabian myth promoted by the Labour Party that it broke from Britain to abolish free trade an impose import and capital controls in the late 1930s was disproven by the British control of NZ banking and manufacturing up to the 1970s and the onset of the global structural crisis of falling profits.

The global crisis forced big structural changes to restore profits. This included Britain’s entry to the EEC and the end of NZs protected export market. NZ in turn was forced to diversify its markets. But it also diversified its colonial rulers. Australia, Japan and the US joined Britain as new masters of Aotearoa. The strongest relationship was with Australia, a junior imperialist country with its strength based in minerals. NZ became a subordinated as a virtual state of Australia. NZ banks, manufacturing and retail became dominated by Australian corporations. To a lesser extent, Japan, the US and since 2000, China, have become new owners of NZ assets many of them state assets sold off by both Labour and National governments in the 1980s and 1990s.

This seems to some to be a re-colonisation of NZ due to the onset of ‘neo-liberalism’ since it amounts to a end to NZs political sovereignty. It’s actually the logical continuation of Aotearoa’s long history as a dependent semi-colony or neo-colony. Neo-liberalism was the global capitalist response to crisis in the 1980s that forced semi-colonies like NZ to open up and deregulate their economies. Similarly, the latest round of assets sales taking place because of renewed onset of global crisis proves that NZ’s place in the capitalist world division of labour has always been that of a ‘rip, shit, and bust’ economy. The difference is that today NZ is being openly sucked dry of the remainder of its productive assets and is rapidly heading down the road of other semi-colonies that have had their assets ripped-off, their workers shat on, and are now heading for a big bust.

NACT’s asset sales  

Two things stand out about the asset sales. The NACTs are flouting massive opposition to these partial sales. The fact that they are partial, retaining majority state ownership (instead of wholesale flogging off as in the 80s and 90s) proves that public resistance is building. The NACTs have tried to spin the sales as paying off debt but failed to hide the fact that the debt was the result of tax cuts to the ‘rich’. It then changed tack and said it would put the money into new infrastructure. Finally, it dressed up the sales saying they would pay for health and education spending.A big majority still oppose the sales.

Second, the private owners of the state assets will demand price rises to return a profit. This after 20 years of massive price rises to private consumers compared with stable prices for business. This will prove that asset sales are another austerity measure to make working class consumers pay for the crisis of global capitalism.The fact that this will add to the risk of the defeat of the NACTs at the next election proves that international finance capital is dictating these asset sales and that the NACT government has no choice in selling state assets in the interests of global capitalism. Not only that, the privatisation of NZ's assets are being driven by the growing inter-imperialist rivalry between the US and its emerging global rival, China, in the Pacific.

TPPA: The War for the Pacific

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is the most misleading and misnamed free trade deal ever conceived. For one thing, it is not 'Trans' since it excludes the elephant in the Pacific, China. Second, there can be no 'Partnership' when the US is imposing its hegemony on the Pacific as an economic and political weapon against China. Third, the economic rape by the US of its ‘partners’ is not won by an 'Agreement'. In any case there is no agreement between the peoples of the signatory nations since the 'Agreement' is being made in secrete.

The leaking of some of the terms of the secret agreement show that the US is imposing draconian limits to the sovereignty of its colonies and neo-colonies in the Asia/Pacific region to prevent national governments from giving preference to national corporations, or to put any controls over the free flow of profits and capital. These terms will be enforced to special courts outside the nations concerned. National sovereignty is openly sold out. To prove it Mexico is joining the TPPA like a rape victim suffering PTSD. Mexico since it signed the NAFA 1994 has been sued many times by corporations for daring to pass laws that limit the profits of US corporations.

What we see here is the US moving rapidly to legally bind its client states in the Pacific into the sphere of interest of US imperialism, targeted specifically at the growing influence of China. Once this US economic zone of influence is in place, it will be enforced by a beefed up US military presence including several naval fleets, new forces in Darwin and in the many bases that encircle China.

This explains why the NACT regime, representing the NZ comprador capitalists, is aping the US in every sphere of economy, politics, media and culture. It explains why NZ forces are now openly ‘cooperating’ with the FBI and US nuclear powered and armed forces in contravention to its long held nuclear-free policy. And if reinforces the reality that the politics of any tiny, dependent, Pacific nation is being determined by the growing rivalry of the two Pacific giants, the US and China.

A Socialist Pacific

Aotearoa/NZ is a US semi-colony and is about to lose what little it has of its national independence. There is no possibility of stopping NZ being locked into the US imperialist Pacific zone of influence under the NACT regime. A Labour/Green government will find itself unwilling and unable to break out of this Pacific lockdown. There will be no national sovereignty remaining that any government can exercise to assert NZs national independence. NZ will be at the total mercy of US imperialism just as Greece is at the mercy of the EU today. There is only one way of breaking out of NZ’s semi-colonial dependence and that is completing the national revolution by struggling to take that revolution towards a socialist republic and a socialist Pacific.

This will become clear as workers in all the Pacific countries face mounting economic austerity, political disenfranchisement and military domination. While fighting against imperialist control (e.g. TPPA and military alliances) of the Pacific, it is important to realise that this applies to both the US and China. Rather than the workers of Aotearoa and other Pacific nationals being drawn into wars between the US and China they will discover that they can only be free when they are part of a Socialist Federation of the Pacific.

This will allow Aotearoa and Australia as well as the smaller Pacific Island states to unite as one economy which is coordinated across the whole Pacific, but at the same time keep as much autonomy as is wanted to exercise political and cultural independence. For example Maori would have the right to assert their autonomy over ownership and control of traditional land and resources.

Joining Aotearoa with Australia and the rest of the Pacific states on these terms recognises the common interests of workers in all these countries to plan production to meet all our needs with the least necessary labour.

Rather than be part of a TPPA that extracts value from the dependent nations for the benefit of a tiny class of exploiters offshore or at home, that forces worker migration to wealthier countries to be exploited by the bosses, and drags us into inter-imperialist wars, workers would decide how these resources are to be used and the income distributed.

Those who say we are giving up on our national identity for some ‘socialist’ pie in the sky need to reflect on what defending that ‘identity’ is worth. Are they willing to die to defend their ‘national identity’ in some new Gallipoli fought in other peoples’ lands to allow one imperialist state to rule over others?

The working class has no country. Modern nations are inventions of capitalism to form a jurisdiction to protect their private property and profits. But nations long ago became barriers to capital accumulation so today bosses are internationalists. NZs ruling class are agents for international capital. They have no loyalty to NZ except as the bits of it they own as their share of the booty.

But as the biggest bits are already owned by Australia, US, UK, Japan and China, to expropriate them we need to ally with the working class in all of those countries. We can build defensive fights in NZ but we can’t win them without international working class support.

For example, if we want to expropriate the Australian banks we will have to be in an alliance with Australian workers. It has nothing to do with the attitude of the bosses towards workers or the industrial law etc, it’s about the size, combativity and genuine internationalism of the working class.

That’s why we need an international party of workers not only in the Pacific but the globe. When Greek, Icelandic, South American, South African and Pacific, Chinese and US workers unite their forces, and overthrow their ruling classes, no imperialist power on earth can stop the overthrow of capitalism and the creation of a global socialist economy that is under the control of workers democracy to produce to meet our needs in harmony with nature.

For an Independent Socialist Aotearoa!

For a Socialist United States of the Pacific!

For a World Party of Socialist Revolution!

From Class Struggle No 100, May-June, 2012

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