Archive for the Kenya Category

US collecting all cell phone calls in Afghanistan [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Julian Assange, Kenya, Mexico, National Security Agency / NSA, NATO invasion, NSA, Obama, Pakistan, Pentagon, Philippines, Somalia, US drone strikes, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks, Yemen on May 24, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
24 May 2014

WikiLeaks on Friday revealed that the US has been surveilling all cell phone conversations in Afghanistan as part of its SOMALGET mass data collection program. SOMALGET is one component of a broader NSA effort, including a program called MYSTIC, which collect communications data in Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines, Iraq and elsewhere.

Millions of voice clips and reams of telephone metadata are collected and stored as part of the SOMALGET/MYSTIC program, which taps into entire national cellular networks. Three days ago, Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept, revealed that SOMALGET was being used to collect phone calls made from the Bahamas and an unknown country, now revealed to be Afghanistan.

Greenwald said at the time that revealing the second country would “lead to deaths,” and complied with demands from top US security officials that he not publicize the information. The Washington Post also chose to preserve the secrecy of the surveillance against Afghanistan.

In a “statement on the mass recording of Afghan telephone calls by the NSA” published Friday, WikiLeaks rejected the “national security” rationale for concealing the country’s identity. A statement from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stated, “The Intercept stated that the US government asserted that the publication of this name might lead to a ‘rise in violence’. Such claims were also used by the administration of Barack Obama to refuse to release further photos of torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq… WikiLeaks has years of experience with such false or overstated claims made by US officials in their attempts to delay or deny publication.”

“WikiLeaks has confirmed that the identity of the victim state is Afghanistan. This can also be independently verified through forensic scrutiny of imperfectly applied censorship on related documents released to date and correlations with other NSA programs,” the statement said.

The mass spying against Afghanistan underscores that a primary function of the spying apparatus is to identify and target opponents of the neocolonial agenda being pursued by the US ruling elite, while terrorizing the civilian population into submission. As noted by the WikiLeaks statement, the US government’s targeted drone program relies heavily on information gathered from NSA surveillance operations.

“We know from previous reporting that the National Security Agency’s mass interception system is a key component in the United States’ drone targeting program. The US drone targeting program has killed thousands of people and hundreds of women and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia in violation of international law. The censorship of a victim state’s identity directly assists the killing of innocent people,” the WikiLeaks statement said…

Authoritarian Allies & the Myth of U.S. ‘Leverage’ [FAIR]

Posted in Africa, Corporate Media Critique, George W. Bush, Kenya, Obama, US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA on April 21, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Shared primarily for the candid and vile quote, showing a nasty axiom of US foreign policy: “…The countries that cooperate with us get at least a free pass,” acknowledged a senior U.S. official who specializes in Africa but spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution. “Whereas other countries that don’t cooperate, we ream them as best we can…” – Zuo Shou

April 15, 2013

by Peter Hart

Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock has an interesting piece (4/15/13) about the alliances the United States has made in the name of combating terrorism. The government maintains ties, and even continues to supply arms, to governments in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The most notable part of the article is the fact that Whitlock has a U.S. official essentially agreeing with a damning critique of U.S. foreign policy:

“The countries that cooperate with us get at least a free pass,” acknowledged a senior U.S. official who specializes in Africa but spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution. “Whereas other countries that don’t cooperate, we ream them as best we can.”

The official said the administration of former president George W. Bush took the same approach in Africa. Many U.S. diplomats and human-rights groups had hoped Obama would shift his emphasis in Africa from security to democracy, but that has not happened, the official added.

“There’s pretty much been no change at all,” the official said. “In the end, it was an almost seamless transition from Bush to Obama.”

It was strange, though, to see the Post write that

[“…]the U.S. government has become dependent on several countries with checkered democratic records. That in turn has lessened Washington’s leverage to push those countries to practice free elections and the rule of law.[..”]

The record of the U.S. government’s support for authoritarian, corrupt and/or murderous regimes is not really up for debate. The only question is whether one believes that the U.S. continuously suspends its its deep-seated preference for democratic rule and human rights in order to pursue certain policy goals, or whether the historic record suggests that there is little such preference at all.

We have a media system that strains to argue the former, and that’s why you wind up reading reports about how the U.S. has mysteriously forfeited its “leverage.” But it’s not really leverage if you don’t intend to use it in the first place.

Article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/04/15/authoritarian-allies-the-myth-of-u-s-leverage/

THE DEBATE CONTINUES OVER CHINA’S ROLE IN AFRICA – Leading African analyst say Beijing is doing good work on the continent [Libya 360°]

Posted in Africa, Assassination, China, Hillary Clinton, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Mao Zedong, Somalia, State Department, Sudan, USA, Zimbabwe on July 14, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Abayomi Azikiwe

July 2, 2012

A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times by Dambisa Moyo takes a firm position that the role of the People’s Republic of China in Africa is a positive one. This comes amid the growing U.S., U.K. and French military interventions on the continent which has resulted in the massive destruction of Libya, Somalia and Ivory Coast.

She notes in the Times that “Despite all the scaremongering, China’s motives for investing in Africa are actually quite pure. To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, leaders in Beijing need to keep economic growth rates high and continue to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” (NYT, June 27)

This same writer goes on to point out that “China needs arable land, oil and minerals. Pursuing imperial or colonial ambitions with masses of impoverished people at home would be wholly irrational and out of sync with China’s current strategic thinking.” Yet even though the U.S. and other NATO countries are facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with high unemployment and rising poverty, the imperialist aims of the West are clearly guiding its foreign policy toward Africa.

This statement by Moyo comes a year after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Southern African nation of Zambia where she arrogantly told the government and people that “China’s foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance, and that it has not always utilized the talents of the African people in pursuing its business interests.” (Reuters, June 10, 2011)

This statement came at the same time that the U.S. along with its NATO allies were bombing Libya on a daily basis. Libya was prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi the prosperous and stable country on the continent.

Despite the objections by the African Union as spelled out in numerous resolutions and public statements calling for a negotiated settlement of the Libyan crisis, Washington and its NATO partners totally ignored the will of the governments and people of the continent and continued the war that resulted in regime-change and the assassination of Col. Muammar Gaddafi. These actions in Libya follow a historic pattern of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism as reflected in modern times through Washington’s opposition to all genuine national liberation movements and progressive governments in Africa.

Refuting Clinton’s assertion, Zambian President Rupiah Banda noted that “Our country has been in a close relationship with China since before independence (in 1964).” The president continued saying that China had assisted numerous African states in dealing with the global financial crisis which originated in the U.S.

Differences in Approach

China Daily took notice of one of Clinton’s statement that was made in neighboring Tanzania as well warning that a “new colonialism in Africa from foreign investors and governments interested only in extracting natural resources to enrich themselves” was underway. (China Daily, June 17, 2011) Although the top U.S. diplomat did not mention China by name, the implications were obvious.

According to China Daily, “The most ironic thing is that Hillary Clinton apparently does not know the significance of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in the history of China-Africa relations. It is the site where China built its first railway for Tanzania and Zambia” during the early 1970s under the leadership of Chairman Mao.

The China Daily continues saying that its “government invested in the project that has benefited the local people tremendously, and Chinese workers endured the extreme weather conditions and made huge sacrifices in completing this railway project in the most difficult terrain. That railway project sets China apart from Western nations that were involved in Africa earlier than China.”

Other scientific transfers of technology have the potential to address the agricultural crisis in Africa. The Desert Control Research Institute of Gansu has dispatched 10 scientists to Niger and Nigeria to implement a water resource preservation program sponsored by both the Chinese government and the United Nations. (Xinhua, July 2)

The Chinese scientists are doing research and training local personnel in Niamey, Dosso, Tahousa, Maradi and Zinder in south Niger as well as in Kano state in Nigeria. The project is designed to address the problem of scare water resources which impacts agricultural development and animal husbandry that are caused by drought and the expansion of the deserts.

In contrast the U.S. under the Clinton administration established what is known as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The U.S. Congress has been inconsistent in providing provisions for investments by corporations which have opened factories in several countries…

Continue reading

US novelist talks West’s anti-China campaign [People’s Daily / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Belgium, Black propaganda, Bolivia, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Cuba, Fidel Castro, Genocide, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Philippines, Russia, Sinophobia, South Africa, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Thailand, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Venezuela, World War II on April 21, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

(People’s Daily Online)
October 12, 2011

People’s Daily Online conducted an interview with U.S. novelist and filmmaker Andre Vitchek, who recently wrote “The West Perfecting Its Techniques to Hurt China”, in which he criticized the role the Western press plays in bashing China. Below is the interview:

PD Online: How long does it take to gather the necessary materials for the article? Why did you write this article? What is the article trying to tell the readers?

Vitchek: Writing such article is an ongoing process. And it is logically deducted from my experience; from working and living on all continents – North and South America, Oceania, Asia, Africa and Europe. The purpose of the article was to warn, to alert readers about the forces of Western propaganda, to show how it works and what are its goals.

PD Online: What kind of response have you received after the article was published? Are you worried about [sic] might be called “sinophile”?

Vitchek: They can call me whatever they want. I am not afraid to be called ‘sinophile’. I spend most of my life in Asia and that’s where I feel most comfortable.

The article did evoke wide range of comments, but most of them positive. Although I have to admit that I was called names, too. The same after my open letter to Fidel Castro appeared on line.

PD Online: You said in the article that “anti-China [sic] has become the access to research loans or ways to climb up in the press field.” On what bases [sic] did you say that?

Vitchek :I would rather not name the names. But look at the days of the Cold War; many people were suddenly specializing in the Soviet Union, studying Russian, etc. In retrospect we see that they were not in it for pure love for Russian literature or music – they were in it for certain reasons that we now all understand. Western academia and the media were not truly independent for decades. There is always political game behind. For example, look at the West and Indonesia: no matter what happens, after 1965 pro-western coup and genocide, Indonesia received mostly positive reviews from the press and academics in the West, because the regime there opened up fully to the western political and business interests. More the resources were plundered, more impoverished were Indonesian people; more the country has been glorified and called ‘democratic’ and ‘tolerant’.

The press and academia in the West are very disciplined. When it comes to our ‘allies’ – Thailand and Philippines and Indonesia, there is very little noise and criticism of appalling human rights violations there. When it comes to China or Venezuela, Cuba or Bolivia, the criticism is part of the daily diet in the newspapers, magazines, television, and universities. Reporters are expected to produce articles directly critical of China, or attacking Chinese foreign policy in the region and all over the world.

To put it simply: in Africa, journalists are periodically ‘trained’ by the UK or US media, schools, institutions. They fly journalists abroad (tremendous perk), or they give them grants and other type of funding. It is certain type of corruption, of course. In Africa reporter often makes less…than 100 dollars a month. Who could refuse nice trip to London or New York, all expenses paid, in exchange for writing few damning anti-Chinese reports . It happens every day – in Kenya and Zambia, in Uganda and even in South Africa, which is China’s ally!

The same applies in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia for instance, you can’t say anything against Dalai Lama, even if you are talking to so-called ‘progressive intellectuals’, and especially if you talk to the NGO’s or to young artists and intellectuals . It would mean the end of funding. You see, most of Southeast Asian NGO’s are like [sic] massage chair – you put money in and it moves for 10 minutes. Money [sic] run out and it stops. And the money comes mainly from the West. Artists are pampered by funding and by grants, as long as they do not deal with social issues, don’t attack the Western policy in the region, and do not support China. And what could be greater sin than to trash Dalai Lama, darling of the West! Of course, many intellectuals and media people here are not paid directly to attack China. There is certain understanding between the donors and recipients. Donors know that recipients understand what is expected from them, what they should and should not do or write. It is very difficult to explain. I just finished writing a novella/short novel – called ‘Aurora’ – dealing with this very issue. Hope it will be translated to Chinese one day – it deals with this topic in detail.

PD Online: As far as you can see, how much has the ordinary western people been influenced by the media’s negative reporting about China? H ow do they generally think about China?

Vitchek: A lot! And that’s the problem. They are influenced much more than people in China could even imagine. In a way, it is all very sad. I met Chinese people – simple workers – building government buildings in Samoa or roads in Kenya. Many of them are so simple, good and defenseless! They [Chinese] come and they think that they could win hearts of the peoples in far away lands by doing good things – like improving infrastructure, building schools, hospitals. And they do win hearts, but just for a while. After short period of time, the press kicks in, basically reprinting Western propaganda and perverting, turning up side down everything good that China is doing.

It breaks my heart and makes me so angry. I saw it all over Oceania. I suggest reading my non-fiction book “Oceania” (http://www.amazon.com/Oceania-André-Vltchek/dp/1409298035). It would be good to have it in Chinese, too, as it is addressing Western neo-colonist strategy in Oceania and touches the issue we are discussing right now. There, the influence and propaganda of the West is so obvious. For instance: once there was this big anti-government demonstration in Apia, the capital of Samoa. It happened when [sic] Samoan government decided to switch driving from the right side of the road to the left. Suddenly, I saw 4 men holding huge poster: “China, You Will Not Make Us Drive On The Left!” I went to the protestors and asked them who paid them to carry the poster. “Do you know that in China people drive on the same side as in your country?” I asked. They were mad and began screaming that “China is dictatorship and evil country and that they drive on the left and now they want to force Samoa to be like them.” Even after the big demonstration was over, these for people kept walking around the capital city with the poster. Of course they didn’t invent this…

In Africa – China does so much good. But forget about reading about its fight against malaria or about archeological excavations or building schools. What you will read is that ‘China needs natural resources’ and is willing to cooperate with African dictatorships. Or you will read about Chinese people shooting African miners in Zambia. You know, the West was plundering, enslaving, and committing genocides . It exterminated entire cultures and tribes like Herero in Namibia. It killed some 6 million people in Congo during King Leopold II of Belgium. Rights now, between 6 and 10 million died in Congo alone, as the most horrible civil war is being fought on behave [sic] of Western economic interests! But there is one incident in Zambia and China becomes as guilty as the West! As guilty as the West that was building concentration camps in Africa, trading with slaves, overthrowing governments. It is absurd! But it works. The West had [sic] been perfecting art of propaganda for centuries.

PD Online: In recent years, China has proposed the concept of “harmonious world” and “peaceful development”. What is the western view towards that concept? Do you think the western attitude towards China has got more positive these years?

Vitchek: Definitely not! One thing that is necessary to understand is that the West is not acting rationally, or from good will. Just look at the past centuries: the only interest the West had was to plunder natural resources and control the world. Anybody who looks at the world map from the beginning of the 20th century would see the point. Harmonious world is the biggest danger to the Empire, to Western economic and geo-political inserts [sic] that are intertwined. Because ‘harmonious world’ would mean that each and every country has right for self-determination, for its own way… right to put interests of its own people first. And that is exactly the opposite [sic] what the West wants to achieve. Gustav Jung, one of the greatest European psychologists, argued after the WWII that western desire to control and to plunder is pathological and has no equivalent in the world.

‘Harmonious world’ would mean the end of plunder and Western control. That’s why it is the biggest danger, something that is being discredited day and night, 24/7! It would mean no more invasions to [sic] Iraq and Afghanistan, no more Libyan adventures, no more attempts to overrun Syria. No coups and ‘structural adjustments’ forced down the throats of the people all over the world. It would mean respect and tolerance, something inacceptable to the rulers in Washington, London and Paris.

Please understand: China is the only country – the only real power in the world that stands between full control of the global Western political and economic dictatorship and the rest of the world. Of course there is Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, but these are relatively small countries. There is Brazil and South Africa but they could be sidelined. There is Russia, but it is not as determined or as inspiring and its system is hard to define. So China is in a way the only hope. And that’s why it is so hated, that’s why it is constantly attacked! More good it does, attacks will intensify.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/102774/7615232.html

“Secret SAS squadron sent to spy in Africa” – Australia covertly expands military ops [The Age]

Posted in Africa, Australia, Kenya, Nigeria, USA, Zimbabwe on April 15, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Rafael Epstein and Dylan Welch
March 13, 2012

A secret squadron of Australian SAS soldiers has been operating at large in Africa, performing work normally done by spies, in an unannounced and possibly dangerous expansion of Australia’s foreign military engagement.

The deployment of the SAS’s 4 Squadron – the existence of which has never been publicly confirmed – has put the special forces unit at the outer reaches of Australian and international law.

The Age has confirmed that troopers from the squadron have mounted dozens of secret operations over the past year in African nations including Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya.

They have been out of uniform and not accompanied by Australian Secret Intelligence Service officers with whom undercover SAS forces are conventionally deployed…

…But the operations have raised serious concerns within the Australian military and intelligence community because they involve countries where Australia is not at war….

…While the SAS has worked alongside Australia’s intelligence agencies for decades, the creation of a dedicated squadron mirrors the US model, where the military and the intelligence services have closer links…

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/secret-sas-squadron-sent-to-spy-in-africa-20120312-1uwjs.html

“The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism” – Focus on China [Monthly Review / Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Labor, Marx, Pakistan, Singapore, south Korea, Taiwan on November 16, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

An excellent article, perhaps slightly impaired by the myopic and lazy tendency of writers to use Foxconn to stereotype the entirety of China’s labor situation. The article gets to the heart of a concern I’ve had about Marx’ Theory of the Falling Rate in Profit, which is capitalism’s intractable self-destructing mechanism; that this tendency would be “paralyzed” by tremendous amounts of reserve labor (e.g. such that exists in China and India). – Zuo Shou

by John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney and R. Jamil Jonna

November 8, 2011

In the last few decades there has been an enormous shift in the capitalist economy in the direction of the globalization of production. Much of the increase in manufacturing and even services production that would have formerly taken place in the global North—as well as a portion of the North’s preexisting production—is now being offshored to the global South, where it is feeding the rapid industrialization of a handful of emerging economies. It is customary to see this shift as arising from the economic crisis of 1974–75 and the rise of neoliberalism—or as erupting in the 1980s and after, with the huge increase in the global capitalist labor force resulting from the integration of Eastern Europe and China into the world economy. Yet, the foundations of production on a global scale, we will argue, were laid in the 1950s and 1960s, and were already depicted in the work of Stephen Hymer, the foremost theorist of the multinational corporation, who died in 1974.

For Hymer multinational corporations evolved out of the monopolistic (or oligopolistic) structure of modern industry in which the typical firm was a giant corporation controlling a substantial share of a given market or industry. At a certain point in their development (and in the development of the system) these giant corporations, headquartered in the rich economies, expanded abroad, seeking monopolistic advantages—as well as easier access to raw materials and local markets—through ownership and control of foreign subsidiaries. Such firms internalized within their own structure of corporate planning the international division of labor for their products. “Multinational corporations,” Hymer observed, “are a substitute for the market as a method of organizing international exchange.” They led inexorably to the internationalization of production and the formation of a system of “international oligopoly” that would increasingly dominate the world economy.1

In his last article, “International Politics and International Economics: A Radical Approach,” published posthumously in 1975, Hymer focused on the issue of the enormous “latent surplus-population” or reserve army of labor in both the backward areas of the developed economies and in the underdeveloped countries, “which could be broken down to form a constantly flowing surplus population to work at the bottom of the ladder.” Following Marx, Hymer insisted that, “accumulation of capital is, therefore, increase of the proletariat.” The vast “external reserve army” in the third world, supplementing the “internal reserve army” within the developed capitalist countries, constituted the real material basis on which multinational capital was able to internationalize production—creating a continual movement of surplus population into the labor force, and weakening labor globally through a process of “divide and rule.”2

A close consideration of Hymer’s work thus serves to clarify the essential point that “the great global job shift”3 from North to South, which has become such a central issue in our time, is not to be seen so much in terms of international competition, deindustrialization, economic crisis, new communication technologies—or even such general phenomena as globalization and financialization—though each of these can be said to have played a part. Rather, this shift is to be viewed as the result primarily of the internationalization of monopoly capital, arising from the global spread of multinational corporations and the concentration and centralization of production on a world scale. Moreover, it is tied to a whole system of polarization of wages (as well as wealth and poverty) on a world scale, which has its basis in the global reserve army of labor.

The international oligopolies that increasingly dominate the world economy avoid genuine price competition, colluding instead in the area of price. For example, Ford and Toyota and the other leading auto firms do not try to undersell each other in the prices of their final products—since to do so would unleash a destructive price war that would reduce the profits of all of these firms. With price competition—the primary form of competition in economic theory—for the most part banned, the two main forms of competition that remain in a mature market or industry are: (1) competition for low cost position, entailing reductions in prime production (labor and raw material) costs, and (2) what is known as “monopolistic competition,” that is, oligopolistic rivalry directed at marketing or the sales effort.4

In terms of international production it is important to understand that the giant firms constantly strive for the lowest possible costs globally in order to expand their profit margins and reinforce their degree of monopoly within a given industry. This arises from the very nature of oligopolistic rivalry. As Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School wrote in his Competitive Strategy in 1980:

Having a low-cost position yields the firm above-average returns in its industry…. Its cost position gives the firm a defense against rivalry from competitors, because its lower costs mean that it can still earn returns after its competitors have competed away their profits through rivalry…. Low cost provides a defense against powerful suppliers by providing more flexibility to cope with input cost increases. The factors that lead to a low cost-position usually also provide substantial entry barriers in terms of scale economies or cost advantages.5

This continuous search for low-cost position and higher profit margins led, beginning with the expansion of foreign direct investment in the 1960s, to the “offshoring” of a considerable portion of production. This, however, required the successful tapping of huge potential pools of labor in the third world to create a vast low-wage workforce. The expansion of the global labor force available to capital in recent decades has occurred mainly as a result of two factors: (1) the depeasantization of a large portion of the global periphery by means of agribusiness—removing peasants from the land, with the resulting expansion of the population of urban slums; and (2) the integration of the workforce of the former “actually existing socialist” countries into the world capitalist economy. Between 1980 and 2007 the global labor force, according to the International Labor Organisation (ILO), grew from 1.9 billion to 3.1 billion, a rise of 63 percent—with 73 percent of the labor force located in the developing world, and 40 percent in China and India alone.6

The change in the share of “developing countries” (referred to here as the global South, although it includes some Eastern European nations), in world industrial employment, in relation to “developed countries” (the global North) can be seen in Chart 1. It shows that the South’s share of industrial employment has risen dramatically from 51 percent in 1980 to 73 percent in 2008. Developing country imports as a proportion of the total imports of the United States more than quadrupled in the last half of the twentieth century…7

…The new imperialism of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries is thus characterized, at the top of the world system, by the domination of monopoly-finance capital, and, at the bottom, by the emergence of a massive global reserve army of labor. The result of this immense polarization, is an augmentation of the “imperialist rent” extracted from the South through the integration of low-wage, highly exploited workers into capitalist production. This then becomes a lever for an increase in the reserve army and the rate of exploitation in the North as well…

…Marx was unable to complete his critique of political economy, and consequently never wrote his projected volume on world trade. Nevertheless, it is clear that he saw the general law of accumulation as extending eventually to the world level. Capital located in the rich countries, he believed, would take advantage of cheaper labor abroad — and of the higher levels of exploitation in the underdeveloped parts of the world made possible by the existence of vast surplus labor pools (and non-capitalist modes of production). In his speech to the Lausanne Congress of the First International in 1867 (the year of the publication of the first volume of Capital) he declared: “A study of the struggle waged by the English working class reveals that, in order to oppose their workers, the employers either bring in workers from abroad or else transfer manufacture to countries where there is a cheap labor force. Given this state of affairs, if the working class wishes to continue its struggle with some chance of success, the national organisations must become international.”32

The reality of unequal exchange, whereby, in Marx’s words, “the richer country exploits the poorer, even where the latter gains by the exchange,” was a basic, scientific postulate of classical economy, to be found in both Ricardo and J.S. Mill. These higher profits were tied to the cheapness of labor in poor countries — attributable in turn to underdevelopment, and a seemingly unlimited labor supply (albeit much of it forced labor). “The profit rate,” Marx observed, “is generally higher there [in the colonies] on account of the lower degree of development, and so too is the exploitation of labour, through the use of slaves, coolies, etc.” In all trade relations, the richer country was in a position to extract what were in effect “monopoly profits” (or imperial rents) since “the privileged country receives more labour in exchange for less,” while inversely, “the poorer country gives more objectified labour in kind than it receives.” Hence, as opposed to a single country where gains and losses evened out, it was quite possible and indeed common, Marx argued, for one nation to “cheat” another. The growth of the relative surplus population, particularly at the global level, represented such a powerful influence in raising the rate of exploitation, in Marx’s conception, that it could be seen as a major “counterweight” to the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, “and in part even paralyse[s] it…”

…Today Marx’s reserve army analysis is the basis, directly and indirectly (even in corporate circles) for ascertaining how long the extreme exploitation of low-wage workers in the underdeveloped world will persist. In 1997 Jannik Lindbaek, executive vice president of the International Finance Corporation, presented an influential paper entitled “Emerging Economies: How Long Will the Low-Wage Advantage Last?” He pointed out that international wage differentials were enormous, with labor costs for spinning and weaving in rich countries exceeding that of the lowest wage countries (Pakistan, Madagascar, Kenya, Indonesia, and China) by a factor of seventy-to-one in straight dollar terms, and ten-to-one in terms of purchasing power parity (taking into account the local cost of living).

The central issue from the standpoint of global capital, Lindbaek indicated, was China, which had emerged as an enormous platform for production, due to its ultra-low wages and seemingly unlimited supply of labor. The key strategic question then was, “How long will China’s low wage advantage last?” His answer was that China’s “enormous ‘reserve army of labor’…will be released gradually as agricultural productivity improves and jobs are created in the cities.” Looking at various demographic factors, including the expected downward shift in the number of working-age individuals beginning in the second decade of the twenty-first century, Lindbaek indicated that real wages in China would eventually rise above subsistence. But when?…49

…there can be no doubt about the sheer scale of the relative shift of world manufacturing to the global South in the period of the internationalization of monopoly capital since the Second World War—and accelerating in recent decades. Although this is often seen as a post-1974 or a post-1989 phenomenon, Hymer, Magdoff, Sweezy, and Amin captured the general parameters of this broad movement in accumulation and imperialism, associated with the development of multinational corporations (the internationalization of monopoly capital) as early as the 1970s. Largely as a result of this epochal shift in the center of gravity of world manufacturing production toward the South, about a dozen emerging economies have experienced phenomenal growth rates of 7 percent or more for a quarter century.

Most important among these of course is China, which is not only the most populous country but has experienced the fastest growth rates, reputedly 9 percent or above. At a 7 percent rate of growth an economy doubles in size every ten years; at 9 percent every eight years. Yet, the process is not, as mainstream economics often suggests, a smooth one. The Chinese economy has doubled in size three times since 1978, but wages remain at or near subsistence levels, due to an internal reserve army in the hundreds of millions. China may be emerging as a world economic power, due to its sheer size and rate of growth, but wages remain among the lowest in the world. India’s per capita income, meanwhile, is one-third of China’s. China’s rural population is estimated at 45–50 percent, while India’s is around 70 percent.66

Orthodox economic theorists rely on an abstract model of development that assumes all countries pass through the same phases, and eventually move up from labor-intensive manufacturing to capital-intensive, knowledge-intensive production. This raises the issue of the so-called “middle-income transition” that is supposed to occur at a per capita income of somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 (China’s per capita income at current exchange rates is about $3,500). Countries in the middle-income transition have higher wage rates and are faced with uncompetitiveness unless they can move to products that capture more value and are less labor-intensive. Most countries fail to make the transition and the middle-income level ends up being a developmental trap. Based on this framework, New York University economist Michael Spence argues in The Next Convergence that China’s “labor-intensive export sectors that have been a major contributor to growth are losing competiveness [sic] and have to be allowed to decline or move inland and then eventually decline. They will be replaced by sectors that are more capital, human-capital, and knowledge intensive.”67

Spence’s orthodox argument, however, denies the reality of contemporary China, where the latent reserve army in agriculture alone amounts to hundreds of millions of people. Moving toward a less labor-intensive system under capitalism means higher rates of productivity and technological displacement of labor, requiring that the economy absorb a mounting reserve army by conquering ever-larger, high-value-capture markets. The only cases where anything resembling this has taken place—aside from Japan, which first emerged as a rapidly expanding, militarized-imperialist economy in the early twentieth century—were the Asian tigers (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong), which were able to expand their external export markets for high value-capture production in the global North during a period of world economic expansion (not the deepening stagnation of today). This is unlikely to prove possible for China and India, which must find employment between them for some 40 percent of the world’s labor force—and to a mounting degree in the urban industrial sector. Unlike Europe during its colonial period the emigration of large pools of surplus labor as an escape valve is not possible: they have nowhere to go. China’s capacity to promote internal-based accumulation (not relying primarily on export markets), meanwhile, is hindered under today’s capitalist conditions by this same reserve army of low-paid labor, and by rapidly rising inequality.

All of this suggests that at some point the contradictions of China’s unprecedented accumulation rates combined with massive labor reserves that cannot readily be absorbed by the accumulation process—particularly with the growing shift to high-technology, high-productivity production—are bound to come to a head.

Meanwhile, international monopoly capital uses its combined monopolies over technology, communications, finance, military, and the planet’s natural resources to control (or at least constrain) the direction of development in the South.68

As the contradictions between North and South of the world system intensify, so do the internal contradictions within them — with class differences widening everywhere. The relative “deindustrialization” in the global North is now too clear a tendency to be altogether denied. Thus the share of manufacturing in U.S. GDP has dropped from around 28 percent in the 1950s to 12 percent in 2010, accompanied by a dramatic decrease in its share (along with that of the OECD as a whole) in world manufacturing.69 Yet, it is important to understand that this is only the tip of the iceberg where the growing worldwide destabilization and overexploitation of labor is concerned.

Indeed, one should never forget the moral barbarism of a system that in 1992 paid Michael Jordan $20 million to market Nikes — an amount equal to the total payroll of the four Indonesian factories involved in the production of the shoes, with women in these factories earning only 15 cents an hour and working eleven-hour days.70 Behind this lies the international “sourcing” strategies of increasingly monopolistic multinational corporations. The field of operation of Marx’s general law of accumulation is now truly global, and labor everywhere is on the defensive.

The answer to the challenges facing world labor that Marx gave at the Lausanne Congress in 1867 remains the only possible one: “If the working class wishes to continue its struggle with some chance of success the national organisations must become international.” It is time for a new International.71

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article with footnotes: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27549

US reporter talks West’s anti-China campaign [People’s Daily]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Belgium, Black propaganda, Bolivia, Brazil, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Cuba, Dalai Lama, Genocide, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Media smear campaign, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, USSR, Venezuela, Western nations' human rights distortions, World War II on October 12, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

October 12, 2011

People’s Daily Online conducted an interview with U.S. journalist Andre Vitchek, who recently wrote “The West Perfecting Its Techniques to Hurt China”, in which he criticized the role the Western press plays in bashing China. Below is the interview:

PD Online: How long does it take to gather the necessary materials for the article? Why did you write this article? What is the article trying to tell the readers?

Vitchek: Writing such article is an ongoing process. And it is logically deducted from my experience; from working and living on all continents – North and South America, Oceania, Asia, Africa and Europe. The purpose of the article was to warn, to alert readers about the forces of Western propaganda, to show how it works and what are its goals.

PD Online: What kind of response have you received after the article was published? Are you worried about might be called “sinophile”?

Vitchek: They can call me whatever they want. I am not afraid to be called ‘sinophile’. I spend most of my life in Asia and that’s where I feel most comfortable.

The article did evoke wide range of comments, but most of them positive. Although I have to admit that I was called names, too. The same after my open letter to Fidel Castro appeared on line.

PD Online: You said in the article that “anti-China has become the access to research loans or ways to climb up in the press field.” On what bases [sic] did you say that?

Vitchek: I would rather not name the names. But look at the days of the Cold War; many people were suddenly specializing in the Soviet Union, studying Russian, etc. In retrospect we see that they were not in it for pure love for Russian literature or music – they were in it for certain reasons that we now all understand. Western academia and the media were not truly independent for decades. There is always political game behind. For example, look at the West and Indonesia: no matter what happens, after 1965 pro-western coup and genocide, Indonesia received mostly positive reviews from the press and academics in the West, because the regime there opened up fully to the western political and business interests. More the resources were plundered, more impoverished were Indonesian people; more the country has been glorified and called ‘democratic’ and ‘tolerant’.

The press and academia in the West are very disciplined. When it comes to our ‘allies’ – Thailand and Philippines and Indonesia, there is very little noise and criticism of appalling human rights violations there. When it comes to China or Venezuela, Cuba or Bolivia, the criticism is part of the daily diet in the newspapers, magazines, television, and universities. Reporters are expected to produce articles directly critical of China, or attacking Chinese foreign policy in the region and all over the world.

To put it simply: in Africa, journalists are periodically ‘trained’ by the UK or US media, schools, institutions. They fly journalists abroad (tremendous perk), or they give them grants and other type of funding. It is certain type of corruption, of course. In Africa reporter often makes lesser than 100 dollars a month. Who could refuse nice trip to London or New York, all expenses paid, in exchange for writing few damning anti-Chinese reports. It happens every day – in Kenya and Zambia, in Uganda and even in South Africa, which is China’s ally!

The same applies in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia for instance, you can’t say anything against Dalai Lama, even if you are talking to so-called ‘progressive intellectuals’, and especially if you talk to the NGO’s or to young artists and intellectuals. It would mean the end of funding. You see, most of Southeast Asian NGO’s are like massage chair – you put money in and it moves for 10 minutes. Money run out and it stops. And the money comes mainly from the West. Artists are pampered by funding and by grants, as long as they do not deal with social issues, don’t attack the Western policy in the region, and do not support China. And what could be greater sin than to trash Dalai Lama, darling of the West! Of course, many intellectuals and media people here are not paid directly to attack China. There is certain understanding between the donors and recipients. Donors know that recipients understand what is expected from them, what they should and should not do or write…

PD Online: As far as you can see, how much has the ordinary western people been influenced by the media’s negative reporting about China? How do they generally think about China?

Vitchek: A lot! And that’s the problem. They are influenced much more than people in China could even imagine. In a way, it is all very sad. I met Chinese people – simple workers – building government buildings in Samoa or roads in Kenya. Many of them are so simple, good and defenseless! They come and they think that they could win hearts of the peoples in far away lands by doing good things – like improving infrastructure, building schools, hospitals. And they do win hearts, but just for a while. After short period of time, the press kicks in, basically reprinting Western propaganda and perverting, turning up side down everything good that China is doing.

It breaks my heart and makes me so angry. I saw it all over Oceania…There, the influence and propaganda of the West is so obvious. For instance: once there was this big anti-government demonstration in Apia, the capital of Samoa. It happened when Samoan government decided to switch driving from the right side of the road to the left. Suddenly, I saw 4 men holding huge poster: “China, You Will Not Make Us Drive On The Left!” I went to the protestors and asked them who paid them to carry the poster. “Do you know that in China people drive on the same side as in your country?” I asked. They were mad and began screaming that “China is dictatorship and evil country and that they drive on the left and now they want to force Samoa to be like them.” Even after the big demonstration was over, these for people kept walking around the capital city with the poster. Of course they didn’t invent this…

In Africa – China does so much good. But forget about reading about its fight against malaria or about archeological excavations or building schools. What you will read is that ‘China needs natural resources’ and is willing to cooperate with African dictatorships. Or you will read about Chinese people shooting African miners in Zambia. You know, the West was plundering, enslaving, and committing genocides. It exterminated entire cultures and tribes like Herero in Namibia. It killed some 6 million people in Congo during King Leopold II [sic] of Belgium. Rights [sic] now, between 6 and 10 million died in Congo alone, as the most horrible civil war is being fought on behave of Western economic interests! But there is one incident in Zambia and China becomes as guilty as the West! As guilty as the West that was building concentration camps in Africa, trading with slaves, overthrowing governments. It is absurd! But it works. The West had been perfecting art of propaganda for centuries.

PD Online: In recent years, China has proposed the concept of “harmonious world” and “peaceful development”. What is the western view towards that concept? Do you think the western attitude towards China has got more positive these years?

Vitchek: Definitely not! One thing that is necessary to understand is that the West is not acting rationally, or from good will. Just look at the past centuries: the only interest the West had was to plunder natural resources and control the world. Anybody who looks at the world map from the beginning of the 20th century would see the point. Harmonious world is the biggest danger to the Empire, to Western economic and geo-political inserts that are intertwined. Because ‘harmonious world’ would mean that each and every country has right for self-determination, for its own way… right to put interests of its own people first. And that is exactly the opposite what the West wants to achieve. Gustav Jung, one of the greatest European psychologists, argued after the WWII that western desire to control and to plunder is pathological and has no equivalent in the world.

‘Harmonious world’ would mean the end of plunder and Western control. That’s why it is the biggest danger, something that is being discredited day and night, 24/7! It would mean no more invasions to Iraq and Afghanistan, no more Libyan adventures, no more attempts to overrun Syria. No coups and ‘structural adjustments’ forced down the throats of the people all over the world. It would mean respect and tolerance, something inacceptable to the rulers in Washington, London and Paris.

Please understand: China is the only country – the only real power in the world that stands between full control of the global Western political and economic dictatorship and the rest of the world. Of course there is Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, but these are relatively small countries. There is Brazil and South Africa but they could be sidelined. There is Russia, but it is not as determined or as inspiring and its system is hard to define. So China is in a way the only hope. And that’s why it is so hated, that’s why it is constantly attacked! More good it does, attacks will intensify.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90883/7615208.html