We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, February 20, 2017

China and Trumpism: The Political Contradictions of Global Capitalism

Click here to access article by William I. Robinson from TeleSur. (My interpretation and commentary was edited for clarity around 6:30 PM Seattle time.)

This sociology professor at UC Santa Barbara offers his explanation of a world crisis that is both economic and political. 
The U.S. and Chinese economies are inextricably interwoven. They are less autonomous national economies than two key constituent parts of an integrated global economy. Trump has accused China of manipulating its currency, threatened to levy a 45 percent tariff on certain Chinese goods, and suggested he would use the “one China” policy as a bargaining tool in trade negotiations. Yet the simple fact is the TCC [transnational capitalist class] in both China and the United States are dependent on their expanding economic ties.
I think that the most valuable insight that Robinson offers is that there is a clash of factions within the transnational capitalist class (TCC) that inextricably links all member of this emerging class across all borders against more nationally oriented capitalists. In addition he explains that there is a difference in the orientation of US capitalists who manage the US economy solely on the basis of profits über alles and world dominance in contrast to China in which the Communist Party guides capitalist decisions by invoking additional criteria that serves a more harmonious relationship with other states. The latter faction, consisting of the BRIC states, is increasingly challenging the US Empire's faction which has constructed the framework of the post WWII international capitalist institutions and insured the dominance of US capitalists.
Trumpism encapsulates the conflicting economic and political pressures on the U.S. state. The crisis of global capitalism has become more acute in the face of economic stagnation and the rise of anti-globalization populism on both the left and the right of the political spectrum. Trumpism does not represent a break with capitalist globalization as much as a conflictive recomposition of political forces and ideological discourse as the crisis deepens and as international tensions reach new depths.
Regardless of how these struggles among capitalist factions work out, and they can only work against the interests of workers, only workers organized across borders can defeat the TCC, avoid further wars, and construct a system that can serve the vast majority of the people and function in harmony with nature.