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. The following leaflet by the Seattle Communist Study Group was prepared for the Blaine, Washington demo of the weekend of April 21-22, 2001 against the meeting of the Summit of the Americas. (Reprinted in Communist Voice #26, vol. 7, #1, May 1, 2001.)

Free trade means
freedom for capitalist exploitation
and increased slavery for the masses!



. All across North America, demonstrations are going on to protest the Summit of the Americas meeting in Quebec City, Canada, April 20-22. These actions reflect the fact that the movement against imperialist globalization is still strong and has plenty of energy. It began with the activities against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) in Montreal, and acquired many new forces with the actions against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, and also in actions against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC, and in Prague, Czech Republic. The nervousness of both the major bourgeois political parties about street demonstrations at their 2000 conventions was in large part caused by the development of this movement. And the campaign of Ralph Nader for the Presidency sought to co-opt the ideas of this movement and divert the masses from the path of class struggle into illusory electoral politics. It also exposed that the Democratic Party was unable to address these concerns with its candidacy of Al Gore.

. Now, George W. Bush has become the President of the US and the US economy has gone into a recession. As the economic crisis develops, it is becoming evident that regardless of whether free-trade or protectionist policies are being pursued, the capitalist system is still as destructive and chaotic as it has always been. Yet even though the much vaunted paradise promised by the advocates of freer trade and globalization has failed to materialize, the bourgeoisie is continuing to pursue its plans at this meeting. They intend to negotiate and implement the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement (FTAA), which will ignore any measures for the protection of the environment and any rights for labor in its attempts to enshrine the neo-liberal ideology. To keep this meeting from being disrupted, they are organizing a formidable repressive apparatus. And the activists are refusing to be afraid of this show of force and are continuing their plans to protest this event.

. These activists have seen that the globalization agenda being pursued by the major imperialist powers and the leaders of the developing countries who are joining with them offers nothing but the continuation of the rape of the environment, abominable living standards in the developing world, and the increasing exploitation of cheap labor in these countries. They see that if this agenda is allowed to develop unchecked, it will only mean the abandonment of the meager protections of the environment and the eventual erosion of the living standards and working conditions of the working people in the industrialized countries. They see that the Bush program consists of nothing but attacks on the working masses and destruction of the environment. Yet they have difficulty in charting an effective alternative course.

Opposing Globalization Requires a Clearer Perspective To Be Successful

. In spite of its vitality, and in spite of all its successes, the movement still retains the lack of clarity about its objectives that has marked it from its very inception. Despite fiery speeches against capitalism and against globalization, despite strong denunciations of the big corporations, the major imperialist powers, and their lackeys in the major international organizations (the UN, WB, IMF, and WTO), the movement is in danger of stagnation and defeat unless it develops a clearer idea of what it's opposing and what ideas provide a real alternative. For example, everyone can unite to denounce free trade and the Bush agenda, but what about denouncing the protectionist wing of the Democratic Party (which includes the AFL-CIO big-wigs)? Protectionism (in the form of "fair trade") can't "save jobs" as promised by its advocates. It only leads to protectionist (tariff) wars, economic stagnation and crises, etc., as was demonstrated when a protectionist regime dominated relations between states in the earlier part of the last century. Protectionism still means a free hand for the capitalists in the domestic market, and their plans for overseas expansion will inevitably give rise to cries for international free trade. Furthermore, the protectionist wing of the Democratic Party really only wants that a few protectionist measures be taken so as to better grease the wheels of the U.S. free-trade chariot anyway.

. Hence protectionist ideas don't defend the interests of the working class (which include defending the environment). At best they're only an attempt to reform the social system of production (capitalism) which is the cause of the ills which the anti-globalization movement is fighting. But the inner laws of this system won't allow it to be pro-people or to not ruin the environment. And that's the problem with reformism in general in the anti-FTAA movement. The reformists seek to work out some form of collaboration with the capitalists, on the theory that the evils of the system are merely a product of ill-conceived policies, rather than a reflection of the fundamentally exploitative character of the system itself. This leads them to champion such concepts as "fair trade" and the idea of adding labor and environmental covenants to the treaties in the hopes that the system can be made more humane. The system can in fact be forced to adopt more humane policies, but only temporarily, and only as a by-product of fierce class struggles by the working masses. Reformist illusions undermine the development of such struggles.

. Another major tendency in this movement is the anarchist tendency. The anarchists believe that autonomous small groups must serve as the essential element in building the movement. This reflects their basic view that the problem with present-day society arises from the very existence of large-scale industrial production, and they maintain an almost dogmatic aversion to any large organized effort with a centralized leadership, no matter what its content. This conception opposes activists building the mass organizations needed for an effective fight against capitalism today. It also negates the truth that a revolutionary political party of the working class is needed if the capitalist juggernaut is to be really dealt with and overthrown. It is our contention that only class struggle against the capitalists will provide a way out of the crises which anti-FTAA activists want to overcome. And only revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, which clearly marks the way to the complete overthrow of the capitalist system and the advent of the socialist transformation of society, can guide the masses in this class struggle and show the road to its success.

. However, the problems faced by this socialist transformation during the last century have not yet been fully understood. The misleadership of the revisionists who took control of the Soviet Union and its satellites, China, Cuba, and several other nations of the developing world, have diverted the masses from a clear understanding of the requirements of the class struggle. This leaves our generation with the task of making new efforts to clarify the genuine Marxist critique of the experience of the past century, and building revolutionary organizations which can show the way forward in the face of the plans of the imperialists.

. Only revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, which places class struggle and the socialist revolution on the agenda, and opposes capitalist slavery in all its forms, can offer a clear alternative to imperialist globalization and the domination by large corporations. Whether the battle is against neo-liberalism, old-style protectionism, or the revisionist state-capitalism of the former or existing fake "socialist" countries which are busy enriching their local capitalists under the guise of ersatz Marxism, genuine Marxism-Leninism advocates organization of revolutionary class struggle and supports the goals of anti-globalization and anti capitalism to their final conclusion.

Seattle Communist Study Group
(Members of Communist Voice Organization and Red Critique)
April 20, 2001


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