A16 & left doesn't meet right: WSJ

John Gulick jlgulick at sfo.com
Sat Apr 22 17:41:30 PDT 2000

I don't know why I'm wasting my breath, but ...

Doug posted the following article:

>Wall Street Journal - April 19, 2000

>Left and Right Converge
>On Economic Globalization
>[by Gerald Seib]

>YOU'D THINK PAT Buchanan and the protesters in Washington's streets
>this week would feel some real bonds, given that they share a hatred
>for runaway economic globalization.

>You would be wrong.

What a crock of shit this article is. The author contends that, despite superficial appearances to the contrary, the U.S. right and the U.S. left oppose global governance structures for TNC's/TNB's for different reasons. So far, so far good.

But then he says that Buchanan's main concerns are U.S. sovereignty (wrong -- more like unilateral U.S. imperialism instead of trilateral U.S./Japanese/EC globalism) and U.S. manufacturing jobs. Now I'm as critical of AFL-CIO bigshots sharing the stage w/Buchanan as the next internationalist, but Buchanan does not give a flying fuck about wages/working conditions of U.S. labor. He cares about Sunbelt capital that can't outsource/relocate to the Third World. Why the hell did Buchanan play a significant role in the Nixon and Reagan administrations ? Because he represented the presence of the Sun Belt capitalist wing of the Republican Party (heirs to the isolationist Robert Taft Republicans), as opposed to the more dominant Fortune 500/Wall Street wing.

I am partially sympathetic to Alex Cockburn's peace-pipe smoking gestures to strands of the libertarian/isolationist right (a subject for a different post on a different day), but Buchanan, of course, is no William Jennings Bryan, and this is not 1896 (or was it 1892, I forget ...).

There is a sinister agenda at work in the _WSJ_ anointing Buchanan as the voice of the U.S. worker (which is not to say that the bureaucratic leadership and rank-and-file don't have their problematic nationalist/protectionist/ anti-communist tendencies, as the interview w/the complex character USW head honcho George Becker shows).

Back to the _WSJ_ article. The author makes it sound as if the "left"'s main critique of global capitalism is TNC exploitation of Third World workers, and their solution is some kind of redistributive Keynesianism on a world scale. Love `em or hate `em, this is not the position of the anarchists, who want to see de-commodification of everyday life in both the First World/Third World, not happy PRC workers w/Mistisubishi Mirage in every garage and factory-farmed meat in every pot. Nor is it the position of folks like Bond or Bello and the vast movements they represent -- they want more autarky and self-sufficiency for the TW too, not jiggered policies for more "development" (although they have a less exoticizing and more realistic idea of what the needs/aspirations of TW masses are than do the first-world anarchists). The _WSJ_ author makes it sound as if Bill Grieder's and United Students Against Sweatshops' positions defines the U.S. "left's" position against global capitalism ...

John Gulick

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