The Chinese army is invading the US through tunnels beneath the Pacific Ocean and is planting atomic bombs under military bases. So ran the plot of a 1967 B-movie, Battle Beneath the Earth.
There were echoes of this kind of Cold War paranoia in the coverage of the recent scandal over children’s toys from China.
The growing Chinese economy is presented as a threat to the West – its economy and its “values”. But huge multinational corporations like toy maker Mattell have the same values wherever they operate. They are interested only in profit, as are the governments that represent them.
China’s share of global income has risen from 5 percent to 14 percent in the last 25 years. Political rows over China are ripples caused by this realignment in global profits.
China and indeed Vladimir Putin’s Russia see the US’s economic weakness and assert themselves with militaristic rhetoric. The right wing in the US looks to military expansion to defend the country’s dominant position.
The rush for control of Arctic resources is part of this power struggle, but so is the failed imperial project of the US in the Middle East.
Battle Beneath the Earth ends with the defenders of the free world using nuclear weapons. A saner alternative needs a movement that can take control of the world’s vast productive resources, not for profit and war, but for need.
Labour in Scotland
Another national Labour leader is set to be elected without a contest. Following in Gordon Brown’s footsteps, Wendy Alexander will be the only candidate for Labour leader in the Scottish parliament.
The Labour left Campaign for Socialism had to drop plans for a challenge because it could not secure the required nominations of six MSPs.
Labour in Scotland is in denial over its electoral defeat by the Scottish National Party (SNP). The SNP won working class support by having an
anti-war stance and some Old Labour policies.
Wendy Alexander is a loyal supporter of Gordon Brown. She has refused to rule out privatising the water industry and supports private finance in schools and hospitals.
The SNP is surging ahead in the polls. Yet leader Alex Salmond’s rhetoric is contradicted by his commitment to neoliberal economic measures.
Rather than address this contradiction, some on the left attack the SNP as “tartan Tories”. Others drop any critical stance to Salmond. We need the left to unite to ensure Scotland is rid of Trident, private finance schemes, poverty and much more.
Admiring the army?
Another week, another crackpot scheme from the government. This week’s proposed “role models” for black youth are black army officers.
One politician promoting this is Tory MP Patrick Mercer. He was sacked from the Tory front bench for claiming the army had “a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle” and who “used racism as cover for their misdemeanours”.
Justice minister Jack Straw blames gang violence on “the absence of fathers who are actively involved in parenting”.
It’s not easy to see how encouraging young black men to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan will remedy an “absence of fathers” – but consistency never was a strong point with New Labour’s warmongers.