The lying bigot in the White House wants us to hate the People’s Republic of China. Trump claims that China is ripping us off. How so?
China isn’t the only country that runs a trade surplus with the U.S. The U.S. had a trillion dollar trade deficit in 2017. Uncle Sam imported $2.4 trillion of goods while exporting $1.4 trillion. (U.S. Census Bureau) Only $505 billion of goods was shipped from China.
In every year since 1975, the U.S. has imported more goods than it has exported. That’s the result of deliberate deindustrialization.
Wall Street pulled the rug from much of U.S. manufacturing. Banksters and insurance companies found it much more profitable to speculate in real estate, particularly constructing luxury gentrified housing, and to exploit workers first in low-wage Southern states, then to other lower-wage countries.
It wasn’t China that shut down nine of the ten GM plants in Flint, Mich. Or three Detroit factories in the mid-1980s, eliminating more than 10,000 jobs. Or the five North American factories that GM plans to “idle” in 2019, once again throwing thousands of workers, their families and communities into crisis and uncertainty. Why?
Now GM is chasing the dream of selling its cars to the 1.4 billion people in China, where wages and living conditions are rising. The capitalist system demands continual expansion. GM will build those cars in China, not Detroit, Texas or Mexico.
U.S. finance capital smashed its dependence on Black labor in historically militant, urban centers like Detroit using plant closings and automation. Back in 1970, African Americans accounted for a quarter of U.S. autoworkers and steelworkers.
Vince Copeland described steel as “the most basic and crucial material in the construction of modern civilization.” (Workers World, May 9, 1975) Copeland was a militant communist leader of steelworkers in Buffalo, N.Y.)
While the population of the U.S. has increased from 212 million people in 1973 to 326 million in 2017, domestic steel production decreased in the same period from 151 million short tons to 90 million.
Even considering 34.6 million tons of steel imports ― only 2 percent from the People’s Republic of China ― that’s still a big drop in per capita domestic steel use. The result is a decaying infrastructure.
The only rail line west from New York City crosses the Hackensack River over Amtrak’s 108-year-old Portal movable bridge. The bridge frequently gets stuck open, yet plans to replace it have been delayed for years.
“China has stood up”
China had endured over a century of colonial subjugation when, proclaiming the victorious revolution, Mao Zedong declared “China has stood up,” on Oct. 1, 1949, announcing the birth of the People’s Republic of China.
In the 19th century, Britain actually launched the so-called Opium Wars against China in order to force the country to buy drugs. Right behind Britain were U.S. big-time opium merchants like Warren Delano, a grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The Chinese Revolution ended this humiliation. Universal literacy has been achieved, including for people belonging to minority nationalities reading their own languages.
China graduates 1.3 million engineers a year, a million more than the U.S. figure. (Boston Globe, May 22, 2017) While, in the U.S., Portal bridge gets regularly stuck open, China has built more miles of high-speed rail than the rest of the world combined.
The Chinese Revolution was a tremendous victory against racism.
According to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon had plans in the early 1960s to kill 300 million Chinese people in a nuclear war. (TheRealNews.com, Nov. 9) Earlier, during the U.S. invasion of Korea, tens of thousands of Chinese volunteers ― including Mao Anying, Mao Zedong’s eldest son ― died fighting alongside their Korean comrades to defeat U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
So why did the U.S ruling class agree to trade with China?
It was a case of divide and conquer. U.S. markets were opened to China with the aim of splitting the socialist camp, which in the 1970s extended from Berlin, in Europe, to Ho Chi Minh City, in Asia, as well as Cuba, Southern Yemen, Ethiopia and other African countries.
Wall Street wasn’t seeking to help China but rather to defeat the Soviet Union. The USSR’s overthrow was a tragedy just like the overthrow of the Reconstruction governments in the U.S. South, which empowered the Ku Klux Klan.
When all is said and done, the Pentagon has never given up on defeating China. Hundreds of U.S. nuclear missiles are aimed at it. The U.S. continues to keep Taiwan province from reuniting with the People’s Republic.
Friendship not hate
Putting tariffs on imports won’t bring any factories back. The resulting higher prices will be a wage cut for millions of workers.
Automation alone has destroyed millions of union jobs in the U.S. Capitalist decay and union busting have done the rest.
China bashing is poison and will inevitably lead to racist attacks on Asian Americans. The Chinese American Vincent Chin was beaten to death in Detroit on June 23, 1982, because of Japan bashing by the capitalist owned media.
Like the African American Sean Bell, whom the cops fired 50 shots at, Vincent Chin was killed on what was supposed to be his wedding day.
Malcolm X described in his autobiography how much the Chinese Revolution inspired him while he was locked up in jail. Mao Zedong welcomed to China the Black revolutionaries Mabel and Robert Williams, who had led armed self-defense against the Klan in Monroe, N.C.
The Haymarket Martyrs ― George Engel, Adolph Fischer, Albert Parsons and August Spies ― were hanged in Chicago’s Cook County Jail on Nov. 11, 1887, because they fought for the eight-hour workday. Exactly 56 years earlier, Nat Turner, the leader of a great insurrection of enslaved Africans, was hanged in Virginia.
It was only through the international cooperation of workers that the eight-hour workday was won in many countries. It was British workers who stopped English landlords and capitalists from militarily intervening on the side of the slave masters’ confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.
We need the same type of solidarity today. The U.S. labor movement needs to establish ties with the 300 million member All-China Federation of Trade Unions, not unite with GM and other corporations and banks whose sole objective is expanding their control over the world and profits.
China bashing will not stop a single eviction, foreclosure or utility cutoff in U.S. neighborhoods. Attacking China will not stop any more killings by police or free any of the 2.2 million poor people in jail.
Our enemy is in the corporate boardrooms, not China.