Especially since WWII, Washington has habitually aligned itself with the goals of U.S. corporations to dominate. In Latin America and elsewhere, it has funded armies of goons that harass, batter, jail, and murder labor leaders and their allies. In Colombia, labor organizers that call a strike put their lives at risk. It’s a veritable shooting gallery where trade unionists are targets.
In Iraq, writes Noam Chomsky in Intervisions, the occupying forces broke into union offices, arrested leaders, and enforced Saddam Hussein’s antilabor laws. Union leaders were killed under mysterious circumstances. Concessions went to bitterly anti-union U.S. firms. New oil contracts went to firms whose executives were personal friends of President George W. Bush.
At home, U.S. corporations—which exhibit zero loyalty to their employees and to the cities that gave them all those tax breaks to locate—put profits first even if it means stripping those cities of their plants; even if it means throwing thousands of loyal staffers out of work; even if it means cheating taxpayers by relocating their headquarters’ offshore; even if it means hiring cheap foreign labor.
“We are seeing the Financial Elite of America waging class warfare against the ordinary working men and women of this country who have made it what it is today,” says University of Illinois international legal authority Francis Boyle.
And Noam Chomsky points out in Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World (American Empire Project)
: “Corporations barely pay taxes. The corporate tax rate is already very low, but corporations have worked out an array of complicated techniques so they often don’t have to pay taxes at all.”
At the same time, he adds, “the general population has gone through 30 years (1975-2005) of either stagnation or decline in real wages, with people working longer hours with fewer benefits. I don’t think there’s been a period like this in American history.” Meanwhile, corporations harvest record profits.
As sociologist James Petras of Binghamton University points out in his “Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire,” (Clarity): “Today, over 50 percent of the top 500 US (multinational corporations) MNCs earn over half their profits from overseas operations…This tendency will accentuate as US MNCs relocate almost all their operations, including manufacturing, design and execution. They will employ low tech and high tech employees in their pursuit for competitive advantages and high rates of profits.” (This is not to say that some MNCs aren’t building schools, housing, highways, and public facilities near their overseas plants.)
Petras noted that Mexican President Carlos Salinas (1988-94) “privatized over 110 public enterprises, opened the borders to subsidized US agricultural exports—ruining over 1.5-million…farmers and peasants—and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement. His policies facilitated the US takeover of Mexico’s retail trade, real estate, agriculture, industry, banking and communications sectors. Similar patterns of foreign takeovers were evident throughout the region, especially in Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia where lucrative gas, oil and mining firms were privatized and sold to foreign investors.”
“Oil and energy companies secured exploration rights via corruption by buying out entire ministries in Russia, Nigeria, Angola, Bolivia and Venezuela in the 1990s,” Petras writes. “Securing a toehold in any economic sector of China to exploit cheap labor requires the MNC to pay off a small army of government officials. This is more than compensated by the regime’s enforcement of a cheap labor regime, repression of labor discontent and the imposition of state-controlled pro-business ‘labor unions.’” cont’d on Page 2
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