Communist Youth Organization

The Youth Branch of The Workers’ Communist Party of Iran

Chia Barsen: TTIP: an assault on the working class

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a push to remove the middle man politicians and to put the corporations in the driver seat of government. Business as usual, TTIP negotiations taking place between the US and the EU are carried out in secret and away from the scrutiny and critique of the major stakeholders: the working people. The aim of TTIP is to reduce and remove the existing barriers for surplus capital, which will come at an immense social and economic cost to the working class, especially the working class in Europe.

Some of these “barriers” to surplus capital, and to capital accumulation, are in fact laws and social institutions, such as the NHS, that was founded through decades of class struggle by the working people of Britain. The NHS as well as other welfare state institutions in effect reduce the cost of social reproduction of labour (the cost of living) on the worker through higher taxation of the corporations. Capital is now reducing this responsibility and cost with TTIP, through trade laws that allow for privatization, placing the cost of healthcare as part of social reproduction on the shoulders of the working class itself. This is yet another way that the exchange value system of capitalism is undermining access of the working class to use-value services such as the NHS by placing a price tag on it.

TTIP will also make it easier for big business to bypass food, environmental and safety legislations in Europe. For example the US food regulations, which are far less strict than the EU (with 70 percent of foods having genetically modified ingredients), will be brought to Europe to open doors for big business to sell/make their products in Europe which currently do not allow any genetically modified foods on the shelves. Other attacks of TTIP on safety laws include the use of pesticides, and growth hormones which have links to cancer and are also banned in the EU.

Other effects of TTIP include allowing corporations to sue governments for lost profits (if a law is passed outside of the corporations interests). This was the case where a Swedish energy company (Vattenfall) sued the German government for billions of lost profit when the nuclear power plants were shutdown in Germany in the wake of Fukushima. Capital will also be in a far better position to further repress working class wages since the US has a cheaper and less organized working class for the corporations to exploit.

TTIP is another instrument of the neo-liberal accumulation by dispossession of the working class. TTIP is an assault on the working class wages, benefits and social services and the all-around standard of living. By undermining wages and increasing the cost of social reproduction of labour, capital is in part cutting its own effective demand and realization in the market which is highly contingent on the working class disposable income. TTIP is a short-term method to extract every ounce of profit from a system that is crisis prone and collapsing. It is only the organized working class that can shift the balance of inequality and take a stance against big business with a true work-class representative party.

Chia Barsen
www.chiabarsen.com
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