A Network of Sub-Empires: Babylon Under Siege?

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Rafael Correa is in China – signing with Chinese President Hu Jintao “14 bilateral accords and memorandums of understanding on oil, mining, railroads, tourism, health, agriculture and other sectors“.

So what does Correa’s understanding with China mean? Firstly, it means annihilation of Taiwan and Tibet:

Correa said China has a time-honored history and is full of vigor and vitality and it has made enormous achievements in embarking on the path of development suitable to its national realities. Ecuador shares brotherly friendship with China, he said, expressing hope that both sides will show mutual understanding and learn from each other so as to push bilateral ties for new progress. He reaffirmed Ecuador would adhere to the one-China policy.

Well, you might say, this is a socialist revolution and takes time to build – the means justify the end – and you win some and you lose some. But is it really best understood as socialism, this “21st century socialism”?

Hu said China would encourage more Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in Ecuador and participate in economic construction there. He also voiced the hope to enhance cooperation on agriculture, energy resources, infrastructure construction, finance and quality control

Perhaps it makes more sense to locate these things in the realm of what is sometimes identified as “social-democracy in capitalist nation states”, where a slightly more just distribution of wealth is organized by a strong central state (that miraculously stays uncorrupt with all that power in their hands), and where the de facto mode of production is of a classical industrialist nature: big factories, mass workers, simple processes, assembly lines, heavy pollution and so on. Wage-slavery.

Of course the Ecuador-China relationship underlines the Manta-Manaus madness:

“Correa also said he thought there was room for improvement in ties between the two countries, particularly in managing a flow of Chinese products across the Pacific. Cooperation between China and Ecuador are at this moment very good but they can improve a lot,” he said. We have a huge trade deficit with China. For China that is not interesting, it’s just $500 million but for us it is a lot and increasing,” he added.

So, it is necessary to keep working on keeping Correa on his toes.

Correa, of course, is also under attack from the Old Skool, white nation Capitalists — the pathetic Reuter’s and their corporate copy-and-paste customers keep spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt – whenever they mention Correa they have a randomly inserted paragraph – they only have a few of them on the same variations – and always noting that Correa is leftist. Some linguistics, discourse theory, media, statistics student could have some fun with what Reuter’s have said about Correa. Why do they never say “Bush, who is a neo-conservative”, when they mention him, or speak of the threat of impeachment (which they’ve reported on 149 times) when they mention him? Is the otherwise clear, publicly known political party affiliation of Correa more newsworthy than a president threatened by a whole movement?? The public imagination must in their perception be nothing other than a programmable homogeneity:

The leftist president shocked investors in October by raising the tax to 99 percent from 50 percent of the extra oil revenues generated by companies above a contractual price.

Anyway, this was one of the things that Correa talked to the Chinese about – and in essence Correa seeks to reconfigure the relationship: the Ecuadorian will own all oil that comes out of the oil, leaving only a “simple” contractual relation to the Chinese (and other) oil companies, who then “merely” deliver services. The state will take control of the oil capital. What they want to avoid is this:

Visiting China for the first time since his election, Correa said the two countries would set up a special working group to discuss the tax but in the long term he would like to see Latin American tribunals deciding similar spats… (We aim to) construct regional tribunals to discuss any problem within Latin America, knowing that justice will be applied,” he said… With an institution which is a cheerleader for transnational capital, which is financed by this capital and is in debt to these countries where the capital is — what guarantee of impartiality are we going to have?” … Last month, Ecuador also said it wants companies to switch to new deals that give the state all of the oil they extract and the companies a service fee payment instead… Since then one firm, U.S.-owned City Oriente, has already filed an arbitration claim. Repsol (REP.MC: Quote, Profile, Research) is considering similar action and Chinese industry executives said the country’s state oil firms may also turn to the courts… An international tribunal has sided with City in the spat, ordering Ecuador to temporarily halt demands to charge the controversial windfall tax, according to court documents released by the company on Wednesday.

Correa is smart, he is negotiating an entirely new arrangement and considering all previous arrangements and dispute settlement institutions invalid. The forest and its peoples will suffer under each system.

Back to the title of the entry, Network of Sub-Empires: Babylon Under Siege?

Maybe there is a new structuration of global capitalism emerging – one in which China, India and the integrated UNASURified Latin America play stronger roles. But what that means, really, is just relevant for the industrial elites – for the rest of us it is just another step towards the solidification, cementation of a global, state capitalist/industrial complex – never mind climate chaos and deforestation…..

Make it free or burn it down – take Bush the Second down now!

A number of organizations provide online voting and petitions regarding Bush/Cheney impeachment. The MSNBC “Live Vote: Should Bush be impeached?” is ongoing and has garnered in excess of 584,000 votes, 89% in favor of impeachment (as of November 19, 2007). However, MSNBC provides the disclaimer that “MSNBC’s online surveys … are not necessarily representative of the general population.” Democrats.com has an active online petition, “Ten Reasons to Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney”, which has received more than 124,000 of its targeted 1,000,000 signatures.

MoveOn has not officially taken up the cause for Bush/Cheney impeachment; however, they have quietly initiated an online survey entitled “Dealing with the Administration”. Ironically, MoveOn’s reluctance to act more forcefully has led to yet another online petition, “It’s Time for MoveOn to Start Talking about Impeachment”, endorsed by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, with more than 2,300 additional signatures.

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