Protests Denounce APEC Summit
November 25, 2016
On November 19-20, the leaders of the 21 member economies which make up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held their annual conference in Lima, Peru.
APEC's mission is to facilitate international negotiations over trade and investment with the aim of further eliminating restrictions to the “free flow” of goods and capital throughout the “global marketplace.”
Hundreds of people demonstrated in opposition to APEC on the weekend of the summit. On Friday, some of the protesters gathered in Lima's financial sector. Chants of “TPP kills” and “Leave Obama – the capitalist beast” echoed throughout the streets. In the forefront of the actions, the people raised demands against U.S. imperialism's “international war against terrorism,” and militantly demonstrated in defense of the sovereignty of countries and the right of every people to determine their own affairs free of imperialist interference.
APEC, like other international blocs and alliances, is used by the U.S. monopolies and others as a means to extend their spheres of influence and undermine the national sovereignty and independence of other countries. Today, U.S. imperialism is using APEC as one means to advance these goals.
Obama's effort to get 12 of the member countries to ratify the massive trade and investment liberalization package known as the TPP has been a continuation of U.S. imperialism's long-standing program of striving to dominate the vast Asian market and to super-exploit the peoples and plunder the raw materials of countries on both sides of the Pacific.
Some emerging features of this program include: forcing developing countries to redirect their budgets from investing in social programs like education and health care to servicing the debt, privatization of state-owned industries, gutting social and labor legislation to increase the exploitation of the workers, and removing restrictions on the export of loans.
Through such measures already taken, not only the mineral wealth and other resources, but also the factories and economic infrastructure of various countries – including ports, rail lines, roads and airports, etc. – have been turned over to U.S. monopolies. Through its branch plants and its banking networks, through loans, U.S. monopoly capital has come to own the land and the resources of the dependent and colonial countries and exploit the labor of the workers.
By the turn of the 20th century into the 21st, 3,000 U.S. corporations already had overseas investments in 24,000 foreign affiliates. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that U.S. companies held $4 trillion in direct investments overseas. Sales from these overseas operations were nearly $2.5 trillion, an amount equaling more than 25% of the country's gross domestic product. The export of commodities accounted for another 10% of the GDP or nearly $1 trillion.
Through these investments, a handful of monopolies, linked with the big capitalist bankers, grab hundreds of billions in super-profits every year.
Obama and other PR men for U.S. imperialism portray these capitalist-imperialist relations of domination and exploitation as the “transfer of technology to the underdeveloped world” and as a mandatory path which will allegedly produce “economic growth and prosperity.” They even boast that international loans and capitalist investment are a form of “aid” for the “poor and backward countries.”
However, after more than a full century of toil under the yoke of imperialism, the vast majority of people in the dependent and colonial countries remain in grinding poverty. For example, more than a billion people in the world today must try to survive on incomes of less than $2/day.
And how could it be otherwise when, under a world system of financial enslavement and colonial oppression, the very soil of these countries and the fruits of the labor of the peoples have, for decades, been plundered by the handful of international monopolies? How could it be otherwise when, decade after decade, the wealth of the country is taken out of the country and turned over to the coffers of the emperors – first the Lords of capital in London and France and today on Wall Street?
Today, the means of production at the disposal of humanity are more than enough to guarantee the economic well-being of everyone, more than enough to enable humanity to take a great leap forward from the realm of economic necessity to the realm of freedom. But, on a world scale, billions of people are denied even their most elementary human and economic rights because these vast means of production – this patrimony of humanity – is owned by a handful of big capitalist monopolies and imperialist states. It is these social relations of capitalist-imperialism which are holding back the progress of humanity.