Sara Flounders (WWP) – On US Threats in the South China Sea (12/24/2016)
SF: The next talk is an opportunity also to discuss several issues in the class struggle internationally, especially the very basic question of China. Now, does the Peoples Republic of China have a right to defend its sovereignty in the waters surrounding China? And what are U.S. aircraft carriers and destroyers and nuclear submarines and bombers and underwater drones doing in the South China Sea? China does not have any such force in the Gulf of Mexico, which is about the same size, and bordered by about the same number of countries. Yet, China is depicted as an aggressor in the South China Sea.
Today, more than 400 American military bases encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and, above all, nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to Japan, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, these bases form – as one U.S. strategist put it – the ‘perfect noose.’ The greatest buildup of NATO military forces since World War II is underway on the western borders of Russia; on the other side of the world, the rise of China as the world’s second economic power is viewed in Washington as another threat to American dominance.
That’s just the opening lines of this movie, but it really sums up the situation that China is facing today.
Now, increasingly, there are hundreds of news stories that the big problem facing the U.S. is China. China is the aggressor. China is the superpower that is throwing its weight around. China is militarizing the South China Sea. And what the U.S. is doing is just defending the people, the region, especially the interests of the smaller nations that also border the South China Sea.
For us, here, we are pretty clear on one point. And that is that there is nowhere in the world that the U.S. military or the police or the intelligence agencies are defending the interests of working and oppressed people or smaller nations.
That is like ABC. Not in Standing Rock, not in Syria, not in Palestine, not in the Ukraine or in the Philippines, or in Russia or in China. Not in South Korea or in Haiti. And not in New York City or Baltimore or Ferguson, or L.A. This is ABC for all of us here. And making those links is a very important part of what we do.
Demonization, especially of Black and Brown people here in the U.S., a constant demonization of immigrants and of Muslims, it creates a racist atmosphere that runs so deep. The media is absolutely pre-programmed. They already know the script. So, it is easy to whip up fear and demonization against China. They know what buttons to push.
There are a lot of people who do understand and see through U.S. lies on one struggle, because their own experience has taught them not to trust the corporate media or the promises of politicians. So they may understand [the need to] abolish NATO that’s encircling Russia and China or to abolish the Zionist army of occupation of all of Palestine, or to abolish the police in New York City.
We want to show the links of all these struggles. It is the role of the party to explain that it is the same police apparatus wearing different hats.
There are a few different terms I want to use tonight that are really useful to explain. One of them, especially if we are going to talk about China, is “free trade.” Free trade has nothing to do with human freedom. It was originally a term based on the freedom of the capitalists to carry out the African slave trade. It was the capitalists claiming the right to property – the buying and selling of human beings – and that this was a sacred right. The capitalists described the transatlantic slave trade as a bedrock of global free trade. It had all the protection of law in every capitalist country. It was the cornerstone of ‘free enterprise.’
Free trade meant something else in China. In the early 1800s, free trade meant the right of the British capitalists to freely trade opium in China, without any restriction from the Chinese government. It forced the Chinese market – they said it was going to be forced! – open. And the Chinese government was determined to try to stop the opium trade. So, imposing free trade of opium on China meant war with China. It meant occupation and conquest and