In the USA, there is talk of a fuel shortage -especially diesel- worse than that of the 1970s crisis, while countries like Sri Lanka are receiving large shipments of diesel -in this case from India- to make up for a shortage that is already paralyzing the productive apparatus. Diesel stocks are running out all over the world, not only as a result of the lack of adaptability of the chains in the face of unexpected changes – as is the case in the semiconductor sector – but also as a direct consequence of the breakdown of the world productive structure that began with the trade war and has accelerated with the open war in Ukraine.
Tag: war economy
After Germany refused to relax sanctions in exchange for the unblocking of Ukrainian ports by Russia, the EU “is weighing” whether to launch its military structure and send a war fleet to carry out the Ukrainian grain. The excuse: the danger of famine in third countries. But this is hard to believe: since when is the EU willing to risk open war with Russia for the needs of semi-colonial countries? Wasn’t it going to increase its own exports to alleviate the global price increase? What lies behind the plans for a new “Crimean war”?
While the US approves the umpteenth support package to the Ukrainian state, this time of 40 billion euros to sustain the war, France, Germany and behind them Italy and Spain begin to recognize a strategic defeat… vis-à-vis Washington. Growing ideological resentment, political impotence within the EU and the increasingly accepted prospect of breaking the EU in two are expressed. It is not “only political”: the development of the imperialist contradictions within the EU and in relation to the US can only accelerate the offensive of national capitals against the living conditions of the workers.
Macron burst into the proceedings of the “Conference on the Future of Europe” yesterday with a proposal to reform the EU’s constituent treaties which immediately divided the states into two sides. It is the response to a US strategy in Ukraine which, irrespective of its effects on Russia, is increasingly undermining the power enjoyed by the Franco-German-Italian axis within the EU.
The “trade union celebration” has left its messages: support for the war and celebration of the war capitalism that is being imposed on us and that is beginning with a direct attack on the purchasing power of wages.
The European summit and its declaration of Spain and Portugal as an “energy island”, clearly expresses the kind of contradictions stirred up among the imperialist interests of its members by the development of the EU. Contradictions that are fueled both by the growing role of Brussels in the booming war economy, and by the ever greater and more explicit weight of the U.S. in defining its policies. For the bourgeoisies of the European South, a stage of vindication of their “exceptionalities” and the hope of an insularization which will multiply rather than palliate their attack on the basic conditions of the workers is opening up.
“Food security” is moving to the forefront of the priorities of European states. The agrarian war economy that shaped the EU in the Cold War is back on the immediate agenda. Far beyond sunflower and grains, globally there will come a famine and a new international division of agri-food production; and in Europe a regression of social relations in the countryside and a new push towards the most harmful elements of the agri-food industry. Agri-food production is on the way to becoming war production.
The media continue to broadcast patriotic scenes of the war in Ukraine. One of the latest is the “John Deere Brigade”, a supposedly heartwarming scene where Ukrainian farmers are resisting the invasion by towing abandoned Russian armored vehicles towards Ukrainian forces. All of this while turning the brand new green John Deere tractors into a patriotic “symbol” garnished with light blue-yellow backgrounds and flags. But the war does not mean the same thing to the different social classes.
The tsunami brought about by the emergence of militarism and the evolution from economic war to a war economy is not going to stop. Least of all with regard to the workers in all the states of Europe, from the Azores to Yakutia. We are at the first moment of a massive impoverishment which will inevitably be accompanied by a strengthening of state totalitarianism. And only struggles, strikes and an increasingly frank confrontation with the ruling militarism will be able to stop and reverse it.
The ban on purchases of Russian hydrocarbons by the USA and Great Britain, the plan to reduce by 2/3 the consumption of Russian gas by the EU and the imminent response from Moscow, are leading to the immediate and general transformation of the economic war into a war economy in the whole of Europe, from Yakutia to the Azores. Already in sight is an impoverishment of the whole continent’s workers of a speed and violence not seen since the last imperialist world war.
There exist advertisements which condense an era with far greater economy than any novel or film. The ad for Ford’s F-150 Lightning, Ford’s iconic vehicle for the Biden’s Green Deal is, by the same token, a promotional ad for precarious living rather than a celebration of green comfort, a Nomadland to insert into big-league matches and Superbowls rather than a sales pitch. But Biden has gone a step further: the Green Deal’s pick-up is also the symbol of a looming new war economy.
Germany is raising its climate targets. It changes its Climate Law by committing to a 65% reduction in emissions by 2030. The formal cause, a Constitutional Court ruling. The real cause: competition with the US. The important thing: each push of the Green Deal increases economic contradictions, weighs down production and imposes an increasingly dark horizon on living and working conditions. In the increased competition, the state centralizes and looks for new ways to turn broken private companies into state-owned enterprises. There is nothing progressive about this. We are not closer to socialism, but to a war economy.