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This week we note some similarities between the so called extreme 'left' and 'right' ends of the political spectrum - when the government claims the ability to unilaterally decide how to run things, the stated ideology often goes by the board anyway. Bryan Gould discusses the confidential 'trade agreement' TPP, noting that it is less about free trade and more about subduing national sovereignty to the multinational corporations who devised it. In our second hour, we continue with Richard Wolff's Marxian class analysis, looking specifically at the 1917 Russian revolution.
Thanks to Tim Lynch of The GreenplanetFM Podcast for the Bryan Gould interview
'Left' and 'right' are two terms that naturally suggest a dichotomy. This week we look at globalized capital 21st cetury style, and the communist system as practiced in Russia after the 1917 revolution. Does it make sense to consider these as polar opposites?
We begin this show with an interview with former UK Labour Shadow Cabinet minister, Bryan Gould on TPPA, an open ended trade agreement which because it allows countries to opt in and join it, has the potential to be a global treaty of great importance. An Avaaz petition against TPPA already has over 700,000 signatures. Gould begins by clarifying that he is not, personally, against the lowering of tariffs and restrictions on trade, but he contends that TPPA is not primarily about trade. His interviewer agrees, opining only 2 out of the TPPA's 26 chapters focus on trade, the rest are focuses on new corporate rights and overriding local government interest.
Gould explains that the TPPA is about further integrating the national economies by removing national sovereignty. He notes that the negotiation process is being carried on in secret and will only be disclosed 4 years after the treaty is signed.
Next we continue our class analysis by Richard Wolff, who looks at 'socialism' and 'communism' as alternatives to communism. He uses this lens to project the dramatic history of the 1917 Russian revolution which brought USSR into being. He highlights a range of misconceptions which are typical in treatment of the topic by US media, such as the idea that the revolution got rid of markets and private property.
Wolff uses the Marxist class analysis to show that after Stalin had collectivised the farms - reneging on the original deal with the peasantry to allow private ownership of the land - the 'communist' government of USSR was in fact more like a state capitalist one, since there was a boss who took the surplus, albeit a public rather than a prvate one.