The trade war is a sign of a global system gone badly wrong.
The guiding principle of a left internationalist approach is the same as that of left anti-racism – “an injury to one is an injury to all” – but extended across borders. This is a founding slogan of the left – “Workers of the world, unite!” The potential to live out this imperative is greater today than it has been at any point since WWII. As both right and left critics of globalization note, the development of global supply chains has served to create a “race to the bottom” across borders, which often provokes a protectionist reaction, on both the left and the right. It is true that the days of neoliberal “free trade” are likely numbered. But nationalism is not the only alternative, nor is it the progressive alternative.
[P]rogressives now have a historic opportunity to rewrite the rules of global trade to put people and the planet first. Above all, we must end the corporate court system “free trade” relies on, which tilts the playing field in favor of multinational capital, and replace it will strong standards that protect workers and the environment, backed by enforcement mechanisms with real teeth.
Today, many trade agreements compel developing countries to restrict unions and worker protections. And because globalization allows companies to move easily across borders, employers can chill their workers’ wage demands by threatening to pull up stakes and move somewhere cheaper... The point is that wages are not somehow naturally low in the south – they have been made low by design. Wages are an effect of power... There’s an obvious solution: a global minimum wage. If capitalism is going to be globalized, it makes sense that we should globalize the rules and standards that protect people from it as well.