Seventeen years ago, huge numbers of protesters and a masked-up Black Bloc protested and fought against corporate power in the streets of DC.An infamous mass arrest came out of a march the day before. Now the IMF and World Bank are meeting this weekend, April 21-23, with their power greatly reduced. Trump however is beginning to adopt parts of their agenda, wanting to add TPP style provisions to his proposed renegotiation of NAFTA.
As the IMF meets this weekend, huge numbers of protesters will be in the streets for the April 22 Earth Day “Science March” to oppose the bad science being peddled by Trump, particularly on the issue of climate change. The usual IMF delegates will be meeting in the usual places and staying at the usual hotels. It is not known to this writer if any of that business is moving to Trump Hotel, but hotel owners around the city are suing Trump for effectively forcing foreign diplomats and lobbyists to use his hotel at their expense. Unknown how much effect that will have on the hotel choices of IMF and World Bank delegates.
Two months ago, most would have assumed that disputes between the Trump (Fascist) and neoliberal wings of capitalism had made the IMF and World Bank nearly irrelevant to the current situation, especially in the US. Now however, we have to deal with the reality that like all Fascists, Trump is a corporatist and corporations really wanted the TPP. While Trump had to drop the TPP to get into the White House, now he is trying to ressurect many of the TPP’s worst ideas for his “renegotiation” of NAFTA.
The Hindustan Times(of India) is claiming that the IMF and World Bank intend to attempt to “nudge” Donald Trump away from his “America First” policies. If they are sucessful they will be following in the footsteps of the former TPP lobbyists, who have proven to be exactly the kind of “Deep State” the far-right and “alt-right”(Nazis) regard as rivals.
Simply pulling out of NAFTA seems to no longer be on the table for Trump. Some of Trump’s new friends, however, fear that next year’s elections on Mexico may catapult the muscular Left into power-and that unlike Trump they will be serious about scuttling trade deals. The US Chamber of Commerce and Trump alike understand that if the left wins in Mexico next year, they will tell Trump to take a hike, and to put up or shut up. Thus, the NAFTA revisions are much like the TPP from whence they came: they face a ticking clock before “a rising tide of popular opposition can sweep it away.”
The IMF and World Bank for their part are raising concerns that reckless behavior by Trump and other far-right regimes could break the current spider web of trade deals in another way: tit for tat trade wars that lead to sky-high tarrifs and embargos on more and more goods among more and more countries. While that will be good for localizing production and probably good for the Earth, it will be very bad for the wealthy and maybe for the middle class as well. Seems it’s heads you win, tails you lose. Trade deal or trade war, either way IMF means I’M Fired.