Trade in Turmoil

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

Trade in the era of Trump and Brexit

There was a time when trade was a slow-moving tanker of a topic – what we, at New Internationalist, would call a ‘solid development issue’.

Not in these times of Brexit turmoil and a Trumpian trade war with China. As we go to press, there is little certainty about how events will pan out over the next couple of hours – let alone months.

The themes, and language, being used in relation to these trade-related crises are extreme and indicative. ‘Betrayal’, ‘rape’, ‘theft’, ‘cliff-edge’, ‘crash-out’, ‘blood on the streets’, ‘economic decline’, ‘disaster’, ‘a great unravelling’, ‘war’...

For this month’s Big Story, I delve into the thicket of global trade – interviewing and consulting experts and campaigners from around the world. My aim is not just to make sense of what’s going on, but also to dig into what’s missing from the blow-by-blow reporting in the media; to examine the underlying causes of the current crises; the important impacts of the free-trade system that just aren’t being discussed; and the implications for citizens in countries that aren’t powerful players on the world stage. And, in true New Internationalist fashion, this issue does not stop at reporting what is – but goes the extra mile to envisage how things could be with a 14-point plan on what a better, fairer, more sustainable trading system might look like.

Elsewhere in this edition, our Cartoon History takes us to Haiti and the story of liberation leader Toussaint Louverture, and to India, where our columnist reports on how the #MeToo movement is frightening Indian men.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Illustration: Steve Munday

Is trade in turmoil a chance for justice?

The global free trade system is being battered like never before. Can any good come of it, asks Vanessa Baird in the first of an eight-article exploration?

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The Big Story

Illustration: Steve Munday

A rustbelt romance

Enter the ‘new protectionism’ – and Trump’s trade wars.

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Illustration: Steve Munday

Investor rex

The beast that won’t lie down and die – the ISDS ‘investor protection’ racket is still with us, in all but name.

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Illustration: Steve Munday

Brexit and the dark arts

Lobbyists, chlorinated chicken and tricksy business in the fog of Brexit.

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Illustration: Steve Munday

Open China?

China is making promises, but keeping them may be hard...

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Illustration: Steve Munday

Pigs that cross...

In talks about trade, something vital is omitted: the environment.

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Illustration: Steve Munday

Winners and losers

How the Global South is affected by the current trade turmoil – and old patterns of power.

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Illustration: Steve Munday

Just, open and green

Vanessa Baird concludes with 14 ways – at least – towards a better global trade.

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Action on Trade

Action on Trade

International and local action resources and reading suggestions on Trade.

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Cartoon History: Toussaint Louverture

Revolt to Revolution - Art and Story by ILYA and Yohann Koshy.

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Crew members celebrate the Thai festival of Songkran with the Moken.Photo: Julian Sayarer

Do we fetishize indigenous people?

Working on a documentary in the Andaman Sea prompted questions for Julian Sayarer about the way indigenous and nomadic peoples are represented in the West.

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Copwatch has also developed an app that can be used to record and store interactions with the police, as well as to alert a user’s contacts if that person is in a potentially dangerous situation and where.

Catching the cops

A new app that helps Aboriginal people in Australia record police abuse is the latest intervention in a growing movement that uses filmed evidence to demand accountability. Ian Lloyd Neubauer reports.

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Extravagant and colourful wide-eyed Manga characters may abound in Japan, but social preferences are for cultural uniformity. Picture from the Akihabara district, Tokyo.Photo: Batchelder / Alamy

Japan’s firewall against populism

In a world buffeted by populist tides, Japan has avoided turbulence. Are there lessons to be learned? asks political scientist Tina Burrett.

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Unlearning despair

Climate change is the salient symptom of a human world unwilling – or unable – to protect its own life. In this lyrical essay, Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik explains why learning to think ecologically will be a precious and indispensable tool for our times – and how our fight against catastrophic collapse can ultimately win a more beautiful world.

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Opinion

View from India: Why are Indian men feeling unsafe?

View from India: Why are Indian men feeling unsafe?

Nilanjana Bhowmick reacts to the 'unease' expressed by Indian men in today's #MeToo era.

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View from Africa: Here today, here tomorrow

View from Africa: Here today, here tomorrow

Nanjala Nyabola questions Cameroon's never-ending presidential terms.

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View from America: Patriot, Dissident

View from America: Patriot, Dissident

Mark Engler reflects on the life of Pete Seeger - an American musician, patriot and dissident.

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Currents

There are 15,000 African traders, students and workers living in Guangzhou, China.Photo: Joerg Boethling / Alamy

China: The Chinese dream

Carlotta Dotto reports on the trials and tribulations of Asia's largest African migrant population.

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Introducing... Jair Bolsonaro

Richard Swift profiles the extreme far-right ex-army officer due to become Brazil's president in the new year.

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Snap parliamentary elections were held in Armenia on 9 December 2018, as none of the parties in the National Assembly were able to put forward and then elect a candidate for Prime Minister in the two-week period following Nikol Pashinyan's resignation on 16 October 2018.

Armenia: Free and fair poll

Joe Nerssessian reports on a new 'revolutionary majority' stirring up change in Armenia's parliament.

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Senegal: ready to vote

A new Fanon-inspired social movement is building inter-generational accountability, writes Denise Sow.

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Tibet: up the flagpole

Tibet's fraught political identity is being played out through emojis. Husna Rizvi reports.

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Is this bird an anarcho-communist? If a long-tailed tit’s young die, it will help one of its neighbours raise theirs instead.Photo: David Chapman / Alamy

Britain: Look to the sky

Look to the sky and you can see all sorts of radical lessons, writes Tom Whyman .

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A trader blitzes up a fruit smoothie on Khao San Road, Bangkok – a vibrant street market that is threatened by gentrification.Photo: Parkerphotography / Alamy

Thailand: Fry another day

Peter Yeung reports on the politics of street food in Bangkok - an informal industry currently under threat from the forces of gentrification.

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14 October 2017 Mogadishu bombings.

Somalia: Shockwaves

Amanda Sperber assesses the long-term consequences of Somalia's worst suicide attack.

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Reasons to be cheerful

Kids on strike; Plenty more fish; A fascist flop.

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Regulars

Letters

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

Read this article

Illustration: Sarah John

Flowers and flames

A pocket of the city, vibrant with blossoms, is the site where destiny is always taking shape, observes Parsa Sanjana Sajid.

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Borderlines

Borderlines

A Dutch church is holding non-stop services to prevent the deportation of an Armenian refugee family.

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Illustration: Elena Ospina

Open Window - Privacy

Right to privacy by Elena Ospina (Colombia).

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Photo: Alex Mateo / Alamy

Hall of Infamy: Matteo Salvini

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s ‘refugee drowner-in-chief’, is put under the spotlight.

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Photos, clockwise from top left: A butcher plies his trade in Havana beneath the omnipresent image of Che Guevara; a woman who charges tourists one US dollar per picture for posing with her outsize cigars; classic American cars are a commonplace sight on the capital’s streets but less familiar are initiates of Santeria (an Afro-Caribbean syncretic religion), who must wear white for a year and cannot be on the street after six o’clock in the evening.Photos: Kris Pannecoucke / Panos

Country profile: Cuba

Matt Norman reviews the Latin American island nation.

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Should religion play a role in politics?

From religious leaders who take on political roles to the daily influence of faith on political values, Dawn Foster and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – two practising believers – find themselves on opposite sides of the debate.

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Photo:  Stuart Mitchell / Alamy

Five climate struggles to watch in 2019

Danny Chivers reports on the key environmental struggles to keep track of in the coming year.

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Photo: Amarjeet Kumar Singh

Southern exposure

Highlighting the work of artists and photographers from the Majority World.

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The Interview: Soni Sori

For her work to get justice for survivors of rape by security forces and the police, Soni Sori received the 2018 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. She talks to Dilnaz Boga about why the state wants to erase Adivasi identity.

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Thoughts from a Broad

Thoughts from a Broad

Climate change denial by Kate Evans.

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Agony uncle

Agony uncle

Should I accept inherited property?

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed media: Books

Mixed media: Books

Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It?; Deviation; Tentacle; Voices of the Windrush Generation.

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Spotlight: Sebastián Lelio

One of the leading figures of contemporary Chilean cinema.

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