Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1071/30178

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 January 2020

Johnson's Huawei internet deal underlines world trade tensions

Huawei, photo Brücke-Osteuropa/CC

Huawei, photo Brücke-Osteuropa/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party national committee

As expected, Boris Johnson has approved Chinese tech giant Huawei gaining licences to build 5G web network infrastructure in Britain.

Huawei is currently the largest provider of 5G technology, and already provides some of the infrastructure for 3G and 4G internet. The government's own report suggested that if Huawei were blocked, it would delay 5G by two years.

5G telecoms should increase download speeds and reduce the 'latency' time phones take to connect to networks. It could also support more devices, around one million per square kilometre, opening up the possibility of increasing use of remote or autonomous technology.

The high profile of this decision reflects increasing global trade tensions and the complicated position facing British capitalism as Brexit moves forward.

Trump and the US government placed significant pressure on Johnson to join US and Australian capitalism in blocking Huawei completely.

This included threats by the US to stop sharing state surveillance data through the 'Five Eyes' intelligence alliance. Another Five Eyes member state, New Zealand, has blocked some Huawei equipment, and the final member state, Canada, is still debating the issue.

Trump doesn't want to lose further ground in US capitalism's ongoing trade war with China. Meanwhile, Chinese capitalism has been building up infrastructural control around the world - including Europe - through its 'Belt and Road Initiative', among others.

Other European states have come under significant pressure too. 70% of Germany's 4G network is provided by Huawei, with a similar decision about 5G looming there. There are reports that Angela Merkel wishes to make a similar stand to Johnson, particularly motivated by China being German capitalism's biggest trading partner.

As well as these battles for influence between the major powers, the deal has opened up rifts in thinking between different sections of the British capitalist class. One section wishes to maintain open trade relationships with China and other world powers, reflected in the support for Johnson's proposal in both the Financial Times and the Economist, among other bosses' journals.

Another section of capitalists and their supporters wants to tie British capitalism more firmly to the US. This position is reflected by a number of Tory MPs, including grandees like Iain Duncan Smith and Home Secretary Priti Patel - and is backed by a ConservativeHome survey showing 77% of Tory members opposed Huawei's involvement in UK 5G infrastructure.

However, trade links to Washington are not the only factor for this section. Much of the furore over the Huawei deal centres on worries about 'back doors' in its systems that Chinese intelligence services could exploit.

Public concerns over the safety of digital information are legitimate. However, it is pure hypocrisy from the UK and US intelligence services, which are already involved in similarly undemocratic surveillance.

Under capitalism there is no way to fully stop such abuse. The only way to end it would be to take both the private ownership of the technology - and the capitalist state itself, which fundamentally needs secrecy and repression to defend the profit system - out of the equation.

Balancing act

In reality, the access that Johnson has allowed Huawei reflects his attempt to balance these competing trade and political pressures - with access only to 'non-core' infrastructure such as masts and antennae; a ban from use in military bases and nuclear sites; and a cap on Huawei's market share at 35%.

And this decision is the latest in a series of tensions between the US and British governments, such as Johnson rejecting Trump's demand to re-impose sanctions on Iran.

It also follows the Tories' proposal for a digital services tax of 2% on the revenues of big tech firms, with the US threatening retaliatory taxes on car imports. The French government had proposed a 3% levy, but delayed it after mutual threats of tariff escalation between the US and EU.

While Johnson is keen to sign a new trade deal with the US, it seems this is not at the expense of keeping other options open. Journalist Annabelle Dickson reportedly said that "former ministers and officials who are familiar with the mindset of Johnson and his top adviser Dominic Cummings say privately that modern tech infrastructure is much more important to the pair's vision for the UK's future economy than trade with the US, welcome as a quick deal would be."

What the saga shows is that there is no plain sailing for the Tory government trying to navigate the trading seas post-Brexit in an increasingly volatile period for world relations.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 29 January 2020:


What we think

No 'blank cheque' for Labour leadership candidates


News

End health and wealth divide - fight for our NHS

Unite union nominates Long-Bailey and Burgon

Coronavirus: capitalism limits response to viral outbreaks

HS2 debacle: nationalise rail and construction!

Johnson's Huawei internet deal underlines world trade tensions

Them & Us


Workplace news

University and College Union: Pensions, pay and conditions dispute reach a crucial stage

PCS union elections: Nominate candidates fighting austerity and for union democracy

Interview with a forestry worker

Westex carpet strike


Brexit and the economy

Brexit and British capitalism - why Johnson's juggernaut is set to jackknife


Stop the cuts

Fight the closure of Royal Glamorgan A&E

Save Hampden Nursery in Camden

We need socialists in London's City Hall

Unite regional committee votes to support anti-cuts Enfield councillor

Cuts to women's services cost lives


Campaigns

Socialist sellers: Opposing the Tories & fighting cuts

London protest against Modi's racist law


International news

Libya: Civil war and chaos follow interventions by world and regional powers

Trump's trashing of the environment - Dump the capitalist profit system!

CWI round-up


Readers' opinion

TV review: The Trial of Christine Keeler

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 January 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Internet:

triangleBroadband: privatisation has failed to deliver, time for a socialist plan

triangleHow 'Prevent' training fosters racist paranoia

triangleHyperNormalisation: Arbitrary selection of ideas to confirm feelings of powerlessness

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Technology, the internet and freedom of speech

triangleWill robots end capitalism?

US:

triangleA day in the life of a salon worker

triangleNews in brief

triangle'FinCEN Files' expose rampant financial corruption: nationalise the banks!

triangleSocialist Party Wales: US - Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

Capitalism:

triangleBLM: Socialist alternative to racist capitalism

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Are women being pushed back into the 1950s?

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Capitalism's damage to childhood

State:

triangleBelarus: Mass opposition continues to defy repression by Lukashenko's regime

triangleEast London Socialist Party: TUC 2020 - The state of the unions

Government:

triangleThailand: Youth rising against hated junta

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

23/9/20

Housing

Extend eviction ban! Cap rents! Build council homes!

23/9/20

Coronavirus

Testing shambles: unions must fight back

23/9/20

Universities

Covid and the campuses

23/9/20

Coronavirus

North East lockdown: simmering anger at Tory incompetence

23/9/20

NHS

Fund NHS and pay rise now

23/9/20

Coronavirus

Tory Covid chaos

23/9/20

Banks

'FinCEN Files' expose rampant financial corruption: nationalise the banks!

23/9/20

Amazon

News in brief

23/9/20

Schools

Johnson's schools social-distancing lie

17/9/20

Britain

Britain's fragile Covid equilibrium is coming to an end

16/9/20

NHS

NHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!

16/9/20

Covid

Capitalist profit and the race to develop a vaccine

16/9/20

Covid

Covid and the third sector: for public planning, not charity stopgaps

16/9/20

Profit

Under the microscope

16/9/20

Covid

'Covid marshalls' must be accountable to communities

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999