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Sherman Stanley

Export-Figures Show U.S. Imperialism
Maneuvering for World Domination

(January 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 3, 20 January 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

American export figures for 1940 reveal two basic tendencies of our economy – tendencies which will reach full maturity during 1941 and which mark the precipitous rush of American imperialism toward worldwide domination.

These two basic tendencies are: (1) The rapid gearing of American national economy to total war production; (2) The successful maneuvering to place America in a position from which she can organize, control and regulate the commerce of the world.

Under the first category the export figures show the following:

  1. Aircraft, iron and steel in finished or semi-finished form, and industrial machinery for war purposes (tools, etc.) led our export list in the order named. They comprised 40% of the total exports – as compared with 17% in 1938.
  2. There was a 25% export increase over the 1939 total. The total figure was slightly over $4,000,000,000 and approached the level of 1929. This increase was entirely due to increases in exports listed under (a); that is, entirely due to the war.
  3. Export of farm products and manufactured consumers’ goods showed a severe drop below figures of 1939. In the last 3 months of 1940, exports to Europe proper (excluding England) totalled a miserable $39,000,000 thus signifying the end of all European trade for the time being. Again we see the purely warlike character of our trade increases. The “normal” American trade of peacetime (foods and grains, consumers’ manufactured products, industrial machinery) has been replaced by guns and tanks, planes and cannon, shot and shell.

An Imperialist “Superman”

The second important tendency is the emergence of America as the “Superman”, confronting exhausted or semi-exhausted rival imperialisms (England, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, etc.) The United States is fresh on the scene: the hot blood of war productivity has just begun to flush our cheeks, and already the other powers sag wearily.

  1. Subtracting our total imports from our total exports gives a favorable trade balance of $1,400,000,000 for the year 1940 – the largest since 1921. This balance had to be paid for in cash by our foreign customers. It was paid for by gold imports and by the liquidation of American securities held by foreign investors and rentiers. American interests wax richer at the expense of their European “friends” and “enemies” alike.
  2. To the British Empire (England, her dominions and colonies) went 63% of our total 1940 exports! Mother England herself took 34% alone, or more than double that of the previous year! This utter dependence of England and her Empire upon the United States for its continued existence expresses – as we have previously written – the bloodless conquest of the British Empire by America. F.D.R. is heir apparent to the Crown of King George! Let us realize that this export dependency will steadily increase, not contrariwise.
  3. The drop in exports to Latin America is due not to a decline in demand for our products, but the inability of these countries involved to pay for anything. They themselves have lost their European – and to some extent – world markets. Only by borrowing money can they pay. And to whom can they turn for loans? The American Export-Import Bank, financed by the American Government. Each Loan, naturally, will tighten the grip that “Yankee imperialism” already has their throats.
  4. The decline in export of food products and consumption articles means that we are storing up great surpluses of these life necessities. Trotsky once spoke of America’s goal of “putting the world on rations.” When F.D.R. at the judicious moment holds out the surplus stocks of American economy to war-exhausted Europe – at what a terrible price! – we shall see the fulfillment of this objective.

These are the two tendencies in the American “arsenal of Democracy” as shown in the export figures of 1940.

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