Statement on World Capitalism of the Afrika Global Network
The world is what it is mainly because of the nature of the socio-economic system which governs it or which the world follows. What the system does or does not do, for whom or against whom, are fundamental issues to the world. The system determines the way of life, the nature and level of freedom or liberation of the world’s inhabitants and how the environment will be protected or destroyed. It determines whether or not there will be racism, oppression, exploitation and for whose benefit. The system also decides whether or not there will be a class or classless society and the nature of such classes. The system, which has been governing the world for the past five centuries, is capitalism.
Before the advent of capitalism, feudalism was the ruling system. Capitalism was in opposition and the two systems were in a state of conflict. Eventually capitalism won. Today capitalism is in power and socialism, which in this Statement is referred to as ecosocialism is in opposition. Ecosocialism will win against capitalism just as capitalism won against feudalism. This is irrespective of how long it may take, how difficult it may seem to be and how many battle defeats the revolutionary ecosocialist forces may suffer.
The long-term objectives of full and true socio-economic liberation of any oppressed and exploited race or class or sex cannot be fully achieved in any country where capitalism remains as the system of socio-economic governance and as long as such a system also continues to be dominant at the international level. Capitalism is a global socio-economic system which has certain intrinsic features, objectives, principles and instruments which cannot allow full and true liberation to take place as long as it remains the ruling ideology in any country and internationally. Full and true liberation can only be achieved after destroying capitalism itself first and during the course of building ecosocialism.
The intrinsic features, objectives, principles and instruments of capitalism are there to guarantee its own survival and growth as a system. These are as follows: selfishness; individualism; greed; survival of the fittest in socio-economic terms; unfair competition; market forces; almost unlimited privatization; wild and wasteful consumerism; planning not based on sustainability but on short-term and maximum private profits and interests of the ruling class minority; keeping the gap between the rich and the poor as wide as possible within nations and between the countries of the North and those of the South; imperialism; neo-colonialism; corporatism, maintaining an undemocratic and imperialist-controlled international relations system; ruling class funded, manipulated, controlled, and fake national elections; militarism; continuous devaluations of the currencies of developing countries; bribery and all other forms of corruption; debauchery; racism; oppression and exploitation of one class or one caste or one ethnic group or one race or one group or one person by another; gender inequality; divide and rule; marginalization; manipulation; various forms of slavery and genocide; demonization and destruction of the cultures and religions of the oppressed and the exploited; cyclical financial crises caused by corruption and mismanagement; continuous co-options into capitalism of a small number of people from the oppressed, exploited and poor classes for propaganda purposes; maintaining a strong class system in every capitalist ruled country; massive and continuous destruction of the environment; and, massive and ubiquitous propaganda and indoctrination leading to inferiority complex and/or anti-ecosocialist ideas among the victims.
Capitalism, by its very nature, cannot survive and grow without effectively and fully utilizing its intrinsic features, objectives, principles and instruments. Their purpose is to ensure the effective domination and exploitation of the majority of the people by the parasitic ruling minority in every country, which follows the capitalist system. They are also indeed for the maximization of profit for the countries of the North, which are a minority in the world, at the expense of those of the South, which are the majority.
Inequality is highly well-entrenched in the so-called democratic, developed and capitalist countries. Capitalism as a system is based on the principle of inequality in all aspects of life like the economic sector, the higher decision-making processes, and in race, class and gender relations. Therefore in order to survive and grow, capitalism has to protect and promote the unequal distribution of wealth and power. While capitalism aims at creating wealth mainly for the oppressive and exploitative ruling class minority, ecosocialism aims at creating wealth for the whole population. In spite of the free hand capitalism and its market forces have had for such a long time, world poverty is increasing. The rich are getting richer and richer, and the poor are getting poorer and poorer all over the capitalist world. In fact that is the real objective of the system of capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism. Where are the so-called capitalist miracles, which can eliminate poverty in the world? Why have the “advanced” capitalist countries in Western Europe and North America themselves not eliminated abject poverty for centuries in their own territory, let alone in the so-called Third World?
Under capitalism, extreme poverty and extreme wealth will always exist side by side and very often with the gap getting wider and wider. The capitalist class system means that in society there should always be a rich, oppressive, exploitative and parasitic ruling minority on one side and the poor, oppressed, exploited and the ruled majority on the other. In a capitalist country, the state operates as an instrument of the capitalist ruling class. This is how capitalism operates and that is its mission. The rich minority in every capitalist country is protected and facilitated by the capitalist state to accumulate wealth at the expense of the majority and/or the state.
The Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University, whose headquarters are in Japan, presented the findings of its study on the distribution of wealth in the world at a press conference in London on December 5, 2006. The study of the Institute (www.wider.unu.edu) revealed that in the year 2000, the richest one percent of the world’s population owned 40 percent of the world’s wealth; two percent owned 51 percent of the global assets; ten percent owned 85 percent. But more than 50 percent of the world’s population owned barely one percent of the world’s wealth.
The United States of America has people who make up 37 percent of the world’s richest one percent. Japan has 27 percent; Britain: six percent; France: five percent; Germany: four percent; Italy: four percent; Netherlands: two percent; Canada: two percent; Spain: one percent; Taiwan: one percent; Switzerland: one percent; and the rest of the world has 10 percent of the one percent.
In the United States of America itself, one percent of the total population in 2001, owned 33.4 percent of all the wealth. This one percent is the upper class, which rules America today. It financially sponsors and thus controls politicians. Nineteen percent owned 51 percent of the wealth. This 19 percent is made up mainly of the small business, managerial and the professional people usually referred to as the middle class. This means the 80 percent of the total population of USA who are at the bottom of the scale own only 15.4 percent. That is democracy as far as the capitalists and their supporters are concerned. (This information comes from: Who Rules America? by Professor G. William Domhoff, Department of Sociology, University of California at Santa Cruz, 6th Edition, 2006.)
The phenomenal development and flexibility of capitalism may confuse many people into believing that the world is in a post-capitalist or globalization era in which anybody can get to the top through the capitalist method of co-option. However, the point is that this has not and cannot eliminate the class system in society, which is one of the most essential features of capitalism. The aim and the result of this phenomenal development and flexibility of capitalism is that oppression and exploitation of the majority by the minority becomes more sophisticated, secure, lasting and more profitable. Therefore this consolidates the capitalist system with its intrinsic features and objectives instead of eliminating it.
The politics of the ruling class
The so-called democratic and advanced countries of North America and Western Europe have two or three major political parties which run their countries in an almost rotational basis and are all fully sponsored and controlled by the ruling classes of the countries concerned. All these parties believe in and serve as instruments of capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism. They differ only on strategy and tactics of how best to promote the interests of capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism. They compete for the support of the ruling class.
Indeed capitalism does practice some form of democracy for and within the rich minority ruling class. But it exercises dictatorship, oppression, discrimination and exploitation for the majority of the population in society and at the international level. This capitalist or bourgeois democracy is always fully backed by a well-funded, sophisticated and well-organized propaganda machine internationally. It is also fully backed by an anti-ecosocialist socialization and brainwashing process as managed by the machinery of the capitalist state especially the educational system and the mass media.
The ruling class, through its processes, chooses and sponsors a short-list of candidates for the post of president or prime minister, then usually reduce these to two or three. After that, the whole nation is asked to vote for any one of the candidates in a fake and highly manipulated process using unlimited funds and one-sided propaganda in support of the preferred candidates. Poverty, oppression and exploitation of the majority continue unabated. This is what they call “democracy in a capitalist system! A small number of citizens who are from the poor classes can be co-opted into the highest positions in society as long as they are known to be strong supporters of the capitalist system and are against fundamental change in society. Such co-options are useful to the system because they release the steam from time to time and they help to strengthen rather than weaken the status quo.
The system can only co-opt a few at a time for propaganda purposes and not the majority. The election of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the racist and capitalist America in 2008 is a case in point. His co-option did not change the nature of the racist, oppressive and exploitative capitalist system in America, nor did it change its imperialist and militarist policies internationally. He was simply co-opted as an instrument of that capitalist and racist system. He got the job through co-option and not by a revolution to overthrow the ruling class and its capitalist system. The American ruling class felt at that point in time that Obama would give its imperial interests a better image globally. He was found to be more articulate in the defense of American capitalist and racist interests than Bush and others. During his presidential election campaign, Obama talked about the need for change in America, he meant change in style and not fundamental change in content or policies. The America ruling class fully and happily understood that. That is why they sponsored and installed him as President.
The international relations system remains undemocratically controlled by the West and is there to promote and protect the interests of the West as opposed to the interests of the developing countries. This is why the imperialist powers are totally against the restructuring and democratization of the international relations system and its iniquitous international trade regime. The imperialists only propagate for democracy where and when they or their allies are going to win or benefit. They do not even hesitate to rig or support their allies and friends who rig elections.
It is true that phrases like “the global village” and “globalization” mean that the world has greatly changed. It will never be the same again. The world has become smaller in terms of movement and communication of human beings, goods and services. How the world is organized has also drastically changed. But this change is in terms of organizational structure and not class relations or the capitalist mode of production and consumerism. The world is still completely based on capitalism. It is getting worse and not better for the poor majority, and for the rich, it is nice but highly frightening. Naturally, ecosocialists advocate “an ecosocialist global village” and “an ecosocialist globalization.”
The ruling class understands and even admits the existence of this inequality and that it will always exist under capitalism. This is why a highly well-informed and respected financial journal of the bourgeoisie like The Banker, which is published in London, wrote a revealing paragraph in its editorial of September 2006 under the title: “The Challenge of unequal distribution remains paramount.” The editorial stated:
“We are not woolly liberals at The Banker and yet it is hard to deny that the greatest problem facing the world is growing inequality. The advance of technology is creating a divide between those with the skills to access and profit from it and those who do not. In the emerging markets, the gap is between those gaining from growing manufacturing sectors, tourism and call centers and those still stuck in urban slums or backward rural areas.” (www.thebanker.com Vol.156, No. 967, 2006)
Under a news item titled: “Amnesty International Head Irene Khan on The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights published online on October 17, 2009 (www.democracynow.org) it was reported as follows:
“Saturday marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The poverty rate here in the United States has now risen to 13.2 percent, the highest level in eleven years. And around the world, two billion people, or a full third of humanity, are poor; living on less than $2 a day. One billion live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1 a day. The latest numbers from the United Nations indicate that over a billion people are also going hungry. Irene Khan argues that these harsh numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Poverty, the book argues, must be recognized as the world’s worst human rights crisis.”
Human rights as advocated by capitalists are a mere propaganda slogan, which is used selectively and hypocritically. The imperialists use it usually against countries, which are not in good with them. When the imperialist powers talk about human rights they do not mean comprehensive but limited political rights which, in fact, are also rendered meaningless by the capitalist and class nature of the socio-economic system. Freedom of political speech, opinion, association, assembly and travel are meaningful to the rich, but meaningless to the poor. The poor, the oppressed, the exploited and those who suffer from racism cannot enjoy such “freedoms” which in fact are always highlighted and dramatized for capitalist propaganda purposes.
The rights which the capitalists advocate do not include economic rights covering for instance, the right to shelter, health, education, gender equality and the people’s right to participation in decision-making. They also do not include nature’s rights, hence the advent of the deadly global warming. It is no secret that the so-called western democracies like USA are highly racist especially against ?Black people. When the capitalists themselves or their allies like Israel abuse human rights, which they often do, that is fine. They will either keep quiet about that or argue that their allies or friends have good reasons for taking such measures. However, when the enemies of imperialism or countries they do not like for one reason or the other do so, they make deafening noises or even take regime-change measures against them.
The so-called democratic countries like USA have always been involved in assassinations, disappearances, coups, invasions of other countries, torture, arbitrary arrests, massive killings of civilians and other terrorist activities especially in developing countries. At the same time, if those who are not their allies do the same, that would be totally unacceptable. As far as the imperialists are concerned, terrorists are only terrorists when they fight against the interests of capitalism and imperialism. When they fight against the enemies of capitalism and imperialism, then they are not terrorists. Such people are called allies or civil rights activists or simply the democratic forces; they are also, usually, sponsored by the imperialists. It is a well-known fact that the Taliban, the Hamas, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were originally trained and sponsored by the USA in order to fight its enemies. According to the imperialists, state terrorism by western or pro-western governments is not terrorism.
The people who suffer from world capitalism are always mainly the overwhelming majority of the following: the Black people; the working class; the women; the poor; the peasants; certain minorities and targeted groups of different races internationally. These people who suffer from capitalism together constitute the oppressed and exploited majority in every capitalist country. Most of the developing nations are also exploited as countries by the developed capitalist nations, hence the North-South conflicts.
Chen Chimutengwende is President of Africa Global Network (AGN).
—Afrika Global Network (AGN), March 12, 2010
Re-publishing and Feedback
In the interests of promoting world-wide debate on these issues and the swift and mass dissemination of revolutionary ideas and information, comrades and friends are hereby encouraged to freely re-print, re-distribute and re-publish this Statement but without any re-editing and with credit to www.afrikaglobalnetwork.com, and please let us know. We would also be very grateful if you could send us any feedback on this Statement at:
Afrika Global Network
P.O. Box 472, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Tel.: +(263-4) 707771
Fax: +(263-4) 251386
Mobile: +(263) 11 800 111 or 733 800 111 or 912 800 111