Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Capitalocene or the “Age of Capital”

According to Pew Research, in 1970 three of every ten income dollars went to upper-income households. Now five of every ten dollars goes to them.

The Social Security Administration reports that over half of Americans make less than $30,000 per year. That's less than an appropriate average living wage of $16.87 per hour, as calculated by Alliance for a Just Society.

For every $100 owned by a middle-income household in 2001, that household now has just $72.

Half or more of American families have virtually no savings, and would have to borrow money or sell possessions to cover an emergency expense. Between half and two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000.

The typical black family has only enough liquid savings to last five days, compared to 12 days for the typical Hispanic household, and 30 days for a white household.

A JP Morgan study concluded that "the bottom 80% of households by income lack sufficient savings to cover the type of volatility observed in income and spending."

The number of families spending more than half their incomes on rent -- the 'severely' cost-burdened renters -- has increased by 50 percent in just ten years.

Fewer than one in three 25- to 34-year-olds live in their own homes, a 20 percent drop in just the past 15 years.

A new study that finds nearly a 15-year difference in life expectancy for 40-year-olds among the richest 1% and poorest 1% (10 years for women). Much of the disparity has arisen in just the past 15 years.

This story is about economics. As there is a worldwide surplus of labour, the companies and governments can do with you what they will. The disregard by the super-rich for the struggling poor has been ongoing for centuries, well before Dickens wrote of it. What is astonishing is the lack of solidarity amongst the poor and downtrodden--and those about to become part of that cohort -- and their seeming inability or desire to form a movement to overthrow their oppressors. The class war is what it is, and it's astonishing that so few are capable of seeing it despite feeling its effects. Anybody with any common sense and has eyes to see can see what in the hell is going on around them.

This is not rocket science. What we are living through is nothing less than class warfare of the elite ruling class against the working class under the support and administration of the state. We need solutions and a clear path for the working class people to implement to get ourselves out of this overwhelming state of domination and exploitation. In a nutshell, things are not going to change until the system is changed! The model for socialism is to move this planet into retrenchment, to take over all industries, to have a collective world system to manage all ecosystems, all fisheries, everything, and to make the commitment to rethinking everything to demand living more sustainably, living with durable goods, and dumping the throw-away consumerist attitude of capitalism, a world where the majority learns to live cooperatively and to wrest control of our respective destinies. The Socialist Party places a lot of hope in people’s ability to build a better world. Perhaps we are misguided and mistaken but what is the alternative. Capitalism cannot satisfy our human needs. It is falling apart on a hundred fronts.

We make a mistake when we try to predict the future and conclude everything will be the same, except more. We need to embrace change if we want to be prepared for the future but too often we're preparing for a future that doesn’t rectify the problems of the present. Our current geological epoch has been called as the Anthropocene, or “Age of Humans”, a term coined by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000 due to the fact that humans are changing the face of the planet, and are clearly responsible for the current 6th mass extinction event and climate disruption. Socialists would prefer the term Capitalocene, or the “Age of Capital”. The former implies that humanity as an undifferentiated whole is culpable of the climate changes while the latter suggests that capital, and its system of class and power relations, are the real problem, the real driving force that has altered the planet so extensively. We should understand the historical forces of capitalism that have brought us to the edge. The logic of capitalism is to grow or die, and we are all being dragged towards the die part. We need targets of accountability, and we need remedies for the dispossessed. Socialists rightly put the blame for the environmental destruction at the doorstep of capitalism and the state.

 We must oppose the logic of addressing the symptoms rather than the cause. Having a clear vision of socialist principles is an essential ingredient to the growth of our movements. Our movement must be global, working across borders in solidarity with social movements everywhere. Socialism is all about empowerment. We must reject top-down organisations as well as any political party that seeks to retain power for themselves. Let’s build networks of communication and coordination.  The more we resist and express solidarity with each other the better our chances will be. Real hope comes from people looking at each other from side to side, not from bottom to top.

When the goal is to save humanity from extinction, half-measures won’t suffice. The reformist approaches of legislation and regulation failed; the revolutionary socialist approach is what is needed to save the world. Socialists have the responsibility to explain why tweaking the system will not draw us back from the brink of extinction.

Workers didn’t initiate industrial-scale fishing, logging or mining, and we didn’t start the wars. Working people may not have organised the exploitation and destruction of our biosystems, but whether you like it or not, you are a part of a struggle that will determine the outcome of the future of our planet. Your actions or lack of action will determine the fate of all life on this planet. We are responsible for our own actions. Doing nothing means there is no chance of averting the coming disaster. The answer lies in a socialist revolution. We must challenge all ideas of private ownership over natural resources. A full-blown political, social and economic revolution is what’s needed to fix the world.

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