Wednesday, April 01, 2020

A world on life support

Private interests, many of whom have been making lucrative profits in the recent past, have been busy lobbying for government bailouts while tens of millions of working people are losing their livelihoods. Businesses are in receipt of financial hand-outs in amounts that have not been seen since the Second World War, often with little oversight. It is a transfer of wealth and power to the super rich unprecedented in peacetime. 

Meanwhile, there is no critical reporting in ‘mainstream’ media about the destructive nature of the global system of profit maximisation and endless ‘economic growth’. 
As Chomsky says: What our leaders are good at, and have been very good at for the last 40 years, is pouring money into the pockets of the rich and the corporate executives while everything else crashes.

The core problem for society is that we have been subjected to a system of fairy-tale propaganda that tells us repeatedly that capitalism, despite a few ‘failures’ or ‘flaws’, has been primarily responsible for huge progress in the human condition since the Industrial Revolution. In reality, it has been people at the bottom of the social order – working for centuries to extend the voting franchise, setting up trade unions, improving healthcare and education – who have been primarily responsible for advancements in living standards.

Working people feel powerless. We are ignored by politicians. Our future is uncertain.

Capitalism assumes people are fundamentally selfish. Socialists understands people are primarily collectively-creative. This is demonstrated when workers are given the opportunity to operate cooperatives, create workers councils in revolutionary situations or even during natural disasters. Selfishness is a product of capitalism and not the primary way human beings operate. Capitalist divide-and-conquer strategies create racism on the job by giving privileges to white workers to keep them from uniting with minorities for better pay. Capitalists expect loyalty to sports teams even when the owners sell the players to the highest bidder. Capitalists expect working-class loyalty to a nation and for them to fight wars, while capitalists exercise no loyalty to workers when they relocate in another nation where the costs of labour and land are cheaper.

But the brighter, safer, saner future can still be attained, if we remember that together we have more power than the destructive forces of capitalism. Mankind has the capacity to abandon the disaster path of capitalism, and instead embark upon a journey of solidarity and compassion. A whole new ball-game may emerge.

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