Why is it necessary to struggle against Imperialism, by both the people of the Third-World and of the First-World? What are the necessary prerequisites of resistance? What justifies struggle? Capitalism’s inability to meet the needs of the world’s poor is more than a catchy political slogan; it is a reality faced by Third-World people each and every day.
Here are some facts on poverty in the Third-World, and it’s connection to prosperity in the First:
1. 24,000 people die of hunger every day.
2. 6 million children die of hunger every year.
3. Undernourishment contributes 53% to 9.7 million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries.
4. Wealth in the First-world is due to poverty in the Third-World. For example, Great Britain purposely underdeveloped India back in the 18th Century by sabotaging their textile industry so India would be forced to import from the similarly developing British textile industry. The British also destroyed Indian crops, which caused a horrible famine near the end of the 18th Century, so they could create cash-crops for their own benefit.
5. In the words of Salvador Allende, who was murdered by the CIA in a US backed coup that brought a Fascist and mass-murderer into power in Chile: “.. there are 600,000 children who can never enjoy life in normally human terms, because in the first eight months of their existence they did not receive the elementary amount of proteins. My country, Chile, would have been totally transformed by these US$ 4,000 million (which is the amount of money expropriated by American industry in US corporations in Chile). Only a small part of this amount would assure proteins for all the children in my country once and for all.”
6. The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories per person per day, yet 925 million people are without food, 99% of which reside in the Third-World.
What can this be attributed to? Certainly, we can’t simply blame the stars.
Perhaps an investigation is due. What – or rather, whom, is to blame? A number of possible contenders come to mind. Each of these factors must be investigated in regards to the environments around them, which we will cover and discuss here in full:
I. Land Fertility and Territorial position
A claim often made by the individual members of the bourgeoisie (and their liberal detractors) is that:
“(I) wasn’t born in (insert Third-World country)”
The aim of such a statement is to, of course, misdirect any responsibility these class parasites might have in regards to the toil experienced by the working and dependent peoples of the earth; our common home.
This detractive statement must, too, find itself subject to unforgiving scrutiny.
The Third-World constitutes territory rich in abundance, contrary to popular fallacy. If we were to categorize the wealth of nations by the standard of abundance they experience in the amount of natural resources, our viewpoint of the world would be altered quite radically. Take Japan for example. For quite some time, Japan has been considered to be one of the richest countries in all of Asia – despite its extremely limited array of natural resources. Not coincidentally, Japan is formerly an empire, bringing to it’s submission all territories surrounding it – including their abundances of formerly untapped resource reserves.
But this is not the standard of measurement we indulge. Wealth, in this society, is not defined by who has the resources, but by who can access them. Not by who works the land, but by who expropriates it, and the labor of those whom do the cultivating. If one section of the world is developed, and itself developed by workers who maintain and run the means of production owned by a small-and-smaller clique of parasitic individuals, ones who, before the unions came along, had saw it fit to work eight year olds to the bone in America for 18 to 19 hours at a time; it would only make sense that these soulless men would seek to expand their workforce where the population is immense, the exploitation veiled to us American civilians, being that it is a ways across the planet, and the minds of these potential workers under or even uneducated, their requested wages 15% of what they’d pay for 25% of the labor output here, considering that industry on this side of the world has developed to the point where one maintained machine can produce twice of what 100 workers with mere needle and thread can produce in a faction of the time socially necessary for the cheap labor forces, with a rate of output that makes the Nike shoe labor of 200 Asian 9 year old children look arbitrary – but oh, how it isn’t.
Imperialism is not interested in what is efficient - nor what is humane. So the efficient means possible to employ the millions of us without employment here are abandoned, simply because it isn’t profitable. And for what is our labor capabilities cheated for?
For little boys and girls to spend 19 hours a day making 10% of what we’d make here doing the same job for 6 hours. For cheap labor, uneducated black and yellow kids – for the embellishment of capital.
II. Underdevelopment, Access to Natural Resources & the Market
There are over 925 million people in the world who are starving. 578 million of these starving people, live in Asia and the pacific, 239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 53 million in Latin America, 37 million in North Africa, and 19 million of them live in the developed territories, like North America. The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories per person per day, yet 925 million people are without food, 24,000 of which die every day, of which six million children die yearly. Six million is the equivalent of the number of Jews Hitler worked to the bone and exterminated in his camps; that was a single case, but this happens every year, not even counting the number of adults. Is this not violence?
We have to ask ourselves, who causes poverty? And more importantly, how can we stop them?
The Third-World is not poor, in fact, it is rich. Rich in resources, in land, and workers. Their poverty cannot simply be attributed to something as petty as geological position, if that were the case, the First-world would be the poor territories of the world, and not the Third-World. If the Third-World was “allowed” by the global Imperialist powers, to direct it’s labor, it’s resources, it’s people towards the cultivation of development for themselves, and not for the United States, we would not have these problems; but we do, and we do because of the Empire, to sustain the ruling clique.
Nelson Mandela famously asserted that poverty is man-made. If poverty is man-made, starvation is genocide. If starvation is genocide, and derives from poverty, which is man-made, we can only conclude that the ethically sensible thing to do, would be to remove the individual(s) producing poverty in these cases, which in turn creates genocide against the poor peoples of the Earth, rather than sit idly by as the poor people of Earth die slowly, but ever surely. If you find oneself in conditions that are violent and forceful, if you witness the state you pledge to, practice extreme forms of violence and barbarity towards weak groups of people, and underdeveloped and poor people, and you conform to this violence, confirm it’s existence, yet ignore it, you are placing yourself on the side of the oppressor, in the international class struggle. If you are a worker in the First-world, this is even more contradictory, for you are placing yourself on the side of your very own oppressor, in the first place. In such circumstances, you can choose to remain in passive complacency, you can turn your back on people who need your solidarity desperately, from an Afghan or Pakistani ducking from an air-raid, to a child in Asia working for hours on end for quarters a day; or, you could take the other path, the path of organized and strategic resistance, the path men and women like Sophie Scholl took.
Scholl grew up in Germany under the rule of Fascism. She was, in a word, an anti-war activst, she objected to the invasion of European and African nations by the German Imperialist Government that presided over her, and she took part in organized resistance, in the universities, in particular.
For this, she lost her head. Despite this, she never lost her heart. What does this mean in relation to the American? This means that the German Media called her and others who resisted “terrorists”. She was accused of aiding the enemy, that is, the Communist “Jewish-Bolshevik” in the East. We are accused of aiding the “Muslim extremist” in the middle-East.
The prosperity experienced in the First-world is interconnected to the destitution experienced in the dependent continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America, which make up the vast exploited peoples of the Third-World.
It is not a coincidence that 822 people die of obesity in the First-world, while 24,000 a day die of hunger in the Third-World; nor is it a coincidence that the United States holds a stake in natural resources, like oil, in every country or continent that it deploys it’s troops, neither is it a coincidence that a large amount of commodities in America read “Made in China” in the fine print. The exploitation of the working classes is global, and spans all the way from China and Africa, to America and Europe, to varying degrees.
In light of these facts, we must make clear that the American people cannot be held accountable, because the same ruling class that exploits the people in the Third-World, exploits the people in the First-world. It would be foolish and counter to the interests of the American working class to take the side of the oppressor in such circumstances, because they are constantly at the whim of the Capitalist, and this is, contrary to popular belief, strengthened when one gets a higher wage, because Capitalists put in what they can get back double, and as a result of this, the social-power of the Capitalist on the Global hierarchy is strengthened. What is the negative consequence of this? The negative consequence is, when the global Market experiences crisis, which is each time more serious, the means of production which enable the working class in the First-world to accumulate wages necessary for human survival, are unaltered, yet “unworkable” according to the Capitalist, who is the machine’s owner. During the Great Depression, people were starving and dying, in such circumstances. The Market develops disproportionately, and so crisis is natural to it; and so, this leads us to ponder, what will the consequences be when we experience the next great depression?
III. Prevailing methods of Food and Resource allocation
As we wrote in our article The Police and their Relationship to Crime:
‘WorldHunger.org asserts that “Poverty is the principal cause of hunger”. It goes onto talk about whether or not the issue of hunger is related to lack of resources, remarking the following:
“The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day”
Clearly, the issue at hand is not the amount of food produced, nor the agriculture that creates food. We have more than enough to provide everyone on Earth with adequate means of subsistence. What is the issue, then? The issue, the contradiction, that causes about 25,000 people to die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, that causes one person to die of hunger every three-and-a-half seconds? Quite clearly, the problem is the prevailing methods of allocation of resources. The problem isn’t the food, or the agriculture, and while the problem is also clearly the methods of distribution, we also need to realize that the people who distribute the food are just that – people. The root of the problem is the Capitalist who controls these resources, the minority of the population who drowns in prosperity while people die of hunger.
The United States, according to an article from the Washington Post, wastes around 165 billion dollars worth of food every year, which amounts to around 40% of all the food produced in the North American continent. The territory of North America consists of a large concentration of resources, resources exploited from other territories in “unfortunate continents”, of which the allocation of resources on the North American continent, too, is illogical. Billions of dollars worth of resources concentrated into the hands of a small percentage of the population, while the rest works to survive.’
We’ve compiled these facts and distributed them multiple times here on our website.
Crisis in the First-World
The majority of consumer goods, especially ones of necessity, like food and clothes, are made and harvested in the Third-World. For the working class in North America, the dependency takes the form of an addiction. For them, the sweatshops are not money-makers, but places where drugs are procreated. Places of slavery, bad things not to be thought of. The clothes shop is the drug dealer. The working class of the First-World does not, in the long term, benefit from the exploitation of the people of China and Asia, Africa and Latin America; in reality, the benefit is not only transient, it is illusory. As the individual who finds themselves addicted to heroin does not benefit from the harvest of opium, and the drug dealer does benefit, at least financially, the exploitation has two faces. The working class of North America is made dependent upon the cheap commodities that come from China and other territories in Asia, while the big corporate monopolies receive large sums of capital. The apologists for the exploitation of, for example, the Chinese people, claim that a minority of consumer spending is spent on Chinese goods; but do they hardly account for the clothing market?
Some 98% of clothes purchased in North America are made abroad. (1) Why does this happen? ABC reports that:
“A worker at the Chinese sock factory makes just $14 a day, or $270 in month. In America, a clothing worker makes $88 a day, or $1,760 a month.” (1)
The reasons are obvious. The desire for profit is said to “equalize” the playing field. It’s true affects are anything but mutually beneficial. Capitalists are in a position of power over the rest of humanity, while their concern is anything but humanity. It is, then, in their class interest to make the most amount of capital possible, even at the expense of human lives, and, in the case of Asian cheap labor – children.
Cheap labor is valued more highly than that of employment for the 12 million without a job in the United States. People’s lives are cheated, their means of putting food on the table shot down, their arms, capable of labor, drained of muscle due to lack of food, due to lack of job; all for cheap labor. The horrifying truth is, crisis can develop quickly, and without warning for the working class of the United States. If Asia underwent massive nationalization of it’s economies (like what we’ve seen in Latin America with the wave of nationalization going on there) access to shoes, shirts, pants, jackets, gloves, things the poor essentially are forced to live in, would deplete rapidly.
The ruling clique of capitalists in the United States, in such an event, would scurry to find new sources, new spheres of influence to exploit and plunder. New children to deform in sweatshops. If this was, even momentarily, made impossible, it is possible the job crisis would be “fixed” for the time being, if the ruling clique so decided to employ it’s working class. However, the cost of such goods would surely go up.
If such rapid nationalizations did not occur, and the trend of sweatshop labor continued to develop gradually in the Third-World, the job crisis would only worsen. Those who are employed would have the prospect of unemployment hanging over their heads, as it already does now, and those who aren’t employed would scramble to find any paying avenue. As we pointed out in our article, A Class Analysis of America: Unemployed Armies, technology is also developing so rapidly that, soon enough, many of the low paying jobs, such as cashier work, will be replaced with technology. Stores like ‘Harris Teeter’ have already pursued this.
In conclusion, this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. illustrates the point we’ve been getting at this entire time:
“Capitalism has outlived it’s usefulness.”