by Frank Scott / February 14th, 2011
My country is the world.
— Thomas Paine
Workers of the world, unite.
— Karl Marx
Demands for social change are accelerating throughout capital’s global empire. Once limited to armed insurrection, now nations like Bolivia and Venezuela elect governments to replace capitalism with democratically controlled socialism. While their approach is not followed everywhere, more people are demanding democratic power with those demands reaching new peaks in the Middle East.
Recent uprisings in the Arab world may endure short-range attempts at western manipulation, but their long-range outcome is clear to all but the morally disabled. Calls for majority rule are coming from masses of people united in their desire, rather than from elites organizing minority rule and calling it democracy. The USA and Israel will try to control the uncontrollable, but the days of western Zionist rule are numbered. This is not just great news for Arabs or Muslims but for all humanity.
After colonialism officially ended, western domination was maintained over former colonies by governments headed by puppets whose regimes were called democratic as long as they remained under the domain of privately controlled markets and adhered to the dictates of Israel. That minority-dominated system has never been under more pressure as disgusted majorities are crying out “enough is enough”. This global trend may not always be focused on private capital’s anti-democratic control, but that is the core problem which can only be solved by democratic public control of the political economics of all nations. The rise of a previously subjugated population in Egypt heralds a move closer to that solution to humanity’s collective problem.
The commerce of profit and loss has been harshly criticized from as far back as biblical times, when usurious interest and money changers in the temple were subjects of moral outrage. That criticism continued through the ages, often muted because many seemed to prosper under the economics of “buy cheap and sell dear”. Those paying dearly got products they might not otherwise have acquired while achieving material comfort and social status in the process. But the commercial religion of global capitalism has reached a crisis point of physical and moral degradation nearing total breakdown.
Capitalism’s problems are isolated as single issues to obscure the flaws of the entire system, the way people are divided into minorities to keep individuals from acting as an organized majority with common interests. But climate change, imperial war, racial supremacy, corporate greed and countless other problems are the result of private control of markets organized to run on those profit and loss economics of ancient origin.
After ages in which this system enriched some at the expense of most but with support from greater numbers led to believe they would soon be included in the minority feast, we have reached an impasse that threatens to include all in a majority famine. Nature itself is in terminal danger under the abuse of the unnatural rush for private profit. And as the group to whom the profits flow gets smaller, the riches they accumulate grow larger.
The world’s richest minority is wealthier than ever as a result of public debt carried by the global majority in an economic casino of waste and war. Billions live in poverty while the working middle shrinks under an attack on capital’s primitive welfare state which takes their jobs and benefits to create still more wealth for the top. Glaring inequality and declining material standards are being experienced in the once affluent west as well as among the nations formerly providing much of its wealth. All over the world people are expressing contempt for the system reducing them to outrageous poverty, denying them democratic representation and burdening them with unpayable debt.
The Internet age has helped people to better communicate and identify common problems, enabling them to form seemingly leaderless groups that react to conditions with greater speed than authority can respond to and subdue. The result of this consciousness raising experience can be seen in global outbreaks of these fast reacting groups, as in Egypt. The Internet is a form of communication never before available, and breathless supporters can sometimes exaggerate its affect. The overwhelming majority of Egyptians who participated in the demonstrations were not even owners of computers. But the newer communications media of internet, cell phones, and cable news – especially Al Jazeera – is helping create groups that connect in the physical and not just electronic world. The historic rise of the Egyptian people was hardly based on the Internet, but it could not have happened without that tool used by an aroused population. As this electronic global web is better understood as a tool for community organizing and not just market commerce, the universal march to democracy will take on even more speed.
Even when the west tries to manipulate movements with its color-coded and outside financed uprisings to assure private capital’s control, the long-range outcome of more democracy can only mean eventual public control. Whether the new movements call themselves democratic, socialist, Islamist or artistic, most of their national economies will ultimately be placed under the control of the state and the state will at long last – and for the first time in history – be controlled by the people.
Social justice will begin when minority domination of political economics is finally brought to its end. Democracy means majority rule and the social sharing of wealth, not the selfish squandering of humanity’s product on a minority of billionaires, most of whom never worked a day in their lives. We are moving closer to realizing that democratic ideal as a global and not just national reality. The Egyptian people and the Arab world are playing a major role in that realization.
Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in print in the Coastal Post and The Independent Monitor and online at the blog Legalienate. Read other articles by Frank.
This article was posted on Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 8:00am and is filed under Capitalism
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