Globalization: Inequality in the Global Plantation

(By Anthony Mustacich) 

The current crisis of neoliberal capitalism has given rise to much resistance across the world, from the Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S. to the political revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. As capitalist regimes everywhere impose austerity measures on their populations, reducing the capitalist state to nothing more than its policing functions, even the welfare states of Western Europe are becoming the visible fists of the markets’ “invisible hand.”

This decimation of the welfare state is typically accompanied by a widening gap in wealth between the rich and the poor. Thus, in the United $tates the Occupy movement has adopted the slogan “we are the 99%,” in counter reference to the elite 1% who own a majority of the wealth in America. However, as we shall see, this equation is based on faulty arithmetic, as it overlooks or ignores the global wealth disparity between the First World and the Third World as a whole. In reality, the wealth of the First World nations is derived from the conquest, colonization, and continued exploitation of the Third World nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  This is the principal contradiction in the world today that must be resolved if humanity is to evolve into a higher stage of social organization.

It is taken for granted nowadays that we live in a “globalized” world, but many neglect the fact that capitalism has been a global system from its very inception. In fact, “from its origins in the 17th century, when merchants from England, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands invested their wealth in large state-chartered trading companies, capitalism has organized production and exchange on an intercontinental scale.”1 What is crucial to understand, however, is that this process of globalization was and remains characterized by unequal development, whereby the development of some is inextricably linked to the underdevelopment of others. In other words, “the impoverishment of the peripheral capitalist countries of the Third World and the enrichment of the core capitalist countries of the First World are dialectically related processes, that is, the latter become richer insofar as the former become poorer.”2

It is also true that capitalism developed in the West, particularly in its industrial stage, by feasting on the blood, sweat and labor of its own national working-classes. Karl Marx showed long ago that it is the exploitation of labor power that produces the surplus value for capitalists to expand their capital. Marx thought at the time that an inherent tendency towards the overaccumulation of capital would eventually lead to a fall in the rate of profit, triggering a corresponding fall in wages and increased immiseration for workers which would ultimately drive them towards socialist revolution. However, Marx did not live long enough to see how colonialism and imperialism would eventually act to offset these self-destructive tendencies of capitalism, earning the support of workers and prolonging its demise. Continue reading

Building #Occupy 2.0 – Learning the Lessons of Yesterday

This original article by Toilers’ Struggle’s author is being republished as part of the reorganization process. 

The emergence and growth of #Occupy was a tremendous achievement for working and oppressed people in the struggles against austerity brought on by the capitalist 1% and their governments. Now we need to reflect on what has occurred and draw practical lessons for rebuilding our movement, moving it forward, and strengthening our resolve.

Almost five months ago, after a dozen or so individuals gathered for a direct-action demonstration against the greed and corruption of the economic elites of Wall Street and Washington has since then transformed into one of the largest and most dynamic global social movements of recent memory.

What took place and existed on the streets of New York and eventually re-christened Liberty Square in early September and carried over almost to the end of 2011 was a great example of a microcosm, a manifestation of the frustration of the masses of youth, students, workers, and the socially oppressed of the USA and world against austerity, exploitation, poverty, misery, and indignation at governments for their measured, meticulous “assistance” to those responsible for the situation (the big banks) and their outright punishment of the remaining 99%. Continue reading

Police Violence at Occupy Oakland and its Lessons

This original article by Toilers’ Struggle’s author is being republished as part of the reorganization process. 

The Occupy Movement has continued to spread across the globe and captivate the attention of millions. In the wake of its skyrocketing growth, more and more fundamental absolutes of political and social reality are being exposed in the day to day progression of the struggle between the 99% and the 1%. For the longer the protests continue, the more explicitly clear it becomes who the 99% is, and who the 1% is . And no other Occupy has revealed these truthful realities in such a painful manner as Occupy Oakland.

On Tuesday, October 25th, those who claimed that the police were “on our side” and part of the 99% learned how wrong they were the hard way, as Oakland police, unprovoked, brutally attacked protesters gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza. After firing volleys of tear gas and flash bang and concussion grenades, police stormed the rally and shot defenseless protesters with rubber bullets as they ravaged the campsite. Continue reading

The Immediate Tasks of Occupy (October 2011)

This original article by Toilers’ Struggle’s author is being republished as part of the reorganization process. 

It’s October 2011, and the far-reaching effects of the Arab Spring have proven themselves still full of vitality and remain permeable as popular protests against worsening poverty, joblessness, and the erosion of democratic rights – along with the glaring increases in social inequality they have each brought in their wake – have returned to the USA nearly 8 months after Madison, Wisconsin rocked both the nation and the political elites responsible for bringing on the offensive of the capitalist class.

Emboldened and inspired by the popular revolutions, uprisings, and mass demonstrations in Egypt, across the Middle East and North Africa, and in parts of Europe – Spain, in particular – thousands upon thousands of American youth and students have attempted to assimilate the tenacity, energy, and conviction of the latter’s direct actions and slogans in the prosecution of the struggle for “real democracy” and economic justice.

From coast to coast, from the largest cities to the smallest towns, the United States is witnessing the emergence of a wave of protests that all started after a few dozen activists descended upon Wall St. armed with the basic premise that it should be occupied and shut down in retaliation for its crimes committed along with the government’s complicity in the form of deregulation and bailouts. Continue reading