There’s no shortage of food, no shortage of wealth to solve social crises. The problem is a system that enriches a few and starves multitudes.
We hear day in day out about the massive poverty and hunger that exists in the world. NGO’s and various non-profits have been around for decades appealing for assistance in feeding the world’s poor. In the third world, water is as precious as gold. Sewage and water sources run parallel in the streets due to the lack of modern infrastructure systems.
More often than not, the experts in the universities and think tanks of the 1% drag the age-old Malthusian explanation out of the closet. There is simply an overpopulation problem. It is the poor that are to blame, if only they’d have fewer children.
But as I have pointed out in previous blogs, it is not too many people that are the problem. It is not the lack of medical knowledge or technical expertise that leads to staggering infant and adult death rates in some parts of the world. It is the lack of social infrastructure and the capital needed to provide it.
The world produces enough food to feed everyone according to Hunger Notes —17% more calories today than it did 30 years ago. But food is a commodity and its production does not take place if the end product cannot be bought and the value added during the production process realized. The capitalist class would call this lack of demand. But in the world of the market, if you can’t pay you can’t play. No money for food, then you starve.
This is the absurdity of capitalism that Marx wrote about, that we starve amid plenty. He wrote in 1848:
“It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce.”
Unicef estimates that between 2000 and 2010 92 million children died form hunger and diseases, “…many of the illnesses and conditions that children suffer are easily preventable, technically.” says Global Issues, in other words, they are really what we might refer to as “man made” deaths. They are in actuality, market induced deaths. Almost 2 million children a year die form diarrhea due to lack of safe drinking water, another market induced crisis with which even the UN seems to agree:
“We reject this [Malthusian perspective that global water problems are a problem of scarcity and population growth]. The availability of water is a concern for some countries. But the scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, not in physical availability.” (2006 UN Human Development Report, p.2)
The cost of bringing people safe water is negligible when compared to the concentration of wealth. “The world’s billionaires — just 497 people (approximately 0.000008% of the world’s population) — were worth $3.5 trillion (over 7% of world GDP).” According to the World Bank. The world’s richest, Business Week claims, have a collective net worth of $2.8 trillion.
Anyway you measure it, there is plenty of money in the world. These characters spend half their time hiding this wealth to protect it, form ex-wives, estranged children and the rest of us. But how do they get it?
Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who is squabbling with his wife over a $9 billion nest egg and who has his cash stashed all over the world, made most of his money (including $500 million in art, $36 million in Jewelry and an $80 million yacht) “…from the sale of two potash fertilizer companies for a combined $8 billion…” Business Week adds.
But how did he come to own these huge operations; and in such a short period? It’s quite simple really and one of the reasons Gorbachev was so popular with the B movie actor and US president Ronald Reagan and the global 1%. Gorbachev was a former leading Stalinist bureaucrat. He was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the period when one of the most repressive totalitarian regimes in history began to draw its last breath and collapse under its own bureaucratic weight.
Gorbachev and his old buddies including many former KGB thugs like Putin who reached the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel, wasn’t about to go down with the sinking ship. What happened in a nutshell, and why we see so many prominent Russian millionaires and billionaires is that the old KGB and moribund party men appropriated the collective and collectivized wealth of the Soviet and Russian people.
The US capitalist class welcomed the plunder and their former KGB credentials were a thing of the past as long as capitalism could flourish. That’s where Rybolovlev and other Russians like him got their wealth.
No doubt readers are getting a bit bored with it but there is a need to hammer it home to counter the propaganda of the world’s bourgeois that there is not enough money to feed, clothe, house and provide humanity with a decent and productive life. I am talking about the claim by the Tax Justice Network that wealthy individuals, (we’re not talking corporations here) stashed as much as $32 trillion in offshore accounts in 2010 in order to avoid taxes. This amounts to the combined GDP of the U S and Japan. “Fewer than 100,000 people own $9.8 trillion of offshore assets,” BW claims. This exists as more than 9 million people die worldwide each year because of hunger and malnutrition; 5 million of them are children.
This situation is not something that cannot change. It is not an insoluble dilemma. It is not the fault of the victims, of “human greed” in the abstract or of “natural disasters” or the by-product of supernatural squabbling between a benign god and his disgruntled fallen angel.
It is a very simple; the Russian billionaires for example attained their rapid billionaire status simply through the transfer of the collective wealth of society to individuals including the means for generating that wealth.
We solve the problem by transferring collective wealth, and more importantly, the means by which it is created, the ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, from private individuals to the collective.
Through this process, we can emerge from the depths of depravity to the apex of civilization. True freedom.
Long Live Our Happy Socialist Land!
Gustav Klusis, 1935
Five years later, during the war, Stalin’s face wouldn’t be featured on so many posters. The Russian people couldn’t forget the sinister policies, the sweeping purges, and the brutal coercion he had imposed upon them between 1935 and 1940 – which were hardly masked by images of utopia such as this.
We Will Eradicate the Agents of Fascism
Sergei Igumnov, 1937
We Will Eradicate the Spies and Saboteurs, the Trotskyist-Bukharinist Agents of Fascism.”
This poster was published on behalf of the NKVD – the Soviet Secret Police – during the infamous Show Trials in Moscow. Stalin went on to personally direct what became know as the Great Purge, and later as the Great Terror. According to the propaganda of the time, the purge was a cleansing of the rotten elements in his government. But in reality, he meant to systematically suppress the voices of anybody he perceived as a threat to his own power. It’s a scary thought: propaganda posters such as this one could be used very effectively to keep the tide of opinion in his favour, despite the bloodshed.
Viktor Koretsky, 1941
Just before WWII, the end of the Spanish Civil War had seen a Nazi-backed Fascist government come to power, after the irresponsible western powers, Britain and France, refused to offer military assistance to the Spanish Republicans. Many left-leaning writers and artists from the west, most famously George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway, had volunteered to fight for the Republican cause. The collapse of the socialist Spanish Republic, and the suffering endured by its citizens during the war, was an emotional subject for many Russians.
By 1941, not only Spain but also France, Belgium and the Netherlands had fallen under Fascist rule. This double-imaged poster contrasts the tragic fate of these western countries with the strong, stable and prosperous society established in Soviet Russia under Stalin.
For the Motherland!
A. Polyansky, 1941
To the Russians, WWII was known as the Great Patriotic War. Less than six months after the poster above this one was published, Germany had abandoned its former understanding with Russia, and invaded. Much of Germany’s eastern-front fighting over the next three years took place on Soviet soil…
My Son! You See My Plight…
Fyodor Antonov, 1942
Red Army soldiers knew that they had everything to lose in the war with Germany. Behind this old woman are the smoldering remains of the family home; she implores her son to save the country.
Soviet Propaganda Posters Post WW2
Five-Year plan in four years – (we) will complete!
Comrades loggers! Let’s keep promise given to Comrade Stalin!
Develop virgin lands!
Glory to Soviet Country! 1917 1953
(You) will be a master!
If to work good, the bread will grow
New five-year plan – the five year plan of the Great construction
Young builders of Communism!
Let’s raise the generation utterly devoted to the cause of communism!
Glory to the Russian people – the bogatyr people, the creator people!
Nikita Sergeyevich Kruschev
Long live to PEACE!
via Soviet poster.
via Soviet poster.
Soviet propaganda is propaganda of communist ideas and the Soviet way of life. It was carried out deliberately and centrally under the direction of the Communist Party and was officially called the ideological work, educating the masses, etc.
The propaganda combined the universal values (freedom, social justice), and patriotism. Propaganda was conducted through the media, books, movies, theater, and visual art. Today it is the part of Soviet cultural heritage.
Let’s take a look at how it all began during the Civil War and establishing of Soviet power in 1917-1923.
· Russia travel blog
Petrograd will not give up! (Petrograd = St Petersburg)
Long live the general military training of the workers!
The Paris Commune is dead – Long live the World Commune!
They are against the Soviets
Stand up staunchly for the defense of Petrograd!
Each truancy – joy to the enemy; hero of labor – attack on bourgeois
Each hammer blow is a blow at the enemy
Build an air fleet of the USSR. Become the shareholders of “Dobrolet”!
Read the magazine “Young Guard”
The Revolt of the Little People
The re-election of a president, who has led the nation into one of the worst economic crises in our history, is a wake-up call for citizens on both sides of the political divide. If the election proved one thing, it’s that we’ve now crossed the threshold into class warfare. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there’s only one way that this can end, and that’s very badly.
If the election had just been about the president’s record, he no doubt would have lost. However, the election wasn’t about his record. Instead, it was a referendum on this nation and what it has become – a country of haves and have-nots. A nation of equality we are no longer; rather, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
In this election, the president was viewed as being the champion of Carl-Henric Svanberg’s little people and Mitt Romney… well you know who he champions. It’s not that the president actually represents the little people, but compared to Romney…well, there is no comparison. Therefore, the little people voted with their hearts and not their pocketbooks.
When the little people get angry, there is hell to pay. Down through history, revolution was all but inevitable in many cases, just ask the Russians and the French. However, we the people need to realize that in a republic, such as ours, government is never a solution to problems (rather it’s a self-governing instrument of the people). Neither does government have any money of its own – we the people create the wealth of the nation. Therefore, it doesn’t help the situation when one class of people, in effect, vote themselves hand-outs from the government. Hand-outs don’t grow on trees and they don’t come from the government either.
What we have inherited now is a polarized nation and, in the long run, the republic cannot survive as such. We have to decide whether we are going to continue as a free nation or whether we’re going to gradually descend into either anarchy and/or rule by the elite. No matter how it turns out, it is destined to be remembered as the Revolt of the Little People.
via The Ethical Warrior.
via The Ethical Warrior.