From the Left: Capitalism is killing our humanity
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02
If people judged capitalism by the same standards with which they judged socialism, they would have declared it a failure generations ago. The rampant intellectual dishonesty amongst the anti-Left crowd is astounding – the mere idea that anyone would vocally support a system that is able to sustain itself by the plundering of under-developing countries reeks of soullessness and an utter disregard for human welfare. The parasitic relationship between First World nations and their Third World subjugates serves only to treat those in developing countries as tools, as completely commoditized machines whose only purpose is to continue their forced labor for the mass-production of super-cheap imports.
It is even more unbelievable that people continue to equate socialism – real, genuine, unfettered socialism – with the atrocities committed by Stalin and his Marxist-Leninist allies. Anyone who has taken the time to sit down and read legitimate socialist literature will most likely find a deeper hatred for centralized State bureaucracies like the former Soviet Union than for capitalist nations. It’s also incredibly amusing that the right-wing radicals that rail against President Obama’s alleged European-style “socialist” tendencies or the Soviets’ Marxist-Leninism are, in reality, woefully uneducated on the subject and choose to regurgitate the racist nationalism of Fox News instead of deciding to pick up a book on proper socialist theory.
When the ruling class apologizes to the working class for: pre-emptive war, colonialism, the 14-hour work day, child labor, the Massacre of the Paris Commune, apartheid, international war, deforestation, Exxon Valdez, and the military suppression of democratic movements in Latin America and the replacement of their elected leaders with CIA-backed fascist dictators for the sake of economic interests, then – and only then – will I even consider apologizing for the errors committed in the name of “socialist” countries.
The capitalist mode of production does nothing to expand “liberty” or raise the standard of living for the people that live under it. In reality, a capitalist nation commodifies the workers, turning them into cogs in the profit-making machine without their awareness or consent of it. The “high standard of living” that the far right often evokes is only sustained by the outrageously parasitic behavior that we continue to exhibit.
A system that disproportionately redistributes all wealth upwards while reducing aid for the working class is not sustainable. Capitalism is not something that can last indefinitely; it is a cancer that needs to stretch its malignant tendrils abroad in neocolonial, imperialist war in order to seize natural resources and exploit cheap labor. One day, when this cancer has no more resources to draw upon, it is going to collapse in upon itself, and the working class will be left to pick up the pieces of the world that the corporate aristocracy’s greed had destroyed, and will have to built a new one from the ashes of the old.
But to even talk about the possibility of having an economic system other than capitalism is heresy in the United States. Capitalism has been intricately tied to “liberty” and “freedom” by the right-wing nationalists, who throw the words around at every possible chance they have, draining them of any real meaning and using “liberty” to justify unfettered corporatism.
The burden for the recession should not be placed on the backs of the workers, of the citizens who spent their entire lives playing by the rules only to have the programs that they paid into their entire lives be slashed in order to continue the budget-busting tax cuts with which we shower the ultra-wealthy. Some rebuke this by saying that we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world; however, that 35 percent tax is so riddled with loopholes that the effective tax rate for corporations hovers just below 9 percent. In reality, we have one of the most lax tax systems on the entire planet. The Bush-era tax cuts (which, thankfully, have been repealed for individuals making $400,000 or more, and for households making $450,000 or more a year) cost this nation a staggering $100.2 billion a year. In the past decade, that amounts to over a trillion dollars in handouts to the top 1 percent.
The idea that slashing the federal budget in the hopes that reduced aid for special education, the handicapped, and our seniors will somehow create limitless prosperity for all is not simply foolish – it is downright cruel. The proposed changes to Social Security would save approximately $10 billion a year (which is barely a drop in the bucket in comparison to our over-16-trillion dollar deficit), and it would do so by tweaking the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, what is generally referred to as the CPI, so that the benefits that are based on inflation would be calculated differently. If put into practice, it would mean that Social Security benefits would become much less comprehensive – a senior citizen who lives on Social Security collects just under $15,000 a year in total pay, and the affect of the CPI “tweak” would cost them $650 a year. As inflation continues and the market fluctuates, the cumulative effects of the CPI change will result in American senior citizens being stripped of $1,000 or more.
The fact that we allow such a system to exist is mind-boggling. The complete disregard that some people have for our fellow brothers and sisters in this world is heartbreaking; the absence of human solidarity is disheartening. I look forward to the day when our country enters cultural modernity and we decide to work together for a system that puts human well being over short-term profit.