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The Connection of Capitalism
to All Social Ills

How Private Control of the Powers for Social Decision-Making is Against the Interest of the General People

By Punkerslut

From PeaceLibertad Blog, Edited by Punkerslut
Image: From PeaceLibertad Blog, Edited by Punkerslut

Start Date: March 22, 2011
Finish Date: March 22, 2011

Social Problems and How Capitalism Ties in To Each One

"We are here to perform a task so great that it appeals to our best thought, our united energies, and will enlist our most loyal support; a task in the presence of which weak men might falter and despair, but from which it is impossible to shrink without betraying the working class."
          --Eugene V. Debs, 1905
          "Speech at the Founding Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World"

     Capitalism means a society where the land, the factories, and the mines are owned by a very few people. The great majority, not possessing the instruments of production, must sell their own labor to make a living. It creates a servant relationship between the masses and a handful of people. It makes most of the people in society submit, obey, and follow their master. You may be able to choose your employer, but you are not able to choose one that's so different from the others. Every Capitalist will expect the same out of you: to sacrifice the greater part of your labors to satisfy their profit. To disempower so many and to absolutely empower so few must naturally be the cause of our social ills.

     And what do I mean exactly by the phrase "social ill"? I mean everything that effects the many individuals that make up the community as a whole. This entails the wars that lead youth to the sacrificial altar, so that Capitalists can find new investments and colonies abroad. This couldn't happen unless the vast majority of society was already subdued to the power of an elite group. How else could families so quickly offer up their children for slaughter in foreign lands? If you say feelings of Patriotism and Nationalism, then you admit Capitalism is at fault -- these ideas are encouraged almost only by the interconnection between Capitalist economy, compulsory education, and the churches.

     By a social ill, I also mean the racist and sexist discrimination occurs when an oppressive group tries to dominate and control a subordinate group -- because this couldn't happen unless one group was dispossessed, and the other was empowered over it. That is, it could not happen outside of Capitalism. How else would Racism, Sexism, or any form of intolerant exclusion work? People may harbor racist and sexist attitudes for many reasons. But only by those people controlling the economy does discrimination and exclusion become possible. Without Capitalism, there couldn't be discrimination in terms of employment.

     If they throw you out of your job for being different, or if they drag you to a foreign country to die, it all goes back to Capitalism. Yes, Racism will exist despite Capitalism, but it won't have the power to exclude people until it is Capitalist Racism. And yes, wars will exist despite Capitalism, but the wars today could not occur without Capitalists benefiting from the exploitation of a foreign land. Given this background, it's not so surprising that the police state is a product of Capitalism.

     What do you imagine by the phrase "police state"? If images come to mind of police wielding shields and batons to attack peaceful demonstrators, then you need to ask: where did those people get their training? Where did they get their weapons? Where did they get their orders? And those who are commanding them, where did they get their orders? Each one of these questions drives back to Capitalist domination, whether traced through campaign contributions to political parties or taxes placed on property. What would a government benefit from oppressing its people miserable, unless it had been cooperating with someone who profits off of it? The police state has neither a purpose nor any power without the backing by wealthy Capitalists.

     Unemployment is certainly a social ill, but again, very few of the popular and mainstream sources will recognize it as being the product of Capitalism. Very few, indeed, considering that unemployment has been a habitual trend wherever Capitalism has arisen -- whereas it was never a problem at all when everyone possessed their own tract of land. Who is it that benefits from these sprawling masses of unused hands, begging for employment? It is always the Capitalists, who use the reserve of idle workers to keep the other workers in line. You won't unionize and strike if you see oceans of workers ready to fill your position at a single moment.

     From unemployment, likewise, there is poverty. When wages sink, that means that communities have less to spend. When workers take home less from their place of employment, it means that their families must sacrifice something -- either the quality of food or education or housing. Laid off workers are not less productive than other workers. They are simply less profitable. Given the machinery and state of agricultural technology today, any person could be employed to provide food for themselves and ten thousand others. But there are still hungry millions who are turned away from every piece of land, because the landowner cannot profit by ensuring abundance of wealth for everyone.

     Where unemployment and poverty move in, naturally other sacrifices must be made. To reduce costs, or at least the very immediate monetary costs of a very few, regulation of the environment is near minimal or, in many cases, non-existent. Modern regulatory agencies, like virtually every other regulatory agency, whether the FDA or the FCC, have been essentially captured by those they are intended to regulate. This is due to the above-mentioned relationship of Capitalism to the Police State: Democracy must be sacrificed for the Capitalists to thrive.

     Like unemployment, the available technology to solve the problem is never put to use in environmental issues. There are alternatives that are cheap, easy, and incredibly simple to all Petroleum-using technologies, from automobiles to factories. These are sacrificed because of the development required for implement these changes. Newer costs, newer expansion, and more employed overall would be problematic, and so opposition to Environmentalism is the same as opposition to full employment.

     If every worker is productive enough satisfy the housing, food, and clothing needs of ten workers, then why isn't this effort directed toward Environmental protection? For the same reason unemployment is maintained: it is profitable to keep the masses dispossessed. Pollution and environmental problems, naturally, are almost exclusively problems caused by large Capitalists. This is exactly the case, whether you consider that McDonald's is clear cutting the Amazon forest for cattle raising, or that BP is recklessly violating safety standards on its oil rigs.

The Response to the Major Social Ills

"...the dissemination of the truth in a society based on coercion was always hindered in one and the same manner, namely, those in power, feeling that the recognition of this truth would undermine their position, consciously or sometimes unconsciously perverted it by explanations and additions quite foreign to it, and also opposed it by open violence."
          --Leo Tolstoy, 1908
          "A Letter to a Hindu: The Subjection of India- Its Cause and Cure"

     Anti-War and Peace activists attack the spread of military bases across the globe, as well as wars and the mass-slaughter of people that they entail. These activists are only attacking the military branch of the Capitalist system -- they are in opposition to its use of tanks for establishing colonies and its use of occupying armies to maintain forced labor.

     Those involved with anti-Racist organizing, likewise, are going to be attacking one of the sides of Capitalism. When activists occupied businesses that refused to serve African-Americans, it was an attack on the business's established policies. It was, essentially, an attack on the business, on business in general, and on the practices that have been accepted by these businesses.

     Civil Rights activists fight for the right to unionize, for association, for freedom of speech, all of these things being threatened by the state out of a prejudice in favor of Capitalism. But they are only fighting the encroaches of the Police State into our daily lives, and not the things that bring it to such brutal and anti-social behavior.

     Unemployment and poverty are both fought by "Progressives" and union organizers alike. But, they are each only touching parts of the Capitalist system. They are fighting for improved benefits, greater pay, lower hours, and a system of employment that more widely provides employment to all people. However, they do not intend to threaten the system of Capitalism; they are only concerned with this one particular facet of Capitalism, and only in terms that would be acceptable to the Capitalist class.

     Finally, the exploitation of the planet is a byproduct of Capitalism. Like low wages, like unemployment, like the police state, environmental destruction only occurs because there are some who can make a profit off of it. However, those groups that organize against such destructive acts are only fighting one aspect of Capitalism. The unionist is concerned with the wages of Capitalism and the Civil Rights activist is concerned with the police state that it produces -- but the Environmentalist fights that one aspect of Capitalism where it is a threat to Earth's nature.

     All of these different groups each attack a different side of Capitalism. They do not quite clearly see the single beast that is wearing many masks. They do not call themselves "Anti-Capitalist," because they each see themselves as somehow using Capitalism to advance their position. Unionists work with Capitalists and accept their domination, just like Environmentalists try to get funding for "Green Entrepreneurs" Civil Rights Activists beg Andrew Carnegie for some funding, and long-time, anti-Racist organizations have tried to put business into the hands of their own, oppressed minority.

     Each of these particular groups tries to attack Capitalism in one way, and at the same time, tries to use Capitalism to advance its position. In the end, it seems like all the "progressive" influences cancel out, and Capitalism is left in supreme control of the economy, society, and politics. Likewise, these groups avoid phrases like "Socialism" or "Communism" or "Collectivism" or even "Revolution." This would offend the donors too much.

     Besides, the Communism practiced by German peasants for decades in the 1500's won't come to mind [*1] -- they'll probably exclusively focus on Communism as it was expressed in the Soviet Union. That is to say, they'll treat Communism as though it were the Fascist Nazism of Germany, except with a different symbol. In the end, the various organizations that have formed to fight the social ills of Capitalism do not threaten Capitalism. They do not think that the economy, built by the workers, should be managed by the workers -- even though they admit the exact same rule in regards with citizens to society.

     Phrases like "Workers' Power," "Worker Self-Rule," or "Revolutionary Workers' Movement" will be ignored and cast aside. They're too much associated with the Soviet-style government to be even considered. These small groups of reformers are each clearly concerned with one of the excesses of Capitalist exploitation. But, they do not see it, and if they do, they do not recognize it. It would be unpolitical. Like a group of unorganized workers, these social movements each think they can get more from Capitalism by bargaining with it all alone -- and, like the anti-union workers, these social movements have become subservient and controlled by Capitalism.

     If there is going to be a solution to any of these problems, from poverty to Racism to war to genocide, it's going to come from an organization that recognizes the cause of these social ills. In every case, Capitalism can be found, or what may be called the control of the economy by a very few, who maintain whatever cruel and arbitrary use of power they want. To effectively fight these social ills, one must organize not simply in against that social ill, but also against its cause. This means a fight against Capitalism, whether it is organizing for Environmentalism, Anti-Racism, or Unionism. Without this type of inter-cooperation among those fighting for a better world, we will never make any real progress.

"...the spirit which reigns in a commercial state, where men may be supposed to have experienced, in its full extent, the interest which individuals have in the preservation of their country. It is here indeed, if ever, that man is sometimes found a detached and a solitary being: he has found an object which sets him in competition with his fellow creatures, and he deals with them as he does with his cattle and his soil, for the sake of the profits they bring. The mighty engine which we suppose to have formed society, only tends to set its members at variance, or to continue their intercourse after the bands of affection are broken."
          --Adam Ferguson, 1767
          "An Essay on the History of Civil Society," Part 1, Section III



*1. "Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants," by Martin Luther, May 1525.

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