2021 has been an extraordinary year.
Capitalism has shown that it is incapable of protecting the lives or the standard of living of the people. Rather the opposite.
A system that requires 3% growth per year is a system that doubles the extraction of wealth from our labor and Mother Earth every 25 years cannot continue.
A system based on the “concentration and centralization of capital” (to quote Karl Mark who was right 150 years ago) with the concomitant growth of a 21st century oligarchy and grotesque inequalities cannot continue.
The system created the globalization of “just in time” production and distribution methods that crippled production and distribution systems around the world.
This system has generated deeper and deeper economic crises every decade over the past three decades. The unlimited creation of government, corporate and personal debt to escape these crises has only led to permanent stagnation and now decline. The inflationary wave now unleashed across the world may well be a fatal blow to the debt mountain. It will be the workers who will end up paying the price for the failure of this system by losing jobs, homes and lives in the deepest crisis we have ever seen.
The system must continue to expand its reach to all underdeveloped corners of the globe in search of profit, eliminating biodiversity and importing pandemics.
Capitalism is a system of empire and permanent war to maintain that empire. Hardly has the catastrophe ended in Afghanistan and Iraq after decades of war and occupation for the US military, when it prepares for new confrontations with China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and all those whom it considers to be an economic or political competitor. Afghanistan, meanwhile, was abandoned to face a humanitarian and social catastrophe without even the central bank reserves which were effectively plundered by the empire upon exit.
The standard of living of workers outside of China (which is a story for another day) has declined for a generation. Insecurity and work have become more the norm than any hope of a regular job for life. We have all become debt slaves in order to survive.
Social media is allowed to take control of our free time and manipulate us into a competition where we have to sell ourselves and our emotions in a desperate search for meaningless ‘likes’. Those who succeed are rewarded and seen as ‘influencers’, while the rest of us must fail, as happens in any competitive capitalist market.
Our children are objectified, commodified, sexualized in this emotionally empty and painful line.
In 2022, shall we howl in anger and join a collective response across the world to place the peaks of the economy in the hands of the people in order to democratically and collectively find a way out of the nightmare.
Or will desperation, frustration and the urge to blame “the other” lead us into the dark underworld of fascism, war and planetary annihilation?
The fight has started. We only have to look at Palestine, Chile, Bolivia, Sudan and so many other places over the past year to have a sense of hope. Even in the United States – the belly of the beast – there is a revival of large-scale socialism for the first time in a century.
We have a choice which side we want to be on, but we have to make that choice and time is running out.