While capitalism is upheld by Western-European nations as the paradigm for economic fairness and efficiency, it conversely has a 400-year history of profiteering that traces to shameless enslavement and colonizing of non-European people by the same nations. Today, capitalism’s tentacles of debauchery reach beyond the so-called “third world” to now roost among citizens within these very European nations, including America. Once fiscally robust, America is debt-addicted and job-starved, with near-bankrupt states and crippled infrastructures of roads, bridges, schools and airports.
In fed-up response, protesters of the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWSM) are rightly ranting over capitalism’s recent malfeasance. Yet, in broad-spectrum, it must be reckoned that the descendants of those who were once enslaved or colonized, comprise a majority of people who now live in poverty. The sum of Westernized capitalism – from its extirpations of yesterday to free-market enterprise today – has left trails of billions of impoverished non-European people all around the world wherever labor is performed, services are provided, and resources are located.
With Africa particularly, it is not coincidental that its currencies and economies are among the weakest in the world, while the currencies and economies of Western colonial nations are among the strongest, even though most lack comparable natural resources of the African states they colonized. Capitalist hegemony over Africa siphoned unknown trillions in labor and resources, upon which Western economies unfairly stand.
True, the OWSM cannot undo capitalism’s ugly past. But the point is to stitch threads of commonality and continuity, given that capitalism did not suddenly get derailed by Bush or Obama; or by halos of immunity and tax havens for the rich; or by the cost of war adventurism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. The middleclass is certainly feeling capitalism’s pitchfork more of late, but capitalism is no more depraved lately than at its inception. A main difference is that – yesterday, its parasitic forces usurped non-Europeans of sovereignty, territories, resources and freedom, while today, extensions of the same parasitic forces are coming home to roost by cannibalizing Americans of all ethnicities of jobs, savings, stocks, pensions, social programs, healthcare and homes.
Like African Americans, growing numbers of Euro-Americans have discovered that capitalism has nothing to do with “equality” nor is it “democratic.” You don’t vote on the overly-priced gas and oil for your car and home. You don’t vote for who owns or commercializes natural resources. You don’t vote on mortgage or bank interest rates or the elasticity of money supply regulated by the Federal Reserve . . . There’s no such thing as equality or democracy in the Western format of capitalism.
As such, the current 16.7 percent unemployment rate for Blacks more than doubles the 8 percent for Whites, and Blacks lag in every major index of economics. It’s interesting that 8 percent would be long-awaited relief to African Americans. Conversely, 8 percent is so insufferable to Euro-Americans that it has sparked the OWSM to condemn “certain aspects” of capitalism. But at core, U.S. capitalism is fueled by consumption, which is fueled by credit, which is fueled by the very financial institutions that lie at the heart of the protests. Besides, be it Bush or Obama, both parties are corporate manifestations. America operates a de-facto plutocratic style of governance, where insiders make “contributions” with known intents for favoritism to influence policymaking and party platforms.
With the 2012 election approaching and Obama empathizing with occupiers, the media is setting a stage for Tea Party vs. OWSM showdowns. Beyond partisan bickering however that blames the “other party” for America’s woes, a definitive matter is that, America’s economy is linked to centuries of international graft and gluttony from when Europeans ruled by overt brute force. But with fewer “banana republics,” new Balances of Power are reshaping today’s decolonized world and diminishing the once-sturdiness of Pax Americana (U.S. political, economic, and military advantages).
The fluffy wording of the U.S. constitution is one thing, but America’s capitalistic wealth wasn’t acquired by playing by the “democratic” rules it now wants to export to Africa and the Middle East. So as predatory capitalism is coming home to roost while Americans simultaneously cheer the downfall of “select” governments, Black America should be circumspect that we aren’t in effect, cheering the latest mutation of the selfsame predatory forces of which we are historically among the greatest casualties.
Ezrah Aharone is the author of two acclaimed political books: Sovereign Evolution: Manifest Destiny from Civil Rights to Sovereign Rights (2009) and Pawned Sovereignty: Sharpened Black Perspectives on Americanization, Africa, War and Reparations (2003). He is a founding member of the Center for Sovereignty Advancement. He can be reached at [email protected]