mardi 27 mai 2008

Please starve quietly

The World food crisis threatens to cause political instability in regions crucial for Western interests. This current turbulence is not only a economic and philosophical setback for the ruling elites but may well have undesirable consequences for their long term objectives all over the planet. Niger, Egypt are just two countries that have experienced violent upheavals in the last few months and countries like these cannot be subject to anything other than ruthless western domination. If their population reach the point where they have nothing else to lose - in the shape of imminent starvation - they will revolt and either leave the political administration in a state of unusable chaos or, worse, set up governments hostile to western profit interests.

It is an economic failure because, despite, as the Guardian desperately says, the price of wheat and other staples having stabilised of late, price imports for a whole swathe of 'developing' countries have risen by at least 40% in the last year. There can be no other reason that capitalism for that. There was once no alternative - we were told by the yet to die Thatcher - well here it is - the chosen direction we are 'here' - and it still condemns billions to malnutrition, disease, starvation and death. Either the system is not being applied properly (like the first line of defence argument of the left when faced with the jibe that "Communism doesn't work - look at the Soviet Union.") or starvation is not just acceptable economic collateral damage, but immanently bound up with the operations of western capital.

Gordon Brown vainly opts for the first option. Thus, "Gordon Brown is arguing that a WTO deal on trade barriers in Geneva could be critical in bringing food prices under control and supporting farmers in poor countries by providing an export market for their output. He is mounting a diplomatic offensive, lobbying for the US and Europe to do more to cut subsidies to their own farmers, which he says add up to $1bn a day. Brown said farm support schemes in the west cost poor families in developing countries $100bn a year in lost income."
But the reduction of trade barries and the imposition of free trade created this hungry impasse in the first place. It has to be said that farm support schemes do cost the poor - but 100 billion isn't going to solve this crisis. It's a structural exploitative problem and not one that the pathetic talking shop of a conference is going to do anything about. (These patch-up insta-solutions are for the media consumption, of course, but also are aimed, if anything, at doing just enough and as little as is possible so there is not too much political disorder - the rest can crawl away and die in a ditch somewhere).
So, we are left with the other alternative - that mass hunger is a necessary part of the west's profit system. The evidence is overwhelming when you merely scratch the surface looking for it. Nineteenth century Imperialism, the IMF, the World Bank, neo-liberalism nuimperialism, resource wars and gouging of developing countries food supplies and export systems.

Imagine watching your children and/or family slowly waste away from famine - imagine feeling the hunger eat away at your own self. Eventually they will have nothing left to lose - hopefully they will act long before then - and us too.