Revolution #154, February 1, 2009

American Democracy = Capitalism = Imperialism

In his inaugural speech, Barack Obama said, “Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control….” For the overwhelming majority of people around the world, the capitalist market—including with government intervention and along with American democracy—has only meant exploitation, death and needless suffering.

= police brutality

Adolph Grimes was shot 14 times,12 in the back, by New Orleans cops on New Year’s Day. Oscar Grant was murdered by Oakland police.
AP Photo

Police brutality and murder are daily reality for millions of oppressed people under American democracy. On New Year’s Day 2009, Oscar Grant was brutally shot in the back by police in Oakland as he lay face down. Sean Bell was gunned down in a hail of 50 police bullets in Brooklyn in 2005, the night before his wedding. This system has criminalized an entire generation of youth—on any given day, one in nine Black men between the ages of 25 and 29 is in jail or prison.

= global warming

A woman sits with her daughter in her flooded house at Jafragonj, north of Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 2008.
AP Photo

The unplanned and profit-in-command nature of capitalism-imperialism has led to ecological and environmental disasters with potentially catastrophic consequences for all of humanity. The U.S., with 4.5% of the world’s population, is responsible for over 30% of global warming—which is caused by greenhouse gases from burning of fossil fuels and other sources. Rising global temperatures are melting large areas of polar ice caps. This may cause massive flooding of low-lying areas, like the country of Bangladesh. The melting of the Himalayan glaciers is threatening the source of more than half of the drinking water for over 40% of the world’s population. Some lakes in Africa have become sand dunes, leading to the collapse of fisheries, crop failures, and starvation.


= unjust wars

Thirty members of the al Samouni family were slaughtered by Israeli shells, January 4, 2009.  They were in a house where they were told to seek refuge. Above, children mourn three of the youngest who were killed.
AP Photo

To maintain and expand their global empire, the U.S. rulers keep over 700 military bases in 130 countries. From Iraq and Afghanistan to the Philippines to Mexico and countless other places around the world, the U.S. has invaded, backed brutal regimes, and fomented coups against governments that stood in the way of U.S. imperialist interests. In the Middle East, Israel serves as an attack dog for the U.S. The current Israeli attack on Gaza—with U.S. military aid and political backing—has killed more than 1,300 Palestinian people, including 416 children, and reduced whole neighborhoods to rubble.

= child labor

Child laborers carry stones to a stone crusher in Gauhati, India, June 2008.
AP Photo

Look at the labels on your clothes and other goods. They are often made in places like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Honduras, and other Third World countries, where people work in dangerous conditions for very low wages. Many of the workers are children. There are 250 million child laborers in the world, sometimes literally chained to machines. According to one estimate: 5.7 million children are working as bonded laborers (essentially slaves while they pay off debts); 1.2 million children are or have been trafficked; and 1.8 million are prostitutes or used for child pornography. One in three children in Africa and one in five children in Latin America are working.

= human trafficking

Chinese girls, promised a better life, are caught being smuggled to Taiwan where most would end up in prostitution.
AP Photo

Capitalist globalization has meant an explosion in the trafficking of human beings. An estimated two million women and children are sold into sexual slavery and exploitation every year. In Lithuania, 20 to 50 per cent of prostitutes are believed to be minors. In Thailand, 800,000 children have been sold into prostitution. Almost 200,000 girls from Nepal, many of them under the age of 14, are working as sex slaves in India.


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