All the good intentions in the world can’t cure hunger and illiteracy. Numerous reports and scientific discoveries by NGO’s and Charities prove quite clearly that capitalism is bad for your health, sanity, education and all round wellbeing! The latest report from Save the Children reaffirms what we already knew – but if we’re serious about ending hunger and illiteracy then we need to end the system which creates these evils; monopoly capitalism viz. Imperialism! The following has been written by a Red Youth and Communist Party activist as comment on the news story reported by the BBC here.
Last year, in May 2012, Save the Children declared in their pamphlet “Nutrition in the First 1,000 Days” that “The focus is on the 171 million children globally who do not have the opportunity to reach their full potential due to the physical and mental effects of poor nutrition in the earliest months of life.” A year on, Save The Children has issued a new report indicating a direct link between malnutrition and illiteracy and has vowed to take their message, with the backing of some recognized big-wig authors, to London on June 8 for the G8 “summit on global nutrition”. Leading campaigner Julia Donaldson has declared, “Leaders attending this summit have a golden opportunity to stop this. They must invest more funding to tackle malnutrition if we are to stop a global literacy famine.” (BBC, Authors back ‘malnutrition hits literacy’ study – 28/5/13)
All socialists and progressives will be quick to agree with both the general findings of the report and condemn the scourge of hunger and illiteracy. Indeed we commend and salute the authors for bringing such crimes against humanity to the attention of the world’s media. But what must be understood is that this “golden opportunity” perceived by Save the Children, Ms. Donaldson and many supporters, is doomed to abject failure and is nothing but badly misguided good faith on their part. We expect absolutely nothing more than bureaucratic blubber and crocodile tears from the leaders of the G8; for malnourishment and illiteracy are not mere unfortunate side effects of imperialism’s worldwide operation, they are in fact the integral and logical results of monopoly capital’s drive for maximum profit and the inevitable product of a system that protects the private individual accumulation of wealth, a wealth that has been created through hard work of millions of workers in the fields, farms and factories, a wealth stolen and concentrated in the hands of the few.
Illiteracy & imperialism
Illiteracy has historically been one of capitalism’s primary tools in the suppression of class struggle and their ongoing monopoly on knowledge and technology. In the imperialist epoch this process has taken on the form of the technological enslavement of developing nations to their imperialist master’s. No phone networks without Vodafone, no electricity grid without Siemen’s, no medicine without Glaxo Smith-Kline etc etc. No wonder the technological developments that occur in China, Iran, DPR Korea and other independent nations bring the fury of the western governments and their media; incredulous at developing technology in these countries, particularly annoyed by the increasing technical development of the military in these countries, enabling them to defend their sovereignty and independence against imperialist aggression. Does the west really worry that China is ‘exploiting’ Africa? The same west that colonised Africa, stole the land from her people’s and enslaved and transported millions! Worries about their exploitation by China?! Perhaps they are more concerned that Chinese phone networks, Chinese mines, Chinese technicians and engineers are delivering the kind of technological improvements to Africa that will enable her people’s to stand on their own two feet, free of the IMF and World Bank!
Illiteracy & Culture
The indoctrination of British youth, the promotion of materialistic, self-obsessive behavior has driven the working class into blind and submissive moral acceptance of the domination of the idea’s, norms and behavior of the ruling class, helped along by the powerful privately-owned corporate media working in the interests of capital it has become cool to champion “The Apprentice” and decidedly uncool to go against the grain. Empathy with one another and our common struggle has been contaminated with selfish greed, alienating humans from their natural empathy towards one another, our common struggle and our desire to cooperate in a social environment to fix common problems. These natural instincts are replaced by senseless competition and mutual distrust, a pitting of one against another in a battle for survival and a race to the bottom.
The seemingly endless cycle of exploitation of working-class families will continue for as long as the working-class allows itself to be subjected to the orders of the exploitative class. The daily grind and increasing hardships create a no win situation for imperialism. To increase profits to the maximum it must impoverish and drive down the living standards of the masses of people – but in so doing it creates it’s own gravediggers. The only way to put an end to the poverty and neglect facing the 170 million + children talked about in the report, as well as their families, is to put control of production into their hands – into the hands of the working-class. The working class must seize state power and wield it in its own interests.
Socialism and class politics points the way
Take the example of the Cuban revolution. To this day, Cuba is labeled a third world country, despite boasting average literacy attainment far higher than that of its former oppressor, the USA, and maintaining the welfare of the people despite an endless list of items embargoed by the imperialists, banned from entering the country by US imperialism and it’s allies! Against imperialism, against the odds, Cuba has defied what capitalism says is possible and proven that an organised, disciplined and clearly defined working-class agenda is the only way to put an end to the demons of hunger, destitution, illiteracy and cultural oppression that haunt the world’s working class and the oppressed nations.
If Save the Children imagine that their discovery of c+h=i [children+hunger=illiteracy] is new they should look to the example of the Black Panther Party (BPP), who introduced food before school programmes in the 1960’s! Thousands of poor children in their community, who were suffering terrible poverty and malnutrition, and who would normally go to school without a meal were fed by the BPP programmes. The Panthers realised way back in 1960’s America that a hungry child can’t concentrate properly in school, that hunger prevented them from learning and developing, that an empty tummy inevitably led to illiteracy and unemployment! It’s not rocket science.
The way forward
Only the direct actions of the working-class can change the world. No amount of charitable donations and hand-me-downs from the G8 leaders will ever free children from the slavery they face at the hands of imperialism. Only a scientific, socialist approach to running society, a system and state run by the workers themselves can execute the demands of working-class.
The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win!