Day 295: Capitalism: A Ghost Story

A similar coup was carried out in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. In 1978, the Rockefeller Foundation organised a Study Commission on US Policy toward Southern Africa. The report warned of the growing influence of the Soviet Union on the African National Congress (ANC) and said that US strategic and corporate interests (i.e., access to South Africa’s minerals) would be best served if there were genuine sharing of political power by all races.
The foundations began to support the ANC. The ANC soon turned on the more radical organisations like Steve Biko’s Black Consciousness movement and more or less eliminated them. When Nelson Mandela took over as South Africa’s first Black President, he was canonised as a living saint, not just because he was a freedom fighter who spent 27 years in prison, but also because he deferred completely to the Washington Consensus. Socialism disappeared from the ANC’s agenda. South Africa’s great “peaceful transition”, so praised and lauded, meant no land reforms, no demands for reparation, no nationalisation of South Africa’s mines. Instead, there was Privatisation and Structural Adjustment. Mandela gave South Africa’s highest civilian award—the Order of Good Hope—to his old supporter and friend General Suharto, the killer of Communists in Indonesia. Today, in South Africa, a clutch of Mercedes-driving former radicals and trade unionists rule the country. But that is more than enough to perpetuate the illusion of Black Liberation. - Arundhati Roy

It is hard to imagine that the direction, purpose and meaning of the majority of humans in the world is shaped and controlled by a few - akin to chess pieces being positioned on a board. I suppose the major difference between life and chess is that in life there is no opponent - only the goal of enriching the royals (elite) and their faithful toadies. Not that life should be this way... but it is.

I find myself to be speechless upon consideration and realisation that the lives we live, the pleasure we experience, the pain we feel, the hurts we cause, the abuse we receive - all are deliberately designed to maximise gains for a few people. These few people are willing to, literally and figuratively, rape and pillage entire countries in order to secure their continued profiteering. Consider the African countries that have been in turmoil for decades: the people who are in power there did not come to take their positions on their own - they have investors and backers and supporters who ensure that the rulers maintain their grip on the throne - for a price, of course.

Imagine what the leading economies would look like if they were competing against the might of the Congo if it was taking full advantage of it's resource wealth and providing decent welfare and education for it's people - I imagine that there would be more first world countries and also that there would be fewer corporations stripping the Congo of its resources for next to nothing.

But then again, who am I to say what the world could be like. I am just some girl in an impoverished and disease-stricken country, seeing the effects of our economy on a daily basis in the form of skinny children running to a mud-hut school in rags for clothing. I am just a traveler who's heart weighs heavy upon seeing children begging in the streets. I am just an innocent bystander who feels hopeless against the injustice of this life. I am just another soft-hearted girl, shedding a tear for every hurt I see inflicted upon another.

What could I possibly do to stem the flow of brutality in this world, but sit back and howl at the injustice of it all?

Sure, I feel this way a lot of the time. I look at the horrors in the world and wonder how we could possibly change the abusive nature of our species. Sometimes I am utterly convinced that the only solution would be a meteor descending upon us and wiping out all life. I convince myself on occasion that if I were to remain aware of every abuse and pain in the world then I would surely lose my mind.

Having said that: my resolve will not falter, for knowing these things and seeing the ugly face of our world my determination is only strengthened. Life cannot continue like this - the abuse must stop. So, I will do whatever I can think of, whatever it will take to make it known that we do not have to continue living like this, we have the ability to choose our lives, our society. It is within our power to make changes that will improve the lives of others.