Make Capitalism History

The globalisation of commodity production has had profound human, social and environmental effect on the vast majority of people, Millions of people are now threatened with starvation due to the skyrocketing price of food and the destruction of traditional agricultural societies in the drive to plunder natural resources, establish capitalist agribusiness, and divert production from food to energy. Capitalism is a system in which the fundamental outcome for people depends on whether they are one of the few owners of capital (capitalists) or workers, or in other words, their class position in society dictates their ability to make the basic decisions such as should grain be grown for food or energy.

Modern capitalism is global in scale. The basic drive is to maximise profits for corporations. In this constant search to reduce the cost of production and maximise profits, the masters of finance capital, set up production in countries that have the cheapest, most restricted and impoverished labour.

Although capitalism is a global system, the historical centres of capitalist accumulation remain much more wealthy in comparison to those areas that have, for the last several hundred years, been the colonies of the capitalist  powers and subject to the plunder of their human, mineral and environmental resources.

Despite the huge amounts of abundant wealth created by the working class in this capitalist system, millions of people in the world are dying from such basic problems as malnourishment, the lack clean drinking water, adequate shelter, and health care. The bankruptcy of the capitalist system is there for all to see. This alone serves as a damning confirmation that there hasn't been any fundamental shift in the ownership of wealth. This shift in wealth can be observed more clearly in developed countries with the whole-sale destruction of what was termed as the middle class, or the more secure strata of workers.

In Australia, unions were organized to defend the working class from the constant attempt on the part of capital to drive down the conditions and income of the workers. Australia was one of the first nations to see political parties formed to further the struggle against capital. Employer groups and representatives of capitalism formed their political parties to keep the numerical superior working class out of parliamentary office. This was the basic national structure of the system within which political movements, social struggles, and ideological currents expressed themselves in the past.

With the globalization of the capitalist system the economic theory and the strategies of social struggles have to be considered in the global context of capitalism dominated by one mighty superpower, in which other nations are reduced to branch office status. In this age of Empire, every pretext is used to foster the break-up of even the nation as a political area of social organization.

Deregulation, a term coined in Australia, means that capital can flow, unrestricted by national frontiers, to the most profitable areas. This is the logic that has seen manufacture moved to areas such as China and India where the price of labour power is the cheapest. One very beneficial outcome of this strategy to capitalism is to bring about the greatest possible fragmentation of the forces potentially hostile to the system.

De-industrialization has destroyed working communities in Australia and even in the centre of capital accumulation, the United States. The ability to off-shore production has given the capitalist class a weapon to destroy the power and cohesiveness of the working people, drive down their conditions and wages, and create a huge pool of temporary workers fearful of losing their jobs.

The objectives of capital remain the same—the control of the expansion of markets, the looting of the earth’s natural resources, the super-exploitation of labour, especially in the third world.

Capitalism remains a system that has as its fundamental purpose the prosperity for the few, and this is dependant on the deprivation of the many. It is a false assumption that capitalism can be made to work in the interest of all - rich and poor alike. Failure to recognise this essential class antagonism between the few who control capital and the many who are exploited and impoverished by the process of capital accumulation leads to the myth that capitalism can be made “fairer”, or that some global equitable system is possible under Capitalism. Capitalism can never be made more “fair” or “equitable” either by rock stars or gestures of debt relief. Effective change will only be accomplished by the complete overthrow of the capitalist system.

Don Wilson, May 2008