Capitalism, Wars and Epidemics (III)

4. The destruction of health systems and of the ecosystem. The commodification of the world (Completed)

The outbreak of a violent pandemic, like Covid-19, has seemed to suddenly fall from the sky, like an umpteenth plague of Egypt. The U.S. economy seemed to be thriving, and unemployment was at a low ebb. Virtually everyone (except the homeless or the countless precarious workers) was going from home to work every day, hoping that everything would go well in the best possible of all capitalist worlds.

Contents:

a) New pandemics taking advantage of a capitalist health system adrift (page 2)
b) The agriculture of death: Toxic nutrition, health scourges of “obese capital” (page 3)
c) Commodification, the permanent war of capital against nature (page 4)

Newly added sections: b) and c)
Last updated: December 16, 2020.

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Capitalism, Wars and Epidemics (II)

The second part of this contribution opens with a historical sketch of wars and epidemics from capitalism’s early expansion since the turn of the 16th Century: the discovery of the “West Indies” and the ensuing conquest of the Americas by Europe’s incipient colonialism, as well as its  expansion to Africa and the “East Indies”, until the era of modern imperialism, since the First World War. It focuses on the ‘natural’ spread of lethal diseases and epidemics as a consequence of the interaction of hitherto physically separated populations across continents, under the conditions of a merciless exploitation of slave and forced labor.

It continues by developing on biological warfare that only became systematically developed in the context of modern imperialism by all major rivaling powers, alongside chemical and – after WW-2 – in addition to nuclear warfare. Military-scientific programs for ‘weaponizing’ a diversity of biological agents (bacteria and viruses, like for instance anthrax, botulinum, plague or Ebola) and the yet limited attempts at “testing” and “applying” them in war conflicts are briefly reviewed, including the telling example of the Aun sect in Japan (formally a non-state actor).

This part concludes with some theses for discussion, and a brief rejection of the speculation that the present Covid-19 pandemic would have originated from Chinese military laboratory experiments.

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Capitalism, Wars and Epidemics (I)

What is behind the calls for national unity against the Corona-virus pandemic?

As the Corona-virus pandemic rapidly extends its devastating effects over the globe, government leaders have successively declared themselves “at war”, and impose “sanitary emergency measures” at different grades of “lock down”, varying from restricting social life and imposing self-isolation (as in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands) up to establishing veritable military curfews (as in Italy, Spain and France). They all call upon “national unity and solidarity” to combat the “invisible enemy”, while trying to enforce state control over the population, as a new global recession is unfolding.

The following contribution develops on the relation between the wars and epidemics of capitalism, drawing some parallels with the plagues in the early stages of its emergence (the 14th Century) and with the Spanish flu during World War 1. It situates the stakes of the present “Corona-virus crisis” in an ideological preparation for a global war.

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Syria, Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan, Libya

The world held prisoner by permanent imperialist war

The following article analyzes the economic backgrounds of capitalism’s drive to war which, over decades, has turned ever more countries in the geostrategically important region of the Near- and Middle East, and beyond, into an open battlefield between, ultimately, the world’s biggest imperialist powers and their respective alliances, be it directly or by proxies.

It treats the economic difficulties experienced by the USA to counter the historic erosion of the US dollar as the dominant currency of world trade, especially in the vital energy sector – and notably in the oil and gas markets – as a pivot of their policies of ‘financing’ astronomical levels of both national debts and military expenses. In so doing the article sheds light on the difficulties of the USA’s offensive to export oil and gas, specifically their shale gas to the EU countries (the North-Stream 2 project with Russia), and on their quarrel with Russia and the OPEC countries about the price of crude oil.

Last but not least, it provides a background to the exacerbation of the US-Iranian antagonism in the region, exemplified by the gangster-style assassination of the Iranian top general Soleimani and his company at Baghdad international airport on January 3, behind which it identifies China as the veritable target.

In short, the article develops arguments for the thesis that “a truly global confrontation is underway. It’s a monetary, economic, geopolitical and military clash. No one can lose it but paradoxically, ‘rebus sic stantibus’, neither can win it without risking, in turn, a collapse that would almost be as severe as a defeat.”

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From the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf – How to struggle against war and poverty?

Public Discussion Meeting

organized by

A Free Retriever’s Digest and arbeidersstemmen.nl

 

Saturday 29 February 2020

Utrecht, The Netherlands

 

The wars in Syria and Libya do not only affect the population of these countries but the workers and jobless proletarians of Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt as well. The consequences are riots and revolts in these countries against the local oppressors and exploiters, sometimes strike movements that can open the perspective of a revolution.

The United States, Russia, Turkey and the countries of the European Union are implied in these wars as well. Sometimes by direct military intervention, more often by supporting local regimes, their oppositions or certain armies and militias. They all fight against each other for the control over the rich oil and gas resources. In addition, we see the attempts to draw profit from the flows of refugees caused by wars and poverty.

The workers, both those at work and the growing army of jobless worldwide, are the first victims of what in fact are wars between imperialist states. They are killed, wounded, traumatized and are left behind totally impoverished.

In the wealthier countries they ‘pay’ for the expenses of the imperialist war with a decline of their wages (at first with regards to the profits, subsequently in absolute terms), allowances, pensions, the degradation of medical and social care, and of education. Certain taxes and dues creep up slowly, work pressure rises, unemployment drops … on paper. Every new generation of youngsters in North Africa and the Middle East (about 30% of the population) serves as foot soldiers and cannon fodder, or rots away in slums. In wealthier countries the reintroduction of the draft service is being prepared; in the Netherlands it has never been abolished, since this year it applies to women as well.

After a brief introduction we discuss about the causes of these wars, their consequences, and in which way these can be put to an end.

 

The exact modalities are indicated in the attached invitation leaflet

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Impending war Iran-USA, towards a third world war?

The American assassination of Soleimani, the top general of the feared Iranian Republican Guard, has brought the world closer to major wars. The riots and protests in Lebanon, Iraq and in the second half of November in Iran have been replaced by war campaigns. The earlier protest movement took place in the middle of the world’s energy center, amid increasing military tensions, hidden and open warfare in Syria, Yemen, the Persian Gulf, and a while further, the war for the domination of Libya’s oil wealth.

When the riots crossed borders from Iraq to Iran, the possibility arose that in Iran the struggle would once again pass from the streets to the factories. In this way, the working proletarians would take the lead, just as they did at the end of 2018. The workers can bring to the struggle what is currently lacking, an organization. An organization of struggle run by those fighting themselves, by deciding on their struggle in mass meetings in the factory, or on the streets, by electing delegates to committees and a workers’ council, like at the sugar cane factory Haft Tapeh.

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