Anti-communism, authoritarianism and repression are growing in the capitalist world

Luciana Bohne

Lenin “toppled”: the convenient rebellion of fools. Freedom at last from a spurious tyranny.

Authoritarianism in China? A place that nipped Covid in six weeks and ended poverty in 2020? Let’s turn the camera, shall we? And let’s fix it on the Western/capitalist bloc. Do you see any recrudescence of BOURGEOIS AUTHORITARIANISM in examples from recent times?

1. Slovakia: passes law on 1 Dec 2020 designating Czech and Slovak Communist parties “criminal organizations.”

2. Poland: the anti-communist hysteria is well established in the persistent “witch hunt” against the communists that for decades has characterized the Polish bourgeois authorities on a dangerous undemocratic and reactionary ridge, with the complacency and encouragement of the EU. In fact, the persecutions, restrictions and criminal proceedings that have been conducted for years against the Communist Party of Poland (KPP), its daily “Bzrask” and their members are known “for the promotion of totalitarian regimes”. Furthermore, among other things, we remember the interruption of scientific conferences on Karl Marx organized by universities, the use of public institutions such as the National Memory Institute (IPN) for the dissemination of anti-communist propaganda and the establishment of a dangerous legal framework for communist persecution which includes the 2017 “decommunization law”

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Capital and the Ecology of Disease

 John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Hannah Holleman

Monthly Review | Volume 73, Issue 02 (June 2021)

New beech leaves, Gribskov Forest in the northern part of Sealand, Denmark
New beech leaves, Gribskov Forest in the Northern part of Sealand, Denmark. Malene Thyssen, Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link.

“The old Greek philosophers,” Frederick Engels wrote in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, “were all born natural dialecticians.”1 Nowhere was this more apparent than in ancient Greek medical thought, which was distinguished by its strong materialist and ecological basis. This dialectical, materialist, and ecological approach to epidemiology (from the ancient Greek epi, meaning on or upon, and demos, the people) was exemplified by the classic Hippocratic text Airs Waters Places (c. 400 BCE), which commenced:

Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly, should proceed thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year, and what effects each of them produces, for they are not all alike, but differ from themselves in regard to their changes. Then the winds, the hot and cold, especially such as are common to all countries, and then such as are peculiar to each locality. We must also consider the qualities of the waters, for as they differ from another in taste and weight, so also do they differ much in their qualities. In the same manner, when one comes into a city to which he is a stranger, he ought to consider its situation, how it lies as to the winds and the rising of the sun.… These things one ought to consider most attentively, and concerning the waters which the inhabitants use, whether they be marshy and soft, or hard, and running from elevated rocky situations, and then if saltish and unfit for cooking, and the ground, whether it be naked and deficient in water, or wooded and well-watered, and whether it lies in a hollow or confined situation, or is elevated and cold; and the mode in which the inhabitants live, and what are their pursuits, whether they are fond of drinking and eating to excess, and given to indolence, or are fond of exercise and labor.…

For if one knows all these things well, or at least the greater part of them, he cannot miss knowing, when he comes into a strange city, either the diseases peculiar to the place, or the particular nature of common diseases, so that he will not be in doubt as to the treatment of the diseases, or commit mistakes, as is likely to be the case provided one has not previously considered these matters. And in particular, as the season and the year advances, he can tell what epidemic diseases will attack the city, either in summer or in winter, and what each individual will be in danger of experiencing from the change in regimen.… For with the seasons the digestive organs of men undergo a change.2

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“Dying for an iPhone”

Chris Hedges

MintPress News | June 01, 2021

Predatory Capitalism Feature photo

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost Revolution.  The working class is increasingly bereft of rights, blocked from forming unions, paid starvation wages, subject to wage theft, under constant surveillance, fired for minor infractions, exposed to dangerous carcinogens, forced to work overtime, given punishing quotas and abandoned when they are sick and old. Workers have become, here and abroad, disposable cogs to corporate oligarchs, who wallow in obscene personal wealth that dwarfs the worst excesses of the Robber Barons.

In fashionable liberal circles there are, as Noam Chomsky notes, worthy and unworthy victims. Nancy Pelosi has called on global leaders not to attend the Winter Olympics, scheduled to be held in Beijing in February, because of what she called a “genocide” being carried out by the Chinese government against the Uyghur minority. New York Times columnist Nick Kristof in a column rattled off a list of human rights violations overseen by China’s leader Xi Jinping, writing “[Xi] eviscerates Hong Kong freedoms, jails lawyers and journalists, seizes Canadian hostages, threatens Taiwan and, most horrifying, presides over crimes against humanity in the far western region of Xinjiang that is home to several Muslim minorities.”

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CAPITALISM 

Rich & Poor

The divide between the poor and the rich is known to many and for centuries. Yet the truth goes without meaningful notice by many. The divide’s political meaning mostly goes without discussion. Still the fact of this divide should be told and re-told. The following reports say about the divide.

A Los Angeles Times Editorial – Not even beach parking lots can be off-limits in a study of sites for temporary homeless housing – (Sun, May 23, 2021) – said:

“Among the many obstacles to providing shelter and housing for homeless people is finding available land. Private property is often too expensive for the city of Los Angeles to buy for housing, so there is a constant search by city officials to locate publicly owned land that is empty or underutilized and can be transformed into safe camping grounds, tiny-house villages or more permanent housing.Read More »

ULTRA-RICH 

j 521

The ultra-rich group is today an issue of public interest, because people are getting aware about the wealth the group controls. People are getting aware that the group’s source of wealth should be known, because identifying the source helps identify the method of amassing such wealth within such short time. Identifying the source also helps expose source of people’s misery and suffering, poverty and exploitation.

One member of this group is Bill Gates. His private life has recently come into public. But that part may be ignored. But the private side of life that acts with public life comes into discussion, because there the private life impacts public life. These expose the super-rich, the characteristics of the group. These expose the lifestyle the super-rich live with, the character of philanthropy they spread around the world, and the values they uphold.Read More »

INEQUALITY RISING 

Number of World Billionaires Increases to 2,755

POLITSTURM | April 15, 2021

Number of World Billionaires  Increases to 2,755

Forbes released its data surrounding billionaires in 2021 whose wealth exploded amidst the pandemic. The number of billionaires increased by 660 over the past year to 2,755. The U.S. has the most billionaires at 770 followed by China at 698 (including Hong Kong and Macao). Read More »

SUEZ CANAL TROUBLE

Insatiable Shipping Companies Set the Table for the Suez Canal Ship Debacle

Justin Hirsch

Labor Notes | April 07, 2021

Huge ship loaded with containers, viewed from stern which says "Ever Given, Panama." In the background are port cranes.
Investigators are more likely to blame the ship’s crew than an industry that avoids regulation and aims to grow infinitely. Container ships are four times as big as they were 20 years ago—while the earth’s waterways have remained roughly the same size. Photo: kees torn (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A lot of ink has been spilled to explain exactly what happened in the Suez Canal, where a massive container ship got wedged across the narrow channel, idling ships or forcing lengthy detours around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

Early speculation on social media laid blame on the captain and crew, mechanical failures, or mysterious forces of nature. Was it the fault of a drunken navigator, as was claimed in the 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez, which spilled oil across Prince William Sound? Was there a failure of the steering gear that controls the ship’s rudder, or a did a loss of propulsion make it impossible to control the steel behemoth?Read More »

BIG CORPORATIONS 

J tax

A Journal of People report

Fifty-five of the biggest U.S. companies paid $0 in federal taxes or no tax last year, found a new study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Despite raking in billions, Nike, Duke Energy, FedEx, and other public companies have paid no federal corporate income tax in the U.S. since 2018, according to the study.

The 55 publicly traded companies would have paid an estimated $12 billion in federal taxes if not for corporate tax breaks in 2020, including $8.5 billion in tax avoidance and $3.5 billion in tax rebates, the report found using regulatory filings and other information.Read More »

CAPITALISM 

Bernie asks Jeff Bezos: You are worth $182 billion … why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers from unionizing?

A Journal of People report

amazon union

At a hearing on March 17, 2021, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke critically about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who declined Sanders’ invitation to testify, and Elon Musk, the two wealthiest men.

“Bezos and Musk now own more wealth than the bottom 40%. Meanwhile, we’re looking at more hunger in America than at any time in decades,” Sanders said in his opening remarks at the Senate Budget Committee hearing, which was titled The Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis in America.

“If he was with us this morning, I would ask him the following question … Mr. Bezos, you are worth $182 billion – that’s a B,” Sanders said. “One hundred eighty-two billion dollars, you’re the wealthiest person in the world. Why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers in Bessemer, Alabama, from joining a union?”Read More »

CAPITALIST EXPLOITATION OF ENVIRONMENT 

Intensive Fishing and the Birth of Capitalism, Part 2

Ian Angus

Climate and Capitalism | March 08, 2021

Part One discussed the development of fish as a mass food commodity, and the Dutch use of factory ships in the North Sea in the 16th Century.  Part Two looks at the rise of an even bigger capitalist fishery on the other side of the Atlantic.

“In the sixteenth and partly still in the seventeenth, the sudden expansion of trade and the creation of a new world market had an overwhelming influence on the defeat of the old mode of production and the rise of the capitalist mode.” — Karl Marx[1]

Accounts of transatlantic trade in the 1500s typically focus on what Perry Anderson calls “the most spectacular single act in the primitive accumulation of European capital during the Renaissance” — the plunder of precious metals by Spanish invaders in South and Central America.[2] Year after year, well-guarded convoys carried gold and silver to Europe, simultaneously enriching Spain’s absolute monarchy and destabilizing Europe’s economy.

Spain’s treasure fleets certainly played a big role in the long-term development of European capitalism, but they were not alone in creating a disruptive transatlantic economy. While Spanish ships carried silver and gold, a parallel trade involving far more ships developed far to the north. Historians of capitalism, including Marxists, have paid too little attention to what Francis Bacon called “the Gold Mines of the Newfoundland Fishery, of which there is none so rich.”[3]Read More »