Editorial — 21 February 2014

The capitalists speak of the “magic of the market place” as an explanation for the energy which fuels their system. That energy is considered the reason for the success of the capitalist system. That energy appears to be derived from the instinct which propels man to seek sustenance for himself at the individual level. So then, the capitalist system is basically a selfish system.

The capitalists and neoliberals do not really dispute such a characterization of their system. They argue that man is a selfish being, and that there is really no way forward other than to have man compete against man in a fight for survival, to the death if that becomes necessary.

In our third millennial capitalism, the medium of exchange is money. Those who make a lot of money are those who are considered successful, and those who don’t have money, suffer and die. There is great enjoyment amongst the successful ones, and there is crushing misery amongst those who are doomed to die. This is one of the contradictions of capitalism. A few accumulate excessively, while the masses suffer. Proponents of capitalism say this is how it has to be, because the competition is the thing. It’s all about the market place.

The problem for us desgraciados in colonial Asia, Africa, and the Americas was that the market place in our societies was one which had been designed and imposed upon us by Europe, beginning with slavery, followed by colonialism, and then neocolonialism/neoliberalism. We began to breathe the fresh air of anti-colonialism after World War II. This was because our native thinkers and leaders, supported by the masses of the people, had decided that some antidote had to be found for the poison of colonialism.

In the British Caribbean, and Belize’s institutions of government are the same as the British Caribbean’s, our post-colonial leaders all came out of the trade union movement. Our independence leaders, men such as Jagan in Guyana, Williams in Trinidad, Bustamante and Manley in Jamaica, Price in Belize, all felt that government, which is to say the post-colonial state, had to have some kind of say in the economy. The masses of the people had to be directed, and the masses of the people had to be protected.

Around us in Central America, there was a different experience taking place. Men like Ubico in Guatemala and Somoza in Nicaragua had emerged as military dictators in societies which had technically become independent from Spain in 1821, but which retained feudal economies where oligarchies oppressed the masses. Governments of the United States loved twentieth-century dictators like Ubico and Somoza, because they were anti-communist and opened their market places to the penetration and domination of American corporations and their stooges.

An international alternative to the glorification of the market place had emerged in Russia with the coming to power of their communist revolution in 1917. Communism and its variations were saying that it was the state, that is, the representatives of the masses of the people, who had to make the crucial decisions, not the magical market place.

Most of the second half of the twentieth century featured an international competition/conflict between those who glorified the market place and those who championed the state. The fall of Russian communism in 1989 appeared to decide the competition/conflict in favor of the market place, but today the fastest rising world power is from the communist camp – the People’s Republic of China. And, in our region, communist Cuba continues to do the very best job of any of the smaller Latin American/Caribbean states of providing education, health care, housing, and fair distribution of land for its citizens.

It appears to us at this newspaper that, if all things were equal, and by the previous phrase we mean that if the United States of America did not exist and was not dictating to Belize, there would be absolutely no question that our state must intervene in the economy when it is necessary to protect the masses of our citizens. How can the daily, human welfare of the majority of us Belizeans be left unconditionally to the magic of the market place? The history of that market place clearly indicates that, left to its magic, the masses of us are doomed to poverty and misery.

But, the market place magicians have various weapons in their propaganda arsenal. One of those weapons is God, as He is presented by agents of the market place. In a miracle of transformation, they have been able to convince us that Jesus Christ was one of them, and that Christianity and the market place are, if not synonymous, completely symbiotic. So then, even though the market place magicians have been forced to concede that their philosophy is based on human selfishness, which means that market place capitalism represents the antithesis of Christ’s teachings, we Christian Belizeans are religiously dedicated to electing market place politicians to lead us.

Left to the magic and non-existent mercy of the market place, the masses of us Belizeans have been suffering. In frustration and desperation, our youth have turned against each other in orgies of hatred and violence. This is no magic, beloved. This is mania.

Power to the people. Amandala.

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