The Children of Moloch
The essentially criminal consequences of the international capitalist financial system have never been so brutally exposed as by the latest crisis in food and the American mortgage debacle which immediately preceded it.
Jean Ziegler of Switzerland is UN special rapporteur on the right to food and a professor of sociology at the University of Geneva and at the Sorbonne in Paris. At a special emergency UN conference on the food crisis in Geneva a few days ago, Ziegler declared that the massive transformation of foods into biofuels "is an intolerable crime against . humanity."
Ziegler quoted FAO figures revealing that in the last year, the price of wheat rose 130 per cent, rice 74 per cent, soy 87 per cent and corn 53 per cent.
Ziegler said speculation is responsible for 30 per cent of the price hike, particularly on the Chicago Commodities Market, where speculators control 40 per cent of contracts. One company, Cargill, controls a quarter of all cereal production, and has enormous power over the market. He added that hedge funds are also making huge profits from raw materials markets, and called for new financial regulations to prevent such speculation.
The special rapporteur warned of worsening food riots and a "horrifying" increase in deaths by starvation before reforms could take effect.
And the children who die of starvation will die immured in filth, beset by flies and worms and will suffer immeasurably greater pain than the children sacrificed to the sacred fires of Moloch, 4,000 years ago.
In the beginning, capitalism was founded on slavery and it continues to depend on the immiserisation of humanity foreseen by two men born 10 years and an ocean apart -Thomas Jefferson, the godfather of the United States, and Adam Smith, the apostle of capitalism.
When Jefferson, the Virginia gentleman, devised his famous formula defining blacks as three-fifths human, he was making provision for the formalisation of their status as an engine of capitalism, like horse power and steam power. Adam Smith, the Scottish gentleman, was perhaps less explicit: labour, black or white, was simply another factor of production, another resource.
Their heirs today view their activities as perfectly legal, no matter that they condemn the major part of humanity to what even they might consider - if they thought about it - subhuman conditions.
The armies of the MBA are now as disconnected from the misery they engender, as the pilots who bombed Dresden, Coventry, Nagasaki or Vietnamese rice paddies were from the peasants in paddies, the refugees in Dresden or the innocents everywhere. Bayonets compel a recognition that the enemy is human as Jefferson recognised when he raped his young slave, Sally Hemmings. But the essence of the relationship is now transferred to a higher plane - dealing death by incineration or starvation by remote control.
The thousands of young Goldman Sachs traders are mostly unconscious of the fact that their million-dollar bonuses mean the destruction of whole communities and the transition of many of their fellows from citizens to prostitutes and jailbirds. The hedge fund managers who have cornered the market in rice, corn and ethanol may claim not to be aware that they also own much of the market in hunger, starvation, misery and death.
LAND AND HUNGERIn seven months, on January 2009, it will be 50 years since the people of Cuba, led by a few hundred young men and women, seized control of their destinies. Their leader, Fidel Castro, had spent time in jail after conviction on a charge of treason, for raising rebellion against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, a friend of the United States.
In his closing speech in his own defence, the young lawyer had laid out in detail the abject position of the masses of the Cuban people and had identified large land ownership, especially by US corporations, as one of the prime factors in Cuban servitude.
On the triumph of the revolution in 1959, the first law promulgated was the Agrarian Reform Law. If I remember correctly, the first words of that Act were:
"Large landholding is henceforth forbidden."
A limit of just over 500 acres was placed on land ownership. The revolution thought that anyone should be able to make a decent living out of 500 plus acres. The revolution believed that foreign ownership of land was against the Cuban interest and that large land ownership - latifundismo - disfranchised and marginalised Cubans, concentrated power in a few hands and was fundamentally undemocratic and anti-social.
The American embargo, now 48 years old, was in response to that law.Since that time Cuban land ownership and management have gone through many changes into a mix of state farms, cooperative farms and private farms - but all are owned by the Cuban people and operated in their interest.
And that is why, despite the fact that Cuba's per capita GDP is accounted to be below that of Jamaica, there are no starving Cubans, no unemployment and more than two-thirds of the entire Cuban population is enrolled in some level of educational activity.
Cuban schools and universities provide free education to more than 10,000 young people from all over the world, including Jamaica and the United States. It is one of the reasons the Cubans can graduate more than 5,000 medical doctors annually, why there are nearly 20,000 Cuban teachers and doctors in Venezuela, Haiti, Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, and why Cuba was able to offer 1,500 doctors to help New Orleans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
It is one of the reasons why Cuba, with a population equivalent to that of the rest of the Greater Antilles, has a crime rate comparable to the Jamaican parish of Trelawny, while Puerto Rico and Jamaica, between them, murder about 2,000 of their citizens annually and maim or seriously injure thousands more.
It is long past time to repudiate the debt, cease paying taxes to usurers and use the money to create a civilised society.PROPERTY, PRIVILEGE AND POVERTYAt this moment the Jamaican people are being asked to surrender their sovereignty on two fronts.
On one side it is demanded - by the privileged and propertied - that the Jamaican Constitution should be changed to accommodate the special interests of foreigners, who want to be able to have the best of two worlds, making money from Jamaica and storing it abroad. We must surrender our sovereign right to rule ourselves so that a privileged caste can make rules for us, rules to suit their interests rather than our interests.
We are told that we clearly have a duty to be poor, a duty to surrender our right to determine how we should use our land, to surrender our beaches and to pay for improvements to the amenities and lifestyles of the rich and irresponsible.
In Montego Bay, a number of Spanish 'investors' have determined that no matter what the Civil Aviation Authority, the National Environmental Planning Agency and the St James Parish Council may say, they have the right to ignore Jamaican law. Having captured one of Jamaica's loveliest public beaches and having in open defiance of the law built a vulgar and monstrous obstruction in the flight path of Sangster Airport, they demand the right to challenge the right of the Jamaican people to run our own country the way we want.
In Spain, at this moment, the Spanish government is busy dynamiting similar excrescences built, as in Jamaica, against the law and the public interest by 'investors' with much more money than social responsibility.
In the pursuit of profit it does not matter to these uncivilised bozos that when a plane in distress hits their hotel, it will be the careless Jamaicans who will be blamed. We will be sued both by the victims' families and by the investors themselves.
I remember an Avianca Lockheed Constellation crashing at Montego Bay airport as it was then called, killing about 40 people. Had that crash happened today instead of 48 years ago, the Riu hotel and everyone in it would have been incinerated.
It was out of that crash - and the recommendation of the inquest that followed - that the first known call was made for the compulsory installation of 'black boxes': flight recorders in all commercial aircraft.Unfortunately, black boxes can record neither the stupidity nor the cupidity of so-called 'investors'.
Since the entire hotel is in breach of the Jamaican law, the Jamaican law should take its course.
The hotel should be demolished at the expense of the millionaire malefactors who put it up.
We owe them nothing, and certainly not our national integrity or our dignity.
Knock it down!
That's how it is - under the law.
And the Spanish Ambassador does not (yet) sit in our Parliament or in our High Court.Copyright©2008 John Maxwelljankunnu@gmail.com