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OPINION Geopolitics and the environment are interdependent

The antidote to economic and military barbarism is unity and the co-ordinated mass protests and strike action essential to establishing democratic socialist governance, writes HELEN DAVITT

SELF-DEFENCE is a human right. Killing people, bombing schools, hospitals, shopping centres, etc, whether in “civil” combat, so-called, or warfare between the transnational economic elites, are all crimes against humanity. 

The male-dominated transnational economic elites attempt to camouflage their waging of today’s proxy, “cold” economic and military warfare by using the threat of “hot” nuclear war and flooding the billionaire-owned mass media with false economist ideology, diversionary programmes and selective news, all aimed at persuading global audiences into opposing partisanships and contentious patriotisms. 

The propagandising of false economist hypothesising, crucial to maintaining capitalist ideology, includes, for instance, the sociopathy of infamous 18th-century lecturer Adam Smith, who, never having raised a child, washed his own clothes, cooked his own dinner, declared that the economy is run by “invisible laws of supply and demand” — as if the vicious profiteering corporatism of the East India Company and the brutal colonialism of Adam Smith’s own era were irrelevant.

The subsequent 19th-century toxic neodarwinian “survival of the fittest” narrative continues to be championed by the ruling class as justification for its domination and abuse of populations at home and abroad — as if 99 per cent of people everywhere, male and female, didn’t work tirelessly to protect family, friends and the vulnerable. 

In 1944, led by the world’s most economically powerful nation, the US, the allied nations of WWII (including at first the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) fashioned the Bretton Woods currency exchange rate system based on gold and established the International Fund and the World Bank as provider of national development loans to poor countries — providing those countries agreed to “structural adjustment programmes,” like the privatisation of their public services. [The Soviet Union attended the Bretton Woods talks, though disagreed with their outcome and refused to participate in the institutions created].

Although the gold standard exchange rate mechanism was ditched in the 1970s, the US dollar remains the key global currency. 

The 1991 fall of the USSR saw the Russian oligarchic class-in-waiting hijack Russia’s major industries — aided by the Western economic elites eager to profiteer from the country’s industries and immense natural resources.

From 2014, sectors of Ukraine’s political class, seduced by the US-dominated European Union and the military North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, were ultimately rejected by that Western alliance, and since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the country is currently being crushed by the military might of the Russian Federation. 

The response of the collective West to the Russian-Ukrainian war was to hike economic sanctions on Russia and offload armaments on Ukraine, outdated weaponry already paid for by Western taxpayers, in some cases from the foreign aid budgets earmarked for the development of the health and education systems of impoverished countries. 

Taxpayers must then fund the next round of the up-to-date weaponry deemed necessary by governments and the transnational military-industrial complex for the perpetuation of war-based economics.

Out of 180 nations, Russia is ranked as among the most corrupt at 136th; Ukraine, a state of the former USSR, at 122nd, with corruption cited as a major reason for barring Ukraine from full membership of the economic bloc of “Fortress Europe” and Nato — except that the EU has now declared it will admit Ukraine to the EU, a process likely, however, to take years. 

Russia is a major producer of the modern necessities of life — wheat, fertiliser, oil and gas — and one of the geopolitical game-changers causing the rich countries to scramble to restructure their gas and oil-dependent economies is that Russia is now demanding that “unfriendly nations” pay for gas and oil in roubles, not US dollars.

The fossil-fuel-addicted capitalist economy was scientifically diagnosed decades ago as the root cause of the climate catastrophe, but the transnational economic elite, the global energy giants, governments and the battalions of financial speculators all continue with the status quo capitalist economic investment system that allows the climate catastrophe to rage on — as if the inbuilt ecological and economic interdependency of all life on Earth were immaterial.

Although exacerbated by the war, unsustainable capitalist geo-economic conditions are caused by long-standing local, national and international profiteering capitalist governance that permits, for instance, a handful of super-rich men to sequester for themselves as much wealth as that owned by half the entire world. 

Nor did governments halt the financial profiteering that led to the global financial crash of 2008. Moreover, regardless of the outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian war, massive exploitation of people and planet is set to continue, with, for instance, the transnational energy profiteers of the US, EU, China, etc soon likely to start fracking Ukraine’s trillions of cubic feet of untapped natural gas.

Fortunately, the transnational economic elite is now being exposed as a lethal combination of powerful corporations, the kingpins of mineral and energy exploitation, drug barons, collaborative governments, organised crime and the battalions of financial speculators using the offshore tax havens to increase their ill-gotten gains at the expense of the majority. 

Today’s populations also increasingly know that the antidote to economic and military barbarism is unity and the co-ordinated mass protests and strike action essential to establishing democratic socialist governance based on the fundamental values of reverence for life, equal human rights and responsibilities. 

Clearly, democratic socialist governance must reverse privatisation and manage the major industries, institute a people’s quantitative easing, a universal basic income and build an economy based largely on viable worker-owned businesses capable of providing affordable goods and services and of contributing reliably to communal taxes. 

While windfall taxes on the Covid-19 and fossil-fuel racketeers will bring some short-term relief, long-term recovery depends on ending warfare; legislating to ensure socio-economic gender and race equality; guaranteeing, for instance, that the cobalt needed for modern technologies isn’t mined by child slave labourers; that 4.3 million British children no longer have to live in poverty; that the vulnerable are provided with the social care they need and deserve. 

Governance for the many, not the few, can only be achieved, however, through grassroots participation in local, national and international democratic socialist people’s assemblies that aim to end profiteering, control inflation, democratise the media, unshackle education and liberate consciousness.

Helen Davitt is author of Class Talk — Communications Unbound (Peter Lang Ltd). 

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