Global capitalism is the economic system that dominates the planet. It runs on the exploitation of human labor to turn the living world into dead commodities, for the profit of a few. The small, powerful minority who own the means of production enforce their dominance through their control over political and cultural institutions, and their monopoly on force. They create a situation of dependency – forcing us to work for them to obtain basic needs like food and shelter. They annihilate those who resist or refuse to assimilate.
This system values profit over life itself. It has been built on land theft and destruction, genocide, slavery, deforestation and imperialist wars. It commits numberless atrocities as a matter of routine daily functioning. It kills 2.4 million children worldwide under age 5 each year by withholding adequate nutrition. It kills 100,000 people annually in the US by denying decent health care. More than 54% of the US discretionary budget is spent on perpetrating imperialist aggression, and recent casualties include more than a million civilians in Iraq, and more than 46,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Aside from outright murder, the economic and psychological violence wrought upon the world’s inhabitants is so extensive and comprehensive that it’s effectively all-encompassing.
The system is killing the entire planet, the basis for all life. It’s converted 98% of old growth forests into lumber. 80% of rivers worldwide no longer support life. 94% of the large fish in the oceans are gone. Phytoplankton, the tiny plants that produce half of the oxygen we breathe, have declined by 40% since 1950. 120 species per day become extinct.
Industries produce 400 million tons of hazardous waste every year. Recently, the water in 89% of US cities tested has been found to contain the carcinogen hexavalent chromium. To feed capitalism’s insatiable need for economic expansion, increasingly dangerous methods of energy extraction are being perpetrated: deep sea drilling, oil extraction from tar sands, fracking. No matter the consequences, no matter what the majority of people may want, those in power insist on (and enforce) their non-negotiable right to poison the land, water and air in pursuit of maximum profit.
The threat to our common existence on Earth is accelerating and intensifying. This is a situation of extreme urgency.
Clearly, a global economic system based on perpetual growth is unsustainable. A system characterized by oppression and coercion is pure misery for the majority. The obvious conclusion is that we need to get rid of it, and change to a way of life that doesn’t involve exploitation and ecocide. But first we must face one hard fact: this system won’t stop unless it’s stopped. It can not be escaped, reformed, redeemed, cajoled, abandoned, or rejected. It must be fought, defeated and dismantled.
The global economy is currently falling deeper into a convergence of deep crises. This presents us with a rare opportunity to build resistance. More than an opportunity, this is also a necessity, and our responsibility. This situation is crying out for action.
Yet our movement is weak and fragmented, unable to adequately respond. Our habitual modes of opposition (like protests and demonstrations) no longer seem to work in the ways they once did, and we are unsure how to best proceed. Currently there is no organizational formation that is capable of engaging this situation on the scale that is required. Yet there are countless individuals and small groups who, though we may disagree on much, share the desire for a sustainable, classless alternative to this omnicidal system.
If we are to survive, we must develop ways to work together to combat global capitalism and its crimes, and ultimately bring it down. Individually we are weak and ineffective; together we can be strong. We must build a movement that embraces our political and ideological diversity, and our independent autonomy, while creating mechanisms for common and complementary action. The struggles to end all forms of domination, oppression and ecocide are intertwined. If we can unite our energies, we will increase our chances for success.
Let’s unite and organize to destroy global capitalism, before it destroys us.