by C. Uzondu
Leaders of the West – the political lineage of colonizers, conquistadors, slavers and genocidal settler regimes – gather in world capitals, pretending to search for solutions to disasters they have inflicted on the planet. President Obama stars in the pageantry of power. “Since this is the President who feels responsible for safeguarding the Afghan people from the Taliban, he must be also willing to safe-guard the world from the US.”
Let them Starve, Let them Drown!
by C. Uzondu
“The majority of those who starve are racialized peoples, primarily in the global South, but also in the North.”
Starve or drown, we don’t care. The ruling elites of the West are not even generous enough to simply state their beliefs in such plain words. But non-elites should recall the saying – action speaks louder than words.
The overdeveloped countries decided that it was not worth going to the United Nations summit on combating hunger that took place in Rome this past November. Even Barack “the Savior” Obama felt no need to send anyone to offer empty promises of manna from heaven. Then again since he is not known for making promises to the wretched ones of the Chosen nation-state (I don’t mean Israel), why would he waste promises on global wretched of the earth?
That there are now more than a billion people facing hunger, does not mean that hunger does not pay. Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN) notes that in April 2008 Cargill, world’s largest grain trader, announced that its profits from commodity trading for the first quarter of 2008 were 86% higher than the same period in 2007. Cargill’s profits have increased again this year.iFood processors and the retailers were also cashing in on rising global hunger. “Nestlé’s profits for 2008 were up an impressive 59 percent and Unilever’s surged ahead by 38 per cent.”ii
Whose hunger feeds corporate profits? The majority of those who starve are racialized peoples, primarily in the global South, but also in the North. For example, in the US, 35.5 million people live in households that suffer hunger,iii but since the US remains a white supremacist social formation, hunger disproportionately affects racialized people.ivRegardless of where it is experienced, starvation is good for the profits of agribusiness.
“Food processors and the retailers were also cashing in on rising global hunger.”
So, for those who failed to hear what the West was saying by disregarding the hunger summit, let me translate the expressive words of their absence: so what, if the poor across the globe starve to death.
Global hunger is intimately linked with climate change, so let’s turn our attention there.
Climate change talks began in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 8, 2009. Before the talks began we were already told there would be no legally binding agreements. In other words, overdeveloped countries have no intention of being accountable for reducing the production of green houses gases to levels that could help mitigate the worst effects of climate change. There was no way that the “western way of life” will be compromised for the benefit of life on earth. Stopping corporations from plundering the planet and externalizing the cost of their destructive pursuit of profit will not be entertained. Sharing critical technologies with the global South and therefore ending the global North’s protectionist practices via intellectual property rights by will not happen. The overdeveloped countries will also not pay reparations, for the centuries of destruction to the environment, especially in the global South. (They are currently promising to throw some crumbs).
Will hope be sufficient?
Surely, the Nobel Laureate President will insist that since the West is unquestionably responsible for the bulk of global green house gas emissions, it is only fair that they compensate those who suffer disproportionately from the destruction that the West has caused.Since this is the President who feels responsible for safeguarding the Afghan people from the Taliban, he must be also willing to safe-guard the world from the US.
“Regardless of where it is experienced, starvation is good for the profits of agribusiness.”
I can imagine him now, using the full force of his charisma and with sinful eloquence, praising the gumption of those pathetic countries (he would never say pathetic), which collectively produce less than 15 percentv of global emissions, suggesting that the West pay into a fund that would help these countries to deal with the impact of climate change (e.g. flooding and hurricanes). Not only will Obama the Savior reject the notion that “American Exceptionalism” renders it acceptable that the United States produces 25 percent of carbon emissions, although it has only 4 percent of the world’s population. Our imagined President Obama will mobilize his tremendous rhetorical abilities, on the Copenhagen stage, to correctly explain, with well chosen words and elaborate sentences, why “cap and trade,” “clean” coal, and “clean” nuclear are unacceptable and diabolical schemes to further corporate profits.
Yes, corporate toxins pollute the air, but don’t hold your breath.
For those who believe in the moral rectitude of the West, let me dare to translate their murderous babble at Copenhagen: So what, if the poor across the globe drown from floods, typhoons, or rising water levels.
“It is only fair that they compensate those who suffer disproportionately from the destruction that the West has caused.”
Do you remember Hurricane Katrina? The organized destruction created by that capitalist-patriarchal-white-supremacist-made “natural disaster” was a sign of the times.
The suffering and death of racialized people, in particular, and poor people, generally, is the necessary and accepted condition for capitalist profit accumulation and elite rule, nationally and globally.
The existential threat faced by the bulk of humanity cannot be resolved by transnational ruling elites determined to expand neoliberal capitalist exploitation – they like to call it “growth.” Only sustained and ever intensifying massive organization and mobilization efforts against neoliberal capitalism and other systems of oppression, led by those dominated and exploited by racial-gendered capital, can possibly halt the intensification of global fascism.
According to the non-profit organization, the Oakland Institute, “African American and Hispanic American households suffered the worst rates of hunger and food insecurity with 22% and 21.7%, respectively.” See http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/?q=node/view/104
v I do not include China in this group, since it has recently become the number one polluter. Despite China’s rapidly growing contribution to global warming, it is not equally culpable as the West. This, of course, does not mean it should not take more progressive steps.