While capitalism is upheld by Western European nations as the paradigm for economic fairness and efficiency, it conversely has a 400-year history of profiteering that traces to shameless enslavement and colonizing of non-European people by the same nations.
Today, capitalism's tentacles of debauchery reach beyond the so-called “Third World” to now roost among citizens within these very European nations, as well as America. Once fiscally robust, America is debt-addicted and job-starved, with near-bankrupt states and a crippled infrastructure of roads, bridges, schools and airports.
In fed-up response, the Occupy Wall Street protesters are rightly ranting over capitalism's recent malfeasance. Yet, in broad spectrum, it must be reckoned that the descendants of those who were once enslaved or colonized comprise a majority of people who now live in poverty.
The sum of Westernized capitalism – from its extirpations of yesterday to free-market enterprise today – has left trails of billions of impoverished non-European people all around the world wherever labor is performed, services are provided and resources are located.
With Africa, particularly, it is not coincidental that the currencies and economies of African nations are among the weakest in the world, while the currencies and economies of Western colonial nations are among the strongest, even though most lack natural resources comparable to those of the African states they colonized. Capitalist hegemony over Africa siphoned off unknown trillions in labor and resources upon which Western economies unfairly stand.
True, the Occupy Wall Street movement cannot undo capitalism's ugly past. But the point is to stitch threads of commonality and continuity, given that capitalism did not suddenly get derailed by George Bush or Barack Obama or by halos of immunity and tax havens for the rich or by the cost of military adventurism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.
The middle class is certainly feeling capitalism's pitchfork more of late but capitalism is no more depraved lately than at its inception. A main difference is that, yesterday, its parasitic forces usurped non-Europeans of sovereignty, territory, resources and freedom, while, today, extensions of the same parasitic forces are coming home to roost by cannibalizing Americans of all ethnicities of jobs, savings, stocks, pensions, social programs, health care and homes.
Like African Americans, growing numbers of Euro-Americans have discovered that capitalism has nothing to do with “equality” nor is it “democratic.” You don't vote on the overpriced gas and oil for your car and home. You don't vote for who owns or commercializes natural resources. You don't vote on mortgage or bank interest rates or the elasticity of money supply regulated by the Federal Reserve. There's no such thing as equality or democracy in the Western format of capitalism.
As such, the current 16.7 percent unemployment rate for blacks is more than double the eight percent for whites and blacks lag in every major index of economics. It’s interesting that eight percent would be long-awaited relief to African Americans, yet, conversely, eight percent is so insufferable to Euro-Americans that it has sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement to condemn “certain aspects” of capitalism.
But, at core, U.S. capitalism is fueled by consumption, which is fueled by credit, which is fueled by the very financial institutions that lie at the heart of the protests. Besides, be it Bush or Obama, both the Republican and the Democratic parties are corporate manifestations. America operates a de-facto plutocratic style of governance, where insiders make “contributions” with known intents for favoritism to influence policymaking and party platforms.
With the 2012 election approaching and Obama empathizing with the Wall Street “occupiers,” the media is setting a stage for Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street showdowns. However, beyond partisan bickering that blames the “other party” for America's woes, a definitive matter is that America's economy is linked to centuries of international graft and gluttony from when Europeans ruled by overt brute force. But, with fewer “banana republics,” new balances of power are reshaping today's decolonized world and diminishing the once-sturdiness of Pax Americana (U.S. political, economic, and military advantages).
The fluffy wording of the U.S. Constitution is one thing but America’s capitalistic wealth wasn't acquired by playing by the “democratic” rules it now wants to export to Africa and the Middle East. So, as predatory capitalism is coming home to roost while Americans simultaneously cheer the downfall of select governments, Black America should be circumspect that we aren't, in effect, cheering the latest mutation of the self-same predatory forces of which we are historically among the greatest casualties.
Ezrah Aharone is the author of Sovereign Evolution: Manifest Destiny from Civil Rights to Sovereign Rights and Pawned Sovereignty: Sharpened Black Perspectives on Americanization, Africa, War and Reparations. He is a founding member of the Center for Sovereignty Advancement. He may be reached at Ezrah@EzrahSpeaks.com