By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
When the propaganda of capitalism calls on third-world nations to implement or expand market policies, or to shy away from socialist policies of common benefit, no one knows whether it is a mockery that reflects how much the intelligence of peoples is undervalued or an invitation to become accomplices of the minority segment of the world’s population that exploits the majority.
The manipulation of the media by the empire -including on the Internet- has led most of the citizens of the United States, and of the countries within its sphere of influence and control, to call “democracy” a system as undemocratic as the one presided over by Washington, although Wall Street and the military and industrial complex at the Pentagon’s axis are in fact ruled by it.
The dictatorship that the United States exerts today on the world with the support of the opulent classes of the other countries of the planet, now goes through moments that denote precariousness.
Extreme poverty, marginality, the lack of opportunities for education and decent work, the disintegrating emigration of the family with its sequels of violence and drug addiction, all result from a capitalist system that has been unable to give answers to the pressing problems capitalism has created. The individualistic ethic in which capitalism is rooted is the nourishing mother of all the worst of today’s human societies: corruption, the illegal appropriation of things, speculation, banditry, the exploitation of the work of others, the privatization of social spaces and other “beautiful” things.
According to updated data from the United Nations, there are 7.545 billion people on this planet, of which more than 20 million are chronically malnourished; 2 billion do not have access to medicines; nearly 900 million do not have drinking water; more than 900 million lack housing or live in precarious housing; 1.6 billion do not have electricity; 2,500 million lack drainage systems or sewers; 770 million adults are illiterate; 18 million die each year from poverty (the majority are children under the age of 5); more than 200 million children and young people between the ages of 5 and 17 work in conditions close to slavery as soldiers, prostitutes, servants or in other dangerous or humiliating tasks.
If capitalism could exhibit a world of progress, freedom and justice, it would be easy to sell the system all over the world and have the Third World accompany it in this crisis. But with so much horror in its offerings, every day must spend more and more to sell capitalism as the system the world needs.
Only through lies and the threat of weapons, both fed with gigantic financial resources to the detriment of the real interests of humanity, does this hegemony continue…
See how, in order to obtain military domination, in the midst of the global crisis of capitalism, Washington maintains close to a thousand military bases around the planet. And it wages bloody wars to maintain its occupation of third world countries for the sake of its geopolitical objectives and the strategic interests of the big oil corporations.
But it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to understand that a system that generates so much injustice among human beings and is inept at managing their relations with nature is sustainable for much longer. It is not known if humanity has time to repair, for the sake of its survival, the disaster provoked in the environment by the voracity that moves capitalism, a system that cannot be humanized, because its intrinsic nature is inhuman.
Putting social and solidarity ahead of the greed imposed by capitalism -because it needs them to exist- is the only way humanity can save itself on the basis of its most precious aptitude, intelligence, when applied to its survival instinct.
It has already been announced that the next U.S. crisis will be caused by the health gap between rich and poor. This has widened in the last two decades, according to a study by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) that shows a “dramatically alarming” lack of progress in health equity in the last 25 years in the USA. Income inequality is the root cause of health inequality, as the costs of health care and a healthy lifestyle are high. The more than five million people examined make this study meaningful.
The root cause of income inequality has been the result of the extreme monetary policies of central banks, which have fuelled asset price bubbles that only enrich those who own them. With home ownership at 1960s levels, and more than 50% of citizens not owning shares, this research suggests that failed policies have led to the implosion of the middle class.
July 5, 2019
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It doesn’t matter that Charles Dickens (1812-1870) died so long ago, what he wrote is still alive for anyone who wants to assume the adventure of reading, and during these months the bookstores of the country stimulate the encounter with the English novelist, through difficult times (Editorial Arte y Literatura, Colección Huracán, 2017).
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Every summer, inevitably, I associate the season with reading. Since my student days, I’ve been looking forward to those months when, in addition to taking a walk, going to the beach, watching movies or series, reading as much as I wanted and as much as I wanted, without academic demands.
Now, professional life leaves less leisure time, but I still can not conceive of a vacation, not even an obligatory medical rest, without reading some postponed titles. If the book comes in through one door, boredom comes out through the other.
Where literature reigns, the overwhelming and sticky Cuban heat can give rise to the icy feeling of helplessness on a 19th-century English street, with hands terrified by the cold and eyes tarnished by thick factory smoke.
It doesn’t matter that Charles Dickens (1812-1870) died so long ago, what he wrote is still alive for anyone who wants to take on the adventure of reading, and during these months the country’s bookstores stimulate the encounter with the English novelist through difficult times (Editorial Arte y Literatura, Colección Huracán, 2017).
Assuming today those classics where the author does not hesitate to show his “hairy ear” and interrupts the plot to give assessments and question the reader himself, can be a somewhat “strange” experience for those accustomed to contemporary works.
However, there is a singular pleasure in feeling as close to women or men as Dickens, capable of writing more than 400 pages of intelligent and nuanced stories without computers.
In Hard Times (1854) rationality and feeling are confronted; there are no archetypes of good and bad, and few characters are spared the irony with which the author describes a social panorama where money was the center, and the craziest theories were invented -perhaps the great-great-grandparents of fake news- to justify that some had everything and others nothing.
As a good narrator, Dickens avoids clichés and suspicious happy endings, although some crooked beings receive some divine justice and others redemption. It takes advantage of its pages for a defense that is not at all working class pamphletarian, relegated to being born and dying confined to the same spaces, and without even expectations.
Thus, the worker Stephen Blackpool makes a perhaps naive, though accurate, defense of his own: “I do not know how it happens, madam, that the best qualities we have are precisely those that lead us to almost all our difficulties, misfortunes and errors. (…). We are also suffering people and, as a general rule, we want to do well. I can’t think that all the faults are on our side.
Hard Times is a crusade against hypocrisies, which the author mocks mercilessly, and also a powerful reflection on the most despicable human qualities and those essential – among them imagination – to try happiness.