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Capitalism Commodifies Life, and Everything & Everyone is Expendable

According to the United Nations, over 811 million people are hungry, and nearly 2.4 billion people lack access to adequate nutrition. In the United States, the wealthiest country in the world, the number of people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from has risen to over 38 million. In other words, nearly 12% of Americans are food insecure (1 out of 4 US households were unable to acquire enough food to meet their needs in 2020). Wow.
World hunger and food insecurity are at all time highs, and one of the biggest driving forces for our current predicament is war. The United States outspends nearly the rest of the world combined on its military each year, and according to the best estimates, between 2.5 – 4+ million people have been killed due to the illegal US invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan (the US government has tried to discredit the 2.5+ million figure, but these are the same folks who have told us for decades that the number of people killed in the Vietnam War was between 250,00-300,000, when the actual number far exceeds 2 million as well (and counting btw)). In addition to the emotional and physical trauma of being under assault, Brown University has reported that at least 37 million people are now displaced too as a direct result of the wars that the US has waged since 9/11/2001 (a number that exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900). Displacement for most people means being forced to leave your land and community and having no option to feed yourself and your family (those with less, have even fewer options).
Author Raj Patel had this to say in an excellent piece from Democracy Now!: “There were forces that were pushing up the number of people and the percentage of people around the world who were going hungry even before COVID…Conflict is driving hunger because it creates displacement. It means that you plant the field, and the war tears through your community; you must move on, and harvests are lost, and livelihoods are lost. So, climate, conflict and, of course, capitalism. Capitalism operates through making sure that you buy low and you sell expensive. And that’s why in the United States seven out of the 10 worst-paying jobs are in the food system. But around the world, the deep irony is that the poorest people are usually the people whose hands touch our food. Now, when you’ve got conflict, climate and capitalism compounded with COVID, you see a really sort of apocalyptic situation.”
“If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”
– Noam Chomsky (1990)
And why are there so many US led wars? The great muckraking journalist I.F. Stone once famously said that “All Governments Lie”. This has certainly been the case with the US government since before its inception, and matters only seem to be getting worse. I am not an economic systems scholar, but it is pretty clear that capitalism is the root cause for much of what ails our species, Mother Earth, and all of her inhabitants (e.g., Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry facing our planet today, and the consumption of animal products devastates our health, but rather than inform the public and address these issues properly, the US government subsidizes the meat and dairy industries to the tune of about $40 billion a year, in order to increase revenues by keeping the prices for these types of mega-damaging foods artificially low. In addition, the US government also looks the other way as hundreds of billions of dollars in hidden costs for meat and dairy production/consumption, are offloaded onto society each year in the form of healthcare bills, environmental damage, animal suffering, etc.). So, why do all governments lie, and why are there so many wars? In the case of the United States, it is all about increasing wealth and power, regardless of the consequences. Greed, arrogance, and entitlement are the names of the game, and the game is called capitalism. From the attempted genocide of Native Americans, to American Slavery (in part, the result of a desire for cheap labor), to the Vietnam War (called the American War in Vietnam), to the illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan (to name just a few), the number of lies, massacres, and the game itself continue to expand. The latest examples can be found with both the US Military and the Biden Administration beating the drums of war against China. Apparently, the US needs a new villain to keep their war machine going, and China appears to be next up (aside from the offensive and immoral implications, can you say “arms race”, and perhaps “the annihilation of our species”?). A US Admiral named Charles Richard recently announced that “nuclear employment is a real possibility” with both Russia and China. According to Daniel Ellsberg, a nuclear war between the US and Russia would wipe out about 90% of the world’s population. The US political & military systems are replete with war criminals/mongers & climate crisis deniers who are without a doubt, the biggest threats to the survival of our species. And nobody blinks an eye. The United States of War? You bet. 

“Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail for the middle classes.” – Howard Zinn

And the US war machine continues to rear its ugly head as a new trilateral military partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States has been formed with all of its players saying that it is needed to counter China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific region (the only threat that China presents at the moment is economic, as it hasn’t squandered $8-9 trillion in the last 20 years to finance 800 military bases, and illegal invasions and occupations like the US). As part of the agreement, the U.S. has agreed to help Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, replacing a previous deal Australia had with France. Once again, the US taxpayers/voters didn’t have a say in the offensive and catastrophic dealings of the US government.
As per author David Vine, “And I really hope and think the Biden administration can be much better than that. We are in no position to be building, to be spending any time, any energy building military alliances at this moment, when we have such grave security threats facing us, from global warming to global pandemics to hunger to inequality, global poverty. Those are the kinds of alliances we should be building. And those are the kinds of alliances that the United States can be building. I think, really, we have a choice now. We have a choice whether we want to firmly and finally turn our backs on war or engage in diplomacy and a different kind of alliance building focused on the real security threats facing us, or whether we want to firmly and finally commit to a new cold war with China that could be catastrophically damaging to the world. I mean, it could make the catastrophe of the last 20 years of war, where, by my estimate, 4.5 million people died in the U.S.-led wars, where we spent $8 trillion, “trillion” with a T,  on war, you know, this new cold war will strip even more funds from the needs that are actually facing us and plow more money into the military-industrial-congressional complex. This is the choice we’re facing.”
So, not only is the US government’s lying more brazen, but there is zero accountability too. The architects of the most recent neverending “wars” (George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Joe Biden, and many others) have blamed their mistakes on bad information. It wasn’t bad information. They lied. They knew it then, and they know it now. That is why millions of us took to the streets to protest again, and again. Can you imagine if the situation was reversed, and another country had invaded and occupied the US with the same results (2.5 – 4 million people killed)? Under such a scenario, the number of human casualties worldwide would no doubt be in the billions. As Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and other corporate democrats and republicans continue to antagonize China, and to a lesser extent, Russia, I am reminded again, of the words of Howard Zinn, “How can you have a war on terrorism, when war itself is terrorism.”
“Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.” – Noam Chomsky
The US corporate media (which is hard to distinguish from state media), has long been a cheerleader for these never ending wars, and capitalism drives their behavior too. They are only loyal to profit margins, advertisers, and whoever is in power (According to John Schwarz of The Intercept, “if you purchased $10,000 of stock evenly divided among America’s top five defense contractors on September 18, 2001, the day President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and faithfully reinvested all dividends, it would now be worth $97,295). They don’t give a bleep about the truth, justice, and our collective future. The US corporate media continues to be a real danger, and a big part of our problems. But it is not just the corporate news outlets, but also the many celebrities in this country who contribute to the continued patterns and repeated crimes of endless US wars and occupations. Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is a funny, and seemingly sweet guy, but he has to stop with the George W. Bush nonsense. By having the former president on his show and yucking it up (I couldn’t watch because I was chucking it up), he was once again normalizing the atrocities that were committed by the Bush Administration. George W. Bush seems affable enough, but he is a war criminal. What if our Iraqi brothers and sisters were family? Millions dead, and all because of lies, and the architects of these crimes are making their rounds on the late night talk show circuit? Are you kidding me? But it is not just Jimmy Kimmel. Late night talk show host Seth Meyers is another seemingly nice guy, who recently referred to Barack Obama as the beloved former president, and I was once again chucking it up (thank goodness it was laundry day!). Say what? Among other transgressions, President Obama made campaign promises in 2008 to hold members of the Bush Administration accountable for their actions. Once elected, he conveniently announced that he would not be taking action and that the country needed to “move forward and not backward.” How has that, and our never ending wars worked out?  And as awful as Trump was, in many respects, it is hard to say that he was any worse than Joe Biden. Joe Biden is a war criminal too. He was not just a supporter of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, but he was also one of its architects. President Biden is also a supporter of the apartheid state in Israel, bloated military budgets, and unlimited corporate money to buy our elections. And oh yes, he is also against universal healthcare or sick-care (despite close to 65% of Americans agreeing that the government has the responsibility to provide health care coverage for all). In other words, he is a disaster too. But you will never hear any of this through the mainstream and corporate media channels. Why? In addition to the financial implications, if they started to hold any of the politicians and corporate/military leaders accountable, they would also have to look in the mirror and hold themselves accountable too. 
And that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. In fact, nobody has been held accountable. The very same politicians, corporate media types (including the retired military generals who are affiliated with weapon manufacturers), and the countless war profiteers who are responsible for these disasters in the first place, still have their jobs (or worse, been promoted), still have their platforms, still enjoy their celebrity lifestyles, and still have their power and abilities to influence. Who has been held accountable? Unfortunately, whistleblowers. The same whistleblowers who fight the good fight, and who have proven to be our last line of defense when it comes to exposing corrupt leaders, both in and out of government. And despite their heroic efforts to expose the broken systems, and the lies, corruption, and crimes of our leaders (and doing the job that has long been ignored by the corporate media), it is only the whistleblowers who have served any jail time (and often had their lives ruined). 
So, the US has nearly 800 military bases worldwide, and 300 of them surround China. Again, can you imagine if the situation was reversed? Did you know too that the United States has the highest number of billionaires, and that the world’s 26 richest people own as much wealth as 50% of the world’s population? The one country that poses the greatest threat to world peace, and the survival of our species, is the United States of America.
“Genetic engineering has never been about saving the world, it’s about controlling the world. Nature shrinks as capital grows, The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis that it creates.” – Vandana Shiva 
I am reminded of the words of Nick Estes, who wrote the excellent book, Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline: “They (Native Americans) incarnate the inconvenient truth that the US was founded on genocide and the continuing theft of a continent.”
We can now add 6 other continents to the end of that quote. 
Which reminds me of another nugget of wisdom from Mr. Estes’s fine book:
“The Water protectors also ask us: What does water want from us? What does the earth want from us? Mni Wiconi – water is life – exists outside the logic of capitalism. Whereas past revolutionary struggles have strived for the emancipation of labor from capital, we are challenged not just to imagine, but to demand the emancipation of earth from capital. 
For the Earth to live, capitalism must die. Hecetu welo!”
Notes and Resources:
I couldn’t confirm, but I believe that the activist/actor James Cromwell said “Capitalism commodifies life, and everything and everyone is expendable.” Thank you Mr. Cromwell. 🙂
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