[Marxism] The rape of the Third World
Scotlive at aol.com
Scotlive at aol.com
Sun Jul 25 09:57:37 MDT 2004
The U.S. occupation of Iraq has spawned the reemergence of the word
imperialism into the lexicon of everyday language, after an absence of five decades
stretching back to the end of Second World War. U.S. military adventures since
then - particularly in Korea, Vietnam and Central America - were dressed up as
defensive operations against the spread and threat posed by Communism and all
its evil manifestations: namely national liberation, self determination, and
social and economic justice.
The truth is, however, that imperialism has remained as constant and ever
present as the changing of the seasons. The only thing which has changed is
its packaging, which could be described as old wine in a new bottle.
The U.S. ruling class emerged from the Second World War as the new
imperial masters of the world. As such, they quickly recognized that the plethora
of national liberation movements which had sprung up across the globe after the
war, determined to shake off the yoke of colonialism, demanded new methods of
colonization than the ones which had been utilized previously by the European
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund's stated aim, when formed
by a small coterie of international financiers and bankers (mainly British and
American, with the British by now accepting their role as junior partners in
the new order of things) at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944, was to
rebuild Europe and stabilize the world's financial markets after the turmoil of the
Second World War.
In line with those aims, the newly independent former colonies in the
Third World, which had gradually won their freedom, had to be brought to heel and
controlled, for they possessed the natural and human resources necessary for
expansion under this new global empire.
After suffering the ravages of colonialism, and after the hard struggle
for liberation, nations of the African continent in particular were left with
devastated, moribund economies which placed them at the mercy of vultures in
the shape of the big international banks and financial institutions.
These banks and institutions loaned enormous sums at predatory interest
rates, making it impossible for the Third World to rebuild, develop and repay
their loans at the same time.
It had to be one or the other.
Things reached a crisis in the mid 1980's when, to stave off the prospect
of a world depression due to the bad debts incurred by Third World countries,
the IMF and WB stepped in and took over responsibility for those debts from
the big private banks like Barclays, Credit Lyons, Chase Manhattan, etc., which
were threatened with collapse.
It was a move which put the IMF and WB into an unassailable position of
power which they have never relinquished since.
Since that time nearly 70 countries in the world have been forced to adopt
Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP's) designed and developed by the IMF and
WB. These SAP's are intended to restructure the economies of said nations in
order to best meet the repayment needs of aid or loans provided by the First
World, represented by the IMF and WB.
This requires them to impose severe austerity programs on their already
beleaguered economies, which translates into the eradication of much needed
public spending on social programs in health, education, transport, agriculture,
and so on.
These austerity programs pave the way for transnational corporations,
always looking to reduce production costs, to come in and set up their
manufacturing operations, driving people, including children in many cases, from the land
into factories, where they are forced to labor long hours under horrendous
conditions for starvation wages.
This serves two purposes: it destroys the agro-economies of the Third
World, which are now required to import their food from the First World, and
ensures the outward flow of wealth to First World transnational corporations and
their international investors.
The case of Nigeria is typical. Today, life expectancy in this oil-rich,
aid-dependent nation is 47 years for males and 52 years for females. Of a
population of 120 million, 89 million people live on less than a dollar a day,
this despite the fact that the Niger Delta region contains large deposits of oil.
One IMF loan of $12 billion has become a continuous unpaid debt of $27
The people of Nigeria do not see a dollar of the wealth produced by their
oil, which flows unchecked out of their country into the pockets of a
consortium of British, Dutch and U.S. oil companies. Theirs are lives reduced to a
daily struggle for survival.
Six million children under the age of 5 die each year in the Third World
as a whole due to hunger and preventable disease.
This year by year genocide against the children of the poor is the net
result of the IMF and World Bank's rape and theft of the Third World's natural
and human resources on behalf of the ruling classes in the First World.
It is imperialism by any other name, soft imperialism which arrives
disguised as aid but with its real aim indistinguishable to that of the hard
imperialism we see now in Iraq with military occupation.
Both are embarked upon in order to feed the insatiable appetite of the
free market capitalist powers.
Both spell misery and death for millions.
Both constitute an evil which is inimical to human progress.
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