[Marxism] Rhino horn poaching: brought to you by the BRICS | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jul 8 13:45:41 MDT 2018
Three days ago a NY Post article titled “Lions fatally maul poachers who
broke into reserve to hunt rhinos” got shared widely on Facebook,
including by me. For obvious reasons, this was a story that made you
feel that some kind of animal revolt was taking place a la Planet of the
What you don’t get from Murdoch’s tabloid is any sense of the complexity
that lay beneath the surface of this incident. For that you had to go to
the NY Times, a newspaper that many radicals despise because it is for
big business, etc., ad nauseam. However, as true as that may be, there
is no substitute for the kind of newspaper that Karl Marx used to read
in gathering the facts. For him, it was the London Times. For us it is
the NY Times.
Titled “Lions Eat Men Suspected of Poaching Rhinos. Some Saw ‘Karma.’”,
the Gray Lady coverage identified the socio-economic circumstances that
led to the poaching epidemic:
Rhino horn is worth about $9,000 per pound in Asia, driving a lucrative
and illicit trade. It is a prized ingredient in Chinese traditional
medicine and is considered a status symbol.
South Africa is home to about 20,000 wild rhinos, more than 80 percent
of the world’s population. About one-third of the animals are owned by
private breeders. Since 2008, more than 7,000 rhinos have been hunted
illegally, with 1,028 killed in 2017, according to the South African
Department of Environmental Affairs.
“Selling a single horn can exceed the yearly income of most rural
people,” Dr. Hübschle said.
The Eastern Cape is South Africa’s poorest province, with a gross
domestic product of less than $3,700 per capita. The unemployment rate
here, including people who have given up looking for work, exceeds 45
percent, significantly higher than the national average.
“Behind poaching there’s a bigger story of structural inequality,” Dr.
Hübschle said. “People were chased off their land during colonialism and
apartheid, losing their customary hunting rights and tenure. Today, many
local communities experience some trickle-down from poaching, while
attitudes are generally negative towards private game owners and
More information about the Marxism