Capitalism Zindabad

By B. R. Gowani

Utho meri dunyA ke gariboN ko jagA do
KAkh-e-umrA ke dar-o-deewAr hilA do

Jis khet se dehkAN ko muyassar na ho rozi
Us khet ke har khosha-e-gandam ko jalA do

Rise and rouse my world’s wretched ones
Shake fiercely the palaces of the rich ones

Scorch every cluster of wheat in the field
That denies livelihood to the tilling ones

Poet/philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)

The police, the government and the security machinery have become so strong that you can’t even think of such an uprising. The capitalists are not scared of the poor. No. The poor cannot reach them, but the rich can and do always to the poor — with their begging bowls that have a perpetual hole. With the poor people’s money, they’ll fill up the crack because, otherwise, the former’s future will slide down that hole.

What can the poor do? They’ll give the money because the leaders of two parties (probably, the only democracy in the world which has only two parties representation) declare that that’s the only option left. There is a South Asian saying: “They both defecate with one anus.” It applies perfectly to the Republicans and the Democrats, the permanently damaged and corrupt twins, always in sync in the way they govern, whether it is wars or bailouts.

The corporate-owned media has sung the lullaby of the capitalist system’s importance for so long that the majority of the people (bearers of brunt of the failed policies) are always in a state of political drowsiness due to the daily dose of this media-anesthesia. Hence, any collective voice of dissent by them is out of question.

These same capitalists are on a successful march in the developing countries with the help of their black and brown counterparts, who are also spreading their wings and flaunting their wealth shamelessly.

Ordinary people are fighting a losing battle. The power and cunningness of the capitalists is sure to succeed. (The Indian media can get first prize, if there was such a thing, as the best imitator of its US counterpart. Their media will thus lead the public to “manufactured consent.”)

The capitalists allow people to say or write whatever they want through outlets other than their own dominant media. This gives some room (more like a shack) for the frustrated people to vent out anger while easing their pain of being frequently screwed by the capitalists.

Nothing changes. The only thing that changes is the writer’s or speaker’s blood pressure readings.

Whatever crimes the Bush administration had committed and whatever crimes the Obama government is committing; and whatever miseries capitalism has caused, within and without the US, the following two great realities cannot be ignored:

1. The façade of United States being the “greatest democracy” and capitalism as the only suitable system for the human species, have lost their hijabs. The dire situation of the poor has continued to demonstrate the inefficacy of the capitalist system. In 1900, Theodore Roosevelt wrote to Henry L. Sprague: “I have always been fond of the West African proverb: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” <1>

2. The second factor is the greed of the capitalists that extended to such an extent that the sick system not only imploded but it also exploded creating not only a national crisis but a global one too.

A very bold woman for her time, Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, once said affectionately about her father: “My father wants to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.” <2>

The United States should learn from Ms. Roosevelt-Longworth’s astute observation as this narcissism holds true today too.

The same politicians who never tire of preaching “less government” have opened up the public coffers to the people responsible for the economic mess: a humongous tragedy. Christopher Ketcham said: “Let the free market carry out their corpses to the gutter.” <3>

Here is a fair and equitable suggestion:

• Any time a corporation goes down, the top leadership and their family members should be stripped of all their wealth.
• That wealth should then be used to move one of the poorest inner city neighborhoods; to a newly built neighborhood.
• The neighborhood should be chosen by a lottery drawing.
• The vacant hood should then be populated with the top leadership and their families.
• They would serve their time here just like community service.
• They can move out when they’re able to financially.
• In this way, the cost and drama of the Congressional hearings can be avoided.
• Also in some cases, the guilty elite can avoid prison and now be free to live in the inner city slums.

In the current government bail-out big businesses prevailed as usual, while the common people lost, the wealthy won more. The US failed its people; and it is “business as usual”.

Iqbal was aware of the cunning traits of the capitalists.

He wrote:

Makar ki chAloN se bAzi le gayA sarmAedAr
IntehAi sAdgi se khA gayA mazdur mAt

With deceptive moves the capitalist was victorious
The worker lost his game due to his extreme simplicity

B. R. Gowani can be reached at


1 LG
3 CP

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