By Jorge Rodriguez Montserrat – Oct 5, 2020
Where is the world heading to? What is the sense of the value of humanity in terms of community and recognition of the sufferings of the other? 2020 is a golden opportunity to reflect and establish new principles for common coexistence, seeking to close the gap between those who have more and those who need the most throughout the globe. But there is a significant obstacle to this: the blind and voracious selfishness that dictates the logic of capitalism.
Raising our voice against this is not a novelty for the Bolivarian Revolution: Commander Hugo Chávez always incorporated it into any space for multilateral participation. We remember the words of his speech in 2009 before the UN General Assembly, when he took stock of the moment of splendor of the Latin American peoples who recovered their dignity from the hand of governments with an unbending popular sense, and were projected as a saving revolution of the human race: “That revolution, some, sisters and brothers, have not realized it, is the beginning of the road to the salvation of this planet, to the salvation of human race threatened by capitalism, by imperialism, by war, by hunger. It is the necessary revolution.”
We recognize the spirit that mobilizes the United Nations System, in its interpretation of the needs of humanity, to maintain peace and security in an unequal world, in the midst of innumerable domination efforts. The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the way to reach a fairer world, with possibilities for long-term sustainability. If humanity can meet the goals in 2030, we would be in the presence of a global Revolution. But we have to call attention to the feasibility of this plan. Let us not fool ourselves and let us not be fooled: it is not possible to achieve these goals within the framework of capitalism.
It is naive to think that the owners of power, those addicted to accumulation, those who believe in the strange theses of social Darwinism, thinking that the death of the poor is a natural process in the metabolism of humanity, will facilitate the drastic actions that must be taken all together with at least the first four ODS: end poverty, hunger zero, health and wellness and quality education. To achieve the 2030 Agenda would be a severe blow to profit and the undue and speculative expansion of capital.
His Holiness, Pope Francis, in a heartfelt reflection on what these times of pandemic have left behind, pointed out bluntly: “when the obsession to possess and dominate excludes millions of people from primary goods; when economic and technological inequality is such that it lacerates the social fabric; and when dependence on unlimited material progress threatens the common home, then we cannot just stare.” We agree. They are not just words or slogans, it is the empirical verification of what is happening in the world.
Capitalism and its form of corporate democracy brag much about its ability to generate “equal opportunities.” It is all a propaganda fiction. In order for some system of social organization to eventually produce equal opportunities for individuals and groups, the precondition sine qua non is to guarantee equality of conditions in a general and universal way. That which the Liberator Simón Bolívar elevated to the category of “established and practiced equality.” The equality established in the dead letter of the laws, restricted by the system of accumulation and domination, is not only insufficient, it is fictitious, unrealizable, it is a fraud.
The UN 2030 Agenda, with its Sustainable Development objectives and its goals, means in practice a great effort to advance in the generation of equal conditions. That is to say, by its very nature, it is unfeasible under the bonds of capitalism. If interpreted rigorously, it could be considered an anti-capitalist instrument. Of course, it is not convenient for the UN bureaucracy to present it that way. In the strange dialectic of our Organization, they try to achieve objectives to change the world, but they fear it and live out of this same system that controls the world.
It is, in any case, a challenge to achieve that, once again with Bolívar, the United Nations can help build that system of multilateral interrelation that provides the greatest amount of happiness to the peoples.
Let’s try to substantiate the above statements with current data and from sources not close to us. Let’s review the most recent report prepared by the Oxfam organization, which, although it has prestige for its altruistic nature, is not known for being anti-system. Let’s start with the distribution of dividends that large companies have made since the end of last year. Although we could limit that this could be part of the natural economic and financial dynamics of the business world, what is less justifiable is that this movement has continued during 2020, when all the indicators presage the constriction of production and markets as a result of the impact of the global pandemic:
“The beginning of the COVID-19 crisis did not end the boom times for shareholders. According to reports from the companies themselves, Microsoft and Google have distributed more than $ 21 billion and $ 15 billion to their shareholders, respectively, since January this year. Likewise, despite the fact that the demand for its products has been reduced during the pandemic, since January of this year the automaker Toyota has distributed more than 200% of the profits obtained in this period to its investors. BASF, the German chemical giant, has paid its shareholders more than 400% of its revenue in the last six months. The American pharmaceutical giant AbbVie has already distributed 184% of its net income to its shareholders during the first two quarters of 2020. On the other hand, three of the top US companies developing COVID-19 vaccines thanks to billions of dollars of public investment – Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer – have already distributed $ 16 billion to their shareholders since January this year.
But not only profitable companies have continued to pay their shareholders. The six largest oil companies in the world (Exxon Mobil, Total, Shell, Petrobras, Chevron and BP) have accumulated losses of 61.7 billion dollars between January and July 2020, and yet they have managed to spread between their shareholders dividends worth $ 31 billion in that period. Seplat Petroleum, Nigeria’s largest oil company, distributed 132% of the profits made during the first six months of 2020 to its shareholders, despite the fact that the country is at risk of economic collapse.”
How many challenges and needs could be addressed and solved with a small part of these resources that go to the four stomachs of the global corporate sacred cows? The world turned upside down, capital with its back to the reality of human suffering. That is why we ratify the imperative need to amplify the voice of the peoples and their shortcomings. We must condemn the voracious pettiness of capitalism in times when, as the teacher Simón Rodríguez said, it is up to each other to help each other. The Oxfam report deepens, with unappealable figures, the deviation of the system that only obeys the ambition and appetite of a small group of people and condemns the great majority to the hardships of scarcity, hunger and death.
Collecting lucrative dividends in the midst of a crisis like the one the world is experiencing today is, at the very least, an affront to humanity and its urgent needs. It is the nonsense of the dominant system. Commander Hugo Chávez already said it at the United Nations with his diaphanous voice of thunder in his speech in 2009: “We need that, a new historical form. They have been talking about the new order for years, and what we have is the dying old order. We need the new order to be born, the new historical form, a new political form, a new world form. Yesterday Gaddafi said it here, a new institutionality, a new economy, a new society; but truly new, a new world, indeed.”
From the bitter experience of COVID19, the United Nations must have learned the lesson: we must rescue the capacity of the National States to direct the economy and resources for the good of the majority. Neoliberalism, deregulation in favor of private interests, has proven to be a dismal failure. Capitalism is contrary to humanity! It denies it, infects it, destroys it, kills it. There is no way to revive that rotten zombie that leaves a trail of death and desolation.
This is the great challenge that corresponds to us as an international system, to give our Organization real power of action, based on the real national capacities of its member states. President Nicolás Maduro, in his address to the General Assembly this year 2020, made a call in this direction: “Venezuela recognizes that the United Nations in these 75 years has made great contributions to humanity; however, we demand more will and efforts to preserve the achievements, to advance in new objectives.”
We have just affirmed that capitalism and humanity repel each other, they are in contradiction. Thus, although the United Nations is based on tolerance and diversity, it is in turn the multilateral organization that humanity gave itself to avoid unnecessary wars, tragedies and conflicts. To prevent the inhuman from imposing itself on the human. Consequently, when analyzing this simple syllogism, if the UN exists so that humanity can live safely, with justice and in peace, and capitalism is contrary to humanity.
Consequently, it is easy to conclude that the UN will only be able to fulfill its role in a reliable and complete way when they put a stop to the cancer of capital as the master and lord of the destinies of the peoples. For this reason, we vindicate the nobility and humanity of the 2030 Agenda and reject the obstacles to its achievement and any scavenging action of capitalism to take advantage of it and obtain profits. We do not at all deny the role of the private sectors in the construction of a just humanity, but they are not the ones who can take the reins of the political and economic decisions of the nation states.
The government of the public over the economy, so that wealth and profits are primarily oriented to guaranteeing the social rights of the peoples (the SDGs), must be assumed as the only formula for the happiness of the peoples in a post-capitalist world.
This is not the time to look out for particular interests, only together, and truly united, can we overcome difficulties and lay the foundations for a relaunch of the values of solidarity and brotherhood on which the United Nations was founded. President Nicolás Maduro also offered an important reflection on this matter in his speech on the occasion of the celebration of the 75 years of the organization: “We always remember the emergence of the United Nations System in the heat of victory against fascism, against Nazism . The most horrific expressions of capitalism and the extreme right that humanity has known and that led to a war that united humanity.
This call made by the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution leads us to the danger that the imperialist vocation of the United States represents at this crucial moment. It is the reissue of a spirit that denies human diversity, the multiplicity of voices: if you are not with me, you are against me, it is its slogan. A thought and action that goes against the constitutive principles of the United Nations Charter and Public International Law. The bizarre intemperance of the Donald Trump administration translates its need for control and power into wars, threats and illegal coercive measures against the peoples. It seeks to suffocate their economies, it does not pay attention to the difficulties of the pandemic crisis; its sole purpose is to subdue sovereign thought, original thought.
Donald Trump behaves like that rich kid from the neighborhood who owns the ball and who, when the heat of the game does not respond to his capricious appetites, he simply takes it home and leaves the rest of the neighborhood looking up at the sky. Either win, or snatch. Capitalism under Trump is the clearest example of the Barbarism to which Rosa Luxemburg referred, in opposition to socialism.
Our people demonstrate their dimension by facing with dignity the resistance struggle in the face of the systematic and implacable attack of the elite that governs the United States. Nothing has stopped us. Despite the increasingly suffocating siege, despite threats to try to violate the will of the Venezuelan people, despite the greater difficulties posed by the COVID19 pandemic, we remain standing.
This year there will be elections in Venezuela to renew the legislative power, always attached to the mandate of our National Constitution. To advance on this democratic path for the resolution of internal political controversies, President Nicolás Maduro intensified the dialogue with the Venezuelan opposition, advanced in concrete acts in good faith – such as the pardon of more than 100 people who were involved in acts attacking the institutional stability of the country.
The Bolivarian Revolution advances in the reconstruction of the national institutionality as a constant exercise of sovereignty and self-determination. These tangible results created chaos and confusion in the hegemonic centers, which, in turn, deepened their agenda of aggression against the national democratic system in a clear interventionist exercise.
As every year, we once again demand emphatically that the blockade against our Cuban brothers cease. Enough of suffering. Enough of illegal and anachronistic mechanisms that have no site. Enough of the arrogance of other times, of a world that has already transmuted. During the speeches of the celebration of the 50 years of the United Nations System, Fidel Castro, that unmistakable reference of Latin American dignity, preconfigured the necessary world, the one that the United Nations should promote:
“We want a world without hegemonisms, nuclear weapons, interventionism, racism, national or religious hatred, affronts to the sovereignty of any country, with respect for independence and self-determination of peoples, without universal models that do not consider whatsoever the tradition and culture of all components of humanity. We want a world without ruthless blockades that cause the death of men, women and children, youths and elders, like noiseless atomic bombs. We want a world of peace, justice and dignity where everyone, without exception, has the right to well-being and life.’
His words still echo, for what is true and current. The new world must condemn the nonsense of these appetites. After 75 years of the United Nations System, we must consolidate the foundations of multilateral institutions so as not to fall into the hands of the reissue of the imperialist intemperance that summoned us in the first place. This was clearly stated by President Nicolás Maduro when he closed his speech during the anniversary of the United Nations:
“If the world defeated fascism 75 years ago, the world will be able to defeat, at this stage, those who want to impose themselves as the dominant hegemon. It will be able to defeat imperialist ideas and it will be able to defeat neo-fascism. We are sure of it. The united world will be able to advance on a new path. We are full of hope and dreams. Count on Venezuela. 75 years of the United Nations System and Venezuela standing up says to the world: count on us for the construction of that new world, without empires, without hegemony, of the peoples. The 21st century belongs to the peoples”.
Thus, for our Organization to have the real power to guarantee that, indeed, the “nations are united”, it must finally get ready to release its long pants and dedicate itself, without the distractions of corporate capital, to making humanity more human, opposing once and for all to hegemonic pride and putting all its structure, policies, coordination and strengths at the service of peoples and their supreme right to happiness.
In a true world democracy, the people rule the world, including private corporations, never the other way around. We cannot miss this train for changes, if we do not get on, the whole of humanity will derail and fall into the final cliff. Let’s act together, let’s live with equality, in Peace.
Featured image: File photo.
Jorge Arreaza Montserrat
Jorge Alberto Arreaza Montserrat is a Venezuelan politician who has held several important positions in the administration of President Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro. Since August 2017, he is currently serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
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