WSF (1996): “The International War Against The Poor”

WSF (1996): “The International War Against The Poor”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 2, number 2, third quarter 1996. Complete PDF is here

The gap between the rich minority (the ruling class of bosses, professional politicians, top State officials and military leaders) and the poor majority of workers and peasants (workers of all grades, their families, the unemployed, soldiers up to Non- Commission Officer level, labour tenants, sharecroppers, and small family farmers employing no wage -labour) continues to widen across  the globe.

According to the recent Human Development Report (1996) released by the United Nations:
* 338 billionaires have more assets than the combined incomes of countries home to 45% of the worlds population.
* 1,6 billion people in 89 countries are now poorer than they 10 years ago.
* The richest 20% of the worlds population get 85% of the world income (up from about 70% thirty years ago).

Lets not be fooled into thinking this inequality is between different “nations” it is between the rich and the poor within each country. For example, in Britain, one of the richest countries in the world, the richest 20% of the population earn 10 times more than the poorest 20%. It is estimated that nearly 30% of children are malnourished to the existent that their growth is stunted. The top 1% of the population owned 80% of all stocks and shares.

Meanwhile in the Third World, the living conditions of the wealth ruling elite contrast sharply with the living standards of the poor. In South Africa:
* 60,000 farmers own 87% of the land.
* 5% of the population owns 88% of personal wealth
* In 1991, Whites, who are about 13% of the population earned 61% of total income. Africans earned only 28%
* But inequality is also distributed on class lines: the richest 20% of African households increased their incomes by almost 40% between 1975- 1991, while the incomes of the poorest 40% of African households decreased by almost 40% of the same period. A similar decline in the real incomes took place for the poorest 40% of Whites.

The bosses and rulers, and the workers and the poor, have nothing in common. A struggle must go on until the masses overthrow the exploiters and create a free Stateless Socialist (Anarchist ) society.

References: 1) United Nations Human Development Report (1996) 2) Umsebenzi 6 (4) 3) Weekly Mail 11/03/1994, (4) R. Lekachman, (1981), Capitalism for Beginners.