Guatemala and the Sins of Capitalism

This is not a post about Guatemala, not in particular. It’s about treachery. It seems there is no limit to the chicanery of modern capitalists. It is so tiresome writing on this blog, writing about things for which I feel I have a useful message, with virtually no one reading what I write, and yet continuing on, heedless of the pathetically ineffective results of my efforts.

Yet continue I must since, as the saying goes, hope springs eternal. Our disgusting politicians continue with their blatant lies about the benevolence of capitalism. Capitalism, provider of a cornucopia of bounty, provider of all things to all, provided they submit, submit to the demands of the capitalist credo. You want truth? The truth is, capitalism provides profits to capitalists. Period. Except for all of the serious destruction of lives and the planet that is concomitant to the profit-making.

Guatemala, home to descendants of the Maya peoples, has been subjected to the cruelties of the Guatemalan right and the North American monster for at least six decades, since Arbenz Guzman was forced to resign. The U.S. supported the overthrow of Guzman because of the land reforms he instituted, reforms that distributed large land holdings of the United Fruit Company to Guatemalan peasants. Guatemala was immersed in a brutal civil war for 36 years. Eventually Otto Pérez Molina, leader of the right wing Patriot Party, was elected president in November 2011. Molina has been accused of many atrocities, including genocide and torture during the civil war.

But all of this is introductory to this tale of the perversions of capitalism and corporations in present-day Guatemala and elsewhere around the globe. Scientific American, in an online article (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=biofuels-land-grab-guatemala&WT.mc_id=SA_CAT_ENGYSUS_20120119) describes how land is being appropriated around the world for agribusiness. In Guatemala it has been largely for sugarcane and palm oil production. Elsewhere, confiscated land might be destined for food production, or for cash crops. It matters not, the land is taken with impunity, usually with the complicity of powerful local families or businesses. According to the Scientific American article, 56 million hectares (138 million acres) have been “negotiated” since 2008, with help from the IMF or the World Bank.

It is not my intent to simply relate the story already reported by Scientific American. I just want to reiterate my contention that capitalism is literally raping the poor of the Earth, reducing them to debt-slavery. Once the land is taken, the local peasants have no choice, if they want to survive, but to submit to the new masters of the land. If there is no choice, then this is servitude. Involuntary servitude is slavery.

The perpetrators of this outrage disingenuously claim that their objective is to create jobs! These jobs, of course, never appear. But here’s the really bad part, to my mind. None of this morally bankrupt activity would be worth doing if we in the “advanced” countries were not eager to take advantage of the “fruits” of this thievery. We think we cannot live without our cars and trucks, and abundant fuel to run them. We think we cannot live without fresh blueberries from the other side of the planet in February. We cannot live without the latest electronic gadgets, infantile as they so frequently are. We cannot live without huge televisions and the power to run them ten hours every day. We cannot imagine life without a cell phone. And on and on. I ask you, how did the human race survive without all these amenities?

Debt slavery? Us? Yes, for sure. Most Americans are deeply in debt, mortgage debt, credit card debt, all kinds of debt. We are dupes of the most infantile, naïve sort. We are literally led down the garden path by the corporate forces of capitalism. And we do it willingly! And that may just be a good thing. Why? The state, which is after all an arm of the corporate establishment, has a monopoly on power and violence. If we resist too vigorously, we will be dealt with harshly, if you catch my drift.

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