Many people often ask; “what this capitalism that people are always talking about is”. As usual let us set the tables and chairs right and seat down to teach each other what is capitalism, its effects on their lives and the participation of the state in the development of capitalism. But first, in simple terms let us define the term “capitalism”:
“Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods and services for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labour and competitive markets” -Wikipedia.
There has been a long tradition in some parts of sociology, political science and economics that says that the laws and policy of a society reflect the interests of the owners of the society’s productive assets—slave owners in slave society, landowners in agrarian societies, and the owners of business enterprises and money capital in capitalist societies.
Now let me take our people through from the early ages of Lords and Goliaths. Gerard Winstanley argues that governments were established to protect the interests of landlords back in the 17th century. Winstanley’s theory formed the basis of what would later become known as the instrumental view of the state—the theory that the police, military, courts, prisons, and justice system are instruments of the owners of productive property to defend their interests.
In the 18th century, Adam Smith, the first classical economist, argued that civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
In the 19th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto that the executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for organizing the common affairs of the business community. In capitalist society there are 3 questions that one needs to ask:
- What group has the most of what people want?
- What group is over-represented relative to its numbers in key positions in the state and in important decision-making processes?
- What group successfully initiates, modifies or blocks public policy alternatives on equitable social distributions?
Yes. The answer is rich class or commonly called the “corporate elite”. The corporate elite; A group of major investors and high-level executives. They are the wealthiest people in society; in unequal, exploitative and skewed productive economies for the interest of the few (1%) against the interest of many (99%).
They enjoy an abundance of all the good things the societies have to offer: comfort, security, entertainment, sybaritic pleasures, freedom from toil and drudgery, the finest food, palatial residences, the best educational opportunities, and so on. They benefit most from the way in which the society is organized. This is almost clear. It stands to reason that in a capitalist society the class that benefits is the capitalist class; the rich and corporate elite.
In this the system which was originally European ensures that there is a middle class in tiny number to balance the system. The middle class seat between the rich and the poor. They will often link with both sides. When the poor revolt against the system it is the middle class that would want to the poor to negotiate with capitalist or the rich class. The middle class may, as a fact, be part of the organizing of the poor masses to overthrow the system. But even if they may want to overthrow the system they do not want to do so in the form of violence. This is simply because where there is violence property (houses, roads, electricity and telecommunication supply) would be destroyed, and this is something that the poor do not enjoy but the middle class enjoys.
The system, in order to protects itself, it brings in the equation the middle class; the middle class-which is created by the elite and the government through huge salary earned from employment in the state or in private sector. The capitalist agents (often what they call “economic analysts” may argue that private capital plays a major role in bringing about prosperity to the nation. And most importantly, it ensures the sustainability of that prosperity and flow of capital. In their analysis it is something that the government alone cannot do. In this system they say the bottom line is that private sector is necessary to sustain prosperity.
The corporate elite is also over-represented in key positions in the state and important public policy decision-making processes. For example, most members of the ANC let South African government and many states in Africa and Europe are millionaires, whose millions have come from their connections to business enterprises domestically and globally.
Most of the people appointed to cabinet positions come from high-level positions in the corporate world (in business). This group is collaborating with each other to sustain this forms of exploitation; the banks, the capitalist state and the judiciary, the military, the police, the agencies and all-in-all the religious groups collaborate to sustain the system on inequality, exploitation and oppression against the many.
The poor or the electorate, live in the slums, in shacks, in dilapidated hostels, under bridges, in low cost houses, in rural settlements, in underdeveloped areas and many are homeless. This group, which totally relies on the labour of this poor section of the society – the proletariat, they have the system that they use to protect their hegemony. They call it democracy. How can democracy be a system where the minority are enjoying the loot while the majority toil? Isn’t it that “The majority rule” should apply?
The section of the society that lives far below what the majority is living is huge; are often the majority (99%) in the world and in any state as compared to the few capitalist rich class (1%) controlling all the means of productions.
This depends on which section of the society you find yourself in that could define how you view and understand the system. The capitalist class would defend the system while the proletariat will want the system destroyed and gone.
This exercise may be harder as first the proletariat has to be made to see the system through political education. The revolutionaries, who often see the system as it is developed for many years, have to engage in campaigns to educate the poor masses about the system. Until the masses are aware of the system they will live in the system generations after another.
And since the capitalist class controls and own the media they often counter-attack any attempt by the revolutionaries to educate the masses and build a revolution. They will distort the information, lie and most of it all assassinate revolutionaries who attempt to educate the masses.
Racism, sexism, xenophobia and violence are all siblings. The parents are capitalism and imperialism. To deal with racism, sexism, xenophobia and crime you first have to deal with capitalism and imperialism. How? First, learn how they develop, next join the struggle to disorganize its development and then wage a revolution to dismantle its core functions.