IS THE WEST DESCENDING INTO CHAOS
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Free-market capitalism like Communism, which it partnered, has proved time and again to be a failure. Have the chickens come home to roost? In the Western democracies, the promised riches are distributed far too unequally, and for most, they never transpire.
Lately, there seems to be an unusually large number of mass resistance movements unfolding in countries all over the world. France is repeatedly paralysed by national strikes such as the current transport strike that has put the nation’s transport infrastructure in gridlock.
In Sweden, the CEO of Scania, a major trucking company in Sweden, warned that the country could be headed towards a civil war due to the social problems that have bubbled up as a result taking in massive numbers of migrants from alien cultures.
In Spain, Italy and Germany, such as the disenchantment with their current regimes that a massive swing to the popular right is taking place.
Britain on December 12 heads for the polls and likely a hung or coalition regime squatting in Westminster. The United States is tearing itself apart as the U.S. President Donald Trump is impeached. Recently, the president was humiliated by Western leaders during a NATO anniversary conference.
South Africa is mired in a racial civil war whilst at the other end of the Dark Continent, Libya, until 2004 Africa’s most prosperous and benign nation has been bombed back to the Stone Age by NATO. Thanks to Russian intervention, all-out civil war has been prevented in Ukraine and Syria.
In the U.S., Puerto Rico’s recent political turmoil upended the entire local government structure. In Latin America, there have been upheavals over the past few weeks in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile.
Haiti is experiencing its worst political turmoil since 2004 ousting of President Jean Bertrand Aristide. On the other side of the planet, Arab nations like Iraq and Lebanon have erupted into mass upheavals. Sudan just a few months ago toppled dictator Omar al-Bashir and now wants his party disbanded. And in Hong Kong, months of mass sustained protests have brought the nation to a standstill. What is happening?
There are common themes running throughout this widespread global uprising. The unrest is marked by a deep dissatisfaction with an economic order that benefits elites over others, combined with outrage against authoritarianism and the use of force to quell dissent.
Often these are intertwined, as regimes use force to maintain the unequal economic order and demand public subservience and obedience. Then, a new proposed rule or law, seemingly innocuous at first, lights the spark of protest over long-simmering issues.
In the internet age, activists organise with greater ease than before and are highly educated about their plight, giving them a greater ability to document and share abuses far and wide.
Chileans rose up after the announcement of a hike in subway fares, but as is often the case, their response to the fare hike was symptomatic of a broader economic resentment. In fact, although Chile has been lauded for being an economic miracle, it experiences the highest level of inequality among OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations.
The protesters are demanding social rights because the Chilean state has privatized those rights and converted itself into a guarantor of the rights of the private sector. Those social rights include education, health and housing.
In Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned after just 13 days of sustained mass protests in cities all over the country that included the formation of a human chain. Outrage among the Lebanese public was initially triggered by the announcement of a tax on the popular texting software WhatsApp, but it reflected a deeper economic discontent.
In Lebanon, the infrastructure has crumbled, [and] the currency, which is artificially pegged to the U.S. dollar, is in absolute disarray right now, and it mirrors what’s happened around the Arab world since 2012.
Elsewhere on the globe, in Hong Kong, which has occupied international headlines for months, protesters are also sustaining their activism for the long haul. Although the protests were initially triggered by a controversial extradition plan with China, they are now a response to broader issues of control, authoritarianism and, just as is the case in many other sites of dissent, the economy. Economic inequality in Hong Kong has increased dramatically and is now the greatest it has been in 45 years.
The commonalities of why there are so many movements in disparate parts of the world are quite striking. Free-market capitalism has proved time and again to be a failure. The promised riches are distributed far too unequally, and for most, they never transpire. The only way to preserve the current social and economic order is by force. And when people have had enough, they meet force with resistance and resilience. These are lessons not just for ordinary people suffering economic injustices, but for the governments that oversee them.
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