Before we get going, I see that yesterday, after years of ever-increasing austerity, the Greek government passed the harshest austerity laws ever. (EVER.) Taxes will be raised even higher. Pensions will be cut even further.
The “Troika” of international creditors (the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank) gave an €86 billion-euro bailout to European bankers, and now the Troika wants payback from the Greek masses. Since the Troika has already drained the Greek masses of money, the Troika will take Greek assets as payment. That is, more of Greece’s highways utilities, airports, etc. will be given to the rich so they can charge exorbitant rents.
This phenomenon will continue to worsen until Greece dumps the euro, which will not happen until the Greek masses drop their delusion that without the euro, the world will end.
Any Greek political party or coalition that defends the euro is a right-wing extremist party, regardless of what they call themselves. Indeed, after several years of austerity, the only way the bankers and the rich people could continue to rape the masses was to install a right-wing political coalition that called itself leftist (e.g. SYRIZA).
Even today the corporate media outlets call SYRIZA “leftist,” despite a year and a half of ultra-right-wing policies.
“The poor you will always have with you…”
~ Matthew 26: 11 (Christian Bible)
Correct. Poverty and inequality will continue to exist as long as most humans remain deluded, which may be forever.
For example, most Americans delude themselves that the U.S. government runs on loans and on tax revenue. This delusion allows politicians to falsely claim that “there is no money for social programs” that help average people. (But there is endless money for wars, weapons, and Wall Street bailouts.)
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are paid by the rich to help maintain these delusions.
An example is Oxfam, which is an international confederation of seventeen NGOs in ninety-four countries that supposedly works to find “solutions to poverty.”
In reality, Oxfam’s function is to worsen poverty in several ways. One way is to spread the lie that all governments need tax revenue. This is deliberate. Other ways are even worse, as I’ll discuss below.
Today the following garbage appeared on the Oxfam web site. It sounds good on the surface, but it is nonsense.
More than 300 leading economists from 30 countries have written to world leaders warning that there is no economic justification for allowing tax havens to continue, and urging them to bring an end to offshore financial secrecy. Professors from the world’s top universities (such as Harvard, Oxford and the Sorbonne) and from countries as diverse as Finland and Cameroon have united to warn global leaders that tax havens undermine countries’ ability to collect taxes, with poor countries proportionally the biggest losers. All agree that failure to pay taxes is distorting the working of the global economy. The current system allows the rich and powerful to hide money offshore, robbing countries of much needed tax revenue for essential services like healthcare and education. Oxfam is warning that millions of the world’s most vulnerable people will stay poor if tax havens remain as they are.
Signatories of this Oxfam letter include Thomas Piketty, author of best-selling (and wildly overrated) Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
Angus Deaton: the current Nobel Prize-winner for Economics.
Nora Lustig: professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane University.
Jeff Sachs: director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and an adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Olivier Blanchard: former IMF chief economist.
…plus 295 professors of economics, all of which are liars.
But wait. Liars? Don’t some national governments need tax revenue?
Yes, but let’s be clear. The more a government has monetary sovereignty, the more it can create its money out of thin air, and therefore the less it needs tax revenue.
In the image below, euro-zone governments have no monetary sovereignty, since they surrendered it to the bankers. Since they can no longer create their own spending money out of thin air, they need tax revenue. At the other end is the U.S. government, which needs no tax revenue, since the U.S. government does all its business (foreign and domestic) in U.S. dollars, which the U.S. government creates out of thin air.
The rest of the world’s nations are between the two extremes. The U.K. is toward the right side, since the U.K. government creates U.K. pounds out of thin air, and since 8.5% of all the world’s transactions are done in U.K. pounds, according to the global transaction services organization SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications).
(Note that the most widely used currency is not the same as the most widely traded currency. In August 2015 the Chinese yuan overtook the Japanese yen to become the fourth most widely used currency for global payments. However the Japanese yen remains the third most traded currency in the forex market. The Chinese yuan is not among the top ten traded currencies. )
Most nations create their own money out of thin air, and therefore do not need tax revenue in their own currencies. However they need foreign currencies in order to buy imports. They get foreign currencies by taxing companies inside their borders that sell exports, and which receive foreign currencies for their exports.
I call the 300 professors liars, because they intentionally avoid clarifying these points. They pretend that all national governments are totally dependent on tax revenue (including the U.S. government). They do this to make the masses think there is “no money” for more social programs.
The truth is that the U.S. government, for example, could impose huge taxes on the rich, and it would be no help for the poor, since the U.S. government does not get its spending money from taxes. (The government simply creates its money.)
Another reason I call the 300 professors liars is that Oxfam is a coalition of NGOs, and most NGOs are mirror images of the predatory transnational corporations they claim to oppose. NGOs are businesses dressed up like a charities. They are parasites that promote and exploit poverty and neoliberal privatization.
For example, in Bangladesh, large areas of public service are now run by for-profit NGOs. In Cambodia the entire health service has been contracted out to an NGO. These are privatizations.
Most of these “humanitarian charities” and “aid organizations” are just another arm of genocidal imperialism. That is why some governments forbid NGOs from operating inside their borders.
In 2009 the government of Sudan expelled thirteen NGOs (including Oxfam) for acting as imperialist agents. The NGOs had gathered information for the International Criminal Court so it could issue an arrest warrant for President Omar el-Bashir on fabricated charges of “war crimes.” (President Omar el-Bashir is a “dictator” because he refuses to bow to the West, especially the USA.) Some NGOs sent fabricated information to the ICC about mythical “genocide.”
When a national leader expels an NGO for being an imperialist agent, the corporate media outlets respond by claiming that the country’s leader is a “dictator” who savagely expelled a “altruistic charity,” thereby depriving his own people of “humanitarian aid.”
And the Western masses believe it.
The NGOs that were expelled from Sudan have innocent-sounding names like CARE, Doctors-Without-Borders, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the International Rescue Committee, and so on. All of these groups are evil, as I will explain below.
The Darfur region of Sudan is (like Syria) crawling with foreign-backed terrorists whose job is to overthrow the anti-imperialist government. The terrorists work closely with imperialist NGOs. When the NGOs were expelled, the terrorists screamed, as did their sponsors in Washington D.C.
In September 2015 the pro-Russian separatists in Donbas (formerly eastern Ukraine) expelled Western NGOs for acting as imperialist agents. Again the U.S. government screamed.
NGOs practice disaster capitalism, or what Naomi Klein calls the “shock doctrine.” When a disaster happens, they enter a nation on a “humanitarian mission” and proceed to take over the nation like a cancer.
An article in Counterpunch from last year explains why NGOs (like Oxfam) are tools of imperialism. I shall paraphrase…
1) NGOs undermine and replace autonomous mass organizing.
NGOs occupy a central role in social movements—what Arundhati Roy calls the “NGO-ization of resistance.” NGOs exist to undermine mass struggle by supplanting it and diverting it to dead ends. For example, at many “Fight for $15” demonstrations in Miami, most participants were paid employees of NGOs, or of CBOs (Community Based Organizations), and union staff seeking potential members.
Similarly, some Black Lives Matter protests in Miami have been led and largely attended by paid activists who must demonstrate that they are “organizing the community” in order to win their next grant.
Activism is being capitalized and professionalized. Instead of organizing the masses to fight for their interests, NGOs use the masses for the NGOs’ interests. Instead of building a mass movement, they manage public outrage. Instead of developing revolutionaries, they develop paid but useless activists. They also create passive recipients of assistance.
There was a time when radicals took up the struggle for the sake of their moral conscience. Today, when you pass out paper leaflets, people will ask you, “How do I get a job doing that, and how much does it pay?”
Rich elitists have no need to infiltrate these leftist organizations, since rich elitists fund them.
2) NGOs are a tool of imperialism.
Military attacks still play a role in imperialism, but “boots on the ground” has increasingly become a measure of last resort in a broader strategy of control.
NGOs, like missionaries, are used to penetrate an area and prepare favorable conditions for sweatshops, tourist playgrounds, and resource extraction. They help break the local ice for “free trade” treaties that wipe out millions of jobs.
An example is Haiti, which the local people call “the republic of NGOs.” There were already 10,000 NGOs in Haiti before the 2010 earthquake (more per capita than anywhere else in the world). Ninety-nine percent of earthquake relief aid was funneled through NGOs, who made out like bandits, stealing most of the money that people around the world had donated in good faith, expecting that it would help the communities devastated by the earthquake.
This is not new. Decades ago, USAID and the World Bank were already imposing export-led economies and concomitant “structural adjustment” (i.e. austerity) programs on Haiti and elsewhere. Even 20 years ago, 80% of USAID money wound up back in the pockets of US corporations and “experts.” As the process matured, NGOs evolved into the favored entity of this parasitical form of accumulation, feeding on the misery created by “aid” in the first place.
Imperialists and NGOs live in a symbiosis. Global imperialism gives NGOs a reason to exist, and uses NGOs to advance global imperialism.
In April 2002 NGOs collaborated with the White House and the CIA to perpetrate the coup attempt against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
After the coup failed, US-financed NGOs backed a lockout orchestrated by oil executives that was only defeated when workers took over the oil industry.
3) NGOs replace what the state should be doing.
Capitalist / imperialist powers use debt to reduce nations to impoverished slaves. Then the capitalist / imperialist powers send in “aid” agencies (NGOs) to take over key functions of the local government. This tactic keeps the native population too weak and dependent to resist being exploited.
In Bangladesh, microcredit programs have been aggressively promoted as a means of easing poverty, but their actual function is to increase poverty. Microcredit’s founder Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank received the Nobel Prize for creating “economic and social development from below.” In reality, these vultures simply opened up new markets for banks among the rural poor. Victims of the banks have been reduced to selling their organs to pay off interest. This perpetuates poverty, and prevents resistance to capitalist / imperialist exploitation.
4) NGOs support neoliberalism by erasing working class struggle.
Part of the reason NGOs are reproducing so rapidly is that they’ve become the survival option du jour for unemployed graduates as the global economy continues to sour.
The job market today is extremely tough, even for young people with means and education. This fact, coupled with the capitalism’s growing crisis of legitimacy amid skyrocketing inequality and oppression, makes NGOs an attractive employment prospect. NGOs offer a way out, and a chance to secure a good job, especially for middle class people. In Haiti, for example, they are the largest employer.
Many college-grads have no chance to get a decent job, and therefore they welcome NGO employment. Plus, they imagine that they are “making a better world” (when in fact NGOs are making a much worse world). Uplifting inner-city youth with Teach for America sounds much more enticing than making sandwiches at Subway, but it’s best not to think about how this job makes young teachers complicit in what Glen Ford calls the “corporate anti-education sham” of the racist Teach for America.
++++++++++++++End of paraphrase ++++++++++++++
NGOs mostly sprang up in the 1900s. Before 1900, when imperialists targeted a nation for conquest and plunder, they first sent in missionaries to ripen the natives for exploitation. Missionaries told the natives they would go to hell if they did not worship their white “superiors.” Missionaries also tortured the natives “to save their souls” (i.e. to make them submit to imperialist exploitation). They helped to enslave the natives as part of the “white man’s burden.” They massacred and mutilated for “the glory of God” (i.e. for imperialist profits).
Europeans became missionaries (and colonists) because the economy was dead in Europe, and life was awful. Becoming a missionary was an escape, just like joining an NGO today. Then and now, it’s all about exploiting and enslaving for “the glory of God” (i.e. for imperialist profits).
Missionaries worked for the colonial powers, and were paid by those powers to spread imperialist culture, and to engage in various kinds of espionage activities.
One example was the Spanish conquest of the New World. Another example was the European conquest of Africa. Or the British conquest of 1800s China. Or the Dutch conquest of Indonesia (the “Dutch East Indies”). Or the French conquest of Vietnam.
After World War II, the USA sent out NGOs to “contain the threat of communism” (i.e. prepare the natives for exploitation). The Pope called upon the Catholic Church to send at least ten per cent of its missionaries to Latin America to counter the specter of communism (i.e. to prevent Latin American natives from seeking freedom and independence).
Later while the USA was carpet-bombing Vietnam, the USA also sent in NGOs such as CARE (Co-operative Assistance for Relief Everywhere), CRS (Catholic Relief Services), WV (World Vision), IVS (International Voluntary Services), American Red Cross, Vietnam Christian Service, and so on to further the imperialist cause.
In short, NGOs are a form of colonialism. The term Non-Governmental Organizations is actually a misnomer, since all NGOs are funded by imperialist governments. They are the vehicles through which the exploiters seek to influence the opinions of “civil society.”
NGOs channel native discontent along harmless ways, thereby acting as “safety valves.” NGOs also divide the oppressed people into sections and identities, thereby preventing them from having class unity. NGOs further seek to obfuscate the class divisions among the natives by advocating the unity of the oppressors and the oppressed on the basis of identity alone, such as gender/women, caste, or ethnicity.
NGOs instill the false belief among the oppressed that there is no alternative to capitalism. They proclaim that Marxism is outdated and communism is dead, and hence one should strive to improve the world by promoting “peaceful globalization” (i.e. neoliberalism). NGOs concentrate particularly among the poverty-stricken masses in the backward rural areas, and urban slums. This is done to neutralize the wrath of the deprived masses. NGOs seek to depoliticize the masses by talking in terms of non-Party activism. NGOs claim that they are apolitical. They call upon the masses to stay away from all political parties; that they should solve their problems themselves through self-help and cooperation. Thus, by advocating such a seemingly apolitical strategy the NGOs actually work to preserve the status quo and to retain the influence of ruling class ideology. They try to replace revolutionary parties by projecting themselves as the champions of the poor.
As tools of imperialism, NGOs can influence people’s minds in ways that imperialists cannot do directly. They win the sympathy of the natives by posing as selfless philanthropists, committed to people’s welfare. Thus they create ideological mystification among the masses, and pave the way for the smooth plunder by imperialist capital.
NGOs also co-opt the Left so that it serves neoliberalism and the warfare state. For example, the West portrays Syria President Assad as a “savage dictator,” because Assad will not bow to the West, or to Israel. And indeed, most Leftists echo these right-wing imperialist lies. The following is from the Truthdig, which poses as a Leftist blog.
Bashar Assad’s Brutality in Syria Is Matched by U.S. Devastation Across the Region
That’s the title. The author pretends to criticize U.S. imperialism, but actually justifies it by agreeing with the imperialists that Assad is a “brutal dictator.”
Growing numbers of people worldwide are turning their Facebook profile pictures into solid red squares in an attempt to call attention to a new, deadly phase of the Syria war. The latest round of violence was marked by the bombing of a refugee camp near the Syrian border with Turkey, which resulted in 28 deaths. That attack was probably the work of the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad or its ally Russia.
LIES. There is no proof whatsoever that the Russian or Syria government did it, or even that there was an attack. Why would the Russian or Syrian government attack a refugee camp, three miles from the Turkish border? What would they have to gain? This blogger explains that there was no attack in the first place.
Only days earlier, a horrific bombing took place in the rebel-controlled city of Aleppo, targeting Al-Quds Hospital, which was supported by the Nobel Prize-winning organization Doctors Without Borders, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. That airstrike, which came in the form of multiple barrel bombs (the Assad government’s signature bomb), killed dozens of civilians, including one of the city’s last remaining pediatricians.
LIES! There is no proof whatsoever that the Russian or Syria government did it. How do you know it wasn’t a false flag attack by the U.S.-backed terrorists, or by a Turkish or U.S. plane? Why would the Russian or Syrian government attack a hospital in a town they are trying to liberate from the US-backed terrorists? What would they have to gain?
The article is lengthy, and the rest of it is equally garbage, written in service to Washington. It pretends to criticize U.S. aggression, but justifies the aggression by claiming that Assad is “even worse.”
This is how imperialists control the minds of leftists. Imperialists criticize themselves in order to seem sincere, so they can strategically plant lies in people’s minds.
Incidentally the author of this trash is the director of an imperialist NGO called the Afghan Women’s Mission, which supports “women’s rights activists” in Afghanistan.