Global strikes and mass protests against the effects of capitalism point the way forward

Protests against capitalism are spreading across the globe, photo by Paul Mattsson

Protests against capitalism are spreading across the globe, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

On one side, the global rich elite wine and dine at their annual shindig in Davos. On the other, millions around the world face poverty, war and environmental destruction.

According to Oxfam, just 2,153 billionaires have more wealth between them than 4.6 billion people on the planet.

Some of the representatives of these super-rich at the World Economic Forum (WEF) will be hypocritically wringing their hands about global inequality and climate change.

Not because they are worried about the lives of the poorest. What keeps them awake at night is fear of the mass global protests taking place in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, and the threat these potentially pose to their profits and the capitalist system they defend.

This year the organisers of the WEF have declared that they want to create a more sustainable world. Companies, they say, must look beyond profits.

Even they understand the effect that the pursuit of profit is having on the environment, on inequality and in provoking mass unrest.

But profit-making is in the very DNA of capitalism. It’s a broken system that cannot be made more ‘humane’ and ‘sustainable’ by pleading with the ‘good nature’ of individual capitalists.

The only way that the big corporations will look beyond profits is if they are publicly owned and democratically controlled by working people – as part of a planned economy that prioritises the needs of the majority and the environment, and not those of a rich minority.

The massive protests in Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, France and other countries, and the global climate strikes, are all in opposition to the devastating effects the capitalist system and its political representatives are having on our lives.

The next task is to build political organisations that can unite working-class and poor people not just against the effects of capitalism but in opposition to the system itself and its replacement by socialism.