by Sergio Marin writing in Socialist Voice published in Dublin by the Communist Party of Ireland
IN MY TWITTER account, Sergio_FARC, I’m following an account named @tatianacastil27. The phrase she put underneath what I presume is her photograph reads: “When the loss of a life no longer moves us, the word ‘human’ no longer describes us.” I thought about the ethical power of this phrase when I saw, with the same astonishment, pain and anger as millions of people around the world, the moving images of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who died off the coast of Turkey.
The boy and his family tried to reach the “Schengen area”—ridiculous euphemism for referring to the European Union, directly responsible, together with the United States, for the criminal war that is destroying the ancient Syria in which Aylan couldn’t grow up.
This whole bunch of war criminals, who don’t hesitate to order attacks against defenceless people, now calculate how much it will cost them “to receive refugees”—another ridiculous and hypocritical euphemism for this enormous forced recruitment of cheap labour, needed so much by the old and civilised Europe in order for capitalism to continue.
In a holy alliance, the whole European Union makes a fuss about immigration by Africans and Arabs from Maghreb and the Levant who crowd the southern borders of Europe, trying to get to the First World—the same one that keeps them living in misery. Angela Merkel estimates the cost of hosting refugees in Germany during 2015 at €10,000 million—400 per cent more than the previous year. Nicolas Sarkozy, with a Hitler-like spirit, proposed creating “detention centres” on the south and south-east borders of Europe, where it would be decided who enters Europe or not, that is to say, who lives and who dies. Mariano Rajoy and David Cameron, in a masterly lecture on political economy, devoted an entire press conference to explaining the need to “distinguish between refugees and economic migrants.”
The world as we know it today is the result of centuries of bourgeois rule. Aylan wasn’t killed by the water that entered his small lungs: Aylan was killed by a regime of injustice, based on the continuous crime of armed robbery against the people, taking away their present and future. They also rob us of our past when they prevent us from knowing how we got here, to this unfortunate scenario of hunger, unemployment, terror, endless war, and death.
We know that capitalism, looking for a way out of its cyclical crises, has only two alternatives left: either expanding markets to absorb its surplus goods or destroying productive forces, mainly through war, in order to “rebuild” them afterwards. The problem with the first alternative is that it involves the redistribution of income or, in plain language, lower profits for big business and higher incomes for the work force; and that is precisely what neo-liberalism fears more than the Devil fears the cross. The second option is the responsibility of NATO, which works efficiently on it.
One of the machines for economic domination is the International Monetary Fund, created in 1945 in a world coming out of the Second World War, exhausted with more than 70 million dead, leaving Europe in ruins. At the Bretton Woods conference, where the IMF, among other things, was created, there was only one winner: the only industrialised country that didn’t have to bear the rigours of war on its territory and instead benefited from it, the United States, which made its debut as the new world power.
The rest of the story is known perfectly well by the ones who suffered from it. The imposition of the dollar as a reference for all other currency has allowed the United States to export, without adequate support . . . paper!—and receive, in exchange, huge amounts of raw materials and various kinds of goods from the whole world.
As a result of this unequal exchange, the empire builds liquid capital, a part of which has become “loans” for countries that have deficits in their balance of payments. Let us explain this in another way. The United States produces more dollars than it can actually support in real economic terms; in exchange for these overvalued dollars, which all countries are obliged to accept on pain of unleashing the imperial fury, it gets everything it needs to maintain its irrational, wasteful regime. Countries are placed in a situation close to bankruptcy; they receive less income, which doesn’t compensate for their payments for goods and loans for buying goods (deficit in the balance of payments); and then comes the solution: more loans to finance the deficit, and this is precisely the responsibility of the “Fund.”
But the “Fund” doesn’t provide loans if it is not completely sure that it will recoup its investment (with interest); so then the countries have to negotiate their economic policies with the IMF under the condition you do what I say or I will ruin you, and if you don’t agree I will invade and destroy you.
The war that has been ravaging Syria for more than three years now is more about economic and geopolitical reasons than about religious problems. It is simply the price that those people are paying for not aligning themselves and not bending to the imperial will.
The IMF suggests, the Pentagon commands, and NATO acts.
Now that it has become fashionable to talk of “those most responsible,” we could knock on the doors of Wall Street and ask them: Do you know Aylan Kurdi? Surely you must have read some of that on your latest-generation phones. After all, you live in the First World, which Aylan wasn’t able to enter.
Sergio Marin is a member of the Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP