This year the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was celebrated by the United Nations, governments and non-governmental organizations around the world. In Afghanistan this day was commemorated by civil society organizations through gatherings and dissemination of statements. The theme for 2020 was “Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all”.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) observed in a statement on October 5, 2020 that the world was living in unprecedented poverty and that poor people who did not have access to health care are at highest risk of contracting the corona-virus. People who live in war-torn areas have already suffered from severe hunger. COVID-19 will further exacerbate the situation. More than 115 million people will fall into acute poverty this year. Also, the United Nations noted that many workers in developing countries have been severely affected by pandemic, and that seven out of ten persons make their living through informal markets.
But the United Nations, as an organization of the world-dominating capitalist system, never identifies the root causes of poverty and crisis. The organization believes that poverty stems from environmental injustice, which itself stems from climate change and environmental degradation. Climate change, floods and droughts adversely affect the lives of poor people and ultimately lead to inequality. Thus, the UNDP hopes that by embarking on climate change commitments, it will be able to eradicate all forms of world poverty by the year 2030.
Afghanistan’s “Civil Society Coalition for Food Security and Nutrition” has also made public statements on the International Day for Poverty Eradication and has not pointed to the roots of poverty and social crisis.
Both the United Nations and civil society in Afghanistan, as always, have deliberately ignored the economic systems of countries around the world in their research into the causes of poverty. The result of this unscientific research will be that neither poverty will be eradicated nor social justice and a safe environment will be ensured. Such dependent organizations are always at the service of current ruling regimes and are fed by them. On the one hand, they are trying to sweeten the mouths of themselves and their masters by gossiping. and on the other hand, in order to secure the sustainability of the capitalist systems, draw the attention of the poor people to sub causes and thus by deceiving the people, divert their struggles.
In both declarations of the United Nations and the Afghan Civil Society, in order to fight against poverty, they emphasized the need of fund raising, carrying out small, short-term projects to provide some assistance to the poor and also continue their business under the pretext of charity activities.
According to official figures, 67 percent of the population in Afghanistan currently lives below the poverty line. A few months ago, President Ashraf Ghani said at the inauguration of the “National Dinner Project” that 90 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. All of the underlying realities of war, climate crisis, malpractice and poor governance are causes of poverty and thus recommend that all policies and approaches should address those causes. It is true that war, climate change and poor governance play a major role in poverty and social ills. It is true that war, climate and poor governance play a major role in poverty and social crisis, but these sub-factors are themselves subject to another root factor: the class system, private ownership and the unequal distribution of production. Poverty and other social, economic as well as climatic and environmental problems, will not end until private ownership is transformed into social ownership and the means of production are made public. With the socialization of property, exploitation and oppression will end and instead of different social classes, all human beings will live at the same level, without oppression and exploitation, inequality and discrimination.
We see clearly that poverty exists not only in the developing backward countries, but also in the developed countries. Poverty and social crisis cause disasters every day. For instance, the people in the United States and Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as China and Russia have been experiencing different kinds of economic and social problems. Under the rule of capitalism, human beings have not achieved economic, political and social freedoms. The capitalist system enslaved human beings in various ways and deprived them of freedom.
Capitalists, in the pursuit of their own interests, are prepared to trample on all human and moral commitments, values, laws and beliefs. All laws and policies are designed for the benefit and survival of only a very small minority, the ruling class. This ruling minority class, by all means, defends its unjust system. Although capitalist regimes hold conferences here and there to improve the climate and protect the living environment, they are in fact the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gases, destroying green zones. They do this by producing and testing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons harming the earth and the environment. In the year 2020, while millions of people died of the Corona epidemic or starved to death due to unemployment and lack of wages due to lock-down, some big companies made billions of dollars. They turned the crisis into an opportunity.
These are the major economies that compete with one other to implement their economic and political strategies and achieve their goals. They have turned the world into war and hell for 90% of the population. Just in the last two decades of war, tens of millions of people have been killed, displaced and plunged into hunger and poverty in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.
So, it is clear that the root cause of poverty is not nature and not war itself, but capitalism, which in turn destroys nature and fuels wars around the world. The United Nations and other civil society groups and NGOs, in order to protect their interests – although they know the facts – never point to their bloodied hands and the bloody nature of the capitalist system.
Eradicating poverty and ending social unrest around the world is not the job of the United Nations or civil society. Although these organizations present themselves as independent and non-partisan, they are in fact fed by the bloody system of capitalism and conduct research and analysis in support of these systems. These organizations are not independent but are part of the same system and serve as its soldiers.
Although the United Nations has set 2030 as the year to end poverty and claims it will achieve “sustainable development goals” with such “welfare” initiatives, it is only a sweet dream within the existing system. Poverty and other economic and social crises will never be eliminated in this way, but the gap between rich and poor will widen. As long as capitalism dominates the world, its economic, political, social and natural crises and challenges mean that 90 percent of the world’s population will continue to suffer. The capitalist system itself is a plague from which the world must be saved as soon as possible.
We conclude that the eradication of poverty from the surface of the earth is possible only through the overthrow of the capitalist system and the socialization of private property and the means of production. The working class and other oppressed classes, youth, women and minorities must attain class consciousness, form their own unions, organizations and parties, to stand up against the capitalist system on their own strength and gain their rights. The working class, together with all the oppressed, can overthrow the capitalist system. The working class is the one social force that, by seizing power, can both break the chains on its hands and feet and also bring about wide and radical economic, political and social changes, provide a comfortable and prosperous life for all human beings, regardless of color, gender and ethnicity.
(The above article is from “Eteraz”, a monthly publication of Left Activists inside Afghanistan.)