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Tomar Partido “It’s a Wonderful World?” Part III - Today`s world abominable social conditions

“It’s a Wonderful World... Is it?” Part III - Hundreds of millions do not think it is. Abominable social conditions in today’s World
By Carlos Petroni

I see skies of blue and clouds of white;
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night;
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky;
Are also on the faces of people going by;
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you
Written by Bob Thiele y George David Weiss in 1967 and immortalized by Louis Armstrong

"It’s a Wonderful World" was a hopeful message for the future but…

Is it really a wonderful world? Things were not wonderful then, but they are much worse today.

However, some would still insist the condition of the world is indeed wonderful, such as journalists and writers who never emerge from their ivory towers and politicians of all ruling classes who are only interested in selling works of smoke and mirrors.

Nowadays the differences between the rich and the poor have widened.

A few examples suffice to illustrate this situation, even though most of these figures come from reports from the U.N. and other institutions associated with capitalism.(1)

If we combine workers with their families, 70% of the world’s population today is plagued by structural unemployment coupled with miserable jobs, temporary or seasonal work with bad pay, and job instability.

The endless struggle to find a job

During capitalism’s cycles of relative stability, it is only able to provide about 25% of the work needed by those added to the labor market every year.

During its cycles of crisis, these jobs disappear in a few months.

Currently, one-third of the planet’s seven billion inhabitants do not have jobs, one-half of those able to work are unemployed, and one billion people only work occasionally.

Five-hundred million people have jobs that only pay subsistence-level wages.

About six hundred million human beings, averaging forty years of age, neither have known nor had a job for their entire lives, and another billion have only worked sporadically.

Holding a job is now hard, temporary, and wages only keep most of us a month or two from the soup lines, the default in our mortgages, and the loss of dignity.

Often, wages are not enough to feed a family

Long believed to have disappeared, servitude and slavery are now on the rise.

Ninety percent of the world’s productive land is in the hands of twenty percent of its population.

Not only does 80% of the population not have access to land, but also 1.5 billion of them do not have access to drinking water.

In addition, 2.6 billion do not have basic sanitation services, which is the primary cause of communicable diseases spread by contaminated water—diseases like dysentery, cholera, and salmonella that kill 2.2 million people a year, the vast majority of them children.

This is during a time when 30% of the population has no access to healthcare services, and another 40% has insufficient access.

The housing of the poor

Nearly 2.5 billion do not have housing, including those who live in such extremely precarious conditions as "lost cities" and extremely poor villages.

The homeless population is the world’s most rapidly growing demographic.

Capitalism only builds about 25% of the housing required to meet the needs of the growing population, while at the same time developing real estate projects aimed at speculation, many of them uninhabited refuges for hoarding.

This produces the reality of overcrowded dwellings, overpopulation of slums, squalid hotels, pensions, transitional homes, “guest houses,” and charity for untouchables in the urban centers.

The “street population” has doubled in the last decade.

Meanwhile, millions of houses, villas, and hotel rooms are reserved as temporary vacation accommodations for only the most affluent.

For the owners of these, it is no doubt still and wonderful world. But they are a small minority.

In the U.S., one of the now decaying centers of the old imperialism, there is an estimated population of 650,000 to 1 million people who are permanently homeless, with approximately 2 million people made temporarily homeless every year.

That figure grows geometrically in the urban environments of Calcutta, New Delhi, Lagos, Mexico City, or any African or Asian city.

The refugee crisis in Europe has brought this degrading reality home to its own cities.

I am sure those living on the streets do not appreciate the wonderfulness of the world in which they were born.

Two-thirds of the world does not have education services, and if they do, it is of a low standard.

The Earth hosts 800 million inhabitants who cannot read or have acute illiteracy problems.

A similar number are illiterate or functionally illiterate.

Big corporations force the other third of the population to adapt their education to their needs.

Newspapers, Facebook, books, and knowledge are as far away from their future as food and housing.

If, as explained by Engels, the progress of a society can be measured by the conditions of its women, our situation is catastrophic.

Two-thirds of the world’s women have no access to economic equality; half do not have the same political rights as their male counterparts; only one in five women can access the same cultural opportunities as men; and catastrophic phenomena of regression have surged, with femicide practiced massively every day on the planet.

The tragedy of women today

Some figures which paint just a partial portrait of women daily lives:

Approximately 130 million girls and women in the world have experienced genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.

Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.3 million) and sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million).

Violence and abuse characterize married life for many of these girls.

Women who marry early are more likely to be beaten or threatened, and more likely to believe that a husband might sometimes be justified in beating his wife.

Women and girls are 80 percent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across national borders annually, with the majority (79 percent) trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Within countries, many more women and girls are trafficked, often for purposes of sexual exploitation or domestic servitude.

One study in Europe found that 60 percent of trafficked women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence before being trafficked, pointing to gender-based violence as a push factor in the trafficking of women.

Still, hundreds of thousands of men travel every year to the “sex beaches” and towns of the world to enjoy this “wonderful world.”

In 2015 the United Nations estimated the migrant population was 244 million people, this was a 40% rise when compared to 2014.

Pushed by oppression at home, the exploitation of imperialism, war, famine, and diseases, they flee their homelands to neighboring countries or the big centers of the so-called “developed” nations both North and West.

The UN conservatively estimated that 16 million are from India and 12 million from Mexico.

In the same year, civil wars, ethnic strife, dictatorships, imperialist intervention, and fundamentalism have pushed 21 million to miserable refugee camps and over 10 million people became stateless.

The life in shanty towns and refugee camps

These figures only count for a portion of the story.

The numbers do not take into account the tens of millions of undocumented immigrants and millions more unregistered refugees.

In all, over 600 million people are pushed to flee to different countries through displacement, impoverishment, and threats of genocide.

Adding to these figures are the millions of peasants who are under attack, and the indigenous peoples who are fully dispossessed of their nationhood through internal displacement with the theft of their lands.

These numbers increased even further in 2016 and 2017 with the devastating wars in the Middle East.

This bellicose hostility is further complicated with the existence and expansion of ISIS, the civil and imperialist war in Syria, the relentless bombings by European, Turkish and American imperialist powers, the ongoing war in Iraq and neighboring countries, the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the attacks on the Kurdish nation, the ongoing massacres and ethnic cleansings in Africa, etc.

Millions are willing to struggle

The equivalent of 150% of the entire 28-country EU population (500 million), twice the population of the US (320 million) and more than three times the population of Brazil (200 million) are now on the move transforming the demographics of the world.

And these numbers are increasing geometrically and provoking panic among the ruling classes of the West and North.

After all, the ruling classes’ policies, wars, and conflicts are the antecedent of this diaspora.

They react as if they know best by killing, repressing, and incarcerating migrants and refugees.

The ruling classes also erect walls to stop the thundering stampede from overrunning their enclaves—declaring them the greatest threat to their “civilization.”

Now as always, the major product of capitalism is the growing mass of poor people, and the most lucrative activities are the manufacture of arms, prisons, gambling, churches, and drugs.

This is just a glimpse at the troubles today, and it will continue to worsen as long as Capitalism continues to exist.

So next time someone suggest you take up the “wonderful world” and try to radically change it, think again before you answer that “politics is not for me”, because if you don’t do politics, politics will undo you.

(1) Numbers and statistics are routinely accommodating to those in power and the message of “optimism” they want to disseminate. In order to obtain relatively accurate numbers we need to take official statistics from organizations such as the UN, NGOs, and individual countries reports. Most of the information in this article was compiled for The Transitional Program 2, a work in progress by organizations members of International Left.

Related articles:

“It`s a Wonderful World?” PART I: The Collapse of Democracy and the Triumph of Dictatorship

“It`s a Wonderful World?” PART II: The Murdering of Planet Earth

“It’s a Wonderful World... Is it?” Part III - Hundreds of millions do not think it is. Abominable social conditions in today’s World

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Enlaces Relacionados
· “It’s a Wonderful World... Is it?” Part III - Hundreds of millions do not think it is. Abominable social conditions in today’s World
By Carlos Petroni

· “It`s a Wonderful World?” PART I: The Collapse of Democracy and the Triumph of Dictatorship

· “It`s a Wonderful World?” PART II: The Murdering of Planet Earth

· “It’s a Wonderful World... Is it?” Part III - Hundreds of millions do not think it is. Abominable social conditions in today’s World

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