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Sunday, April 20, 2008


"Hunger is silent mass murder"

"Hunger has not been down to fate for a long time -- just as (Karl) Marx thought. It is rather that a murder is behind every victim. This is silent mass murder."

- Jean Ziegler, UN special rapporteur on the right to food
He had more to say:
Jean Ziegler, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, told Kurier am Sonntag that growth in biofuels, speculation on commodities markets and European Union export subsidies mean the West is responsible for mass starvation in poorer countries.

Ziegler blamed globalization for "monopolizing the riches of the earth" and said multinationals were responsible for a type of "structural violence."

"And we have a herd of market traders, speculators and financial bandits who have turned wild and constructed a world of inequality and horror. We have to put a stop to this," he said.

Ziegler said he believed that one day starving people could rise up against their persecutors. "It's just as possible as the French Revolution was," he said.
Of course, I can't pass up an opportunity to remind readers that the first major world figure to warn of an impending crisis in hunger (and water, by the way) caused by biofuels was...Fidel Castro, who predicted more than a year ago:
"More than three billion people in the world condemned to premature death from hunger and thirst."
Interestingly enough, TIME Magazine just had an article on the same topic, entitled " How Hunger Could Topple Regimes." A warning to the ruling class to "shape up or [be] ship[ped] out," perhaps? Naturally, TIME has to take the opportunity to take a [completely absurd] shot at Karl Marx: "The social theories of Karl Marx were long ago discarded as of little value, even to revolutionaries." The final sentence of the article confirms the fact that this article is meant as a warning to the ruling class, to say that, if you don't make some changes now, there may be bigger changes in store for you in the future:
The reason officials such as [World Bank president Robert] Zoellick are sounding the alarm may be that the food crisis, and its attendant political risks, are not likely to be resolved or contained by the laissez-faire operation of capitalism's market forces. Government intervention on behalf of the poor - so out of fashion during globalization's roaring '90s and the current decade - may be about to make a comeback.
A related article from a socialist point of view, worth reading, is Ian Thompson's "Stamping out hunger?", which focuses on the United States itself. His conclusion:
Heating up the class struggle to expose the incurable contradictions of capitalism is a central task for the working-class movement.

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