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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 2/24/19

We Need A New and Just Story to Replace Capitalism

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Message Dr. Lenore Daniels

Millions of Americans on the left and on the right, the article continues, are angry because they finally understand that "the game is rigged against people like them."

The article continues: "Elite networking forums such as the Aspen Institute and the Clinton Global Initiative groom the rich to be self-appointed leaders of social change, taking on the problems people like them have been instrumental in creating and sustaining."

There are 27 human beings who own more money than 3 billion other human beings, and these wealthy few saw an increase in their wealth.

Another Guardian article referred to Oxfam's find on how the rich got richer and the poor got poor in 2018, in which the organization reports that the "wealth of 2,200 billionaires across the globe had increased by $900bn in 2018-or $2.5bn a day" (January 20, 2019).

According to yet another Guardian report, aside from the usual suspects, individual global elites, there are the "B corporations" such as the Aspen Institute, the Clinton Global Initiative, Ben and Jerry's, and Warby Parker-moneyed people who want to do good (January 7, 2016).

Americans are waking up to old news. Western nations as a whole are waking up to discovery towering giants. They have always been there. They determined what race would be subjugated to enslavement for the benefit of Western and eventually the New World's conquest of resources, land, and wealth. They were there along with Andrew Jackson, slaughtering with impunity Indigenous people to expand the possession of territory for white citizens in a land that would become the United States. They were there in the Phillipines, in Chile, under Pinochet, in Iraq, in the Congo. Any number of locations in the world where there's oil and minerals of value to Western and American "interests."

They are there now; and they have grown. Expanded their reach. Americans voted for president a man who could very well have borrowed money from Russia or from Saudi Arabia. There are no borders, no walls to prohibit the wealthy from accumulating wealth.

When I was in Ethiopia, I saw them.

At the end of an orientation session in Ethiopia, teachers and organizational administrators are walking about, talking in small groups. The mostly younger teachers have plans: the decorating of "pads" in their assigned city or rural area and the saving of income to take back home. I want to see for myself; I want to understand. And as I look around the room, thinking about how I could conceal that desire to know and understand, I saw one of the represenatives, a Gambian, male, staring at me, sending me an unmistakable message: Don't come here to cause us trouble. Our friends are billionaires.

The wealthy are visible in the way some individuals wanted me to know they had "things." A television. A CD player. It's just that my time in Ethiopia coincides with a bad time for them. I've heard this same sentiment on a city bus for years. A young black, in conversation with another, invariably will announce for all to hear that he or she has a car, but it's at the shop now. It's at the shop a month later.

On the streets of Addis Ababa, it was evident that the philosophy many of the slightly better off Ethiopians shared was that it was best to be successful, at least one Ethiopian at a time. It's an idea once shared by some blacks of my generation and older. It was best to be the one upstanding black, climbing the proverbial ladder to economic riches, replacing the diet of beans and rice for lobster.

In Ethiopia, for the poor, it was a biscuit and tea per day with one Birr-if the individual was lucky. It's not a matter of luck, however. Yet, climbers clung to Western organizations, as these entities represented the savior that hired and solved problems.

I want to think that times have changed-among black people globally.

For people of color and anyone who finds in capitalism a profound injustice.

I remember walking or riding around the rural town of Alemaya and the capital city of Addis Ababa seeing hundreds of people, mainly women with children, camped along the roads. Or along the streets, too. In plain view. The destitute. As far as the eye could see. Humanity. How many have come into the world since I left in 2003 and have died since then? How many adults died, sitting on the earth, their only home, for what, 20 years, maybe 30 years? What are these B Corporations actually planning to do in Africa? In Ethiopia, the birthplace of humanity? Will it be any different than the gentrification of Chicago, New York, Oakland, Detroit?

And there's Jeff Bezos, living well in the world (increasingly earning his money, according to The Intercept 's Glenn Greewald, from his "relationship with the NSA, FBI, Pentagon, and other surveillance agencies in the west" ("Jeff Bezos Protests the Invasion of His Privacy, as Amazon Builds a Sprawling Surveillance State for Everyone Else").

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Activist, writer, American Modern Literature, Cultural Theory, PhD.

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