The phony promises of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals

Anonyme, Domingo, Octubre 17, 2010 - 19:46


From September 20 to September 22, heads of state from around the globe met in New York to make a review of the state of achievements, if any, of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) adopted in 2000 and whose implementation is planned by 2015. Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon expressed concerns over the achievement of these objectives, among others, because of the reduction of international aid given by rich countries.

This year, there is expected to be a shortfall of 20 billion dollars in aid, because of decline in the contribution of half the “donor countries,” now caught in the world financial crisis. French president Nicolas Sarkozy called for a tax on financial transactions to achieve objectives and was supported by Brazil, Norway and Chile. As if calling for any kind of capitalist reform of this type could provide any development benefits for people in countries dominated by imperialism.

Canada took the opportunity to assert its interests under the premise of its reputation as a generous country to poor nations and to which it holds an important role in international “peace missions” as in Afghanistan and Haiti. It should be noted that Canada was also at the UN nearby at the annual meeting of the UN to hopefully gain access to a seat on its Security Council. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada would spend half a billion dollars over three years to the global fight against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS, a bonus of about 30% of its assistance in this regard compared to the amount originally planned.

At the end of this meeting, there will be 40 billion dollars that will go into a program (yet another!) to improve the health of women and children. Much of the promises of funding came from poor countries that are committed to put a larger share of their respective budgets to healthcare in their territory. The foundations of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates (United States) and Carlos Slim (Mexico), NGOs such as Amnesty International and multinational companies like The Body Shop, LG Electronics and Pfizer are also part of the group of donors. Again, it smacks of hypocrisy and imperialist charity.

In addition to reducing extreme world poverty by half by 2015, the MDGs are to achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, a two-third reduction in infant mortality and a three-quarter one in maternal mortality, fight AIDS, malaria and other diseases, protect the environment and establish a “global partnership for development.”

It is estimated that each year worldwide, eight million children die before the age of five and 350,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth. The number of undernourished people actually hovers officially around one billion people. This number has increased since 2007, when soaring prices for food commodities produced by profitable imperialist monopolies led to an impoverishment of peasants and proletarians most vulnerable to price changes and/or hikes.

Once again we should emphasize that the repeated food crisis are not the result of scarcity or shortage, but the normal operation of the capitalist system at its imperialist stage. Favoring export-oriented monoculture productions instead of responding to needs of local people, using the practice of product dumping for depressing prices of crops in dominated countries, concentrating semi-feudal land ownership into the hands of a tiny few while leaving millions of landless peasants to fend for themselves and who will eventually join in the misery of growing slum populations of “miracle” countries the likes of Brazil and India, that’s what the last decade has looked like under the phony “improvements” the UN is so proud of. Support programs for food, interference from the IMF, the World Bank and the UN have on the contrary increased dependence on imperialist monopolies which in contrast continue to enrich themselves and concentrate there hold in all countries.

“The poor are even poorer today than they were in 1990 when the objectives had been set precisely to combat poverty” said Salil Shetty, new secretary general of Amnesty International and former campaign manager of the UN MDGs when quoted by La Presse newspaper. The bourgeois and false character of goal No. 8 should have ringed bells among progressives who on the ground and in real life court the lives of the poorest.

The Global Partnership for Development is possible only to further imperialist interests and can not meet the needs of the masses and those of capitalists at the same time. How can a pharmaceutical company such as Pfizer, whose net earnings for 2008 were 8 billion dollars, can then claim to contribute to the welfare of humanity as it is in the same time responsible for the death of millions of people deprived of medicines because of their right to profit? The reasons for suffering and avoidable deaths are not the lack of knowledge nor the delay in science; the real reasons are capitalist monopolies like Monsanto and Pfizer, banks and the imperialists states who protect politically, legally and militarily this reality.

Many reformists, like the NDP and Oxfam, call for increased aid, international sharing by rich countries and an end to financial speculation notably on food production. This is yet another illusion on the compatibility of imperialist interests with those of the popular masses in all countries. The supposed “positive role” of advanced capitalist countries through international aid, fair trade, microcredit and other forms of miracle solutions that typically always come from the small bourgeoisie circles are impossible.

What a lie than to promote citizen consumption in rich countries and to presumably help the most poor crop growers as does Québec’s Équiterre and other so-called NGOs! This looks more like social-imperialism the Soviet revisionists used at one time to maintain relationships of dependency and domination, buying at a price slightly higher than the market value the raw materials of dominated countries. Peripheral countries continue producing raw materials (cocoa, coffee, fruit and grain, ore, timber, etc.) for export to rich countries so that they be processed and sold everywhere, but mainly consumed in rich countries.

For example, Equita, Oxfam’s chocolate, continues being transformed in Switzerland and Québec; their “fair trade coffee” is also roasted in Canada and most Co-op producers can not even consume their products. Believing in fair trade commerce and in productive rather than speculative capitalism, all this draped in a sort of consensual and pacifist harmony, is an old reactionary conception that Lenin already denounced in 1916 in his book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. Only socialism can solve the anarchy of production that is increasingly socialized but does not meet the needs of the world.

Poverty, malnutrition, lack of decent housing, health and education deteriorating for millions of people is the consequence of the imperialist system that we ourselves live in. In the United States, 45 million people do not eat enough to satisfy basic standards of nutrition, and this number is also increasing in Canada and Europe. Resources given by food banks, state grants and donations are running dry, while needs are increasingly growing. Chronic unemployment mixed with increasingly minimalist social security nets illustrate the contradictions of this system, contradictions that are even more alive in poor peripheral countries.

The imperialist bourgeoisie and their collaborators in people’s movements, so-called “alternative organizations” and their servants at the head of the dominated countries fiercely defend their interests at the expense of the lives of hundreds of millions of people trying to survive day after day. The wealth gap has never been as large in the history of humanity at a time in which development conditions can easily ensure that everyone could be living properly. It belongs to the popular masses of the world and the proletariat of the imperialist countries to defend their interests and it is high time to end the horrors of this capitalist bourgeois system. For this it is necessary to build our revolutionary organizations in all countries.


Taken from Arsenal-Express, No. 31, October 17, 2010.
Arsenal-Express is an electronic newsletter that presents the viewpoints from the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) of Canada.
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