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Stealing From the Poor and Giving to the Rich

The Evils of Capitalism – and its Grassroots Undoing


Black and brown people more often than not live in the poorest parts of the United States. As The Black Panthers saw it — and as I see it too — black and brown people live in what are essentially ultra-oppressed colonies within the U.S. An essential part of this colonial system is the mass incarceration and police brutality and killing of black and brown people, and this oppression is to such an extent that to call it anything but a continuation of the enslavement of African people is to do it an injustice. And this has continued more or less in a straight line through history — no matter which president, which millionaires we elect to Congress this time around, no matter how much we “rock the vote.”

This colonization and disempowerment of so many people ensure that the ultra-rich get ultra-richer — because hey that’s how rich people get rich: by ensuring there are poor people who will work poverty wages so that the profits made by the people working these poverty wages get siphoned-up to the ultra-rich. Who the hell wants to work at Walmart except the most desperate? And since Walmart isn’t a cooperative and the profits don’t get shared amongst the people who work there, where do these profits go? They go “up.” Profits are the stolen wages of the working class.

And what better way to keep wages down and profits up than by going to the colonies within the United States to get the cheapest labor? I’m of course not only talking about the colonies of black and brown people in Detroit, MI or Philadelphia, PA, where I live; I’m also talking about the other kinds of colonies in the U.S.: the immigrants here illegally in Houston, TX and San Jose, CA; white people living in destitute poverty in Beattyville, KY and Buffalo County, SD; Native people living on reservations like Standing Rock and Pine Ridge. Women and LGBTQI people too — across the board, on a very profound level — are super-exploited more than their straight, male, cis counterparts at their jobs. As long as capitalism exists — a heartless economic system if there ever was one — it will always look for the cheapest way to make the most money for the .01%.

And here’s the saddest part: all of these oppressed groups can work super-hard to become more powerful and vocal and fight back against their exploitation— and of course we should support this in every way we can. But the crazy thing is that even if the capitalist class finds it in their best interests to not super-exploit a group of people here in the U.S., until we truly link the struggles of the most-oppressed in the U.S. with the anti-colonial struggles all over the world, the billionaire class will just find another, more-hidden subsection to exploit.

In other words, capitalism will always find a way to make a buck, and if they can’t squeeze it out of us here then they’ll just squeeze it out of somebody else somewhere else in the world. Where did all our jobs go?

Examples of this are the quite thought-out and methodical Western underdevelopment of Africa, which means Western countries can exploit people in their native countries less (thus delaying revolutionary movements in their own countries); or the U.S. corporations caught red-handed using child labor in Indonesia (run by a brutal military dictatorship for decades armed and trained by the U.S. government, but that’s probably a coincidence), which means people in the U.S. get their consumer goods cheaper, and are thus not living quite so hand-to-mouth (and are thus less-likely to revolt); or the CIA coup of the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran in the 1950s, so that a British corporation could maintain control of and monopolize profits from Iranian oil (gee, I wonder why Iran hates the U.S. government so much?) and on and on and on.

This is why I hate capitalism.

And this is how capitalism fits like a hand in glove with imperialism: it inevitably expands outwardly into imperialism (as Lenin predicted) just like we have been seeing for over a century.

And since the ultra-rich have paid for the campaigns of every single candidate of both parties, and own every single major media outlet, it is clear, to me, that just “getting out the vote next time” will not change this basic power dynamic between the rich and the rest of the world. The system truly is rigged, and the wealthy like it that way, and they own everything anyway, and, also, btw, wealth truly is getting more and more concentrated, as Marx predicted and as the French economist Thomas Piketty’s book showed by detailing like every dang trend in the concentration of wealth over the last century.

So basically it’s all getting worse, not better, and just voting will not fix this system of stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

Does anybody else remember how incredibly hopeful the world was when Obama was elected? Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. The Democrats could have done anything. Anything! Finally, we were going to start seeing some real changes around here.

But did they push for Universal Healthcare? They did not.

Did they push for a living wage? Nope.

Did they push for an end to the endless war on the people of the Middle East and North Africa? Nope.

Freeing the Palestinian people from Zionist occupation?

Dismantling the slave labor that is the prison industrial complex?

Ending the mass deportation of immigrants in the U.S. illegally?

sweeping bill protecting LGBTQI rights?

A “New Deal”-type bill that would’ve given the millions of people who had just lost their homes a decent job?

A bill guaranteeing equal pay for equal work for women?

Or guaranteed paid maternity leave?

Nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope. Nope on all of these things. In fact, many — like the war in the Middle East and North Africa, and mass deportation — were actually ramped up. Oh yeah, also they bailed out the corporations and not the people losing their homes during the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The Democratic Party wants to paint itself as “The Resistance” all of a sudden, but look at what they did in ‘09: fucking nothing (well, except propping up the already-existing oligarchy), truly showing their true colors as the party of corporate-minded centrists (at best). “We’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is,” Nancy Pelosi famously said recently. And I believe her. They are not the Resistance — WE are the Resistance. WE built the movement that protested the Iraq War; WE built the Movement For Black Lives; WE built the NoDAPL movement; WE built the movement behind Bernie Sanders. WE showed up at airports all over the country, fighting the racist Muslim Ban.

The only way for all of us — and particularly the most oppressed and exploited of us — to truly be free from the controls of the capitalist class and able to determine our own destinies, is to end capitalism and replace it with an economic system based on power and wealth being distributed equally: socialism, basically, or, communism, if you prefer that word— or even love, that’s a good word to use too. Honestly, when the time comes there’s gonna have to be some improvising, whatever words one uses. But ending capitalism is the only way the most oppressed among us — black people, women, immigrants, LGBTQI people, disabled people, Native people, people living paycheck-to-paycheck — will truly have a voice, and will truly ever be free from exploitation. And we can only do this if we build a people’s movement outside of the corrupt two-party system of the billionaire class and transform our economic and political system to one that does not feed on that exploitation, that does not feed on the State putting its boot on the neck of the most-oppressed, that allows us to finally and truly love each other and care for each other in the way that we were supposed to all along.

Be part of an organized grassroots resistance to capitalism and imperialism. Join the People’s Congress of Resistance.

Or join a revolutionary Socialist party in The Party for Socialism and Liberation.

This piece was originally published on Medium.

Written by Brian Miller

Brian is a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and is helping build the People's Congress of Resistance. Father, husband, and marriage counselor.

Brian is a Guest Contributor to Progressive Army.

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Stealing From the Poor and Giving to the Rich