For capitalism to succeed, it must divide us

Capitalism is at the root of all that divides us as a society. Capitalism depends on our being divided; division is built into capitalism. It’s what helps it survive.

Capitalism is at the root of all that divides us as a society. Capitalism depends on our being divided; division is built into capitalism. It’s what helps it survive.

Racism, for example, is abundant in capitalism. Capitalism requires labour costs to be as low as possible in order to maximize profits. That’s why slavery was a key component in capitalism getting a foothold. By spreading the myth that indigenous Africans were less valuable than white people, it was easier to treat them like animals, like property, to exploit them for their labour at very little cost.

Same goes for killing and relocating the people indigenous to the Americas. By establishing them as savage and uncivilized, it was easier to justify violence toward them as a way to gain unfettered access to the raw resources necessary to establish Western economies.

Even today, capitalism depends on the low wage labour of developing countries or undocumented workers, while at the same time convincing other workers that immigrants are stealing your jobs.

Capitalism requires the low-wage labour of incarcerated workers to keep retail prices low and profits high. Apprehending, convicting, and sentencing people of colour at higher rates than white people allows capitalism access to the low-wage labour they used to enjoy with African slaves and Chinese railway workers.

And it’s not just racism either.

Consider sexism. Capitalism requires labour. And the easiest way to get labour is through your workers having children, and those children being healthy and educated. Having a mother at home to keep them healthy and ensure they receive education while the father is at work works in capitalism’s favour more so than if both parents were working.

As well, if families are organized so that the father is the boss, children grow up being comfortable with the idea of being a subordinate, with the idea of hierarchy in the workplace.

Even homophobia is wrapped up in capitalism. It’s no coincidence that defenders of the so-called traditional family are also defenders of capitalism. Every person who isn’t in a heterosexual relationship and raising children is another person threatening the future job pools of capitalism.

If billionaires convince us that immigrants are stealing our jobs, that gay people are destroying the family, and that women are emasculating men, then they can keep stealing our wages, our resources, and our dignity.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 4 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I am a political economy student at the University of Athabasca, working on my second undergrad degree.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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