Thursday, April 02, 2009

poverty and NGOs

On the day that G20 leaders meet in London, millions of poor children in countries like Kenya are facing hunger and malnutrition. Save the Children estimates that there are up to 100,000 more malnourished children in Kenya today as a result of last year's rise in food prices.

Save the Children's Director of Policy said: "Poor people in the poorest countries were hit hard by the rise in food and fuel prices last year. The financial crisis will hurt them even more, and children are most at risk...What poor people want and deserve is that these promises are delivered on. G20 leaders have said that they will do what is necessary to revive their own economies. With equal urgency they should do whatever it takes to protect the world's poor, including poor children, from a financial crisis that was not of their making"

An estimated 4 million people in Kenya face acute food shortages for the next year as they live in areas hit hardest by the drought and food prices.

Save The Children can appeal as often as they wish to the good will of the world's capitalist class . Viewed from a socialist aspect, such appeals bestows its beneficence upon the capitalist class in addition to the favours that it patronisingly grants to the deprived and destitute. Even if NGOs such as Save The Children were groups genuinely seeking, on humanitarian grounds, to reach out to the needy (as some may honestly do , we readily admit ) they would still not escape being branded blind groups groping in the dark.
The work and assistance programmes of NGOs cannot be anything but a red herring. Having been brought into existence by the exploitative money-oriented system and being completely dependent on the same underhand methods of this unfeeling system for their survival what else can the activities of NGOs be if not messing about in trivialities? The main problem confronting humanity revolves around ownership of the means and instruments for producing and distributing social wealth. How many NGOs mount platforms to explain this simple truth to their target groups? How many NGOs ever distribute press releases about working people replacing this profit-oriented system with a higher social system based on collective and democratic ownership of the means and instruments of production?

Poverty and want are necessary offshoots of the capitalist socio-economic formation. Trying to get rid of the former whilst leaving the latter intact amounts to putting the cart before the horse. The only genuine assistance the NGO community could lead to the suffering people of this capitalist world is to stop collaborating with the owners of capital and instead, join forces with socialists to get rid of this system based on money. NGOs could use their resources to help usher in a system where production is not for profits' sake but for the satisfaction of needs. Under such a system nobody will have to run around begging for funds in order to help the needy—in fact there wouldn't be any more needy people.

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