Tuesday, October 09, 2018

“The Dictatorship of the Multinational Corporations”

Unlike other countries in the sub-Saharan region, Liberia was never formally colonised by European imperialism. Therefore, the West African nation was neither militarily nor politically occupied by any of the colonising states to give rise to the unhindered and unquestioned penetration of foreign capital for the colossal exploitation and exportation of raw material from the soil and sub-soil of Liberia after the partition of Africa took place in Berlin, Germany in 1884-1885. Throughout history, Liberia has really not produced indigenous bourgeoisie. The Liberian bourgeois class is found in the state bureaucracy. This class, which makes up elite Liberians who occupy positions in the three branches of the government, makes every law conducive for the unhindered exploitation of Liberia’s resources and the labour of the Liberian working class by multinational corporations. This is why the social system produced is the “Dictatorship of Multinational Corporations”. In the context of Liberia’s history, the “The dictatorship of the Multinational Corporations” has always been nurtured by reactionary regimes that emerge out of the ruling class

Nevertheless, Liberia has been taken over by multinational corporations that are exploiting its resources at the expense of Liberians, especially the country’s working class that serves as cheap labour to these foreign companies. Liberia’s social system has produced the principal contradiction of the “dictatorship of the multinational corporations”—the wholesale plunder of the nation’s wealth and people by foreign multinational corporations that have their origins in colonial powers.

There are two mutually opposite aspects of the contradiction of the dictatorship of the multinationals. On the one hand, there is the exploiting class, which consists of the owners of the multinational corporations and their office allies in the state bureaucracy. On the other hand, the exploited classes, which consist of the workers, farmers and masses of poor people. 

The multinational corporations, with their international capital are owners of Liberia’s properties of production. They acquired these instruments of production through the comprador bourgeoisie-multinational asymmetrical relations. In such a setup, the local middle class in Liberia formed a marriage with foreign capital not for the purpose of transforming the homeland, but to export and exploit the resources of our country in its most crude variety.  Liberian society exploits the labour and resources of the country and exports the surplus values with little appropriated to changing the quality of the Liberian society in order to pave the way for the industrial production of goods and services. It is against this unequal relation to the means of production that the nature of the Liberian society has been characterised as underdeveloped, impoverished and backward.

 The multinationals accumulate huge surplus value and in turn give crumbs to its local lackeys dubbed as a middle class who do not form part of the productive process, but are rather occupying positions in the various state apparatuses. The laws of the state are crafted around such a system, scholars refer to as neo-colonial capitalism.

This social system smoothens the way for the acquisition of the means of production by multinational corporations. Currently, as it was in the past, the multinational corporations have the iron ore, rubber, gold, timber, mega hotels, telecommunications, etc. Arcelor Mittal, one of the world’s steel giants is here in Liberia, not manufacturing steel but exploiting iron ore and exporting in its raw state to advanced economies. Firestone has been in Liberia since 1926 growing, harvesting and exporting rubber in its latex form. Liberty Gold Mining is here in Liberia. MNG Gold Mining is here in Liberia. Golden Veroleum, Sime Darby, Farmington Hotel, Royal Grand Hotel, Boulevard Palace, Lonestar, MTN, Orange etc. are also here in Liberia.
At their various production centres, workers who play no part in their appropriation produce wealth dubbed as surplus value. The working people at those production centres are paid paltry sums in “so-called” wages that cannot cater for their basic needs for goods and services [that they contribute to produce]. The surplus value they produce from the mountains, soil, forest, etc. are exploited by the owners of the means of production, which include the labour of working people, to amass wealth through private profit maximisation. The surplus values, due to their outward orientation, are exported instead of being reinvested in the Liberian economy; thus leading to the underutilisation of the productivity of labour.
At some point in time, the private profit motive leads to expansion in production, which uses technologies that pollute the working people’s environment. When the working people and communities’ dwellers resist this, the standing army is sent by the state bureaucracy to crush the resistance of the mass of people.
When there arises the economic situation of downward shift in the demand for the commodity or service produced at the production centres, thus leading to the drop in total income, the working people whose labour is the only commodity of production that produces wealth while being consumed, are affected either through wage cut or employment or contract termination. When this is protested against through strikes, the state’s standing army is sent to shoot at protesting workers.
During slavery, the exploited class were composed of slaves while the exploiting class consisted of slave masters. Under Feudalism, the exploited class consisted of the serfs while the exploiting class consisted of the feudal lords. Under present day capitalism, especially in the advanced capitalist countries, the exploited class is the working class or what we call “proletariat” – those who produce wealth on the various factory floors but play no democratic part in how such wealth is appropriated. The exploiting class is the ruling class or the bourgeoisie – the owners of the means of production who exploit the labour of workers to accumulate wealth through surplus values. There are black workers and there are black bourgeoisie. There are white workers and there are white owners of the properties of production.
This is why civil rights leaders like George P. Jackson in the United States of America did not limit the struggle to the abolition of racism. Their fight was also extended to the pattern of ownership of the means of production and thus the class struggle – the liberation of labour from the exploitation of capital. To have only dealt with the issue of race and left out the pattern of ownership of the wealth and means of production would have been like dealing with the effect and leaving out the cause. Similarly, the African liberation struggle was not just limited to ridding the continent of the white-colonialists, but also creating the condition to avoid the creation of black-colonialists. The exploited class consists of the workers, farmers, and poor masses while the exploiting class consists of the owners of the multinational corporations, which are predominantly owned by foreign capital.
State power is exercised in the interest of the multinational corporations although the apparatuses of the state (executive, legislature and judiciary) were instituted democratically by the workers, farmers and poor masses to act in their interest. Paradoxically, when workers resist their exploitation by multinationals, state power sends the armed body of men to crush the class actions of the toilers. The reality is, individuals, whether “Natives” or “Congaus” occupying the various apparatuses of the state depend on the multinational corporations for their economic survival. Portion of the surplus value exploited from the wealth produced by the workers is paid to the national government in the forms of taxes and rent. Instead of such funds being used to change the quality of the Liberian society (education, health, infrastructure, etc.), they are diverted to the huge salaries and perks of robber bureaucrats in the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of the government.  Liberia remains the citadel of illiteracy, disease and poverty – conditions, which reproduces the other segments of the exploited class (impoverished farmers in the rural communities and poor masses in the urban centres).
Nothing is permanent. Everything is in constant motion, always changing, always coming into being and passing away. Struggle or perish – There is no third way!
Taken from here

No comments: