As the ‘Occupy’ movement continues in the US, London and elsewhere, figures published in today’s ‘Guardian’ newspaper re-enforce the notion of the 99% versus the 1%. These incredible figures once again show the parasitic nature of the tiny minority who dominate society through their extreme wealth.
In an article George Monbiot reported that: “In the US, from 1979 to 2009 the income of the bottom fifth fell by 4%. In roughly the same period, the income of the top 1% rose by 270%. In the UK, the money earned by the poorest tenth fell by 12% between 1999 and 2009, while the money made by the richest 10th rose by 37%.”
Monbiot goes on to explain that - such is the wealth gap which currently exists - the richest person in the last 2000 years is alive today. Carlos Slim, the multi-billionaire tycoon from Mexico, could buy the labour of 440,000 average Mexicans. By using the measure of how much labour can be bought in someone’s home country, Slim is said to be 14 times richer than Crassus, a key ally of the Roman emperor Julius Caesar, who is considered to have been the richest man in the history of the Roman Empire. Slim is also nine times as rich as Carnegie, the 19th century American steel tycoon and four times as rich as Rockerfeller, another American tycoon of the 19th century. Forbes magazine estimates that Slim has a net worth $63.3 billion.
Obscene wealth - ruthlessly extracted from the blood, sweat, and tears of working and poor women and men around the world, the “99%” - is being hoarded away by a tiny minority of people like Slim, the “1%”. While they continue accumulating unimaginable fortunes and living in luxurious opulence their faithful hirelings in the media, academia and politics try to tell us there is not enough money in the world to go around. There is not enough money for children to be well educated. There is not enough money for hospitals to be adequately staffed. There is not enough money for people to have pensions which mean they will not retire in poverty. There is not enough money for the 99% of people to have reasonable homes, jobs or a good quality of life, so we are told.
That is why the Committee for a Workers International and its supporters across the world are fighting for a democratic, socialist transformation of society. The only way we can guarantee that the vast wealth produced by the collective work of all of humanity is used for the benefit of everyone is to take it out of the hands of the 1% and democratically plan how to use it.