What did you parents teach you when you were young? Did they tell you to be honest and not to lie? Did they say you should be hopeful? That you ought to be good, and fair with those around you? Some parents go far beyond this, and teach their young about cooperation, sharing, and how to interact with the world. And unfortunately, some parents are measurable only in their cruelty. But the mothers and fathers that give ideas to the future generation -- don't they teach their sons and daughters to be sincere and virtuous?
What good is changes with each nation, with every century. The details of virtue are different from one family to another, from one year to the next. And the changes are sometimes gradual, testing the patience of time, and others others are volcanic and uncontrollable. But in the voice of our community, we can feel the all-pervading, natural ethic of human morality: there are things worth cherishing, there are people worth loving, and there are places worth remembering.
In some cases, what was 'right' actually turned out to be awful, especially where natural, human sympathy took a backseat to tradition, authority, and heritage. The witch-burnings, the world wars, the slaughter of millions for "ethnic cleansing" -- yes, it is certainly true that entire generations were mislead and lied to. But that a morality worth cherishing exists -- this is omnipresent. So much so, that it is commonplace in the non-human, animal world.
What does Capitalism teach you? It does not tell you that there is an ethic of fairness guiding human action. It only seeks profit. Siemens, the great distributor of technological commodities, funded the Nazi Party and set up factories with forced labor from death camps. Where natural human morality is offended, profit is satisfied.
And how different is this from our world today? Our electronics, furniture, food, toys, and clothing are mostly made in places that resemble the concentration camps of World War 2. Whether picking up at McDonald's or Burger King, whether shopping at Walmart or Sears, people buy products made in forced labor conditions. Something as expensive as diamonds, to something as cheap as packaging -- so much of our economy is based on exploitation, forced labor, and oppressed people.
In China, Burma, and Niger, there is still a slave trade, sometimes in the mines, or on the farms, or in the factories; building roads, harvesting crops, or manufacturing goods. Other nations may not have a literal slavery existing, but they created violent and oppressive conditions for their people. In Mexico and Cuba, the government kidnaps and kills political dissidents. One is a "Communist" government clamping down on "Conservative" thinkers, and the other is the same situation reversed.
In Indonesia and Chile, Fascist governments have taken up the economic plans of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and Hirohito. The owners of property are granted a supreme authority in decision-making throughout every sector of society; a tiny handful of people control all of the schools, the military, the courts, the businesses, and the land. Workers are overworked and exposed to toxic conditions, and when they try to organize, the ringleaders are executed. It is not exactly slavery, but the masters of these governments use violence to gain obedience.
Forced labor camps, rigged trials for those who resist, a fractured skull for each protester, and broken legs for every unionist. Their whole lives are made up of moments of poverty, where they must drink dirty water and send their children to school hungry. And when they finally try to strike out against these demoralizing conditions, they are beaten down. The individual, human uprising of a union, or a community group, or a demonstration is stepped on; crushed by a massive, overbearing, and proud authority. In between the deaths caused by easily-cured diseases and those by starvation, there are murders, executions, tortures, and mass killings. Instead of producing good, government has prevented it -- at the cost of sacrificing the boldest and brightest among the people.
These near-slavery conditions are the day-to-day existence of life in many countries in Africa, South America, and Asia. Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil are all possessed by violent, intolerant, mass-killing governments. Congo, Zimbabwe, and Chad all use secret police to torture and even kill those who "oppose the government's way of thinking." And in Asia, we find similarly vicious states in Korea, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
All of these people are overtaxed, all of their wages are diminished to almost nothing, and all of the goods provided for them have such high profit margins that only the rich can satisfy their hunger. To the one who lives by owning a manufacturing plant and bribing the police, the income translates to a beamer and a mansion. But to the poor farmer, who must labor twelve, fourteen, or sixteen hours a day, it could mean the cost of surgery for a family member. And if not that, then it would translate to providing the necessaries for their young.
The cost of cheap labor can be counted in dollars or lives -- it can be measured according to the morality of Capitalism, or it can measured according to basic, human morality. And yet, these are where our products come from. Sweatshops, forced labor camps, and terrified populations. Not just our personal, individual items of consumption, but capital goods, too. Oil, coal, and gold are produced in some of the most horrible conditions imaginable.
It is not just our clothing and our bread that is tainted with this blood money. Our paychecks, too, because the profit of our bosses is made with tools made in sweatshops and forced labor camps. Whether in an office building, the open air fields of a farm, or the busy and ceaseless workings of a factory -- everything you need to use was made in those horrible conditions. They were all made in countries where workers were union activists were tortured, where community organizers were executed, where the masses fear the hand that guides.
As a member of an industrialized nation, we are in an inescapable paradigm. We can either be honest, like we were taught in our youth, or we can work at a job and get a paycheck made with the sweat of imprisoned workers. We can either be good to all humanity, or buy shoes made by children working fourteen hours a day. We can act within basic, human morality, or we can cooperate with the Capitalist system. But not both.
If you want to do anything that is within basic, human morality, it must naturally be anti-Capitalist. And that begins with organizing. Unions, but not for just a few more pennies an hour. Organized labor for giving land to the workers, for pulling the government's fingers out of our lives, for liberating the wrongly accused, for ending wars and protecting the defenseless. Our unions must be class-conscious -- if unions happily cooperate with masters that import slave products, then they have planned their own destruction.
We cannot just organize for better conditions! It must be for control over our own lives, for the right to the land, and for complete personal liberty. And all of these require the overthrow of Capitalism and the State!