This past year was a big success for the one percent. Their profits are higher than in decades. Their proportion of the wealth is higher than it was in the 1920s, considered the best period for capitalism. Their tentacles are spread all over the world, monopolizing natural resources, gobbling up the land, privatizing the water, producing what they need to make the highest profits imaginable.
The result of their greed is a planet in distress. Scientists all over the world have told us repeatedly that our continuing use of fossil fuel, oil, gas and coal will likely make the planet uninhabitable if we do not change our way of living, and change it quickly. All over we see the consequences of their plunder in polluted air and water, ruined land, droughts, monster storms, and other crazy weather.
While production is organized for profit all over the world, people are hungry, homeless, living in poverty, dying from malnutrition and other diseases, while tons of food rot and are wasted every day. What is being spent in Africa to fight Ebola is a drop in the bucket compared to what has been spent by the U.S. alone on the wars. The way the economy is organized today means no work for some, part-time unbenefited work for many, and working overtime for others. Tens of millions of people in this country are without health care and child poverty is at an all-time highs.
The rule of the one percent means a world destroyed by war. War continues to be the daily plight of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Nigeria. Drug wars keep killing people in Mexico. All over the world people are turned into refugees or migrants trying to escape and find a better life.
Finding a place to rent is becoming out of the possibility of many in our cities. San Francisco is more and more gentrified. Poor and working class people are forced to live farther and farther from where they work and spending more and more on transportation to get to and from work.
Less than one percent of the population is more or less making the decisions about the way the world is run today. And they are making those decisions based on maximizing their profits. For the overwhelming majority of the people of the world, this is insane.
But not everyone has been willing to face these attacks in silence. All over the world we have seen people struggling to save the planet. The environmental movement seems to be growing and strengthening and forcing the issue of global warming to be addressed despite what the oil, coal and gas bosses want. Recently hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in New York City demanding change to save the planet. This follows local organizing that has been going on all over the world to stop fracking, to stop nuclear power plants, to stop pipelines, to stop hydro-electric dams. Time after time, people have been putting their bodies in the road to block the plunder and ruin of their communities.
And in August, when Michael Brown was killed by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, the people of that community went out into the streets and they are still out there months later. When the grand jury failed to indict the white policeman who killed Eric Garner in New York City, the whole country exploded. People said and continue to say – “No business as usual” when the police commit legalized murder. And it is this kind of resistance that gives us hope for the future.
Over the last decade we have seen repeatedly how what seems like a quiet period can change overnight. We saw this with Occupy, and with the Arab Spring, and now for the last weeks of 2014 with anti-police brutality demonstrations night after night all over the country.
The one percent has made its plans for 2015. Whether their plans are carried out is up to us. It is a question of what we decide and how willing we are to act. We are the majority. We do all of the work to produce the goods, to provide all of the services, to run the transportation. Without our labor it all comes to a halt. We have the power. The question is will we use that power in 2015 to fight back?