Capitalism’s failures, and the struggles against it

December 26, 2018

Editor’s note: We post this Dec. 24, 2018, commentary by Mohammed Elnaiem as a discussion article. His blog can be found at

On these holidays, we mourn for the Kurds in Syria who hopelessly fear an upcoming Turkish invasion, we mourn for the yellow vests in France who rise up in an empire built on colonial wealth but which continues to make destitute its working and unemployed poor. We mourn for struggling Haitians, fighting against the IMF structural programs imposed on a government which, in turn steals aid for its political classes at the expense of its poor population. We mourn for those Sudanese, who have lived under a regime that has left its poor without even the means to buy bread.

Most importantly, today, we find no solace in the silence of those who said to look to Venezuela and Nicaragua to find the failures of “socialism”, but have nothing to say about the failures of capitalism— it seems everywhere.

Because today, the culprit of this mess, is silent. We are against our own governments, but we are also against the tax-dodging, transnational capitalist class which keeps them in power.

This Christmas, MTN — the South African telecommunications company — finds itself embroiled in two controversies. First, the money it has illegally stolen from Nigerian taxpayers, and second, its complicity in censoring the voices of Sudanese protesters at the behest of the dictatorship in Khartoum. These are the cunning people who show themselves when their patronage networks are at risk.

In reality, the capitalist class of many different colours, from Africa to China, have built their wealth on the precondition of poverty. They have found stability, in the unstable. It is they who sell weapons to Turkey. It is they who furnish the pockets of the elite in Haiti to win contracts on unequal terms. Everytime a Haitian paramilitary bullet is shot, that is a dollar in the pockets of the arms traders. And in the case of Sudan, an indigenous capitalist class — which could thrive under US sanctions without international competition— has aligned itself with the ruling elite of Sudan. Many of the old-school of the opposition used to play this role, and they are angry not necessarily at the poverty in the country — but merely because this government has stolen its most important base from them, the treacherous bourgeoisie.

Those communications companies which have blocked social media in Sudan — those representatives of the so-called “free” private sector — who do they represent, but a growing African capitalist class, which makes its allegiance known in the midst of a revolutionary uprising?

They too will celebrate these holidays. Knowing very well that whatever happens, they will be sure to stay hidden, and to exploit whatever comes next. And insofar as they continue to conspire for their profits. The future will be dim.

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