By PROF. JOSE MARIA SISON
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
20 September 2010
From September 20-22, 2010, the United Nations is hosting the largest gathering of heads of state since the Millennium Summit in the year 2000 when 189 world leaders made pious pledges to reaffirm the principles and values of the UN for the new millennium and declared that the central challenge for the moment was “to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all the world’s people.”
In this connection, the UN promulgated eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), targeted for fulfillment by 2015. With barely 5 years left before the deadline and in the midst of the first global depression of the 21st century, world leaders are convening in New York to proclaim their continued commitment to pursue the MDGs while diverting people’s attention away from the real roots of the problems that these goals are supposed to solve.
The MDGs were adopted ostensibly to marshal the efforts of governments towards “doable” and “measurable” targets. The real intent was to legitimize “neoliberalism” and make pretenses that the world capitalist system was humane even as the rapacity of imperialist exploitation and plunder remains the reality. The goals were deliberately chosen – principally by bureaucrats and spin-doctors from the OECD, IMF and WB – to deal superficially only with the most obvious symptoms of poverty and oppression which riled even the imperialist-funded NGOs and some rock stars.
They obscured the necessity of overcoming colonial and neocolonial domination and monopoly capitalist exploitation which have shackled the majority of the world’s population to chronic poverty and dehumanizing privations. They brushed aside the long-standing demands of underdeveloped countries within the UN system to redress the unequal relations between countries and to respect national sovereignty and mutual benefit in international relations. They dismissed the demands for social justice and structural transformation voiced by people’s movements in all continents.
Indeed, the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs were essentially propaganda offensives to push back the advance of the progressive forces against imperialist globalization. During the last decade of the previous millennium, such forces had been mounting increasingly militant actions in connection with the People’s Conference against Imperialist Globalization in Manila in 1996, the People’s Caravan Against APEC in 1997, and the Battle of Seattle in 1999.
Since their 2000 launch, the MDGs have been used to sugarcoat the bitter overdosages of “neoliberal” policy that the imperialist financial institutions have been shoving down the throats of people in the impoverished and bankrupt countries. The MDGs, thus, have served to perpetrate the exploitative relations between the imperialist powers and the client countries . The first goal, “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger”, is farther from realization than ever, with the number of hungry people worldwide increasing from 842 million in 1990 to over 1 billion last year.
The aggravation of hunger is due to the tightened monopoly capitalist control of the global food system — from production inputs, to credit, to marketing and distribution. This has deepened the long-standing crisis of agriculture and food production in underdeveloped countries. This is also rooted in the legacy of feudal land monopoly and compounded by governments that would rather support foreign agribusiness, mining and logging interests and landed elite interests than uplift the condition of the peasantry and poor consumers.
The UN claims that the MDG target of halving the number people living in extreme poverty is well on its way to being met. But this is mostly due to puffing up the aggregate figures with the reported rise in household incomes of a narrow section of the Chinese population. Concealed are the decline of employment and incomes among the workers and peasants and the reduction of social incomes in the form of public goods and services as a consequence of capitalist restructuring and the worsening global economic crisis.