Soundtrack: Sa-Roc ft. David Banner: “The Who”
Capitalism is a way of arranging society and the economy that values #ProfitsOverPeople. Very small groups of people sit on boards and decide how to maximize their profits, no matter what impact it has on the masses of people who work in their corporations. These capitalists in the top 1% of the economy control governments, armies, and media for the purpose of keeping themselves in power. Because of their insatiable appetite for profits, the capitalists scour the earth, the air, and the seas looking for every source of resources they can find, no matter what the cost. And they use their control over governments and armies in order to secure unhindered access to the world’s various treasure troves of natural resources like oil, precious minerals, and fresh water. This is when capitalism reaches its highest stage which is called imperialism.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the settler-colonial oligarchy called the United States. It is necessary for us to acknowledge that the United States is an empire, an imperial power, the supreme imperial power in the world. By definition, an empire has dominion over many different nations and their resources.
The descendants of Afrika within the United States are a nation; one of many nations which are swallowed up (colonized) by the US Empire. As a colony of the empire, we are super-exploited for our labor and resources. However, we also have the position (fortunately or unfortunately?) of being the beneficiaries of U.S. imperialism’s domination internationally of other people of color. The crumbs from the colonizer’s table are pretty filling in comparison to what our distant cousins get in Africa, Asia, and South America.
One example of this phenomenon is found in the Congo. Limitless water, from the world’s second-largest river, the Congo, a beautiful climate and rich soil make it fertile. Beneath the soil, abundant deposits of copper, gold, diamonds, cobalt, uranium, coltan and oil are just some of the minerals that should make it a real life #Wakanda. But their reality is just the opposite. In the last 20 years, over 5 million people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to violence, disease, and starvation — with various groups fighting to have the chance to hand over their natural resources to the capitalists. But outside forces have been causing infighting among the various peoples of the region since the Portuguese first arrived in the 1480’s.
The smartphones that we all use everyday cannot exist without coltan. The electronic capacitors that make the phone go are made from coltan. The Congo possesses 80% of the world’s coltan. So it is no wonder that Joseph Kabila, the current “president” of the DRC, has refused to leave his position even after his term in office ended. There is too much money for a morally corrupt person to walk away from. But, #KabilaMustGo.
As colonized Afrikans inside of the US Empire, we have to realize that our status will never change as long as our colonizers have a stranglehold on the world’s resources. It is our responsibility, both as conscious global citizens and as people seeking our own freedom, to support the freedom movements of other oppressed peoples around the world. We have to demand that the companies we support with our dollars like Apple, Samsung, Dell and others are doing business responsibly. The people of the Congo must benefit from the resources beneath their feet and they must get true democratic rule over their government.
#CapitalismIsTheProblem and we must be prepared to challenge the system itself. The world must value #PeopleOverProfits instead of #ProfitsOverPeople. We must use our platforms to spread the word and stand with the people of the Congo. We must call for the dimissal of Joseph Kabila and the holding of free and open elections in DRC. We must be prepared to apply pressure to the electronics corporation giants by not buying any more smartphones and laptops until they stop doing business with the warlords in the Congo.
#FreeTheLand, inside the US and wherever the empire has stolen the wealth and resources of people of color around the world.