Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why is MMD opposing Sata's indeco idea?
By Editor
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

The MMD leadership is questioning the rationale behind the re-introduction of the industrial development corporation. It is not difficult to understand their problem. The MMD in government blindly pursued neoliberal policies which have not brought any meaningful development to the country for the two decades they were in power. What meaningful benefits have their capitalist policies brought to the poor of this country?

Let us not be carried away with labels and ideological prejudices and objectively face the challenges before us. We are living in a very different world. This is the first thing we need to understand.

Furthermore, the world we live in today is globalised, really globalised. It is a world dominated by the ideology, the standards and the principles of neoliberal globalisation.

The leadership of MMD should realise that when we speak of "the economy" or "an economic system", we are speaking of policies and plans which control the wealth and resources of a country, about how resources are distributed between people, and about how the means of production - such as land, factories and technology - are owned and controlled. It is sometimes suggested that economic laws, like the basic laws of nature, are beyond human control; that we can no more influence them than we can defy gravity or stop the motion of planets.

Therefore, it is argued, the existence of poverty and unemployment, and the inequitable distribution of wealth, are the result of inescapable economic laws, and must be accepted as such. When suffering and even death flow from these "inevitable facts of economic life", that is simply unfortunate, it is said, just as it is unfortunate when suffering and death result from a natural disaster. Although we sympathise with the victims of an earthquake or a flood, we do not consider such natural occurrences unjust or immoral. In the same way, the argument continues, we should not regard an economic system as unjust or immoral, though we regret the suffering that may be part of such a system. Some people will be poor and some rich, inevitably and unavoidably, just as some will be the victims of earthquakes and floods, and some will not.

This argument must be rejected because it fails to take into account the fact that economic consequences come about as a result of human agency. At the heart of every economic system lie human needs, human abilities and human decisions, and it is the choices which we make in addressing those needs, sharing those abilities, and making those decisions, that determine the justice or injustice of an economic system. The more powerful our economic position, the greater our freedom of choice, with the poor and the marginalised having very little effective choice in their economic decision making. There is thus a moral quality about an economy, a quality which has its roots in the morally correct or incorrect choices by people; and it is the moral quality of the economy that enables us to make judgements about whether or not it is a just economy.

We are not surprised that President Michael Sata's decision to re-introduce a developmental state through the industrial development corporation is being opposed by a political party that for two decades presided over the plunder and abuse of our people and their resources. Michael's approach to economic management from the viewpoint of the poor and suffering, his condemnation of their suffering and his unambiguous call for bold and profound changes in the political and social structures that perpetuate that suffering, was destined, from the beginning, to generate opposition and conflict from other sectors of our society that seek to maintain the status quo or even to increase their share of economic and political power. It is time we converted both our hearts and our institutions to respond to the cause of the poor by searching for effective strategies to transform the structures that are the root causes of their suffering.

It is important to emphasise right from the beginning that we do not think this opposition to Michael's industrial development corporation is going to end in some form of reconciliation in the foreseeable future. When one identifies with the interests of the poor, one will undoubtedly come into conflict with the interests of other sectors of society and their allies. It is therefore important in these initiatives of Michael to emphasise the virtue of fortitude - the refusal to abandon the poor in their sufferings. And these same poor - by what they give and what they ask - should inspire Michael and his comrades with that fortitude, the strength to remain steadfast in whatever they do.

When a system ceases to promote the common good and favours special interests, we must not only denounce its injustice but also break with the evil system. We must be prepared to work with another system that is more just, fair and humane and more suited to the needs of the day.
If what Michael is suggesting to do is socialism, and if what Dr Kaunda and UNIP did was socialism, then all persons of goodwill cannot but go along with this; they cannot help but rejoice over the appearance of another social system that is more just, fair and humane.

It is surprising that the same people, the same political party, that declared this country a Christian nation favour greed and oppose policies that are more just, fair and humane. Tomorrow's Christians must follow the lead of Michael and KK, retracing the Christian roots that lie behind the moral values of solidarity and fraternity.

Christians must show that authentic socialism is Christianity lived to the full, in basic equality and with a fair distribution of goods.

Instead of opposing it, we must learn to accept joyfully a form of societal life that is better adapted to our times and more in tune with the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, we will prevent people from equating God and religion with those things that oppress the workers and the poor: that is capitalism and imperialism. These inhuman systems have spawned other systems that proposed to free peoples, but ended up oppressing them.

We must always side with those who seek to build a more equitable and fraternal society among the family of God's children. We should therefore, with pride and joy, greet the new initiatives Michael is coming up with, which do not honour money accumulated in the hands of a few.

It is primarily up to the poor to effect their own betterment. They must regain confidence in themselves. They must educate themselves and overcome illiteracy. They must work zealously to fashion their own destiny. They must open their ears to those who can awaken and shape the conscious awareness of the masses and, in particular, listen to progressive politicians like Michael and the apostle of our independence struggle, KK.

Changes must be made to the way we manage our economy; present conditions must be improved.

The people are hungering for truth and justice, and those who are entrusted with the task of teaching and educating them should do so with enthusiasm. Certain erroneous viewpoints must be wiped away without delay.

We cannot claim to love God without loving our fellow humans. If some try to monopolise for themselves what others need, then it is the duty of public authority to carry out the distribution that was not made willingly.

In like manner, we cannot allow rich foreigners to come and exploit our impoverished peoples under the pretext of developing commerce and industry; nor can we allow rich nationals to exploit their own nation. These things incite the exasperating strains of excessive nationalism, which is hostile to meaningful co-operation and collaboration.

It is high time that the poor, supported and guided by their legitimate government, defended their right to live. When God appeared to Moses, it was said to him: "I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt, I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave drivers… I mean to deliver them" (Exodus 3:7). Jesus took all humanity upon himself to lead it to eternal life. And the earthly foreshadowing of this is social justice, the first form of brotherly love. When Jesus freed humankind from death through resurrection, he brought all human liberation movements to their fullness in eternity.

We should direct all our efforts to work together toward the construction of a society in which all persons will find their place, and in which they will enjoy political, economic, cultural and religious equality and liberty.

The present situation in our country, as in many countries on our continent, calls for some radical change.

Every human being of goodwill should be committed to changing a social order that is cruelly unjust. To refuse such commitment would be to make oneself an accomplice of injustice. If we do not commit ourselves to changing a system that prevents most persons from achieving personal fulfilment, then we are not helping our people to live out their vocation and attain union with God.

The poverty situation, we feel, is a product of unjust socioeconomic structures. Faced with this situation, we have no choice but to support the changes that will help better the living standards of our people. We do realise full well that we are the product of a society that has taught us to look coldly on the impoverished plight of our brothers and sisters. Our actions must be inspired by real love, not by the standards of a society that tends to maintain the present situation.

Our organisations must somehow get close to the poor, because only close experience will teach us the great magnitude of the problems that afflict the majority of our people. We must therefore reform the structures of our organisations so that such contact really takes place.

We ought to sharpen the awareness of our duty of solidarity with the poor, to which charity leads us. This solidarity means that we make ours their problems and their struggles, that we know how to speak with them. This has to be concretised in criticism of injustice and oppression, in the struggle against the intolerable situation that a poor person often has to tolerate, in the willingness to dialogue with the groups responsible for that situation in order to make them understand their obligations.

We should openly express our desire to be very close always to those who work for and struggle with the poor in order that they always feel our encouragement and know that we will not listen to parties interested in distorting their work.

What has been said before and the experience lived by our people lead us to reject neoliberal policies that were imposed on our people by the successive MMD governments; we reject capitalism, in its economic expression as well as in its ideological basis, which favours individualism, profit, and the exploitation of humanity by humanity. We should therefore aim toward the creation of a qualitatively different society. By this, we understand a society wherein the willingness of justice, of solidarity and equality reigns, one that will respond to generous aspirations and the search for a more just society and where values which will guarantee the integral development of our people will be realised.

In order that this kind of society be developed, it is necessary that the education of all people include the social and communal meaning of human life, in the total context which includes culture, economics, politics and the whole society.

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