As we celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall, lets realise there are now more walls than ever. There’s no doubt that Soviet communism was a miserable failure. But maybe it had some benefits after all?
The ugly face of Capitalism
Communism led to the Cold War and brutal repression. But one thing it did inadvertently achieve was to force capitalism pause. And during this pause, to reflect on the existence of a powerful rival ideology. It incentivised Western leaders to make sure that their market economies benefited workers. These benefits included higher wages and more welfare spending. All these owed as much to the fear of communism as they did to trade unions. Now, without the Soviet counterweight, capitalism has given full rein to its ugliest instincts.
More walls than ever
For example, while the Berlin Wall has gone, Europe has more walls in 2019 than ever before. They seal Europe off from people from the rest of the world. Some are literal walls:
EU countries have built about 1,000km of border walls since East and West Germany were reunited in 1990, with sharp increases in construction since migration was put on the political agenda in earnest in 2015.
Other walls come in the form of border security:
The European Union Council has supported a budget for 2020 that among others foresees the allocation of €101.4 million to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), or +32.4% compared to 2019, to set up a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027.
It’s clear who gains from all this: the shareholders of construction, arms and security companies.
Mediterranean migrant arrivals reach 17,000 in 2019; deaths reach 493
These walls are a stain on the European conscience. Instead of erecting more of them what we need to build is a political movement. A movement that can scare the capitalists as much as communism did.
What do you think? Why not leave a comment below: