Charity v Justice: Can the charity industry save us from capitalism? | rabble.ca

Charity v Justice: Can the charity industry save us from capitalism? | rabble.ca.

At its best charity is about the practice of unconditional loving-kindness towards our fellow human beings.  This practice happens in lots of small ways in and between communities all over the world every day.  However, the charity industry has nothing to do with this ideal – its chief function is to legitimize a structurally unjust system.  This is true of the global ‘health and development’ charities that pretend that the damage of colonization and continuing national oppression can be rectified by vaccine and micro-loan programs.  It is equally true of the domestic charity industry which, particularly around Christmas time,  gets all warm and fuzzy about doling out to the needy.  These programs legitimize the unequal and unjust division of wealth and power in our society, both for the giver, who can be absolved of any sense of guilt for benefiting from the system, and for the receiver who is made to feel that the system is actually benevolent and they have a ‘fair chance’.  It keeps us from looking at the fundamental problems of an economic system that reproduces poverty and extreme inequality every single day as a core part of its basic logic.  In the words of the outstanding Canadian communist Norman Bethune: Charity should be abolished; it should be replaced with justice.

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