It is Thanksgiving day in the united $tates, and among celebrations of imperial plenty, we must look to remind people at whose expense this country and its treasures were won. We should ask ourselves the very difficult question: How do we get what we have? The holiday itself is already steeped in an unsavory, genocidal history of colonial dispossession—hardly what it’s made out to be. The long list of atrocities committed in the name of accumulation goes on for generations, and is still being added to. It would be impossible to list the innumerable ways that amerika has claimed its abundance at the expense of the Third World, so we mean only to give a few reminders, and to inspire others to look a little harder at what they have to be “thankful” for.
- As of 2016 more than 815 million people are suffering from malnutrition due to lack of food, 98% of whom live in the Third World. This marks an increase in formerly declining numbers in world hunger, due mostly to a sharp increase in violent conflict and ecological crises. Only about 2% of worldwide malnutrition occurs in the First World, and when measured internally these figures represent less than 5% of the overall population.
- Amerikans lead the world in food-waste, with 30-40% of its food being sent to landfills to rot while hunger continues to explode in the Third World. The USDA estimated that in 2010, food-waste represented 31% of the food supply in the united $tates, amounting to roughly 133 billion pounds and almost $162 billion. While producers and retailers are responsible for a majority of the food waste in amerika as well as the world, consumer food waste sharply increases in the First World. On the whole, the First World represents more than half of all food-waste despite containing less than 14% of the world’s population.
- In the united $tates, people spend less of their annual income on food than in any other country in the world. The average amerikan spends only about 6.4% of their annual income on food, while people in countries like Pakistan and Nigeria—accused by First-Worldists of having comparable costs of living when compared with price differences in the First World—spend upwards of 40% of their annual incomes on food.
- Of the world’s poorest people, more than 75% grow their own food to survive, in conditions which are highly susceptible to natural disaster and ecological crises. Naturally, the great majority of these individuals live in the Third World. In India, a study by UC Berkeley demonstrated that climate change causing low crop yields has resulted in the suicides of more than 59,000 people over the past 30 years. This is not to speak of the added stress this places on the already existing food crisis among subsistence farmers.
- A report released in September by the ILO estimates the number of slaves extant to be over 40 million. As the study authors concede, the number may be far higher, as areas of conflict and areas isolated geographically are not gauged for this survey. The destruction of Libya by NATO forces and the destabilization of Syria have all underwritten a world situation wherein Libya, once the most stable and wealthy African nation, can host open-air slave markets. Far from a phenomenon sequestered in pre-capitalist relations, globally integrated sectors, like the seafood industry, rely on the labor of enslaved humans.
So while you, or those around you, celebrate the rather lofty ideals of “togetherness” and “gratitude”, we encourage you to look a little closer at what is taken for granted. Not only at the genocidal conquest of this continent, but at the persistent conditions of imperialism and settler-colonialism that continue on living. The abundance we “give thanks” for is won at the expense of the Third World, and what little exists for the overwhelming majority of humanity is continually threatened by the parasite states. These atrocities, committed daily in the name of amerikan and european consumption, must not only be recognized but struggled against. Let us trade the “togetherness” of Thanksgiving for real internationalism, and struggle for a world of abundance for all.