The War Of Hunger Is Taking Over From The War Of Guns

Great dollops of hypocrisy invariably accompany expressions of concern by outside powers for the wellbeing of the Syrian people. But even by these low standards, a new record for self-serving dishonesty is being set by the Caesar Civilian Protection Act, the new US law imposing the harshest sanctions in the world on Syria and bringing millions of Syrians to the brink of famine.

Supposedly aimed at safeguarding ordinary Syrians from violent repression by President Bashar al-Assad, the law is given a humanitarian garnish by naming it after the Syrian military photographer who filmed and smuggled out of the country pictures of thousands of Syrians killed by the government.

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Capitalist Economies Overproduce Food

The unprecedented pandemic, and the recession it has caused, has led to a sharp increase in food insecurity in the United States. The problem isn’t that there isn’t enough food to go around, but that more and more people are unable to afford to purchase it. Last year the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) recently released a report predicting that the number of people facing extreme hunger could soar to 270 million by the end of 2020 — effectively doubling.

What’s leading to these extreme statistics isn’t a lack of availability — it’s that many people simply can’t afford to purchase food. Like with many commodities, capitalist markets are fairly good at producing food, but they are not so efficient at distributing it equitably.

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Your Privileges Are Not Universal

Stencilled in red on the walls of Santiago, Chile is a statement of fact: ‘your privileges are not universal’ (tus privilegios no son universales). This is a factual declaration because the privileges of power and property are not shared across the gaping class divide. Consider the fact that before the pandemic struck last year, over 3 billion people – or half the world’s population – had no access to health care. This data appears in a 2017 World Health Organisation (WHO) report that tracks important matters such as access to basic household sanitation (lacked by 2.3 billion people) and medical care for uncontrolled hypertension (suffered by 1 billion people).

An Oxfam report from 25 January 2021 called The Inequality Virus points out that ‘the pandemic could cause the biggest increase in inequality since records began, as it precipitates a simultaneous and substantial rise across many countries’.

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How One Community Creatively Solved Keeping Its Residents Fed During A Pandemic

Hunger and food insecurity have increased worldwide since COVID-19 took hold. In December 2020, the United Nations warned of the threat of “catastrophic global famine,” urging worldwide governments to prioritize food security and humanitarian needs in their COVID-19 response plans. The global, industrialized food supply chain is strained and fraying. Production and shipping delays are increasingly commonplace. Given the lack of substantial response by many governments to food insecurity, it has often fallen to individuals to step in and feed their communities. Neighborhood-based volunteer groups across major U.S. cities and beyond have come up with strategies to support themselves from within, working to curb hunger with creative initiatives like community free-food fridges, volunteer grocery deliveries and other mutual aid efforts.

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My Wish Is That You Win This Fight For Truth

On 26 January, India’s Republic Day, thousands of farmers and agricultural workers will drive their tractors and walk into the heart of the capital, New Delhi, to bring their fight to the doors of the government. For two months, these farmers and agricultural workers have been part of a nation-wide revolt against a government policy that seeks to deliver all the gains of their labour to the large corporate houses, whose profits have ballooned during this pandemic. Despite the cold weather and the pandemic, the farmers and agricultural workers have created a socialistic culture in their encampments with community kitchens and laundries, distribution points providing free essentials, recreational activities and places for discussion.

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Organizations Diverting Food Waste To Provide Meals For People In Need

One-third of the world’s food is wasted, according to the United Nations (UN). That number jumps to 40 percent in the United States—enough to feed 2 billion people.

Uneaten food has dire consequences for the planet: decomposing waste releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. According to the UN, if food waste was its own country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gas in the world, after the United States and China.

And yet, a recent Census Bureau survey finds that 1 in 8 Americans is struggling to secure reliable, nutritious food.

“There’s no shortage of food,” Regina Anderson, Executive Director of the Food Recovery Network, tells Food Tank.

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Mutual-aid Organizing For Food Security Puts Solidarity Over Charity

Since May, Justice for Migrant Workers (Justicia) has delivered over 2,000 boxes of fresh produce to migrant farm workers across the province. 

Each of the FoodShare food boxes feed two to four people, meaning that thousands of workers have been relying on these deliveries. Co-ordinating weekly food box drop-offs to farms where workers are quarantining as a result of the massive number of COVID-19 outbreaks has become a mainstay of Justicia’s work over the past eight months.

Justicia’s shift toward mutual aid efforts is not unique. We have seen initiatives like these cropping up across Toronto since the outset of the pandemic.

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This City Makes Sure No One Goes Hungry

Nestled on a wide plateau surrounded by the Espinhaço Mountains in southeastern Brazil is the city of Belo Horizonte, roughly 275 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. The city of 2.5 million is an industrial and technological hub, which had historically led to stark socioeconomic divisions, including high rates of poverty. But while other similarly situated cities around the globe struggle to meet the basic needs of their residents, Belo Horizonte pioneered a food security system that has effectively eliminated hunger in the city. The entire program requires less than 2% of the city’s annual budget.

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Empty Plate Protest Over Vote Against Free School Meals

Around 20 plates with messages on were attached to the windows of Stuart Anderson’s office along with a poster which said: “Your MP voted no to feeding poor kids”.

The plates were removed within hours of being put up but the word “scum” was then sprayed onto the office window.

Mr Anderson said he and his family have also received death threats and said he had reported the intimidation and vandalism to the police.

The Wolverhampton South West MP was one of 322 MPs who last week voted against a Labour motion calling for the extension of free meals during the school holidays in England until Easter 2021.

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Bullets Are Not The Seeds Of Life

On 9 October 2020, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the United Nations’ World Food Programme. In the citation for the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee pointed to the ‘link between hunger and armed conflict’, noting that ‘war and conflict can cause food insecurity and hunger, just as hunger and food insecurity can cause latent conflicts to flare up and trigger the use of violence’. The demand for zero hunger requires ‘an end to war and armed conflict’, said the Nobel Committee.

During the pandemic, the numbers of those who go to bed hungry at night have dramatically escalated, with estimates showing that half the human population has insufficient access to food.

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Hunger Will Kill Us Before Coronavirus

In April 2020, a month after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the pandemic, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the numbers of people who lived with acute hunger around the world would double due to COVID-19 by the end of 2020 ‘unless swift action is taken’. A report from the Global Network Against Food Crises – which is comprised by the WFP, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), and the European Union – said that the pandemic would ensure the highest level of food insecurity since 2017.

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US Sanctions Are Starving Syria

In June, the US imposed its harshest sanctions on Syria to date, prompting the World Food Programme to warn of “mass starvation or another mass exodus.” The US sanctions law known as the Caesar Act openly states that its strategy is to prevent reconstruction in government-held areas where most Syrians live, in which the Syrian government now controls after defeating a decade-long, devastating proxy war waged by the US and its allies.

In a new article for Foreign Affairs, scholar Joshua Landis and former Obama administration official Steve Simon write that the current US sanctions policy, quote, “further immiserates the Syrian people, blocks reconstruction efforts, and strangles the economy that sustains a desperate population during Syria’s growing humanitarian and public health crises.”

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Tell The People That The Struggle Must Go On

Young children marvel at an obvious contradiction in capitalist societies: why do we have shops filled with food, and yet see hungry people on the streets? It is a question of enormous significance; but in time the question dissipates into the fog of moral ambivalence, as various explanations are used to obfuscate the clarity of the youthful mind. The most bewildering explanation is that hungry people cannot eat because they have no money, and somehow this absence of money – the most mystical of all human creations – is enough reason to let people starve.

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The Pandemic Of Hunger

In April, the World Bank predicted that the Brazilian economy would shrink by 5% of GDP by 2020. Now, in June, the prediction is 8% to 10%. And the government’s expected 2% growth.

As the pandemic mainly affects self-employed and informal workers who, in order to survive, cannot be confined to their homes, the number of Brazilians in poverty is expected to increase this year from 41.8 million (2019) to 48.8 million people, equivalent to 23% of the population.

The poor are all those who survive on a daily income of less than R$27.5 ($5 USD) or a monthly income of less than R$825. This year there will be 7 million more Brazilians. The emergency aid has eased the social drama a little. But until when?

A survey conducted by Plano CDE, a company that analyzes life and consumption in classes C, D and E, indicates that between March and April of this year, of the 58 million Brazilians in classes D and E (with monthly incomes of up to 500 R) 51 million saw their income reduced by half or less.

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US Admits It Is To Blame For Syrian Hunger

United States Special Envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, announced on Sunday that Washington had offered Syria a proposal to end the US sanctions. The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry in Damascus said that the statements by James Jeffrey constitute a clear admission by the Trump administration of it being directly responsible for the suffering of Syrians.  The Syrians see the increasing sanctions as economic-warfare after the US failure to bring about ‘regime change’, by using terrorists supported by the CIA. Damascus declares the sanctions violate human rights and international law as they affect the Syrian population.

President Trump inherited the Syrian war from its creator, former President Obama.

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