Poverty - Capitalism's Inevitable Partner

Written By: Occer Malloney

ACP Member

Here in Australia, the working class has a strong ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ mentality. While this mentality isn’t an inherently bad one to have, it does forget to critically analyse the relationship between capitalism and poverty. It also fails to take into account a proper solution or response to the problem at hand. In this article the aforementioned relationship between capitalism and poverty and actions Marxist - Leninists / Socialists should be taking to help alleviate the conditions for these victims of capitalism.

Capitalist ideology makes a point of emphasising the inevitability of poverty, the necessity of inequality, the inevitability of suffering. It portrays the world as chaotic and beyond any measure of control, regulation or understanding; we working class, can only struggle in vain against our own conditioned nature. Only a select few are virtuous enough to be charitable. while transnational corporations are still given sainthood like status, that “humbly” provide the masses of the world with meagre jobs under slave-like conditions.This narrative only serves to perpetuate the cycle of exploitation. The truth is that we have enough resources to give everyone what they need. Anywhere from a third to half of the world's annual food production is never consumed. The truth is that wealth flows out of the hands of the working class into the hands of the ruling class. Modern neoliberal capitalism is built upon the extraction of profit of all labour.

Now with the relationship between capitalism and poverty identified, I would like to go into some detail on what actions we as Marxist-Leninists/socialists should be taking to help these victims of capitalism, and how we could be potentially influencing the politics of these affected peoples. We have seen cases in history that community action and aid groups have had successes in radicalising their respective communities. We look to groups like the Communist parties of various countries, the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the actions and programs they ran, and we see how they had an effect of the political climate of their communities.

The Black Panther Party’s Breakfast program

“Why don't we distribute resources and development more evenly? Why can't we end poverty? Because the class which controls society's wealth will never give up their power Until the working class seizes it through a socialist revolution.”

Now with the relationship between capitalism and poverty identified, I would like to go into some detail on what actions we as Marxist-Leninists / Socialists should be taking to help these victims of capitalism, and how we could be potentially influencing the politics of these affected peoples. We have seen cases in history that community action and aid groups have had successes in radicalising their respective communities. We look to groups like the Communist parties of various countries, the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the actions and programs they ran, and we see how they had an effect of the political climate of their communities.


BPP ran survival programs, inspired by Mao Zedong’s directive to Communists to “serve the people”. One of these programs was called the Free Breakfast for Children. This particular program provided the means to both feed and aid the youth inside their communities, alongside the opportunity to educate these youth on the socio-economic and political conditions their community was facing. This particular program was able to provide around 20,000 meals in the school year of 1968-69. Other programs ran by the BPP included: Free Clothes Distribution, Emergency-Response Ambulances, Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and Free Medical Treatment Clinics. These clinics in their own right were significant, as they provided a model for the provision of free medical care.

We as Marxist-Leninists/socialists should be taking inspiration from groups like the BPP, to try and reach out to these communities as, in reality, they’re the ones who are experiencing the pains of the capitalists system the most. However, there is hope that groups like this will form inside of western countries once again, like in Australia with the formation of the Community Union Defence League in Sydney (formerly Western Sydney Community Alliance) and its sister organisation in Adelaide (also called CUDL). In particular in Sydney we've seen successes with this group, with a core group of five members managing to hand out over 14,000 meals in the last year. That's almost 300 meals a week given back to the community, back to those who in reality feel like the forgotten peoples of this country.

“It is of the utmost importance that we continue and widen these programs to reach out to the people and that we continue to use this as an opportunity to help answer questions and give these people an understanding of why they face the conditions they do. Because if we don't, then someone else without their interests at heart certainly will.”