HIV Drugs and Social Control

We live in a world in which economic and political power is held by a small elite of capitalists and, in a few countries, communists. These people are concerned, above all else, with maintaining their privileged and powerful positions in society, and this means maintaining social control and preventing social upheavals especially preventing social revolutions. The elite's main weapon against social revolution is to portray themselves as the leaders in solving the problems that most concern people. In the face of the catastrophe of AIDS in Africa, the elite of the world know that their control of society will be judged by billions of people as either part of the solution or part of the problem. Were it not for their fear of being identified as a threat to public health, the world's corporate and political elite would little care about whether poor people were dying of hunger or AIDS. The fact that most people in the world do not own land or other resources with which they can provide for their own needs, the fact that they are therefore poor and economically desperate, actually benefits these elites who would otherwise have a much harder time controlling people and persuading them to work under the typical bad conditions and low pay that prevail in their sweatshops, mines and huge farms.

Fear of mounting opposition to elite power, fueled by anger at the outrageous injustice of pharmaceutical companies profiting from drugs that are denied to poor people who will die without them, now has the CIA very alarmed. Last year the CIA and the National Security advisor declared AIDS in Africa to be a threat to national security because it could lead to "political instability" their euphemism for revolution. The CIA, in a report titled "The Global Infectious Disease Threat and its Implications for the United States," published in January 2000, notes that, with regard to sub-Saharan Africa, "[T]he relationship between disease and political instability is indirect but real.... The severe social and economic impact of infectious diseases is likely to intensify the struggle for political power to control scarce state resources."

In May 2000, Samuel Berger, President Clinton's National Security advisor, told Jim Lehrer: "In 1998, 200,000 people in Africa died from war; 2.2 million died from AIDS. In some countries now we have 30 percent of the military, 40 percent of teachers who are suffering from HIV. So what you have is an epidemic now which is eating at the very civil society of nations, their potential for economic prosperity. If we had a famine that killed 2.2 million people last year in Africa, we would be very alarmed. President Bush sent troops to Somalia, a famine not nearly of that magnitude. If we don't address this as an urgent problem, we're going to have increasing instability, increasing conflict and an implosion of many of the countries in the developing world... [I]nstability in other parts of the world which can lead to war and conflict can have a direct effect on the United States...When you have large parts of the developing world whose capacity to grow, whose capacity to have militaries that can maintain stability, whose capacity to teach their children is really being called into question In fact indeed their capacity to govern ultimately being called into question, a few ounces of prevention at this point will be I think well spent compared with what we could face in the future if we don't deal with it."

John Spritzler