first thoughts - the meat market
WORKERS, JANUARY 2004 ISSUE
At the turn of the 20th century James Joyce described the "stately, plump Buck Mulligan" character as someone who "ate with relish the internal organs of beasts and fowl". As the 21st century perversely turns, it is the stately and the plump humans who are having their internal organs eaten or sold.
Hideous cannibalistic networks have been revealed on the internet in a repulsive case in Germany in which willing victims have offered themselves up to join their murderers in eating their own bodies. It's all videoed of course for the fetish market. The Nazi death camps sought to make profit from most parts of the human body, skin and all. There is nothing capitalism cannot find a market for and psychotic behaviour is licensed by the freedom of the market.
The Mafia's opening of the market in former socialist countries has led to a multi billion dollar trade in living bodies, bits of bodies, children and babies. One click and there's a baby in the shopping trolley just for you. Proceed to checkout. Every manner of depraved sexual practice can be purchased at a price and practically every internal part of the body can be bought. Gangs deal in literally both kinds of arms trade.
In feudal times it was salvation that could be bought and sold and the poets ranted for generations against the corruption and hypocrisy of the Church in which celibate monks would preach abstinence to congregations of their own illegitimate offspring. Under a dying capitalism it is not the soul, but the body that is valuable on the market. Science advances and so do the despicable ends to which capitalists can take it.
We should be horrified that in Britain a father is sanctified by the press for trying to flog one of his kidneys on the internet in order to pay for conductive education treatment for his disabled daughter which had been refused by the local authority. Where is it going to end? Can't afford student fees? Let us sell your kidney at discounted rates and give you a cut of the profit.
If the consumer market wasn't so vile, you would have to laugh and hope that next time you ask the take away if they deliver, just hope they say No, they only do chicken or beef. Bodies and parts of them are not for sale. They are for donating to science or saving others' lives when we die or under medical control as in marrow transplants when we are alive. We are not cannibals and cash cattle. The barbarism of our times is tolerated, both in the cruel and in the seemingly compassionate.