We hear a lot about school-age bullying. From one-third to one-half of grade-school students report being bullied and bullying others. However, bullying doesn’t begin in school; it is built into the capitalist system.
Stronger nations dominate weaker ones. Employers target one worker or a group of workers to control the rest. Teachers humiliate one student or group of students to discipline them all. The boss kicks the worker, who goes home and kicks the kid, who kicks the dog. More than one-third of Americans have witnessed domestic violence and almost one in three adults suffered physical or sexual assault in childhood.
In 2002, four police officers beat a handcuffed Black youngster, dragged him along the ground, and slammed him against a police car. Apparently, the officers became enraged when Donovan Jackson, who had hearing and speech problems, did not respond quickly enough to their verbal commands.
“I’m the king of the castle, and you’re the dirty rascal.”
Childhood bullying is a copycat response to the adult bullying that dominates society. Hamsters also learn to bully. When normally placid hamsters are threatened or attacked as youngsters, they become cowards when caged with larger hamsters and bullies when caged with smaller ones.
Pre-schoolers play games like “King of the Castle” to prepare for a world of winners and losers. Every child has proudly crowed on top of the tallest mound and been humiliated by someone who got there first or who was strong enough to push them off. “Cowboys and Indians” is practice in domination and subordination. Such ‘play’ prepares youngsters for a society that will pit them against each other, advancing the winners and crushing the losers.
Bullying permeates society because it is necessary to maintain class rule.
Employers encourage workplace bullies because they create an environment of distrust and division that make it harder for workers to unite against management.
Imperialist wars are bullying on a grand scale. When President George W. Bush wanted access to Iraq’s oil, he did not offer to buy it; he did not negotiate for it; he took it by brute force.
The mainstream media condemn bullying among children, yet ignore it in presidents, politicians, police, judges, generals, managers, and CEOs.
Bullying cannot be eradicated under capitalism. We can end bullying only by replacing capitalist rule with a cooperative, socialist society.