We approach a new year with the problems of the old one looming larger, even as the dark age of the Bush era is ending. Reality is causing more pain and anguish as we try to celebrate the holidays and begin a more positive chapter in our history.
The season of massive consumption has not been what the commercial community needs, with many dependent on the annual shopping frenzy to show a profit for the year. The frenzy revealed itself in a tragedy that saw a mob stampede a corporate employee to death in the rush for bargains that have made shopping possible for many who face a survival crisis more than one of gift giving . But what’s needed for the real economy in which people produce material goods and services - not the financial fiasco that produces immaterial gambling and theft - hasn’t been there and may not be for some time, if ever again.
We’ve heard the present problems compared with the past Great Depression and Roosevelt’s New Deal solution , but we may be facing a combination of those terms. For all the rhetoric about change and notions that an African American president will automatically bring about something radically different, we face a crisis that could produce a New Depression.
We’re deeply immersed in the same old political economy, with new people appointed supposedly for change, but really dedicated to maintaining that system . Despite high flown rhetoric to the contrary, that means it , the system of private profit, comes before us, the public who create that profit .
In a form of relatively polite national socialism , public funds are being shoveled by the trillions into the coffers of private financial corporations, with the rationale that these entities are too big to be allowed to fail. But are taxpayers too small to be allowed to succeed ? With almost no questions asked, finance capital gets hundreds of billions, but when industry asks for a fraction of that aid , controversy and congressional hearings decide whether we might be better off if millions of jobs should simply be allowed to vanish.
Capital is being placed under government control, but this “friendly fascism” without any nationalization is at the expense of a public which, so far, is exercising no control at all. And we face total public failure if we do not act to transform the system that profits a minority by inflicting ever greater loss on the majority . If such economics are the result of a political democracy, then terminal cancer is the result of a healthy immune system.
The incredible debt we are incurring to bail out finance capital could make us all wealthy, if we used those trillions to create employment, education and health care for the entire population , and to achieve social peace and environmental balance. We will see some new policies of public spending to rebuild infrastructure and stimulate consumption , but what we really need and can well afford is full security guaranteed to all our people. That’s the way a rich society like our own should conduct itself, but it must first be removed from minority control and placed under the rule of a democratic majority.
The thought that such a situation prevailed with the last election is a dream worthy of a nation in deep slumber. Given our dreadful history of slavery and racism, there is genuine pleasure to be found in the election of Obama, but carrying that symbolic joy too far indicates a society still not facing a harsh reality. And it will get worse, until we demand that the economy works for the greater good of all the people, and not simply for the benefit of a chosen few.
Continued dedication to preserving capitalism and America's world domination spells future disaster. And if you think Obama is a socialist or mankind’s salvation because he’s indicated a willingness to talk to our alleged enemies, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you. That might seem like progress after the Bush experience, but masters always talked to their slaves, and that did nothing to change the relationship . We have to not only talk but act as if we understand a reality in which we don’t own or control the world, and our power and wealth do not make us chosen people of the planet. Obama’s foreign policy appointments have shown no relationship to such thinking, which is what we must have to reach a future that gets us out of the present dilemma by transforming our society and its role in the world.
Real democracy in the USA could help achieve real democracy in other places, especially by not interfering in their political economies. Ending our foreign meddling will help bring international peace and a stop to what is called global terrorism. That is simply the bloody action taken by native amateur killers to defend their nations and cultures from the bloody action of foreign professional killers, and when those foreigners back off, terrorism will end. Then and only then will there be a chance for real peace in places like the middle east, where apartheid Israel can become democratic Palestine, with immigrants and natives living as equals and not as colonial superiors and colonized inferiors.
None of that can happen without an active population that is ready to agitate, educate and organize its citizenry to pressure the new president to do its bidding, and not continue the old order under the cover of new rhetoric. And so:
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, but please don't just wish or pray for a better future . Demand it as well , take action to get it, and make the future a newer and better reality, rather than a newer and more deadly depression.
Copyright (c) 2008 by Frank Scott. All rights reserved.
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Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in the Coastal Post, The Independent Monitor and on his shared blog at: