The economic religion of Consumptive Inequality has entered what some of its parishioners call a Great Recession while non-believers see it as a recurring cycle, this time in perhaps more deadly fashion than any since the 1930s. The global economy is in turmoil with the only debate being whether it can survive with major reforms or needs to be radically transformed, or else. That we are in a state of crisis can only be denied by employees of ruling power who claim that capitalism is the will of the deity that governs the functioning of free markets. That these markets have as much to do with freedom as peace has to do with war is at the root of the problem.
The signs of distress are focused on the electronic global market where hundreds of billions of imaginary dollars are gambled in a casino where owners of capital dictate what ordinary people will pay for consumer goods of survival and whether they will do so by incurring massive debt or falling into poverty. The daily lived realities of billions of human beings are abstractions for political and media manipulators who keep people occupied with trivialities , distractions and immaterial theatrics. But no matter how much is disguised by mind managers in the employ of corporate capital, the national mental health crisis center atmosphere produced by profit and loss economics in normal times is presently becoming more like a global insane asylum.
Weapons are produced in abundance with trillion dollar budgets while millions of people are unemployed, homeless and hungry for lack of money; animals receive top quality medical attention while millions of human beings are without any health care at all; mass murders are called humanitarian intervention, and all this and more are causing many to react in outrage against authority with peaceful demonstrations if they can afford it, or violent rebellion if they cannot.
Among the key areas of social stress is the global immigration issue, a factor of capitalist economics normally treated as far removed from political economic consideration but reduced to matters of racial and ethnic bigotry or tolerance exercised by individuals and small groups.
The system’s pursuit of profit by breaking down national barriers for immaterial financial speculation has also led to an increase in the flow of material human bodies across borders, thrown out of one depressed area and into another . A condition common to the 19th and 20th centuries has become highly exaggerated in the 21st, bringing with it social explosions more related to political economics than any shortcomings of individuals. That is hardly the way it is treated, more often being played as a matter of good vs. evil, with supporters of alleged good or evil both being unwilling or unwitting pawns in the political game.
The social ruptures brought about by economically captive populations tossed from one country to another is only one aspect of the upheavals being experienced in almost all walks of life. Even the comfortable classes are encountering forced changes in their lifestyles by problems usually identified by individualist monoculture as their own personal difficulties or the fault of isolated groups of relatively powerless people. The social dilemmas of forced as opposed to voluntary cultural mixing are numerous and should be obvious, but they are shielded by charges of bigotry hurled by victims against those even more victimized. This serious social problem has, like so many others, lately assumed even more deadly outcomes.
The divisions among people strengthen the hand of ruling power and unless they are seen as problems of a system and not one or another group of people victimized by that system, minorities will retain control and majorities will continue to pay a terrible price. A recent terrorist episode in Europe offered a tragic example of what can happen when this problem of capital is placed on the shoulders of its subjects and blamed, almost exclusively, on their ignorance, bigotry, stupidity or lack of refinement.
The murders in Norway unleashed a flood of confusion and theoretical conspiracy mongering from media and political figures. First with knee jerk condemnations of suspected “Islamic” terrorism before any facts about the assailant were revealed, then with simplistic cries against right wing “Christian” hate criminals when some of those facts came to light. The crime was horrible, the lives lost tragic, but the general reaction by alleged analysts possibly worst of all.
Except for the humane show of grief on the part of the Norwegian people and that nation’s refusal to be driven into paranoid American style reactionary policies - the kind that fed the diseased mind of the mass murderer – there was nothing to be proud of in the general response.
We have hardly approached confronting the real problems highlighted by this act of madness. It was treated as something terrible, but explained as either the work of conspiracies organized by seemingly godlike powers unknown to mere mortals, or as a deadly act provoked by uncomplicated forces reduced to overtly racist conservatives aligned against covertly racist liberals. Life is not that simple, and capitalism seems even more confusing than life itself when seen from the perspective of the conservative right, the liberal left or the muddled middle , especially when those political blocs operate from the mind set imposed by capitalism itself.
The Norwegian killer held an all too common notion that the world is becoming dominated by Islam, that Europeans or “white” people are an endangered species and that something identified as cultural Marxism is at the root of the problem. Despite his ignorance of both Groucho and Karl, his confusion about political realities should not label him a fool since these charges are echoed by many of the alienated and despairing in a rapidly changing world over which they have little or no control. They accept whatever explanation from authority that seems somewhat in line with their experience and lash out at scapegoats offered them by their consciousness controllers.
Given the crude and often cruel rationalizations that pass for analysis of reality from most political leaders, the idiocy of some racial , fascist or religious fanatic theory can almost sound reasonable by comparison. But it is hardly a Marxist world we live in; it isn’t remotely as funny as Groucho’s and hardly as intellectually critical as Karl’s. That is, except in the minds of those mentally bludgeoned into accepting hysterical gibberish about government being communist by nature , capitalist servant Obama being a socialist, or gay marriage and abortion representing attacks on masculinity called for in the Communist Manifesto.
Contrary to the manipulated mass ignorance that makes reality the enemy of common sense, we live under the global domination of private capital, and its perverse lust for profit is forcing social and natural systems to the limits of their endurance. Misguided or purposely misguiding analysis of the Norwegian’s motivation only helped strengthen the forces which drove him to dementia, but more important are driving the system of global capitalism and the earth itself to a near breaking point.
The Norwegian expressed Islamophobic bigotry which has been treated as a sign of his and his kind’s bigotry when it clearly expresses a state of mind created by western governments which not only show contempt for Islam but commit mass murders of Islamic people which continue to the present moment. He also used the term “multicultural” which represents negativity and social dissolution not only to him but to many who would never act as he did. But that same recently created word has positive meanings for others, often for idealistic and humane reasons though sometimes employed to bring about the exact opposite ; division among majorities to further assure their domination by minorities.
Perception perverts create language confusion to further balkanize people so that common interests are difficult if not impossible to act upon, which is what keeps those minorities in power.
This both positive and negative term – depending on who uses it and how it is used – has different meanings to different sectors of the population. But few of those differences really have anything to do with ethnicity, religion or race, except when used by political propagandists. Ultimately, they describe separations among people that have less to do with ethnicity and race but far more to do with wealth, power, weakness, and poverty.
There is a vast difference between the multiculturalism that might be described as ;
Dining on Asian food, dancing to Latin salsa, listening to African-European jazz, enjoying international ballet, attending universities with globally diverse student bodies of affluent speakers of a common language , living in second and third generation communities of middle and upper middle income people of mixed ethnic and religious background, marrying and building families in such communities …and;
Living in communities experiencing a massive influx of foreigners forced out of their countries by political economics to become cheap labor and serve market forces here and in the process innocently disrupting life in those communities, attending underfunded schools crowded with students from even less privileged backgrounds often speaking foreign languages, watching a familiar neighborhood become an almost alien place where shops and people are of another culture and language with which you have little or no understanding, and absorbing social expenses seeming to exclusively benefit foreigners.
The first positive form shows growth in consciousness and unity of the human race, especially when the humans have a common ground – and income level - on which to expand that consciousness. The second is negative, hardly willed or volunteered for by those who practice it but instead forced on them while creating overcrowded communities with language , cultural and economic barriers that provoke inhumanity and further alienation in an already alienating environment.
We need to understand the vast social gap between those experiences of immigration and the fact that we have not done so should be obvious. Not just in the horrible crime perpetrated by the Norwegian or the ugly episodes of intolerance directed towards immigrants in the USA and Europe, but in that millions of people in the USA and Europe are susceptible to at least some of what he believed because:
they are the ones who show the loss and absorb most of the costs in the immigration business, while capital and its professional servant class reap the profit and consume most of the benefits.
Those who own or are invested in the mills, factories , farms and services which employ the sometimes desperate and always cheaper labor of the foreigners do quite well with immigration, thank you. And the professional class that serves them and can afford to employ - and often must employ in order to maintain its status - an army of house cleaners, child care workers, gardeners and day laborers also benefits. And when the immigrants are illegal, and therefore even cheaper labor, the benefits are even greater for the profiting segment.
But those who live in the communities which without any social planning or preparation become overcrowded with people speaking a foreign language and living a foreign culture sometimes at cross purposes with their own are on the loss side of the ledger. As are those native born entry level workers – the majority not among the college educated minority - who are forced into competition for manual labor and lower skilled jobs with a population able to work at even more minimal wages than they.
Present global economic realities are such that even college graduates have trouble becoming employed in the fields in which they were schooled and are often forced to take lower paying work in order to survive and not totally burden their families. In this economic environment, the plight of the majority which is facing far more trouble in the marketplace can only be overlooked if we are interested in committing social suicide.
The reactions to problems caused by immigration are often labeled as racist or nationalist and sometimes they are, but those completely sheltered from the social costs or directly benefiting at others expense should be very careful about using such labels. They sometimes reveal a bigotry as narrow and intolerant as what it supposedly stands against. It helps create more political division and a stronger right wing, since those who do not enjoy immigration’s direct benefits but bear its indirect costs are susceptible to conservative arguments, especially when liberals treat them with disdain or contemptuous disrespect.
It is the class that profits which is most likely to gain quick appreciation and respect for the work ethic, cooking, music and other positive aspects of the newer people, and they do so not by living with them but by commercially enjoying the “upscale” benefits of immigrant contributions to the parent culture, after the assimilation and rise in economic status of those newer citizens. Rest assured that hardly anyone who employs immigrant labor, in the USA or in Europe, whether on the farm, mill , factory, or in the home, legal, illegal, documented or undocumented, lives anywhere near the foreign population. They are segregated, by ethnicity, language and especially class. It has always been so and since the new waves of immigration, even more so.
Migration is as natural to humanity as evolution and it spread our race all over the world from our origins in Africa some two hundred thousand years ago. How we got there in the first place is a matter beyond our present consciousness and is for religious theory, fantasy and conjecture, but the facts are there for all but racial supremacists, racial separatists, and the other brain dead among us. We are all descended from people who came from Africa ages ago and gradually moved to other continents, but the silly if well meaning slogan that claims “we are all immigrants” denies geographic and cultural roots developed over the ages in which that process took hold. It also denies the modern immigration patterns and capitalist political economics at their roots. Dubbing all of us as immigrants hardly fits the reality of those who are several generations native to a country, nor the massive immigration which much of Europe and the USA have experienced over the last thirty or forty years.
An earlier process saw newcomers often treated in discriminatory and sometimes even brutal fashion until they had, by a second generation if not sooner, assimilated and become full citizens speaking the language and observing the customs of the adopted land. But as a result of global economic and political crises which have grown more serious in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, more recent waves of immigrants were often arriving in greater numbers and with sometimes even greater cultural differences. These newcomers were not only dumped into newly transformed-into-ghettos enclaves, but rarely given or offered entry to the parent culture, thereby keeping them locked into their own while locked out of the colonial fatherland except when serving it as cheap labor. When these “strangers in a strange land” were not all European or Judeo-Christian westerners, but from the east and Islamic world, age old bigotry and trivialization of arab and Muslim culture combined with more modern forms to further reduce them as human beings.
After the 911 American reaction to fight a creation of its own called “international terrorism” while actually waging undeclared war on Islam, that animosity bred by generations of disrespect grew into full blown hatred. Populations totally ignorant of the religion or the culture were moved into the worst bigotry by being given examples of isolated horrible acts – often provoked by historic colonial brutality – as being indicative of global plots to make the world obey Shariah law. Sources of division and programmed animosity ranging from government to mass media to pressure groups which stood to profit from maligning Islam have all played a role though we are expected to believe such bigotry came out of a social vacuum of hateful individuals practicing racist politics they somehow recently invented. On their own.
In this atmosphere of social bigotry created by institutionalized forces of division and contempt for human beings, pointing fingers at individuals or fanatic minorities as the source of the problem amounts to identifying a worker at a lumber mill as being responsible for corporate capital’s defoliation of the forest.
These movements which cause foreigners to remain separate and alienated while bringing profits to the upper classes of the societies in which they have become chattels of commerce, create losses for communities which have never had any voice in deciding to take in new neighbors. The immigrants are destined for social alienation by virtue of the inhuman economic processes which force them out of one homeland and into another alien land. As are the people in the communities where they are settled, who have had nothing to say about the changes they must undergo for the benefit of others above them in the economic pyramid.
Immigration does not happen because of national referenda in which the citizenry comes together to invite in new populations, with plans for their housing, education, health care and adaptation to their new homeland. It is a slapdash, often corrupt process in which people are simply units of commerce, dumped on one another in the time honored fashion of the old industrial - newer financial system of profit and loss, with profits accruing to even smaller groups than in the past, with losses absorbed by even greater numbers. The immigration process is at the root of both benefits and costs and needs to be understood, and not simply blamed – as are most problems – on individuals, small groups, and occasionally, isolated states, as is presently the case in the USA.
When the supposedly liberal state of California sealed its borders from illegally entering workers from Mexico due to its own problems at absorbing the social costs, those workers switched to the Arizona border to gain access to jobs in the USA. The problems of new populations that caused California to close its doors became the even greater problems of Arizona. With a much smaller population, tax base and bankroll, that state, already conservative but with many Spanish speaking people and Latino oriented history – as California, it was once part of Mexico - became more socially strained, leading to what might well be expected; outbursts of intolerance, such as had led to California’s “liberal” action, but also calls for control of a burgeoning population, increased social expenses, overcrowding and underfunding, as in most every other case of uncontrolled illegal immigration to benefit some commerce and damn most of the public .
The identification of the state as some isolated practitioner of evil enabled the rest of the country, or that portion with its collective mind nestled into a lower part of its collective anatomy, to look down on Arizona and completely disregard the system responsible for throwing people out of their homelands and dumping them, first on California, then on Arizona. Profit margins at the businesses and upper middle class centers of immigrant labor remained secure. And people in general became more insulting and disrespectful of one another. Multiculturalism? Or Multidivisionalism?
It’s as if the profits accruing to capital all over the nation by virtue of immigrant labor have all centered in one state, leaving the bigotry, class separations and heartless poverty suffered by tens of millions of Americans hardly worthy of thought when “good” people can direct their hatred and animosity at: Arizona!
Further contradictions find people, as in Arizona, supporting laws to make it more difficult for immigrants to enter the country illegally, while some government and business officials scream at how adversely that would affect the economy. The established legal, governmental authority supports illegally entering the country and those citizens who wish to use the law to protect themselves find it works in exactly the opposite way. But this madness is not at all unusual. It is the foundation on which our entire political economy rests, however precariously at present. This legal system and its constitution is predicated on protection of property and profit first, even with the ten amendments added by early American radicals. They weren’t quite radical enough to foresee a neo-liberal world of late capitalism. Had they been so there might not be as much opportunity for people to commit crazed acts, provoked by an environment that so readily invites irrational behavior.
The negative ramifications of this system’s crisis are apparent across the world, with austerity demanded by imperial rule exercising restraints on meager public services that threaten the profit margins of a wealthy minority. This while majorities see their livelihoods vanishing, their debt increasing, and poverty across the globe rising at epidemic rates. With total economic warfare being waged by the minority rich against majority workers and the poor, it should not be a surprise that there are outbursts of rebellious rioting on the part of masses who feel set upon, or acts of violent madness from other confused, alienated and despairing subjects of the system.
The capitalist banking mafia and its professional servant class are attempting to guide it through a period of extreme turmoil by inflicting more suffering on many so that a relative few can maintain their profits at everyone else’s loss. In this context, reducing the act of a Norwegian murderer - who despite his intelligence and thoughtfulness is likely to be judged a maniac by capitalist law - to a sinister plot organized by secret cabals or simply provoked by racial bigotry while the most sinister political economic plot of all goes unquestioned amounts to social insanity more menacing than this individual’s descent into madness. But that seems to be the present mainstream consensus, with few questions asked of and few collective responses to the political economics behind these massive forced migrations and reactions to them by extremist groups inspired by a western tradition of bigotry, colonialism and slaughter.
Except for some to indulge in name calling of those who protest by ignorantly identifying capitalism as socialism or who blame victims rather than their victimizers, while the name callers naively claim abstract humanism and actively support capitalism by practicing class bigotry in dealing with those absorbing the cost of their benefits.
People do not rush to America and Europe because they find the weather pleasant and the people charming. It is economics that primarily force immigration, which has always been the case and is the foundation of capital’s cheap labor force and ability to divide and conquer workers. When European colonialism broke down many of its former professional subjects moved to Europe, leaving their nations with an extra burden of replacing an educated class while trying to build from a base already ravaged by having its natural and social wealth stolen. As the crisis in global capital grew more fierce, greater numbers were forced out of homelands suffering increased wars and breakdowns and the population of non-Europeans expanded rapidly, with newer immigrants being less educated, more in need and further estranged from their forced new cultures.
This has fed the right wings in Europe even more than in the USA, where the problem is serious but not quite as great among people more easily assimilated since large parts of America were once Spanish speaking – before being taken from Mexico, which was previously stolen from its people by Spain – and also more closely related to Christian culture. There are still harsh and often ugly problems of discrimination and scapegoating but not anything as divisive as the climate of inhumanity in some parts of Europe. There, the western history of domination and colonization which reduced what came to be called Latin America to a sub-division of the empire, finds an even more glaring and dangerous division between the Jewish-Christian world and Islam.
In our collective ignorance we are easily manipulated into believing all manner of ridiculous tales of Islam’s warlike plans to take over the world. From slack jawed morons to college professors – too often the same people - this kind of simplistic belief is not only entertained, but widely broadcast and not just over the internet. Main stream cultural and political leaders of the west operate from an intellectual gutter that makes it almost laughable to identify one or another individual racist or fascist and claim “they” are the root of the problems of intolerance towards Islamic people.
We would do well to remember, or learn for the first time, that Islam once controlled the world, that it has contributed greatly to the progress of humanity both through science and art, and while it has also been guilty of war making and empire building, it is no different in that than what we call western civilization, and in fact has often done a more benign job of ruling subject peoples.
The fact that there are elements within Islam that hate the west, have fanatic beliefs about it and would like to destroy its influence on their culture can be frightening if contemplated in a social vacuum. But considering history and the reality of foreign policies and what they have done and are doing to Islamic countries at the present moment would help greatly in ending those threats, and also in ending the mass migrations of people leaving their own lands because of the economic blight cast upon them by outsiders.
In the same way and as part of the same economic process , American domination of Latin American politics and industry has brought great profits to corporate capital but left much of that area in or near poverty. People who escape poverty and unemployment to move to another country are not welcomed by the working class already dealing with its own problems of survival, and frequently capital uses these divisions to not only make greater profits from a cheaper work force, but to divide workers into ethnic, racial, sexual and religious minorities that have little hope of ever uniting and acting as a class with common interest as long as such divisions are kept uppermost in their minds and bodies.
The strains forcing individuals and nations into even more subservience to private banking are global in nature, with daily hysterics about economies about to “default” if government spending isn’t cut sharply. In the USA this criticism of spending mostly involves billions in human services with the trillions spent on imperial warfare and military welfare hardly seen as the massive entitlement program they have become. In such an environment of daily acts of immorality being perpetrated by elected officials of a supposed democratic state, it should not be shocking that racism would raise an ugly head. But the immediate application of the label to cover other deeply rooted social problems is a ploy of those who would maintain rather than change the system.
Racist bigotry in a nation founded on cruel subjugation, massacres and ethnic cleansing of the original inhabitants and the commercial kidnapping and brutal enslavement of a large segment of the African population should hardly be surprising, though some seem to “discover” it as the sole cause and response to present aspects of stress undergone by the society. While we conduct wars that kill tens of thousands in the Islamic world, make refugees of thousands more and destroy their nations, some find personal hate criminals in those who believe in and repeat the worst , most vicious lies about the religion and the people. This is equivalent to being shocked to find that water is wet or that there is sand in the desert. Racism is in the bone marrow of America and flows through its cultural veins but to attribute all reaction to communities that find new crowds of foreign people understandably alienated to their new surroundings as “racism” is an ignorance and bigotry almost as damaging as the more overtly evil substance of our national foundation.
The economic blight currently descending over the nation has affected blacks far more than whites and even Latinos, and this while a supposed “brother” resides in the “white” house. It is not only rather late and misguided, but close to blatant stupidity to see racism as a problem only of certain evil individuals or groups and not what it is: an institutional disease that will not be cured as long as people are manipulated into blaming others for a social malignancy. And the socio-economic disease is even worse for blacks – thanks to our history of racist slavery – but is a bipartisan, non sectarian destroyer of families, individuals, communities and nations all over the world, without regard to skin tone, religion, choice of sex partner or style of dress.
Whether in America or Europe, it should not be treated as social aberrations or racism when natives react in a negative way to an influx of foreigners who do not speak the language, share the culture or in many cases have any desire to live in the new nation in which they have been economically imprisoned. It is the perversions of political economics that throws people out of their homelands and dumps them in foreign areas to become profit making scapegoats for capital.
What liberal forces too often identify exclusively as racial intolerance and conservatives ignorantly call cultural attacks by alien people may be manifestations of those things in part, but much more the contradictions of a system thriving on chaos and human division in the creation of profits for a few at the loss of millions.
Those who think themselves culturally superior because they accept immigration and warmly welcome newcomers frequently do so because they are part of the society which greatly profits from the cheap labor that immigrants represent. Hardly the result of a nation warmly extending its open arms to new people with offers to adapt them as quickly as possible to a new culture, foreigners not members of a professional class who leave their homelands and come to new ones for reasons of economic and social hardship are thrown into communities filled with their own country folk. They are all but forced to continue their foreign presence, with language, culture, worship and all other social realities maintained in order that the “welcoming” culture derive the greatest profit at the least cost.
“Christian extremism” is a reality but also a favorite label for right wing loonies and it was quickly applied – once Muslims couldn’t be blamed - to the Norwegian, but his , and frequently their support for Israel somehow escapes the label “Jewish extremism”. This despite the fact that much of the islamophobic disinformation and hate messaging comes from a well financed propaganda machine of Jewish groups protecting Israel by spreading the most vile and often incredible lies about Islam, the people who practice it and their social beliefs. There is widespread acceptance for maligning evangelical Christians for being Zionists but much less for the much more powerful Jewish groups which are as fanatic in their support for Israel, and far more influential in American politics.
It should give Judeo-Christian westerners at least a moments pause to wonder at why Islam is depicted as a menace when it does not allow the collection of interest – hey, could that be why? -, while the holy of holies of the west - the religious banking industry - not only thrives on that practice but reduces nations and people to war and poverty in its forced collection. And it is bringing the world to a crisis from which it may not survive due to the exorbitant interest rates and incredible debt charged and collected by western minorities from global majorities which may one day act as a unified force to end that practice for all people and not just Muslims. Hey, could that be the menace?
Those who claim the old or new testament bibles for the foundation of their faith might benefit from studying those books more closely and also read the Koran before repeating lies about Islam, while claiming to be democratic civilizations which throw people out of their homes for lack of interest payments when they are not blowing them out of those homes in wars which earn even more interest for private capital. In fact, given the historic killing power of what is called Judeo Christianity, humanity should probably be grateful that there aren’t as many Jews as there are Christians or there might not be any of us left. But while we search for the truths possibly offered by one religious belief system or another, it is far more important that we confront the system that we must deal with in the material world if we are to continue as a human race with hopes for a better future and not one of tragic failure.
The political economics at the root of international banking and finance are the same one driving capital’s obsessive pursuit of private profit accumulation and are what humanity needs to control before its future is threatened as a race and not just one nation or people. That economic force and its political structure are the problem we must deal with, and one of its manifestations which is used to separate us is the enormous social and human costs of unwilling mass migration. The only relationship between foreign travel and positive cultural mixing and forced immigration and cultural segregation is the economics that provide only a minority with the first opportunity and far too many with the second. We need a different world to provide the first kind for more people and to end the second kind for all people. No people should be forced out of their homes, their homelands or their native habitat, but this practice will continue until it is stopped by democracy, or by total calamity.
If we do not deal with all aspects of contradiction between a system of private gain at public loss, we will surely face calamity.
Another world is possible, necessary and essential. It will be multicultural in the most positive sense, but only under a democratic control which is the antithesis of monocultural capitalist control. To reach and create that world, we’ll need to stop blaming reactions to forced migrations on its victims, and work to end all manner of forcing humans to do anything against their natural will to survive. Voluntary travel is the only kind we should all aspire to practice and enjoy in the creation of humanistic multiculturalism, as opposed to the forced perversion currently threatening to explode along with the system which causes it.