Friday, December 19, 2008

Wring Out The Old, And Hurry

2009 will bring a new administration to the USA and new hope to many Americans and much of the world. But that new executive staff will continue to support and attempt to maintain an old system with current problems that could be the beginning of the end of finance capitalism, if not nature itself. They will offer a brief revival of industrial capitalism , but that is likely to bring only temporary relief . So when the celebration is over and the euphoria induced by high flown rhetoric wears off to reveal the ongoing disaster, what will we have to be hopeful about?

Maybe the end of our worst administration in history and the election of an at least half nonwhite man as president is enough, for the moment. But soon after the immediate gratification commodity Americans have been socialized to purchase wears off, for perhaps the last time , we’ll need to make changes that go far beyond what the new president implied with his rhetoric or indicates with his appointments.

Capitalism has been running on fossil fuel power and Ponzi scheme economics for so long that many think it is some natural way of life. But people have been fighting its colossal contradictions for generations and attempting to end its domination of social reality, even succeeding in the case of Cuba. Now that many more see the terrible crisis it has brought to the world, nations like Venezuela and Bolivia have elected governments that openly speak of the need to end capitalism before it ends civilization. They are working to develop a new phase of social organization that respects humanity and the environment in ways which the present system’s core principles cannot allow . We need to join them, and very soon, or it will be too late for us to affect the future in anything but a terribly negative way.

Present attempts to sustain capital at public expense would lead to a revolution if Americans were better organized and less confused about their political economic system. But even with the shaping of our collective consciousness by corporate mind managers, there are indications that we may not allow continued robbery of our national wealth. But passive consumers need to become still more active citizens in order to claim rightful control of what they create, but others somehow own.

As quickly as this old system is falling apart, we have to fashion a new one that will serve humanity and respect nature, rather than simply use and abuse them to generate wealth for a minority. We can’t do that under a leadership with undying faith that capital must endure and bring further material benefit to the old rich , so that they can allow their excess to trickle down to a majority which is becoming the new poor.

Capitalism is so out of control it may no longer be possible to bring it under control. Blood transfusions cannot revive a dead body, nor can infusions of make believe money reanimate a dead system. Belief in eternal life is hopeful religion , but our economic system is a debased religion which has been maintained by high priests teaching its dogma, and military power destroying any who question, criticize, or rebel against it . That has worked for centuries but now the planet and its people are saying that it cannot be tolerated any longer.

Signs of global rebellion are everywhere, and even if they don't label the oppressive system in the same way, they all speak to the social and environmental threat represented by a dominating force which benefits the few at the expense of the many. If we don't work to transform that system here at its disintegrating center, the rest of the world will have do it without us. That kind of continuation of present divisive politics will make the problems that need cooperative solutions in the future even more difficult, if not impossible to solve.

How much more debt can a majority endure to finance credit for a minority? A generation ago, the entire expense of the New Deal’s temporary salvation of capitalism was less than a trillion dollars in today’s money. We have thus far expended more than 8.5 trillion dollars to unsuccessfully breath life into a monstrous zombie that threatens to devour us all . Unemployment is increasing at a frightening pace, credit is sinking by the minute, and survival itself is becoming a serious problem for what used to be called a middle class. That marketing label was applied to working people who were induced to consume lots of stuff without paying cash, but instead incurring massive debts now impossible to pay.

One of the crippling contradictions of capitalism is that owners must pay workers less, so that they can profit more . But those workers must be able to consume what they produce, so capital has built a credit casino in which people make purchases with plastic instead of money. And despite the waste and immorality of an economy without health care for millions of humans but with medical care for millions of pets, Americans rely on credit cards in order to pay for the food, clothing and shelter which they depend on for their very survival. And now their credit is being denied by the same banks which they are financing with their public funds.

We are living on borrowed money and time, neither of which can be repaid under presently collapsing capitalism. We need to organically transform our economy before its synthetic malevolence totally poisons the earth and destroys civilization. That calls for a democratic structure we still need to create. Once we begin that process and join the emerging global culture of change we not only can believe in, but absolutely need, 2009 could turn out to be a significant turning point in history. But we need to work fast.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

frank scott

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in the Coastal Post, The Independent Monitor and on his shared blog at:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Season's Greetings?

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

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in the Coastal Post, The Independent Monitor and on his shared blog at: