Friday, March 20, 2009

Bernie and the Scapegoats

Capitalism’s worst crisis in a generation has seen the personalizing of social problems proceed with a vengeance usually reserved for foreign leaders . While we have long had our collective consciousness shaped into despising individual alien monsters, like Hitler, Saddam, or Osama, the recent hit list of bad guys is composed mostly of Americans. There is always some hatred generated for whoever fronts for corporate capital and allegedly presides over the system, like Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama, but it hasn't yet led to embargoes or bombing raids on the American people. That is reserved for the foreign bad guys and used as rationale for mass murder. But this economic crisis finds new home grown satanic villains , made to seem responsible for the near total demise of the financial system, if not capitalism itself.

Like the AIG execs whose bonuses led to manipulated public outcry, with congressional weasels - who normally bankroll wealth with the wages of workers - joining in expressions of shocked outrage. That these criminally overpaid hustlers were to receive bonuses which, in total, amounted to about .006% of what taxpayers had already tossed into the AIG investor class coffers mostly passed unnoticed, while the outrage at them has been programmed into a collective vein bursting rage, including idiotic death threats. We have taken 80% ownership of AIG, but with 0% control, under the direction of the same government hypocrites howling about what amounts to chump change by comparison. This is part of the program to serve the rich by robbing the public purse, and to further savage public consciousness in the process.

And in that trend, no demonized monster has incurred more anger and vindictive hatred than Bernard Madoff. He is the supposed king of Ponzi schemers, in a system that has been nothing more than a massive Ponzi scheme for years now. While an honest appraisal of what he is alleged to have done would guarantee him sainthood among the pantheon of charlatans who have helped build the imaginary foundation of modern capitalism, poor Bernie has become the daddy of all satanic creations.

First the unashamed public hand wringing about a jew who dared to take advantage of other jews, and then the sheepish discovery that he had taken even greater advantage of the majority non-jews. After this, a nonsectarian, more generally inclusive chorus of “how could he do this to us”, mostly coming from people so wealthy that they could afford their losses without any pain at all, but including some gullible enough to contradict the old axiom about not putting all your eggs in one basket. These people saw their individual fortunes vanish overnight, but those fortunes were really never there in the first place, and if Bernie had not become tired and worn by his hustle he might still be inducing greed mongers to jump on his bandwagon and make money by investing in themselves, while believing someone else was providing the loss for their profit.

As the nation spins through a cycle only the neanderthal right can call socialism, the public sinks into trillions more dollars in debt to bail out the system which has created our problems. But we are to think only about individual villains who are the supposed cause of all that has gone wrong, which is like blaming a meteorologist for a hurricane. Having an individual demon to despise keeps people from questioning the system which creates such negative icons, thereby making it safe for our rulers to continue ruling while the scapegoats they advertise for public consumption arouse the anger that should be directed at them.

As the new N word - nationalize - becomes more unspeakable than the other N word, taxpayers take majority ownership of financial institutions, but exercise absolutely no control over them, entrusting that to the same people who ran these billion dollar cathedrals for wealth worshippers into the financial fiascos they have become. Meanwhile, we are supposed to hate outrageously overpaid CEOs who have existed for nearly a generation now but who have escaped any scrutiny until this moment. This, while the slack jaws of the right screech about socialism, communism, and the end of free enterprise, which has never begun for most Americans, and what passes for the left shudders in fear that it will be judged extreme if it does anything more than shudder in fear.

Far worse then Bernie and the Scapegoats were the Enron swindlers, who literally stole their employee’s pension funds. Those people were left with nothing for their retirement, but now we are to grieve for fund losers who may not be able to visit the Bahamas as often as they used to, and have watched their dividends based on derivatives based on leveraging based on lies, vanish from the imaginary world of religious finance. While thousands of Americans lose homes, jobs and health care, the imaginary wealth generated and lost by a tiny minority at the top incurs manipulated majority wrath directed at their agents and servants, but without question for them, and the corrupt economy within which the entire criminal conspiracy operates.

In places like El Salvador and France, new governments are elected and millions march in the streets in protest, while here, we are moved to hate scapegoats while worshipping and financing their creators. A public divided into identity groups and relatively powerless unions becomes easy to work into a frenzy over individual villains while kept from noticing that the problem is the social institution and not its individual sales and accounting staff. Hopefully, and before it’s too late, we can learn from the example of other nations and social movements, which are demanding and getting radical social change , rather than accepting the status quo by their forced concentration on punishing individual celebrity villains.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Five Hundred Years of Global Terror

An era that began in the 15th century may be coming to an end, and though we should hardly expect neat, quick and final solutions to the problems it has created , there is reason for hope . Humanity faces potential calamities both in social and natural environments, but we may also be entering an age of peace and prosperity. If we continue the western dualist mode of profit or loss, win or lose, either one or the other, and do not create balance between extremes, failure seems certain.

Our numerous dilemmas can be described as political, or economic, or natural , if dealt with in the failing model. But most of our problems are directly related to the system of political economics which treats all of nature, including humanity , as profit creating commodities for sale, purchase, rent or hire in a market. This social reality is accompanied by the attempted shaping of individuals into ethical, moral beings, in total contradiction to the antithetical immorality of the profit or loss system which rules the marketplace, and most subdivisions of religious franchise within its massive global mall.

Shattering any balance between individual and social behavior can make it possible for humans to attend a church, temple or mosque, seek guidance through immaterial spirituality, and perform material acts of love, charity and humanity through these religious organizations. Then, stepping out of religion and into material reality of another kind, they can be manipulated into supporting racial hatred , theft, cheating and the mass murder of wars. Separating the self and the society in this destructive way has offered a rationale for all our worst social behaviors . The present age is one in which the overarching rule of nature seems to be telling us, at least those willing and able to heed its message, that the natural world can no longer tolerate such treatment. Much of humanity , especially the great majority who have borne the burdens of what we call western civilization, is also indicating that they can no longer tolerate living in a way that makes it possible for a minority to lavish in luxury while billions live in squalor, pain and misery.

Many would call this an age old story which mankind has been involved in for millennia, and they would be at least partly correct. What is new is that the condition of injustice is not only being found intolerable by growing numbers of humans, but by nature itself . If this epoch does not pass into history with some form of uncharacteristic grace because of democratic decisions made by reasonably enlightened and hopeful people, it may well go out in the worst tragedy mankind has ever experienced, outside of mythology and legend.

The handwriting has long been on the wall, but even with a new leadership which seems to have the capacity to read , there is still a serious lack of comprehension . Instead of seeing a profound message for radical change, they are reading graffiti which they think can be safely erased by a new coat of paint. An emerging global majority must take action and control away from the destructive forces of the status quo. We need to understand that humanity can no longer be economized, socialized and governed in the same way that it has been during this era, because nature itself, both through its social populations in revolt, and its natural systems in breakdown, will no longer allow it.

The political economics of our time began in the latter part of the 15th century, when europe discovered, developed and colonized much of the rest of the world. That same age was one of invasion, slavery and mass terror for those who had the misfortune to be discovered, developed and colonized. Long struggles helped end overt colonialism after the second world war,though it began anew in Palestine. But the neo colonialism of the west continues to this day, with domination of much of the world still coming from western capitalism, enforced by massive military power . While imperial capital is still capable of mass destruction and murder beyond any previous earthly force, it’s total rule is coming to an end. That is good news for humanity, but it is provoking hysteria among those most wedded to the dying order. And these hysterics are armed with nuclear weapons, which they have used in the past and threaten to use in the future, while they rail about alleged threats coming from those they have abused for centuries.

Some see the present crisis as limited to finance capital, but it is much more serious than that . If finance is the brain of capitalism, then capitalism is simultaneously suffering from alzheimers, AIDS, and terminal cancer. The short term drug relief brought by public financed bailouts for private wealth and increased imperial force in foreign countries cannot sustain racial supremacy and class injustice much longer . They may give the patient hallucinogenic visions of a continued future for this system of waste and despair that the planet and its people can no longer abide. But before this malevolence passes, it could destroy everything previously built, along with all those who labored to build it, and whose lands were drained of life for the wealth of some western nations.

Global terrorism did not originate on 911 or in the middle east. It began with the imperial conquest of centuries past, and its end will mean emancipation for all the people of the world. Can they, can we, bring it about before the worst case scenario is realized? We need to not only say, yes we can, but do it. And we’d better hurry .

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

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the
fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be
archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that
the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.
Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on
other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author

frank scott