Friday, April 30, 2010

Wake Up and Smell the System

"The main cause of the destruction of the planet Earth is capitalism”
Evo Morales

“Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”
Arundhati Roy

The president of Bolivia and the writer from India speak for the majority population of earth which has born the brunt of the worst aspects of western culture. They are sending a wake up call to humanity to solve our existential problems as a race, the only one existing despite the propaganda, ignorance and hatred dividing us into competing national and ethnic entities that confuse learned culture with biological difference and jeopardize our future in the process.

Capitalism is not responsible for every problem we face but it is responsible for most of them. When a financial crisis in Europe has nations near bankruptcy begging for help to save themselves from system collapse, finance capitalism is at the root of their problem. When mining disasters kill workers it is not the act of mining but industrial capitalism’s pursuit of profit at the cost of worker safety that is the problem. And when off shore oil facilities sacrifice workers and cause a spill which threatens massive ecological destruction it is not simply extracting petroleum but the pursuit of private profit that puts life second to financial gain that is the problem. When Morales speaks of the threat to planet Earth he means all of these things and more, and by confronting the menace he aims to help create another world materially that Roy speaks of poetically. That world is not only possible but necessary if humanity is to have a future, but that future will not be possible until we deal with the system of our past which weighs heavily on our present and threatens to deny our future as a human race.

As subjects of western culture we need to understand that the age of selfish consumptive competition has passed. Theories that rationalize injustice in an objective reality of squalid poverty of billions for the subjective benefit of minority millions will no longer appease global majorities who suffer the wretched excess of the capitalist organization of life. When present systemic stress has a relatively affluent minority here in the USA acting like subjugated peasants under the rule of cruel royalty, what might the mood be among those who have paid the price of that minority’s affluence?

American activists work to reform health care, military policy , immigration and environmental laws and the civil rights of identity focused groups. These and numerous other single issues are all vital to reforming the system to meet human needs and the ideals of democracy. But none of them do more than help selected minorities or confront problems in isolation , often causing further social divisions in the process. This system cannot be reformed by changing only one aspect of its increasing signs of decline for the same reason that a failing machine cannot be repaired by replacing one component part while neglecting its engine. The engine of our system is capitalism ; the pursuit of private profit through the market under corporate control, free of any public intrusion save for minor reforms that try to keep its most destructive tendencies from all working simultaneously and destroying society in the process. But destruction is what we face if we try to make society healthier by segregating one group or aspect of its illness from the social body without confronting the terminal social disease that escapes notice, is hidden from notice, or is forbidden from being noticed.

Our public bailout of private capital is much greater than the 20th century one that saved the system the last time it was threatened by its internal disfunctions. We are endlessly borrowing fabricated wealth from ourselves to protect a materially crumbling imperial structure that threatens to collapse on our heads . But more immediately, when legalized gambling entities called private banks are given trillions of our dollars to loan them back to us at exorbitant interest rates, Americans are being robbed more blatantly than ever before in the most colossal act of national plunder in our history.

That massive robbery has created a state of near social psychosis , but the public’s irrational reactions have been provoked by the irrational actions of their system’s rulers. When finance capital conducts terror attacks on American workers, homeowners and pensioners, it is only doing what industrial capital did in the past. Creating great profits for some by causing great losses for others is what the system is supposed to do and will continue doing until it is transformed or destroys itself and everyone else in the bargain.

When NAFTA introduces cheaper corn into Mexico , throws farmers off their land and then advertises for them to come to America as cheap labor on its farms and in its mills , it is simply acting for private profit . And when Americans surrender jobs and foot the social bills for the sudden entry of tens of thousands of foreigners , both sides are being used to absorb loss. But all too often the manipulated targets of wrath are either the profit creating illegal immigrants or their loss sustaining critics, not the capitalist system that created the problem.

It’s time for humanity to act on teachings of social justice that are only paid lip service now, if considered at all. The earth belongs to all of us but if we keep treating it as though only some of us own it and are privileged or chosen by some deity to exploit it for our benefit alone, it will collapse under the weight of a burden it has never known before. The sooner we acknowledge and deal with the fact spoken of by global leaders like Evo Morales, the sooner we embark on the path to the future potential for humanity spoken of by Arundhati Roy. Capitalism is the problem we have. Democracy is the solution we need.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Democracy and Treason

How can we react to events thoughtfully when our leaders perform in a manner that makes government seem like a mental health crisis center? After congress saw to it that health care remained under the domain of private profiteers the orgasmic celebration of our ruling party’s liberal caucus was countered by the hysterical freak out of its conservative bloc. We are supposed to either get our guns to prepare for armed communist assault or joyously exult at finally achieving the long awaited “change we can believe in”. That last is if we also accept that a momentary break in the loving embrace of America and Israel - so each side could take a deep breath before the next passionate smooch? - was a radical change in foreign policy.

A Jewish Israeli called President Obama an anti-Semite, but a Jewish American called half-white Obama our first Jewish president and since another hysteric called all-white Clinton our first black president , confusion about more than political economics is truly perplexing our troubled empire. As things get dizzier than ever we ought to stop listening to anything said by our supposed leaders and break through the iron curtain that only allows commercial propaganda to get into our heads .

Those desperately working for change in Palestine can be excused for grasping at any straws but an obvious point made by some American official - that Israel is out of line, out of hand or out of control - should not be taken as any more significant than Obama saying he only supports smart wars, not stupid wars . The obvious must occasionally be mentioned, but what’s less obvious is that essential policy does not change because of a slight modification in style or miniscule identification of material reality. The sudden discovery that water is wet doesn't mean much when we’re drowning .

Israel's recent settlements policy is a factor for some who’ve forgotten or never knew that the real problem was the original settlement back in 1948 . In fact, today’s expansions that throw more Palestinians out to bring more settlers in to have more Jewish babies is only a continuation of what began long before 1948. The plan to take the land from its original inhabitants and transform it into a Jewish state was hatched by Zionists back in the 19th century, long before most Nazis were even born. If we do not learn that history we’ll surely be condemned to suffer its worst consequences in the future, if the present and recent past haven't been bad enough.

The most important issue for Americans isn't the proposed 1600 new units in the Israeli occupied territory in Palestine but the existing old unit at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC which remains Israeli occupied territory no matter what president resides there. And when whispered comments are heard from inside that taxpayer financed housing concerning the cost and hazard of our policy towards Israel there is an immediate convocation of worshipers of the Israeli lobby and its money to express undying solidarity, at whatever cost to Americans and without any consideration for Palestinians . The same two sides of the ruling party supposedly in deadly conflict come together in rapturous solidarity of concern for Israel. How much longer can this be tolerated by a population seemingly driven to near derangement by the crumbling of the country’s political economic foundation, all of this attributed to everything but the military madness of our foreign policy and the protection of the Jewish state that is the foundation of that policy in the Middle East?

The American Jewish lobby working on behalf of the Israeli Jewish state is a continuing menace to the people of Palestine and the Middle East, but especially to the people of the United States. When retired - or carefully speaking off the record - establishment voices begin to murmur this previously unspeakable truth, that is not a sign of imminent change . It will mean little unless a majority of Americans heed their relatively subdued call for transforming the policy that has cost America thousands of lives and billions of dollars while devastating nations, destroying governments and killing hundreds of thousands of people in the middle east. And all of that while hiding behind alleged humanitarian values of freedom and democracy. You know, the way the sun rises in the west and sets in the east?

The seven year anniversary of our ravaging of Iraq was barely noticed behind a propaganda barrage telling us democracy was at hand and the Iraqis - under foreign occupation and suffering violent deaths every day directly related to that fact - had somehow found a new life of freedom. We continue to believe such nonsense at our own expense which extends far beyond the salaries we pay our political representatives who then accept campaign money to carry out policy against our own interests.

The lobby buys politicians to follow its directives without regard for what they mean to our nation and our future. When considerations for a foreign country are placed ahead of those for our own by elected officials, calling them treasonous is hardly an overstatement. If that nation were Iran, it would be treated as a scandal beyond moral comprehension . But this behavior is even more acceptable than normal when it comes to Israel. That will continue until we stop reacting to announcements that water is wet as though they mean a breakthrough in logic and begin acting as though our democratic future demands a radical change in our policy towards Israel and Palestine.

Throwing politicians into prison on grounds of treason may not be necessary, but throwing them out of office is absolutely required if we are to have a future, let alone call ourselves a democracy.

frank scott