Back to what elites and their political partners (and even those who presume to speak for the 99% while they selfishly and unhelpfully avoid speaking plainly) want us to not focus on. Think about how often you find the word ‘capitalism’ in your daily or hear it on the radio or tv. Not too often, Right? Even stranger is the way some folks, complaining about what capitalist politicians are doing, blame socialism or socialists for it. They are often right, but not the way they think they are. The socialists causing problems that those folks are complaining about are usually their beloved capitalist idols. People see socialism where there is none and they don’t see it where it operates! This too, is partly a product of demonstration thinking and behavior by authorities.
That is how the rightwing Toronto Star and CBC have been made to appear socialist to some. Rightwingers, through constant tirades against the socialist Star and the socialist CBC (insert your own examples here to add to the list), partly in an effort to discourage any individuals in those orgs who would, if the opportunity arose, take those orgs in a socialist (sane) direction, seek to make their audience believe that, one, It’s true and, two, It’s a bad thing to be socialist. One has to wonder about the wisdom of that tact.
All you need to do, as I am doing, is point out to people that if socialism basically means collective problem solving and society building, which would involve using government, then those with power and money do that very efficiently but not ethically. That is to say, Capitalist socialists want socialism for their class only because they also believe, conveniently, in inequality. Capitalism, especially now (neoliberal capitalism), is based on exploitation and oppression and is headed right back to the nineteenth century not because of any economic forces in play, but due to the beastly nature of those who have accepted from this world’s invisible ruler (for now) his gift of mysterious lawlessness, which means the freedom to sin in return for survival. And so, Many today, including victims of the vampire capitalism represented in the corporatocracy, busy themselves playing the game of ‘riches for the strongest’, namely a game in which there has to be many losers. That godless game is terrible. We need a new game.
When you have power without principles, you get lazy. You start talking trash to those who don’t have money, thinking “What can you do about it?” “Hey mister capitalist: Why are you breaking laws and hurting people and destroying the liveable earth in order to make more money that you don’t need?” “Well, my friend; It’s necessary. It’s the only way to preserve national security, law and order, democracy and the liveable earth.” Right. (See Michael Klare’s Tomgram article titled “Perpetuating the Reign of Carbon.”) When you have power, you get lazy – once your world has been built and there is no perceptible threat to it and you are on top of it. And you seek glory, which comes from others who notice you and how strong you are, which certainly happens when you’ve taken the means of survival from those others. While elites like glory, it’s a bit of a bitter dish. The people who notice – glorify – the powerful takers are also insisting that those powerful takers fix the social, economic and other problems they’ve created. The powerful and privileged are morally responsible for the economic and environmental destruction they’ve caused and utterly unwilling to take responsibility and to act accordingly. They like the glory but they are perturbed by our efforts to get them to rectify their very socially and environmentally destructive ‘mistakes’. And this is where gatekeepers come in. They serve to get in between the abusive 1% and the abused 99% who want accountability, by acting, in serious and small ways, to hinder those who they choose to believe possess the wrong political views. (See my blog post titled “TPP: Why We Can Say We Are Being Mugged.”) They are who they are. And I guess that we just need to grasp that.
Oh yes; When you have power, you also get stupid. Darkness is it’s own reward. Running the world may take cunning and hard work, putting aside the evil that you also do. But, eventually, Those who choose darkness for gain, who come to dominate the planet, run it… into the ground. Fools who reject reality lose all their good sense and certainly end up looking like fools.
As I’ve indicated, There’s lots of unacknowledged socialism happening. It’s called capitalism. The problem is, the minority of capitalists get most of the benefits of socialism for themselves. The rest of us get harsh, neoliberal capitalism. Capitalists will never call the socialism they do – where the public bails out banks and underwrites all of their risky ventures which are intended to benefit only those ‘risk’ takers – ‘socialism’. If they did that, that would cause the majority to sit up and take notice and ask for some socialism for themselves. And we can’t have that.
There’s something that I call the rightwing ratchet. It’s a move demonstrated by manipulators and imitated by intellectually challenged rightwingers. The idea is that you take the least, at least in appearance, rightwing member of your group and label him (or…) a ‘socialist’. Obama knows the score and doesn’t take it personally, although he should take seriously the yahoos who buy into the ploy, especially when they could show up, with guns, in places where he’s speaking. What happens is that, as a frame, you are ‘told’ that socialism is bad, for one thing. It’s not debated. And two, You’re told that Obama is a bad person because he’s socialist and that’s bad. Which determines that whatever socialist elements one might be able to (fairly or unfairly) pin on him become distasteful and unacceptable. And it encourages others, who might imitate Obama or follow his example, to see his example as being not quite rightwing enough. Then you repeat the ploy, picking on the next most leftwing rightwinger in your group, who will be more rightwing than the last target was. And so on.
“Why aren’t we calling the Oregon occupiers ‘terrorists’?” by Janell Ross
“Man carries assault rifle to Obama protest and it’s legal” by CNN with Carol Cratty
I have no problem with other people having more than me if they show ambition and work hard to get it. (Funny how capitalists who lay that on us – claiming that they are rugged individuals who sacrifice and take risks and work hard – just happen to omit the bad things they also do to get to the top.) That’s not the issue. In a money system, money means life. You should not, therefore, fool with peoples’ incomes. If I’m doing what my boss requires, whether that’s hard labor or not, then he or she needs to pay me, at a minimum, a ‘living’ wage (until I can get free groceries and shelter). That’s not happening and capitalist political leaders are perfectly happy with that. I’m therefore not happy with them.
And I’m not happy with corporations joining with politicians to run the country, the provinces and the cities, which is the definition of fascism. I’m not happy with the way the ruling class (which includes, improperly, that business class component) excludes the majority from policy formation and decision making. All stakeholders should have some input into matters affecting them, regardless who makes final decisions. And final decisions shouldn’t be consistently against, in so many ways, the interests of the majority. That is not democracy. That’s fake democracy.
Members of the elite would never be caught saying it, but they’d be happy if we believed that democracy meant voting in their (useless) elections every few years and shutting up and going away so as to be silent and invisible in between. Unfortunately, A lot of regular people (including victims of rightwing policies) seem to believe that that’s exactly what democracy means. Corporatists believe in inequality and are unprincipled. Corporatist political leaders are also traitorous, for, following the updated class warfare program (the switch from external, foreign enemies to the internal threat of citizens with ‘wrong’ ideas) that wise men surrounding the Kennedys were responsible for, the people who you depend on for votes and political legitimacy are actually the enemy, which they may or may not come to see. Scott Walker was elected as Governor of the state of Wisconsin in 2010 and began serving in that capacity in January of 2011. Eventually, in order to please powerful, rich friends, he turned on the people, as those powerful and rich friends require from their political partners. When he was campaigning to be Governor, Walker didn’t tell Wisconsinites that he intended to attack their freedom of association and right to bargain as equals with their employers and he didn’t tell them that he intended to turn them against each other – divide and conquer – but that is what he proceeded to do. The rightwing, pro Walker forces, among them very rich people like (non Wisconsinites) David and Charles Koch, had lots of (mostly out of state) money for ads and so they blitzed Wisconsinites with ads that made it look like those who wanted to remove Governor Scott Walker from his position – after he turned on Wisconsinites – were undemocratic, as the (PRWatch) video below will demonstrate:
Yes, Decision makers should make decisions. But should that be in a democratic fashion or a dictatorial fashion? And who voted for corporations and other capitalists outside (formally) of governments? (Consider ALEC, which stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a fascist organization where CEOs get together with politicians to decide on the laws which ‘all’ Americans will follow. Check out ALEC Exposed.) The (neoliberal) capitalist’s motto is: ‘Take what you get, whether you like it or not and even if it hurts you.’ How often have we seen capitalist politicians ask us for our opinion and then, when they get it and don’t like it, they ignore it? A slight majority of Canadian citizens didn’t want the original free trade agreement between the U.S. and Canada once Canadians, including many formerly ignorant capitalists, were told what it was about. We got it anyway. Torontonians were asked whether they wanted Mike Harris’s amalgamation of Toronto’s boroughs into one big city. A majority said “no.” We got amalgamation anyway, and it never fixed anything. It just caused problems. Canadians were asked if they wanted honesty and details in their food labels. They did. And they didn’t get it. That’s not something that industry wants. One of Barack Obama’s campaign promises was to have gmo (genetically modified organisms) food labelled as such. That talk ended once he was elected, as Ronnie Cummins explains in his entry in “Hopeless – Barack Obama And The Politics Of Illusion,” edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (pub 2012).
“…I took part in a historic two-part debate on the FTA on CBC’s The Journal, pitting Bob White and me against Tom d’Aquino and Peter Lougheed…
“…Lougheed and d’Aquino, who had obviously not prepared, wrapped themselves in the flag and spoke in generalities about how they loved Canada, and free trade would be good for us. Bob and I got right into the technicalities of the agreement… [Brian] Mulroney’s people were very unhappy with the performance of their “side.”
“The second evening was even better. D’Aquino and Lougheed were much more specific about the intricate details of the FTA, but gave up the passion they had displayed the night before. Bob and I decided this was our chance to speak from our hearts…
“Alas, it was all to no avail. Even though polls showed that our collective opposition had managed to change the hearts and minds of the majority of Canadians about free trade, and, although a majority voted for the two parties opposed to the deal, Mulroney’s win in 1988 ensured passage of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and ushered in a whole new political and economic era in Canada.” -pages 110 & 111 of “The Fight Of My Life – Confessions Of An Unrepetent Canadian,” by Maude Barlow
“The United States is rapidly devolving into what can only be described as a Monsanto Nation. Despite Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton’s) campaign operatives in 2008 publicly stating that Obama supported mandatory labels for GMOs, we haven’t heard a word from the White House on this topic since Inauguration Day. Michele Obama broke ground for an organic garden at the White House in early 2009, but after protests from the pesticide and biotech industry, the forbidden “O” (Organic) word was dropped from White House PR. Since day one, the Obama Administration has mouthed biotech propaganda, claiming, with no scientific justification whatsoever, that biotech crops can feed the world and enable farmers to increase production in the new era of climate change and extreme weather.
“Like Obama’s campaign promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; like his promises to bring out-of-control banksters and oil companies under control; like his promises to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution and create millions of green jobs; Obama has not come though on his 2008 campaign promise to label GMOs. His unilateral approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa, overruling the federal courts, scientists, and the organic community, offers the final proof: don’t hold your breath for this man to do anything that might offend Monsanto or Corporate America.
“Obama’s Administration, like the Bush and Clinton Administrations before him, has become a literal “revolving door” for Monsanto operatives.” – “Monsanto Nation” by Ronnie Cummins
We aren’t offered, in plain English, ‘fascism’, but we’re getting it. (I’m parting company with the majority of anti-establishment commentators in bluntly calling our system here in North America and in all corporatocracy states ‘fascist’.) It’s not like thinkers don’t notice we have it. There are those who see it happening, but are reluctant to bluntly state that it’s here, preferring instead to warn others about it in (often overly) diplomatic language. Which is better than ignoring it. Check out Murray Dobbin’s article titled “The Frightening Face Of American Fascism,” or Noam Chomsky’s article titled “Remembering Fascism: Lessons From The Past.” The Truthout article looks like it’s saying it’s part 2. That’s actually the entire article. The presentation is sloppy is all you’re seeing.
I like simplicity. I like clarity. And if you don’t already know me, I am as honest as an imperfect human being can be. A joint political / corporate ruling class that excludes the majority from meaningful participation in national life is a fascist ruling class. Paul Bigioni’s Toronto Star article dealing with the subject is illuminating. You can read it here: Fascism then. Fascism now? The word at least sounds nasty to most ears and so the offer wouldn’t be put to us that way. Fascism is just given to us.
We are, of course, told that what we have is democracy. We have a free press and progressive institutions and freedom of assembly, yadda, yadda. Canada is not Iran or China, for sure. But there’s lots wrong, unless you’re too propagandized and caught up in consumerism to notice.
It’s up to us to give consuming and self-tranquilization a rest now and then and think about matters affecting us. If we don’t, then we deserve to be used the way we are being used. The sad thing is, we (who don’t own capital and who don’t exploit others) are the majority. If each of us just devoted say 20 minutes a week to thinking about something important, we’d fairly quickly be impervious to harmful elite propaganda. But there is no law that can be passed that will make people care – about others and about themselves.
So. That gives you an idea about my frame of mind. It’s not the whole me though. I like fun too. I live rather simply and cleanly. I don’t swear (heavy stuff), smoke (anything), do drugs or eat crap. Despite poverty, all of my food at home, except for maybe my coffee and tea, is organic. I like Toronto for it’s variety of eateries and independent coffee shops. I’d like to one day have my own coffee shop. I enjoy just sitting in a coffee shop and reading my paper, although I’d rather socialize if that’s possible. And now that I have a (electronic) notebook, I’m not reading paper as much as I used to. And I miss it.
I don’t do as much exploring of restaurants as I’d like to simply because I don’t have money. But there’s a few that I like which I can sort of afford and I go to them now and then as a treat.
I don’t believe in shoving my views, political or religious, down other people’s throats. You can read me or not. I can read you or not. I just don’t bother with people who prefer rancor and bluster to thoughtful engagement. Some folks don’t get it. They never learned that it’s harmful to others and to themselves to be angry and loud and bullying. But I have a saying: You can be happy being happy or you can be happy being miserable.
It’s the same with music, I notice. I hear the worst music (Rap anyone?) out there and I just shake my head. Maybe people lack the capacity to check how something they themselves are doing is affecting them and don’t even notice when something is in some way tearing them down rather than building them up. What’s worse is some folks think that being tore down ‘is’ being built up. Doesn’t that figure though?
We all have to live with ourselves. If we are making bad choices for whatever reason (peer pressure, bad judgment) and aren’t prepared to show wisdom and humility enough to say “I made a mistake,” then we will rationalize and justify the wrong course we are on. Rationalized thinking and behavior then becomes normal thinking and behavior. Everyone who disagrees is now off course. And that’s how it is.