Bill Moyers’ current show focuses on how formerly disparate grass roots groups are starting to work together to shift cultural values away from greed and towards social and economic justice.
To Naked Capitalism readers, this notion may seem a bit quixotic. But Jim Hightower, who has been working with populist movements for over 30 years, sees these groups starting to collaborate on broad-based issues. From the interview:
JIM HIGHTOWER: Well, the robber barons are certainly atop. And they, but I believe is this populist fervor that is challenging that robber barony that we have dominating pretty much every aspect of our lives. You know, politics, the economy, whether you get a job or not and whether that job comes with any pay, much less health care. And, you know, the media, you know, right on down the line.
Yet in every one of those segments there is a growing rebellion and an increasing awareness among different groups fighting different battles that they are connected to the other groups. It’s not a movement, yet. But it’s beginning to connect up. There’s now this group called the United Workers Congress. And these are ten different very low income employee sectors; they’re farm workers; they’re nannies; they’re taxicab drivers; they’re day laborers; and they’re adjunct professors.
BILL MOYERS: Adjunct professors?
JIM HIGHTOWER: Professors.
BILL MOYERS: That’s an unusual participant in a coalition like that.
JIM HIGHTOWER: They’re paid a poverty wage, no health benefits, no security, job security you know, just like fast-food workers, in fact.
BILL MOYERS: What does that suggest to you?
JIM HIGHTOWER: It suggests that people are beginning to get together and see their common interests. So here are some of the, here are the highest educated poverty workers in America with the lowest educated poverty workers and seeing that they’re in the same boat now. And that realization is a powerful political potential.
To put it perhaps another way, some groups who would otherwise self-identify as middle class are now so downtrodden that they are joining forces with other badly-paid workers. And as more and more types of jobs see their compensation and other employment conditions erode, the more the ranks at the bottom will grow.
While Hightower is optimistic about the potential, he still called this new anti- greed/pro common good effort nascent. The segment also calls out Cory Booker’s fauxgressive branding.
The truth is that in a Industrial society you need a vast amount of cash flow to network.
Without cashflow people cannot engage with their local space.
They become atomized and therefore more easily controlled.
We no longer live in a agrarian envoirnment of make do.
Talk of grassroots ??????
Where is the roots ?
No roots no grass baby.
Europes & the west future is the empty villages of France.
ROBBER BARON REDUX
Our villages are doing just fine. I happen to live in one, and the only people complaining are the farmers because of the cereal prices. But, they always complain – it is a national pastime in France.
In America, you voted in Reckless Ronnie in 1980 who brought down to ridiculous levels upper-income taxation (see the history of US tax levels), which triggered the onset of the present Robber Barony (nice phrase, that).
The result of which was to incentivize this present mentality of “grab all you can, while you can, however you can”. We seem to think in the US that plundering the economy is a well justified national pastime.
And so, you are left with the present circumstance – a country that resembles Rome in its period of decline …
Enjoy the ride. The destination’s end, however, is brutal …
Been to more French and Spanish villages then I care to think of.
Having walked into most.
The French make a effort by having a Gite or something about but there is a simple lack of exchange and basic commerce.
They are dead zones.
A corpse made to look alive from a distance.
North Americans: “Look, there are plenty of trees around, so we are fine”.
As for farming, since its share of the GDP has been contracting while the economy grows, this implies that bigger is the name of the game and farmers get pushed out. It’s no wonder farmers get annoyed… then when times get tough, the state can just seize their production and distribute it to cities.
I am amazed that countries have let their agriculture get decimated to this point. Here in Canada, we are now at the whim of international markets. Farmland filled u with 2-3 car door garage doors McMansi0ns. I am not even sure we could support our population if we were squeezed out of the markets. I guess we could sell more oil but Alberta hates sharing with eastern Canada…
All this to say that maybe we should be listening to farmers a little more.
Indeed. The current setup does not give us much ammo to fight this sort of thing: https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/premier-wynne-save-our-farms-and-water-sources-from-mega-development
Privatize the commons, privatize the profits, socialize the costs *and* create a quick-response safety net for corps. All legal. We are being kettled.
Many think I am a pessimist but it’s because I knock down all arguments that lead to a bigger and more centralized system. I believe our systems need to be broken down and right-sized to human scale.
In a big system, the rich will never share. Exploitation of the poor is more appealing.
if you’ve got 1 currency and 1 capital, you essentially have 1 group of bosses. If you have 50 currencies and 50 capitals, you will get at least 50 groups of bosses…. but WAY more people participating in the economy.
Grass roots organized mass movement is the only thing that has a chance of succeeding.
We need a constitutional amendment to make clear corporations/”people” who don’t breathe are creatures of statute, not parties to the constitution, and as such have only the rights and powers conferred on them by statute.
We need to restore and expand voting rights.
Do both, and the human citizenry will be able to elect people who put the public interest at the heart of policy with reasonable consistency.
You’re slightly more optimistic than I am about the prospects for reforming the system. I tend to side with Cliff DuRand on the potential for transformative change in our society:
I often think that just showing that there are alternatives and creating the bonds, relationships and systems of cooperation that will get us through the decline and fall of our fossil-fueled industrial society, is about the best we can do right now. I’m not optimistic about the chances for actually reforming the system. I think those currently in control would rather tear the whole thing apart than lose control of it. As Bucky Fuller said, don’t spend all your time fighting the bad old system, create new systems that make the old ones obsolete. It is in our ability to do that that I do have some degree of optimism. And more and more, people of all stripes and backgrounds are coming together to do just that.
At any rate I take comfort in the thought that change is not just possible, it is inevitable.
You are right about both things.
Old systems fall *after* alternative systems have been created and established, not before.
“As Bucky Fuller said, don’t spend all your time fighting the bad old system, create new systems that make the old ones obsolete.”
This is great advice! I would only add that we need to continually subvert and weaken the old system so that its collapse comes about in our own lifetimes.
Patience isn’t always a virtue! St. Francis not only taught by his new example, he constantly made explicit the weakness and corruption of the world that his sermon-listeners lived in, asking them to reject it and refuse to collaborate with it. In later generations the spiritual Franciscans continued this revolutionary stance, while the conventual Franciscans allowed themselves to be co-opted into the system.
St. Francis lives on, not because he lived apart from the world, but because he earnestly sought to change the hearts and minds of every fellow human he met: “his words were like sharp arrows, which pierced through the hearts of those who
listened to them.” (Little Flowers of St. Francis, XXVII)
The times demand more than quiet, virtuous living in progressive enclaves while the rest of the world sinks deeper into despair. We need now what Frederick Douglass called for in a 4th of July Speech he gave in 1852:
“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”
It will be a hard road to hoe. Why? Two huge stumbling blocks stand like Apollyon in the path, i.e. Social Security and Medicare. Two programs that serve to successfully divide the population. There are others like TANF and SNAP that give aid and succor to the caucasian poor in the South while they keep punching the GOPer ticket at the hustings and festoon themselves with guns,flags and lapel pins. The only binding force for the masses is shared poverty and hunger. In the 21st century, safety nets have diluted this binding force ironically through the successful efforts of previous progressive movements. We have a stasis today which will not end anytime soon. In fact, in another piece of supreme irony we will have to wait for the GOPers to take the Senate and the Presidency and wait for President Paul Ryan to take a wrecking ball to SS, TANF, SNAP etc. After that maybe we can have revolution in America.
I think, at this point, a complete GOP takeover may not be such a bad thing if it destroys the Democratic Party which has turned out to be a party of almost total corruption. Now I don’t mind a little corruption because I think society needs it–I don’t like rigidity but today it is at a level that is just too extreme such that only a revolutionary party should be supported by those of us who believe in the commons. The trend seems to be moving towards fragmentation in any case–both parties seem hopelessly confused.
My thoughts exactly!
Just don’t be old, sick, unemployed, an unwed mother, a teenager in need of an abortion (or even birth control), black, or an Hispanic immigrant when your fantasy comes true. Those people are expendable in your dream of rejuvenating America, but I remember history, and those on the Left in Germany who thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give the Nazis the government so that after the masses saw what loons they were and rejected them, then the real work of building socialism could commence. We know what happened to them.
To welcome the republican party, is to welcome your own death.There is no after reward.
Yes, the democratic party is hopelessly corrupt.But so is the republican party.
Don’t forget, while Obama may be carrying water for the republican agenda,During the bush years:
The twin towers were blown up. Thousands of americans were murdered by their own gov’t.
as a pretext to start a world wide military shift, that included starting wars under false pretenses and invading countries and then occupying them for a decade…. confligrations where thousands are dead,millions damaged,displaced,and will be rehabilitating for the foreseeable future.Trillions of dollars wasted.trillions more wasted on the speculative profiteers on wall st, who act in concert with both parties…. all the while damn near destroying the American economy and way of life. While putting to death the idea of , ” life ,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” .
and now after 8 years of the Obama charade, you are ready to welcome back the republicans….
Are you kidding?
Fear of the Republicans is what keeps the left as it were helpless and powerless in the Democratic vealpen. it’s not that the Republicans’ public positions aren’t incrementally worse than the Ds, it’s that they are the same team rebranded and sold as alternatives to each other.
Either party will do whatever the (same mostly) .1% have paid them to, realizing and digesting this is the necessary first step to empowerment. D vs. R politics *is* kayfabe, the whole process is phony and corrupt. A vote for either “team” is a wasted vote.
Please stop the fear mongering. It’s how they control us.
“D vs. R politics *is* kayfabe, the whole process is phony and corrupt.”
Yes, and the sooner more people wake up to this reality the better!!
I agree with regard to economics.
But as this week’s Court decisions have shown there is a meaningful and important difference between Justices appointed by Dems and those appointed by the GOP. That difference has a major effect on real life.
It’s a new dawn. Someone says 9/11 was an inside job and no crackpot or tinfoil hat comments.
9/11 truth is the only issue.
I just get tired of pushing against the insanity. Anyone who buys into an elaborite conspiracy is buying into the theory of supermen. Too many comic books have deluded their judgement. The question is not one of morality but capablity. When I, through the good offices of NC and other sources, observe the perversion of business and government to enrich the few I see opportunism not the forseen results from their complicated shemes.
Not Republicans vs Democrats any more. No Republican could’ve followed up on what Bush did with what Obama did – nor most Democrats, with the possible exception of HC. I rather expect it was all explained to Obama when he was negotiating with the Clintons during the Summer of 2008 – explained as in who really runs the show in Washington, what was to be expected and so forth. Obama never once challenged power. Whenever he did say something that sounded like he might even consider it, he reversed immediately in the face of completely mindless criticism he refused ever to decisively engage. Yet he could sign off on everything Wall Street wanted, what the NSA wanted, what the military wanted, and many more powerful interests wanted, but most truly shockingly, on a permanent program of targeted killings or mass violence anywhere on the globe with no accountability. All of the war criminals and financial criminals and environmental criminals and deep State criminals and Supreme Court criminals – the lot of them free to peddle their sick ideas and actions to welcoming audiences across the MSM spectrum and beyond as if nothing had happened but ‘good men and women in tough circumstances serving their country, even if you didn’t agree with everything they did’.
The world may never recover from the failure of the US political class in 2008 to repudiate utterly the path taken – and tragically, still cloven to – this century.
The councils of nihilism and despair are dangerous things.
“And they will ask the question, Why did we, scholars and writers in America, in this time, we who had been warned of our danger not only by explicit threats but by explicit action, why did we not fight this danger while the weapons we used best – the weapons of ideas and words – could still be used against it?”
Archibald Macleish, The Irresponsibles, 1940
excellent question. what is your answer?
Also consider who benefits from the corruption. Why should executives get to slack and not workers? If anything it ought to be the other way around.
Isolated movements are coalescing internationally, too. Remember Transparency International? TI’s idea was to rate the states from the point of view of commerce and finance. But since NATO-bloc foreign investors now demand corruption and predation from their junior partners in government, that approach is kind of pointless.
So Transparency International spawned a radical splinter group, TIRI. Their approach is civil-society monitoring and advocacy to enforce, not transparency, but a broader concept they call integrity that changes the ethos of public and private governance. TIRI disseminates best practices among local integrity advocates, playing Trotsky to the TI Lenin.
The right to peace movement is another emerging umbrella. In their view war is an obvious breach of peace, but peace is compromised by every sort of violence, including denial of economic rights. Peace is the sum of all rights and it’s a greedy objective like profit or utility. A state at peace is on a treadmill, constantly working to mitigate structural violence such as hunger, homelessness, deficient education, environmental spoliation, labor exploitation, and other human rights derogations. The right to peace has international institutional backing and it’s working its way into customary international law. Economic predation will then be subject to the same kind of pressure brought to bear on repression or genocide or torture.
It’s nice to know Jim Hightower is still optimistic. Maybe adjunct professors from the sciences can get some momentum going for new systems which are ecologically sound. For new, desperately needed, science and technology to clean up our nuclear disasters. Our toxic chemical dumps. Our wasteful living habits. The list is so very long. I wonder if, economically, the pollution cleanup bill zeroes out all the billionaires, since they got rich by abandoning all care for the planet.
All worthy challenges. But unfortunately, adjunct profs are probably more worried
about paying rent…
As one who lives deep in the colon of a third world country sometimes called USA with internet speeds no faster than the earliest 90’s dial-up… I shall have to wait to see and or comment on this show on Sunday… when it airs on that old fashioned idiot box.
But I will say there is very little reform needed or possible. I’m with Buckminster Fuller…
When building a new system,beginning with a new Constitution, not just a few stinking amendments or some such, we should be very specific about what little should remain….as well as what should be new. “Reform” is such a vague term…. always lending itself to preserving status rotten lawless rich quo, imho. I’m not at all interested in such “reform”…. and I scour the internets every day looking for very few who really are talking about/interested in more than reform.
Up here in the rust belt, E.S., I’m with yah. If it don’t change the rules, it ain’t worth working on.
I do think, however, that a 28th amendment stating that only human beings have Constitutional rights, and money is not speech protected by the First Amendment, would change the rules. There’s only one amendment that’s been proposed so far that would do both of these things, and it’s at http://www.movetoamend.org.
Considering that the supreme court (jesters) have recently deemed corporations to have religious freedom (at least when it comes to non-payment for contraception), I’d say don’t hold you’re breath. If anything we’re heading towards giving corporations rights above and beyond what us mere mortal humans can possess. Each day we grow closer to the dark times of inverted totalitarianism.
PS. I for one, welcome our new corporate overlords and wish them a long and benevolent rule!
What to keep? The habeas corpus clause, the prohibition on corruption of blood, the Bill of Rights and the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. We’ll probably have to explicitly restate them to say “No, when we wrote the 4th amendment, WE MEANT IT,” given the criminality the NSA is engaged in.
Priority 1: Eliminate lifetime tenure for judges. 14 years is long enough for the NY Court of Appeals, it’s long enough for federal judges. This eliminates the high-stakes game of appointing court members in order to create an unelected “superlegislature”.
Priority 2: Parliamentary system. Parliamentary systems are much less likely to collapse in war than Presidential systems are.
Priority 3: Party-proportional representation for the House of Representatives, which eliminates the locked-in two-party system and makes it possible to have major political change without the sort of “failure period” we had before the Civil War or now.
Priority 4: Eliminate the US Senate’s powers or eliminate it entirely; if it remains an unrepresentative body (as it is now) it should have no more power than the UK’s House of Lords.
These changes would get us a system which would be significantly more responsive to the demands of the people and that would make it much less likely that the system would be overthrown by war.
This conference season in Solidarity Economy organizing (so far):
New Economies Conf., Jackson, MS
Baltimore Economic Democracy Conf.
Worker Cooperative National Conference, Chicago
Austin Cooperative Summit
CommonBound Conf, DC
Remaking Property after Neoliberalism conf., Harvard Law
And I’m probably missing a few. I’m sure something has to be going on over in SF. Oh yeah, the hack the housing crisis event that Shareable put on
Since it’s the 4th of July I have to make a confession: most days I think the American experiment in self government has been a failure and from here is utterly doomed.
A few years ago I put out a proposal for a constitutional amendment abolishing existing debt (a “jubilee”) and a return to the gold standard, a proposal that made virtually no one happy because gold standard types hate the idea of debt forgiveness and debt forgiveness types hate the gold standard. Plus the economics profession’s hostility to the gold standard is insurmountable.
One post about it is here:
The bottom line is that a “grass roots” effort to do this is both the only way under our current system of government (that’s what a constitutional amendment is) and also quite hopeless. Indeed, the most disappointing thing is that rational discussion of the proposal is pretty much hopeless, too. There are too many interests involved, and without some meaningful feedback I can’t even gauge the merits of the idea very well, although of course in formulating it I endeavored to be rational and reasonable well informed.
I’ve been forced to conclude that a jubilee, and for that matter a restoration of the gold standard, could only be accomplished by a monarch. For some reason deep in the human race, we will accept in an edict from a monarch things we would despise coming from a neighbor.
I’m curious, not dismissive: how do you run a 13 trillion dollar economy on a gold standard? I mean, what would an ounce of gold be worth given that we only have so many tons of the stuff and we’d need it to back enough cash and credit to run a modern economy. And how would you prevent a small number of people who currently possess physical gold from becoming instant, unearned millionaires? And how would you keep the gold from flowing out of the country if people wanted their Treasury Bonds redeemed in gold, or would you just tell everyone on the planet that their US bonds were worthless? And if those bonds were worthless, what would banks then use as collateral, or would they, too, have to compete for the very finite gold supply with the US Treasury? And how would you deal with the collapse of global credit systems once US Treasuries became worthless? These concrete considerations would have to be addressed before one could switch to a gold standard.
Really good questions, thank you.
First, for a $13 trillion economy, the dollar value of gold would have to be very high – something like $30,000 per ounce. Maybe more. It would be better to set the dollar price too high than too low. The latter is what the UK did after WWI and it caused a lot of deflationary problems. The law of course can set the dollar value at anything that is useful or makes sense.
This would make some gold holders very wealthy, obviously. But we have a lot of wealthy people now who haven’t earned or contributed much of anything – Kim Kardashian, for instance. There are no perfect answers here. I don’t think a good solution becomes unacceptable because it isn’t perfect, and some admittedly small number of people get a windfall.
If all the treasuries were redeemed for gold then the US government would have no debt. The people who bought the treasuries would have what they bargained for, and the government would have fulfilled its promise and be free of further obligation. I can’t see how this is a problem. This is how things are supposed to work, right? Value exchanged for value.
It would certainly be a radically different world.
Is greed a Psychiatric disorder?
If not it should be!
Sociopathy is! That’s narcissism to the nth degree. That’s a failure to empathize and certainly greed is exactly that, zero sum to the nth. Not just a psychiatric disorder (character disorder) but criminal.
Maybe greed is a moral, i.e., soul, disorder as well as a psychiatric one?
Would Dante be helpful in writing such a manual of diagnostic codes?
Would moral insurance cover such disorders?
Would we consult a cleric to be healed?
Would healing different levels of greed allow varying rates of reimbursement?
I believe that people mis-understand the nature of greed. In that individuals must act in their self-interest [in order to survive], greed manifests when said individual uses the collective to enrich themselves. So, greed is really a outcropping of this natural tendency.
I believe this is why all groups self-corrupt, and why, no matter the system, you ALWAYS end up with the few in possession of most everything [i.e., those with the most finely tuned skills at taking what is others’, for themselves].
And how interesting it is to learn about all the various ways people rationalize such behavior [especially the sell-out of the American professional class over the past several decades]!
Greed, profit, self preservation, “capitalism”, selfish gene, scorched-earth, etc., etc. They are all the same thing, no? Like Terence McKenna told us, and Buddah before him, it’s an ego thing. Get rid of the ego, problem solved. So how do we get rid of that pesky ego? Thatfuckinthing. The Indian subcontinent hasn’t equalized its society by a long shot. Roll over Budda. We will have to provide SECURITY for each individual on the planet, starting with the USA. Total security; not the former right-wing American brand of Gotcha Security. Because that Lucy-pulls-the-rug-out variety presupposes an ongoing military confrontation and an ongoing mortal capitalist competition. The planet will be the first to die.
You can not eliminate greed, but you can minimize its manifestation by attenuating it’s etiology. Ego is not the cause of greed, the pursuit survival is. By minimizing the tendency towards collectivization, you can decrease the opportunities for greed to appear. It appears as if there may be a direct correlation between the size of the group and the greed manifest.
It is difficult for an individual to obtain much of anything beyond their [relatively] immediate needs without the group facilitating such accumulation. Of course, most of this is attributed to markets and other fantasies, but as I believe we all intuit, people who have a great deal, have it because they have exploited a gamed system.
Or, by simply not withholding material satisfaction of people’s basic needs, and reducing the reward for unnecessary surplus labor, you can cut off greed at the source. Though I am a fan of devolution into reasonably-sized polities that can function collectively (a few million?), I don’t think that spending more time working for less is the best solution if we’re already working twice as much as we need to for what we’re getting.
In order to combat greed we must end extreme poverty and extreme wealth and give every child a secure early life, at least. That will vastly reduce the level of narcissistic personality disorder which I believe is far more common that we realize, and at the root of most of the worst governmental pathologies. Greed isn’t (of course) unique to narcissists but the most extreme manifestations of it are characteristic traits of narcissists. We should also work on neuroimaging to identify people with NPD so they can be treated. (if such a thing is possible.) Certainly, we should never allow any area of our world, especially politics to become ridden with narcissists as it is today.
It’s time to restore truth to the tongue, time to eschew the corrupted warm&fuzzy word “greed,” and to use the precise word “avarice”. This change is necessary for clarity’s sake, so that the stark truth might be revealed, because the obscene meme “Greed us good” was thrust into the Mass Mind as a Freudian/Bernaysian *charm* to subvert order through swift perversion of the common moral sense in the nation. The proper term for conveying the precise quality of material lust which is irresistible to the breed of demigods making Guilded China “the center of the New World Order” (and Americans their contemned slaves) is the formerly time-honored word “avarice” — rightly held to be one of the *Seven Deadly Sins*.
This is a bed-rock moral issue. The Totalitarian Dictatorship of those who rule and reign over the Killer Globalist Law Merchant Imperium is as obscene as Chinese foot-binding and overt slavery. Has a critical mass of humanity evolved sufficiently to stop humanity’s devolution to beasts or Imperial DNA Singularity?
“COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS” by Richard Maurice Bucke (1901, 1922, 1923, 1969);”HUMAN DESTINY” by Lecompte du Nouy (1947, 1949);
“WRITING WRONGS: The Work of Wallace Shawn” by W.D. King (1997);
“LYING: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life” (1978), “SECRETS: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation (1982), “A STRATEGY FOR PEACE: Human Values and the Threat of War” (1989, 1990) by Sissela Bok;
“SNAKES IN SUITS: When Psychopaths Go to Work” by Paul Babiak, Ph,D. and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. (2006);
“BABYLON’S BANKSTERS: The Alchemy of Deep Physics, High Finance, and Ancient Religion” by Joseph P. Farrell (2010);
“MYTH AND REALITY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT” by Brevard S. Childs (1960);
“THE HEBREW REPUBLIC: Jewish Sources and th Transformation of European Political Thought” by Eric Nelson (2010);
“CAPITALISM AND THE JEWS” by Jerry Z. Miller (2010);
“CAPITALISM & SLAVERY” by Eric Williams (1994, 1995);
“THE MONEY MEN: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years’ War Over the American Dollar” by H.W. Brands (2006);
“THE ENEMY WITHIN: A History of Espionage” by Terry Crowdy (2006;
“RULERS AND RULED IN THE US EMPIRE…” by James Petras (2007);
“THE MARKETING OF EVIL…” by David Kupelian (2005);
“FROM FREEDOM TO SLAVERY: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America” by Gerry Spence (1993);
“Temptations of a Superpower” by Ronald Steel (1995);
“TOP SECRET AMERICA…” by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin;
“ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN: RACE, IDENTITY, and the DNA of the CHOSEN PEOPLE” by Jon Entine (2007);
“WHEN SCOTLAND WAS JEWISH…” by Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman and Donald N. Yates (2007);
“THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM” by Hannah Arendt (Copyrights: 1948, renewed 1976 by Hannah Arendt; 1951 by 1966, 1968 by Hannah Arendt; 1979 by Mary McCarthy West; 1994, 1996 by Lotte Kohler; 2004 by Samantha Power);
“THINKING IN AN EMERGENCY” by Elaine Scarry (2011).
The Totalitarian GlobalOneState of the prime beneficiaries of The Law Merchant (Admiralty Law) IS a Closed Dynastic Dictatorship, a closed system for exclusive DNA enrichment in perpetuity, a system by many names. Let us extricate and separate ourselves from this system hostile to evolved humanity.
It would be nice to believe that there are grass roots out there that could win the day against the Robber Barons. All we have to do is tell people that they have been mislead. I think the point that is sometimes missed by some commentators is that many people, perhaps an actual majority, are complicit in the deception. Human beings do have an innate capacity to follow reason, but many choose not to do so. Pressing psychological buttons is the way the barons are able to get their way. People live by fear, fear of strangers, fear of death, fear of loss of control, fear of debt, poverty, disease etc etc, and the punters readily lap up what is comforting to them. The Status Quo depends on a vast lower-middle class which looks back to the past rather than to the future. In the West, these are the very people who have enjoyed a tentative prosperity based on personal borrowing and who now find that the party which started in the late 1970s with the Reagan/Thatcher Free Market era is now nearly over. They have built up a sense of entitlement and expectation which must not be denied and are now looking for scapegoats in the same way as medieval peasants looked for witches to explain the failure of crops. It is interesting how primitive values and attitudes take over as on William Golding’s island. This constituency shows contempt for the people below them on the economic ladder as somehow less ‘deserving’ but envy those who are slightly higher (and usually better educated) than themselves. They do not envy the Oligarchs and the Robber Barons are these people are seen as gods to bow down to, and they believe that some day, the Big Numbers will come their way and they will join them just as they rightly deserve. Tell them that they are wrong and they will disbelieve the message and turn on the messengers.
The limiter is build into Capitalism. The goal now should be to cushion the fall. That is where grass roots efforts need to be directed. I’m not against fighting for policy changes per se, just against the belief that it is possible to reverse all of the madness around us if only we fight hard enough. Only a well timed and thorough catastrophe can pull that off. We (as in people not in the upper echelons of global society) need to gradually create social structures and cultural spaces where we are no longer required to rely on the conventional order.
This grass-roots thing, I’ll believe it when I see it. It is nonetheless a marvelous idea, if it will ever work.
It could be key to reinventing America, that is, ridding itself of the rot that has infected LaLaLand on the Potomac. Getting rid of two principle elements of that rot: The ability to influence political campaigns by limitless, uncontrolled funding, and gerrymandering that encrusts democracy into a never ending two-party existence.
Let’ s not forget the central cause of our present dilemma. The fact that it is we, the sheeple, who are responsible for what happens in LaLaLand. We reacted to the media mis-messaging to vote these “brainless charlatans” to represent us. We stayed away from the polls when only a plurality of the 38% of voters, in the 2010-midterms, ensconced the T-Party in control of the HofR.
As for progressive thinking, we left it on the wayside. The biggest bloc in Congress is the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and they are only about 15% of the total in the HofR. Not nearly enough.
Yes, we did it all by ourselves. And now we are bitter at the consequences? We blame the politicos we sent to LaLaLand?
C’mon, that’s not how it works in a democracy – and, for better or for worse, that is what we have …
Spoken like a true Democratic apologist desperately trying to protect the legitimacy of their power-sharing agreement with the Republicans.
NO. Your oligarchs are not entitled to my vote. They’re entitled to a boot to the head, W-style, for thinking they are. Your party EARNS my vote through policy successes that favor ME, not your oligarchs. Get it? YOUR party needs to immediately exit EVERY trade agreement presently in force or under consideration, publish ALL working drafts and correspondence online without exception, and immediately expand Medicare to all. Your 15% had better fix enough of the other 85% to get to a veto-proof majority, if they want to have a blue party to be in next year.
Better shills, please!
You looking for a partisan fight? Go elsewhere. I am decrying the system and not one particular party.
The entire political game stinks to high-heaven, and you bitch-in-a-blog for catharsis.
Get off your you-know-what and militate to change politics, then maybe you will earn real credentials …
My oligarchs? Where do you read that?
You really should drink less before blogging …
momintern : “” Economic predation will then be subject to the same kind of pressure brought to bear on repression or genocide or torture.””
If that is true then there is not much to be optimistic about .
impermanence : “” no matter the system, you ALWAYS end up with the few in possession of most everything “”
It would be impossible for the government to end up with everything , as it is now on its way to doing , if we had a Limitation on Taxation [ all taxes combined including sales tax ] of 50% of your income ( where income is any money that you receive and can use for living expenses including capital gains ). Too many sheeple do not vote for government , they only vote for benefits ; and more benefits …. and more benefits .