Monday, January 26, 2009

Obama's Inaugural Call for "National Unity"

By John Peterson
Monday, 26 January 2009

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord." - Barack Obama



American workers are faced with an economic and social crisis on a scale not seen in decades. One after another, the pillars of American capitalism are crumbling around them: all the major banks and financial services companies; all the major auto makers; the dream of home ownership and a secure retirement; the aura of invincibility of U.S. military might; the promise of a tomorrow better than today. In short, the bedrock upon which U.S. capitalism has justified its continued exploitative existence has turned to quicksand.

As Marx and Engels described life under capitalism in the Communist Manifesto: "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind." This shattering of the "American Dream," the realization that this is indeed as "good as it gets" is having and will continue to have a profound effect on the consciousness of all classes in society, not the least of which is the working class. Already there are symptoms of a simmering discontent beneath the apparently calm surface of society. As the crisis deepens and the illusions in Obama are inevitably dashed against the cold realities of this system, these undercurrents will gain strength and direction, bursting to the surface in dynamic and unexpected ways.

The capitalist class, represented in government by the Democrats and Republicans, has also had its confidence shaken. They are unsure how best to proceed. Some argue that the market should be allowed to "adjust itself," while others advocate Keynesian state intervention and a new "New Deal." But while they may be divided on how best to get the economy moving again, they are unanimous in their defense of the capitalist system as a whole. Not once will you hear Obama, Bush, Biden, Cheney, the Clintons or the rest raise any doubts about the system itself. They are also well aware that the social consequences of the crisis could spiral out of their control. They have therefore chosen the best man they could find for the job: Barack Obama. He has in turn put together a galaxy of pro-capitalist and imperialist talent to assist him in carrying out his policies. The 44th president's historic task is clear: to preserve the United States of America as we know it today. That is to say, his role is to defend the U.S. capitalist system in its epoch of imperialist decay.

Then and Now



The constant comparisons and references to Abraham Lincoln are no accident. Lincoln came to power during a profound crisis that ultimately led to a bloody civil war that claimed some 618,000 lives. Although the Civil War was at root a war against the slave system, it was waged largely around the slogan of "preserving the union." Lincoln leaned on the masses and on the working class in particular, on their instinctive striving for unity and sense of outrage at the slave system to wage the war. His call for "national unity" resonated with the mood of society and the economic needs of the capitalist system. The war and Lincoln's role were revolutionary and supported by Karl Marx himself.

Lincoln's historic task was to defend burgeoning Northern capitalism and extend it to the entire country. At the time, this was a necessary and progressive task, despite the misery and exploitation that is part and parcel of the system. Capitalism was still in its historically progressive phase, and the abolition of slavery in the South "cleared the decks" for an unprecedented development of the productive forces and the strengthening of the urban working class, thus laying the material basis for socialism.

But things are far different today. Obama comes to power at a time of capitalist decline. His task is to preserve a rotting system whose historic task has been exhausted. Capitalism has ceased to play any progressive role for the vast bulk of humanity. It has already served its historical purpose: to lay down the material foundations for socialism. We will build on the technology and productivity of labor achieved by humanity under capitalism in order to build a new society, free of exploitation and based on the common interests of the working class majority. However, the capitalist class will not give up their power and privileges without a fight. This handful of individuals is determined to continue their domination and exploitation of billions of humans around the world. Their system is increasingly incompatible with the continued existence of humanity itself. We can either replace it with socialism on a world scale, or the entire "experiment" of human civilization could be thrown into a very violent and horrific reverse.

What Sort of Unity?



It is with these considerations in mind that we must understand the main theme of Obama's inaugural address: a call for national unity and sacrifice in the even harder times to come. But first, let's take a look back at the early Bush years. After September 11, 2001, GW Bush also invoked a call for "national unity." Here is what we explained at the time in the article What Sort of Unity?:

"Even more significantly, the sleeping giant of the American working class has now been awakened to social and political awareness. At the moment they are enraged, grieving, and in shock. They are reaching out for solutions that are familiar to them – military aggression, religion, abstract 'unity' and so on...

"The thundering cries for war and revenge are one of the most visible effects of the attacks. Overnight, the country has been gripped by war fever and nationalist hysteria. Sales of American flags have gone through the roof, and there is hardly a fast food store or church without a variant of 'God Bless America' displayed. Religious invocation has also reached unheard of levels as people look for answers in a world apparently gone mad. To hear the politicians and news anchors, one would not imagine that there is a separation of Church and State in this country. The calls for national unity are nearly universal and all the superficial political differences between the Republicans and Democrats have been drowned out by the beating of the drums of war...

"...It is therefore vital that we are clear as to what GW Bush means by 'national unity.' What he is calling for is for the working class to subordinate itself to the interests of the ruling class. This is always the situation under capitalism, but in times of crisis, war, and revolution, the importance of keeping the millions of newly conscious workers 'on the side' of the bosses takes on even greater importance. Especially when the very 'leaders' who are supposed to be protecting 'our nation' have proven completely inept at doing so, the spontaneous outrage of the working class must be channeled into 'safe' means – against an external enemy.

"...And although the immediate reaction of many has been to rally around the flag in the interests of 'national unity,' what they really strive for is the unity of humanity and an end to these terrible events. The fundamental effect of the attacks has been to give workers a shocking wake up call as to the cruelties of this world. Millions of people in the US now know what it feels like to live in uncertainty and fear - and they don't like it. They have been awakened to the fact that they cannot simply ignore the outside world - the problems of the rest of the world are also the problems of the American working class. And it is precisely the lack of stability of life under capitalism which will force millions of people to take their lives and futures into their own hands."


Nearly eight years later, what was the result of this "rallying around the flag"? Two imperialist wars costing billions each week while schools and hospitals are closed; some 47 million without access to health care; trillions in retirement savings lost and millions thrown out of their homes while CEO pay and bonuses reached astronomical levels. In short, the rich won and the working class and the poor lost.

Why is this? Why can't we "all just get along"? The reason is simple: the interests of the capitalist class and the working class are diametrically opposed. Under capitalism, the capitalist class holds all the cards. They control the media, the government, the courts, the police, the military, the banks, and the educational system. They write the laws. They make all the real decisions as to who works and who owns a home. In other words, they use every tool at their disposal to defend their own interests, which are irreconcilable with the interests of the working class majority.

Abstract "national unity," which blurs the clear class distinctions and contradictions that exist in society, subordinates the interests of the working class to the interests of the capitalist class. It is the "unity" of the horse and rider, of the lord and the serf, of the master and the slave. As Marxists, we are in favor of unity. But what is needed is class unity, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or nationality. Only the power of the united working class can decisively challenge the domination of capital.

Change We Can Believe In?



Now it is Obama's turn to call for national unity. In his inaugural speech, he made it clear just what he means by "national unity." He acknowledged the "sapping confidence" of millions facing economic disaster. He addressed the "nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights." He compassionately identified with those losing their jobs and homes, calling on "we the people," on "this generation of Americans" to remain "faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents." He also invoked the specter of terrorism and the danger of relying on "our adversaries" for energy. He dampened people's expectations of a quick reversal of fortunes, saying that the challenges are serious, many, real, and "will not be met easily or in a short span of time." He invoked the Scripture and the Declaration of Independence, asserting the "God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

And then, out of the swirl of lofty rhetoric, hints of what he really means:

"Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom

"...For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth...

"...Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction...

"We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

In other words, we must put aside our class differences ("differences of birth or wealth or faction"), stop complaining about our lot in life and accept the conditions we are forced to live under ("protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions"), and pull ourselves up by our boot straps to clean up the mess made by the capitalists and their system ("pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America"). In so many words, "hard work!" and "work hard!" This is the real "spirit of America."


But who is to do this hard work? Is it true that the millions "obscure in their labor," who break their backs for low wages just to scrape out a living, are simply not working hard enough? We might also ask: whose pleasures, riches and fame? Whose prosperity? Whose freedom?

After outlining an ambiguous plan to create jobs, lower health care costs, and cut unspecified inefficient government programs, he revealed his true colors as an apologist and defender of capitalism:

"Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good."

After lamenting the "excesses" of the system and taking a swipe at the "prosperous," he unveils the mythological creature of a kinder, gentler capitalism, which extends "opportunity to every willing heart."


Then, after invoking the "rule of law" and the "rights of man," he reminded Americans that they had "faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions." So much for Obama being a "communist"!

And in a line that could have been uttered by GW Bush himself, Obama had the following to say in reference to the Iraq War: "We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

And to tie his theme of national unity together, the following words:

"For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, ,the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate." [my emphasis]

In other words, we should applaud the sacrifice of low wage, part-time workers, who divide up capitalist scarcity and poverty amongst themselves for the "greater good." But more importantly, Obama's words have an unintended message: it is the millions of average working Americans that makes the country run. This begs the question: why don't these millions of American workers run the country?

In times of crisis, it is normal for people to want to band together, to seek protection, safety and comfort in numbers. But the fundamental question is the class question. Whose interests does Barack Obama defend? The working class majority or the capitalist minority? And if this is truly a democracy, should the interests of the majority be subordinated to the interests of a tiny minority?

Perspectives for the Future



The U.S. is a different place than it was just 8 years ago. A lot of water has passed under the bridge (and over the levees). Consciousness is changing rapidly. The old stereotypes about Americans no longer apply. For example, it will not be so easy to turn Americans' attention outward, hysterically, against an external enemy. Seven years of war and crisis has had an effect. University and factory occupations are back on the agenda. Now more than ever, there is an acute danger that the accumulated frustration and anger will be turned against the enemy at home: the bankers, CEOs, Big Business politicians, and the capitalist system itself. This is why Obama's task is so delicate and crucial from the perspective of the ruling class.



The capitalists have high hopes for Obama. They expect him to save their system. Millions of workers also have high hopes for Obama. They hope for an end to the instability, for a secure job at a living wage, a home, access to health care and a decent retirement. Hope for change is a powerful, inspiring force, but the truth is concrete. The reality is, despite this or that cosmetic change, life under Obama will be more of the same: tighter belts for the working class while the wealthy continue to enrich themselves, albeit with a more modest public display of their excesses.

Bush ended his presidency with a 22 percent approval rating, a tremendous collapse from his post-September 11 high. Obama enters the Oval Office with over 80 percent approval: the only direction it can go is down. Obama's call for national unity is a call for the lamb to sleep with the lion. We have seen the effects of such "unity" in the years since September 11. We must learn from this experience and base ourselves on class unity. We can rely only on our own strength and organization to bring about the fundamental change we need.

On a small scale, the social crisis is already being expressed on the streets, in the factories, and on the campuses. This process will accelerate in the coming period. In the final analysis, what is at stake is the survival of the capitalist system itself and the success or failure of the socialist revolution in the United States. This may sound far fetched just a few days into Obama's presidency, but events in the coming years will prove the correctness of this perspective. His honeymoon has already ended for many workers and young people who hoped for more. Thousands have already broken with Obama and the Democrats, are aware of the need for a mass party of labor, and are looking for a revolutionary socialist solution to the crisis. We invite you to contact the Workers International League, to join with us in the struggle to bring about real change, not just hope for change. Join us in the fight for socialism!


January 23, 2009

By JOHN PETERSON

58 comments:

FJ said...

BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA. You wish.

The Pagan Temple said...

No, these shit heads in Washington are making it more and more possible. Did everybody catch the round of lay-offs today? I think it was something like fifteen thousand, all in one day, all because these fuck heads just can't let go. They have the shovels and they just keep digging, but what they're digging is OUR collective graves. Just let's keep on throwing more bad money after bad and hope it eventually all works out. The same old bait and switch, we have our patrons to pay off let's make sure we toss some money their way and call it vital for economic recovery.

Capitalism-yeah, it would work if it was run right, but the train needs a conductor who won't just let it run wild of its own accord or take the other extreme and try to run it with the brakes engaged.

Socialism? I don't think so. But after so long, more and more people are going to be willing to give it a shot. Why wouldn't they, after putting up with these arrogant, corrupt, no-good pirates decade after decade?

They brought about all of these inflated prices, in for example housing, and now they don't want the ride to end, because if it falls flat, well then where is all the tax revenue going to come from?

I hope everybody learns something from all this crap. If you want to bring these corrupt national extortionists to their knees, just refuse to pay the ransom. Save your damn money for necessities, and don't spend so much as a penny more for anything else. Stay home for vacation. Patronize your community businesses instead.

It won't hurt long, because after a while they'll all collapse by the weight of their own debt. Then maybe somebody else can step in and buy them out, maybe in some cases "worker's cooperatives" or what the hell ever, but mainly people that will follow a sensible business model that takes the needs of communities into at least some degree of consideration.

Don't buy goods, buy a clue. Little Johnny might need a new pair of shoes, but if they cost a week's wages, just take the old ones in for a good repair and give everybody else the finger.

Hey, if you don't do it because you want to, eventually you'll do it because you have to, if you're not already there.

Bob said...

In the final analysis, what is at stake is the survival of the capitalist system itself and the success or failure of the socialist revolution in the United States.

I think that is being a bit melodramatic about the situation. Realistically, as long as people place value on paper money the capitalist/socialist argument will remain.

As bad as some people would have us believe the economic situation is, unemployment is still not at Depression era levels where one in four people was unemployed.

Sherry said...

Your analysis is very thorough. I wonder that you may be correct. With a global economy, this recession has hit everyone everywhere. There is no where to turn for relief. I personally have little fear of socialism and never have. I know something must be done to stem the tide of this insatiable greed on the part of a small group of business elites. Oligarchy seems to be the controlling point at this time, and that is not acceptable.

Nevin said...

One does not have to be politically aware or even an intellectual to see that the capitalist system is simply not working, not only for the American people but the world at large. It lasted a good 200 years but it definitely collapsing right in front of our eyes. Those of you who still shut of their consciousness because it is much too unimaginable or believable will be confronted by a rude awakening soon.

Look around you with all the layoffs and the mortgage crisis. Here is a list : (there numbers reflect real people just like you and me)

DATE COMPANY CUTS
===============================
Nov-08 Citigroup 75,000
Dec-08 Merrill Lynch 35,000
Jan-09 Circuit City 34,000
Jan-09 Caterpillar 20,000
Jan-09 Pfizer 19,000
Nov-08 Lehman Brothers 16,000
Dec-08 KB Toys 15,000
Nov-08 DHL Express 14,900
Jan-09 Alcoa 13,500
Dec-08 AT&T 12,000
Dec-08 Dow Chemical 11,000
Jan-09 General Electric 11,000
Dec-08 JPMorgan Chase 9,200
Jan-09 Sprint/Nextel 8,000
Nov-08 Circuit City Stores 7,305
Jan-09 Home Depot 7,000
Nov-08 Sun Microsystems 6,000
Jan-09 Eaton 5,200
Jan-09 Intel 5,000
Jan-09 Microsoft 5,000
Jan-09 Schlumberger 5,000
Dec-08 Federal-Mogul 4,600
Jan-09 Boeing 4,500
Nov-08 ArvinMeritor 4,000
Jan-09 Hertz 4,000
Jan-09 Motorola 4,000
Dec-08 Wyndham Hotel Group 4,000
Jan-09 Avery Dennison 3,600
Jan-09 Corning 3,500
Dec-08 Omnicom Group 3,500
Dec-08 United States Steel 3,500
Dec-08 Bristol-Myers Squibb Co 3,400
Jan-09 Texas Instruments 3,400
Jan-09 Xerox 3,400
Nov-08 Pepsi Bottling Group 3,150
Dec-08 Ryder Systems 3,100
Nov-08 First American 2,950
Jan-09 IBM 2,800
Dec-08 DuPont 2,500
Dec-08 Tyco Electronics 2,500
Dec-08 Western Digital 2,500
Jan-09 EMC 2,400
Nov-08 Freescale Semiconductor 2,400
Dec-08 Avis Budget Group 2,200
Jan-09 Cooper Industries 2,200
Dec-08 Newell Rubbermaid 2,200
Dec-08 Office Depot 2,200
Jan-09 Textron 2,200
Jan-09 Freightliner 2,100
Jan-09 Cessna Aircraft 2,000
Jan-09 Delta 2,000
Dec-08 General Motors 2,000
Nov-08 General Motors 2,000
Jan-09 MeadWestvaco 2,000
Dec-08 Stanley Works 2,000
Dec-08 Viasystems Group 2,000
Dec-08 Air Transport Services Group 1,900
Jan-09 Bank of America 1,900
Jan-09 Clear Channel Communications 1,800
Dec-08 3M 1,800
Nov-08 Applied Materials 1,800
Nov-08 Bank of New York Mellon 1,800
Dec-08 Belden 1,800
Dec-08 State Street 1,800
Dec-08 Danaher 1,700
Nov-08 Fidelity National Investments 1,700
Dec-08 Pentair 1,600
Nov-08 Washington Mutual 1,600
Jan-09 Freeport-McMoran 1,550
Jan-09 Baker Hughes 1,500
Dec-08 Kemet 1,500
Dec-08 ON Semiconductor 1,500
Jan-09 WellPoint 1,500
Dec-08 Con-Way 1,450
Dec-08 Cooper Tire & Rubber 1,400
Dec-08 Furniture Brands International 1,400
Dec-08 InBev 1,400
Jan-09 Williams-Sonoma 1,400
Dec-08 Air Products & Chemicals 1,300
Jan-09 ConocoPhillips 1,300
Nov-08 Morgan Stanley 1,300
Dec-08 Unisys 1,300
Nov-08 Fidelity Investments 1,288
Nov-08 ArvinMeritor 1,250
Jan-09 Compass Bank 1,200
Jan-09 Kennametal 1,200
Jan-09 Huntsman 1,175
Dec-08 Hutchinson Technology 1,125
Jan-09 Advanced Micro Devices 1,100
Dec-08 Fairchild Semiconductor 1,100
Jan-09 Harley-Davidson 1,100
Nov-08 HSBC North America Holdings 1,100
Jan-09 Rio Tinto Alcan 1,100
Jan-09 Saks 1,100
Dec-08 Aetna 1,000
Dec-08 Alcatel-Lucent 1,000
Jan-09 Alltel 1,000
Jan-09 Ashland 1,000
Jan-09 Bose 1,000
Jan-09 Ecolab 1,000
Jan-09 Electronic Arts 1,000
Dec-08 Electronic Arts 1,000
Dec-08 Genworth Financial 1,000
Nov-08 GlaxoSmithKline 1,000
Nov-08 Mattel 1,000
Nov-08 Neptune Orient Lines 1,000
Dec-08 Sovereign Bancorp 1,000
Jan-09 UAL Corp (United Airlines) 1,000
Jan-09 Walgreens 1,000
Nov-08 USG 900
Nov-08 La-Z-Boy 850
Dec-08 Viacom 850
Jan-09 Barnes Group 800
Jan-09 Cummins 800
Jan-09 Suntech Power 800
Jan-09 Time Warner (Warner Bros.) 800
Dec-08 Sonoco Products 700
Jan-09 Deere 692
Dec-08 U.S. Steel 677
Nov-08 Lam Research 600
Jan-09 Seagate 600
Dec-08 Principal Financial 550
Jan-09 Bridgestone 543
Jan-09 Lincoln National 540
Dec-08 Agilent Tech 500
Nov-08 Hartford Financial Services 500
Dec-08 Las Vegas Sands 500

If this is not considered crisis for some of you, I do not know what is?

troutsky said...

Pagan Temple, It was actually 74,000 jobs they cut yesterday (not all at once) and of course the stock market reacted positively! Misery increases profit. You point out the core contradiction: Buy new shoes versus repair old ones. Capitalism can produce too much too cheaply, lowering profits. If you don't throw those perfectly good shoes away and buy the latest fad, there will be no jobs, no growth.The debate is over how to screw you ,through "trickle down" or State capitalism.

Same with this bailout, if we (the government) don't binge like drunken sailors, the whole ship goes down.

Bob, perhaps another World War can pull us out of the "downturn"?

Larry Gambone said...

The first government has fallen due to the crisis - Iceland. Both the Centre and the Right have lost out and the Left Green party now has the most support in the country. 5000 people demonstrated the other day, which is like 17% of the entire population. Who is next? Greece? Italy? France? Egypt? Hungary? who else? Hopefully some others will join Iceland so its 320,000 people don't have to stand alone against the IMF gangsters.

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: Do you deny that capitalism has had its best days?

Larry: I'm sure you saw this.

Several East European banks are falling, who owe $$ to West European banks.

Pagan: I sure would rather have a new pair of shoes, than fix the old ones. There is less choice.

I think regulation would have postponed this crisis, or made it less severe, but wouldn't have stopped it. It's a crisis of overproduction. Not enough capital, to buy the products produced. It started as a credit crunch, but is spreading with soaring unemployment, business closings, foreclosures on an international scale.

Bob: Socialism will have paper money.

It's not yet as bad as the depression. There are less options. You can't have WWII like Roosevelt had. The US has too many weapons for a world war. Military spending doesn't have the effect on the economy ot had. We were not a debtor nation at the time.

Sherry: Your blog causes my browser to crash. I'll visit your blog, when I'm at another computer.

I agree.

Nevin: You made your point.

Troutsky: World war is not an option. The US has too great an advantage.

The Pagan Temple said...

The reason I said what I did about shoe repair wasn't because it was a bright original idea on my part, it was based on a report I saw that among the few businesses doing good are repair shops. People are fixing old things more and buying less new things. Which is good, but where it should be habitual now it's born of necessity.

People need to rein in this compulsive buying habit and this addiction to credit cards. I haven't seen a bubble yet that I didn't see the bust coming. I'm no genius. Why are so many people so god damned stupid?

This doesn't have to be a big deal. This doesn't have to be anything more than a typical cyclical capitalist period of normal downturn, but these asshats are making it worse for everybody because THEY don't want to lose their cushy lifestyles they've inflated at everybody else's expense.

They don't give a shit about anybody else, they're the ones who will be going off to wherever with what they've pirated from the rest of us. Fuck them. It's not the fault of any one party, it's the fault of everybody who games the system, from the politicians on up to the lobbyists, corporate and otherwise. This is more than just a business or a capitalist problem, this is a problem caused by every son-of-a-bitch (and bitch) with a politician in their hip pocket, and it runs the gamut from corporate CEOs to the "Green" lobby, to just about everything else with an agenda.

The only people being hurt are the common people who are just too dumb to keep from sticking their cocks out on the chopping block, and I'm almost past the point of caring about them too, because they are TOO FUCKING DUMB TO LISTEN!!!

Larry Gambone said...

Pagan, you are right about the common people being the victims of this crisis. Whether they will - in the long run - simply lie down and take it up the hoop is another matter. What usually happens in these crises is that people are shocked and bewildered for a while and then after that get pissed off and start to act.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: Larry is correct.

In Iceland the masses of people brought down the reigning government, That's not the first place that comes to my mind, as a hotbed of radicalism.

The idea of layoffs in fields as healthcare, and workplaces like Microsoft, shows the depth of this crisis.

The Pagan Temple said...

A lot of this layoff phenomenon might well be industry leaders jockeying for bailout money, in other words a method of extortion. Give us money or we will put so many people out of work you will have a disaster worse than anything you've ever imagined.

Still yet, they want to chuck out the inappropriate bonuses, based on the ignorant excuse that the best people will find work elsewhere if they don't. That was actually an excuse one of these scum gave. And we are supposed to go along with this with TAXPAYER'S BAILOUT MONEY!!!

Lynching is too good for these motherfuckers.

And somebody explain to me, please, why doling out money for family planning-whether or not it includes abortion-is vital to the US economic recovery.

What is going to happen when Santa Claus runs out of flying reindeer or the ability to feed them, are we going to be expected to still pass out the largess? Why? See, this is exactly why the US is being flushed down the shitter, we're breaking ourselves trying to clean up Europe's worldwide mess and trying to be all things to all people. That never works.

If you're going to have an empire, you need to rule it with an iron hand and exact tribute. If you don't have the stomach for that, get off the world stage, meaning stop trying to "lead" (=follow) the international community.

Crap like this-NOT CAPITALISM-is the cause of the problem, and the crap going on in capitalism is NOT CAPITALISM IT'S MODERN FEUDALISM!!

Take the entitled American and European nobility of the international corporate business community and juxtapose them with the images of the monarchs and lords, barons, etc. of a by-gone era.

Then take the present day "elected" politicians and you have your knights.

All of us schlumps today are the serfs.

Sometimes I think radical Islam might be the bet thing that ever happened to us. It shook us out of our complacency and made us say wtf? For a while we were united, but instead of utilizing that for the country's good, the elites turned it into another business opportunity.

Think about it, what was the grand strategy after 9/11?

Don't stop traveling, keep going out and spending money-buy,buy,buy. Of course anybody in the know understands that spending money can be an addiction especially when its engaged in as a method of combating stress, fatigue, and depression. Pretty clever.

So after Osama Bin Laden busted one bubble (which by the way brought down Enron, which might have went on for at least a few years otherwise screwing people even worse) our lords and masters and a few royal cunts helped blow up more bubbles, and what did we do? We colectively fell for it.

The point to all this rant being, this is not a fault that is inherent within capitalism. There will always be bubbles to a degree, and there will always be bear markets and bull markets. They come in cycles. Capitalists will be the first to tell you this.

A period of gains will be followed by a period of adjustment. Does anybody want to tell me socialism wouldn't experience periods of adjustment? It's impossible.

What causes these problems is when they are artificially inflated and maintained by thieves and liars manipulating the markets. Now that its about to fall down and go boom in a bad way, they want the same taxpayers they've been ripping off to come to their rescue, and their pawns are doing their bidding, despite the fact that a majority of the people who "elected" them are and have been saying no. Of course now they are wearing down their resistance, which has been their strategy the past few months.

I can't wait for Sarah Palin or somebody like her to become President in 2016. I don't see any reasonable hope of it happening in 2012. People have too much smartening up to do and four years is just not enough time. Things will probably slightly improve, and things will be better enough that Obama will probably be re-elected.

Then is when things will go to hell in a hand basket, especially if he still has a working Democratic Party majority.

After that is when the American people will be ready for a Sarah Palin, whether her or somebody like her. The American people will have had enough of the alternative by then.

Oh, and I seriously doubt they will be interested in trying socialism any more than it will have been tried between 2012 and 2016.

And I don't give a shit either about how supposedly regressive she is or that she's a conservative Christian and she might ban abortions, as though that is a vital issue to me in times like these. Maybe people will keep their fucking legs together and stop spreading disease and having bastard babies to raise on the dole.

Will Sarah Palin secure America's borders and rein in illegal immigration?

Check

Will she uphold the Second Amendment right to bear arms?

Check

Right there's enough for me, anything else she does is irrelevant at worse, and probably spot on right most of the other time.

Maybe she will really surprise me and start letting Europe clean up it's own worldwide mess and make the US see to its own affairs and ONLY its own legitimate interests, but that's probably hoping for too much even from her.

Federalism is the real wave of the future-not socialism. At least for the US, anybody else can go off in whatever direction they want, with my blessing, as long as it doesn't involve dragging us into yet another one of their ignorant MESSES which then WE are expected to clean up.

Larry Gambone said...

"At least for the US, anybody else can go off in whatever direction they want, with my blessing, as long as it doesn't involve dragging us into yet another one of their ignorant MESSES which then WE are expected to clean up."

The problem is it is "really existing capitalism", ie US corporations that were responsible for creating the empire in the first place. I suggest you read William Appleman Williams, and Joseph Stromberg on the origins of US interventionism. By the way, neither are socialists and Stromberg is a paleao-libertarian

Larry Gambone said...

Also I don't understand what the Second Amendment and immigration have to do with ending the empire or the present global economic crisis. For the former problem, unless you dismantle all those bases, bring the troops home, dismantle the military-industrial complex, desist from trying to overthrow other governments, shut down the IMF, and World Bank, scrap NAFTA, the WTO, get out of NATO, you are not going to wind down the empire. I can't see Palin doing any of this. If you want to support a conservative why not Ron Paul? He seriously wants to end the empire.

The Pagan Temple said...

I would be fine with Ron Paul, but by the time Paul would have a chance of winning he'll be way too old, and besides, he made himself look like a nut by siding with the truthers, or making it look like he was when he should have reigned them in.

Palin is still young and might evolve yet more in her thinking towards a more real federalism approach.

Still, I don't hold out much hope of any profound reform in the US foreign affairs, but its possible over time I could be wrong.

All of those things you mentioned need to be abolished or at least greatly reformed. The US Defense budget could probably be reduced by forty percent, if the truth was known, and we would still be easily able to defend ourselves and also conduct a foreign war if we absolutely had to.

No legitimate nation refuses to secure its borders. Not even the Euromorons knowingly allow illegal immigrants to swarm into their countries. They don't do it, nor does any other country, and the US should not do it.

Gun control is nothing more or less than an attempt to disarm the American populace and increase its dependence on the state, and we ain't buying it. Make the people more dependent on the state and you exponentially decrease their ability to rein in state excesses in every other regard, because you are now dependent on them to that much greater a degree.

Larry Gambone said...

"he made himself look like a nut by siding with the truthers, or making it look like he was when he should have reigned them in."

You are right about that. I had actually forgotten that he had gone in that direction...

Larry Gambone said...

I can appreciate your position on the Second Amendment, I just don't see what it has to do with the topic at hand - imperialism and the economic crisis.

As for the immigration thing, this is direct blowback from NAFTA and US terrorism in Central America. Anyone who wants to stop immigration should try to deal with its root causes rather than blaming the victims. (I am not saying you do, not knowing your position on this.)

The Pagan Temple said...

It has everything to do with imperialism, because its ceding too much power to the state, and once you go down that road you make everything else possible. You are at the mercy of the whims of state bureaucrats and "elected" officials in all matters large and small.

To put it bluntly, as long as American citizens are armed, they know if they go too far they might get their shit blown away. It's a hell of a lot better for government to live in fear of the people than it is the other way around, lacking any chance of a happy in-between.

Not all illegal immigrants are victims. Some are, for sure, but many are whores, pimps, sex-slave traders, rapists, smugglers, dope dealers, burglars, murderers, and kidnappers.

The rest, innocent or not, are in way too many cases draining our social services network, filling up our hospitals and clinics, not to mention our jails, and making unreasonable demands for more services and taking up space in our schools.

Then there is the labor factor. They are taking jobs and forcing down wages to boot. Let them overthrow their own corrupt country and I'll support them wholeheartedly with whatever form of government they choose, provided they understand they have to live with the results.

What I won't support is them coming here and creating another Mexico. Where the hell are we going to go then? I guess there's plenty of room in Canada, huh?

Maybe all of us conservative Americans will swarm up there and support the Harper regime.

Ducky's here said...

The capitalists have high hopes for Obama. They expect him to save their system.

------------------------

Yes, Clinton redux. If we had media access the point could be made.

Ducky's here said...

Pagan, you seem to represent a subset who would rather have a firearm than a job.

Now if you move further left you can have both.

Larry Gambone said...

"What I won't support is them coming here and creating another Mexico. Where the hell are we going to go then?"

I repeat don't blame them. Blame what has caused it. Illegal immigration is the pay back for empire. People don't leave their countries without reason. Look at immigration to the US in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Flooded with immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Eastern Europe. All areas where people were being driven off their land or rack-rented by landlords. Now there is one country that sticks out like a sore thumb which does not provide vast numbers of immigrants. That is France and the reason for that is during the French Revolution the peasants were able to take back a lot of the land stolen from them by the bandit "nobles." Thus they had their little farms and had no incentive to roam elsewhere. If you don't want a lot of Latino illegal immigrants you should be at the forefront of supporting groups like the Oaxacan APPO, the Zapatistas and the other democratic and libertarian groups down there.

Larry Gambone said...

"It has everything to do with imperialism, because its ceding too much power to the state, and once you go down that road you make everything else possible. You are at the mercy of the whims of state bureaucrats and "elected" officials in all matters large and small."

I can accept that. Without the capitalist state there is no imperialism (in its contemporary form, that is.)

The Pagan Temple said...

Larry Gambone-

"If you don't want a lot of Latino illegal immigrants you should be at the forefront of supporting groups like the Oaxacan APPO, the Zapatistas and the other democratic and libertarian groups down there."

You mean like I did here?

Yo I'm just one man with one little blog I can only do so much before it turns into an exercise in hubris and a big waste of time.

By the way did you check out that post I told you about earlier about how the Inuit in Greenland are being ripped off for their rubies, or was that not exotic enough for you?

Larry Gambone said...

That's good Pagan, but I don't recall anything about Inuit and rubies

The Pagan Temple said...

I mentioned it in the comments of another post, I guess it must have slipped your mind.

GREENLAND RUBY

That's the original article from the Fair Jewelry website.

Larry Gambone said...

Thanks Pagan. Hope the Inuit win against these crooks.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: I listen to the radio quite a bit. On BBC they are saying that French workers are going out on a general strike against Sarkozy. This demo will be massive. There are times when people decide to enter politics, when their routine is disrupted. This is one of the times. We have had Greece, Spain, Iceland already. The point is, that if enough people go out, it's not impossible that you would follow. I doubt if you'd be at a demonstration with 10 people.

Marcos is a character. I'm not objective about him. He hates my group with a passion. I think he cost Obrador the election.

Larry G: Today France.

I have some ideas I will email you about.

Ducky: People expect miracles from Obama. Look how people turned on Sarkozy.

Amazing how passive Bush was, in his last days. He didn't want to pretend to make government work. He had nowhere to go.

FJ said...

FJ: Do you deny that capitalism has had its best days?

It's had and will one day soon have better ones once we put the blinders back on Plutus and get the government out of the business of picking winners and losers.

FJ said...

Blaming capitalism for bad economic outcomes is like blaming the internet for having too much pornography.

Larry Gambone said...

Capitalism could not have developed without the state and it has been maintained throughout by government. All capitalism is in this sense, state capitalism. A stateless capitalism is a utopian fantasy that makes the most air-headed utopian socialist look like a hard-boiled realist by comparison. Without the state "picking winners" from the very beginning back in the 17th Century, capitalism would have never come to dominate and the economy would be largely based on subsistence and simple commodity production.

Renegade Eye said...

I don't think we have even started to see the crisis we're in. I would call it stage one.

FJ said...

There's a big difference between the "state capitalism" practiced in the USA pre-1929 and the economy consuming state Leviathan born of John Maynard Keynes and the "Cambridge" boys in the FDR+ years.

When "deficit" spending by government gets "encouraged" and we go off the gold standard entirely.

FJ said...

"Economic justice" is the Left's mantra, remember? And all that represents is the government picking ALL the winners and losers...

I kinda liked it when the governments role was to maintain an even playing field. After all, the "pursuit of happiness" is all about winning the game...

The Pagan Temple said...

Did the federal government ever really regulate capitalism prior to the New Deal other than through the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and through tariffs on imported goods? I guess there was some regulation of the railroads, probably because it involved crossing state lines. So there was some, but not like since the New Deal.

Which, I still say some regulation is good and appropriate, but too much can be a real buzz kill. It takes some finesse to strike just the right balance.

The irony is many large corporations welcome and even encourage regulations. They don't say so in so many words, but I've always thought this was to run their smaller competitors out of business, which it would certainly do in a great many cases.

Of course once small and mid-sized businesses are out the door, there goes your basic American Dream out the window, and its bye bye capitalism, hello neo-feudalism.

Once that happens then that might lead to an eventual reaction that could herald a socialist system, which is exactly what it would take, life under a burdensome and oppressive system where socialism offers hope of advancement.

It's foolish to think people in large numbers would give up a system that offers hope for one that offers less, and we just aren't to the point yet where socialism offers more, at least in the minds of most.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: Keynesianism can't respond when inflation increases. The free market people have no answer for depression.

There are certain times, when masses of people, enter the political theater. For socialism its a matter of specific conditions and leadership.

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: When interest rates went to 0% last December, that killed Reaganite solutions.

FJ said...

It killed it alright Ren... but only because our government needs to shield the idiots whom they subsidized and encouraged into buying too much house with ARMs from defaulting.

For socialism its a matter of specific conditions and leadership.

Yes. Wartime. Period.

FJ said...

...and Pagan...you're 100% spot on. It's time the corporate Struldbrugg's had their birthmarks removed. But we shouldn't do that just to turn control of the economy over to the government projectors at the Grand Academy of Lagado.

Of course, I'm also sick of the Yahoo's. It's getting hard to raise Houyhnhnms anymore.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

You need to write a book. That way, by the time there finally is a socialist society, people might know who you were.

Larry Gambone said...

The attempts to regulate capital came after the development of huge corporations. These regulations were in most cases supported by those corporations to minimize competition. But government, prior to the regulatory phase played the major role in the development of capitalism. The modern corporation grows out of the railroad building binge - financed by state and federal governments and by the advent of corporate law which gave the corporation privileges. (I could take state involvement right back to the origins of capitalism, but for the sake of brevity won't.) If interested read the relevant chapters on primitive accumulation in "Mutualist Political Economy" found at mutualist.org

Socialism is, as Big Bill Haywood once remarked, "a simple concept that anyone could understand." (paraphrased) It is simply the workers owning and controlling the important sources of wealth production, not a thing to be imposed from above. It already exists in embryo with cooperatives. I would boil it down even further to two words, "ending domination."

The Pagan Temple said...

You can't end domination without involving government, for the simple fact that otherwise, the company that adopts the best and most efficient business model will always come out on top, whether that's a worker owned cooperative, a private enterprise or limited corporation, a publicly traded company, or a quasi-governmental affiliate. The others will have one of two choices-adapt or remain marginalized (at best).

Banks promote capitalism by making loans to companies that they feel will be successful, even if it is a gamble. In moderately good times, they can take that chance, because they really can't lose. If the borrower business succeeds, they make their money back with interest. If the business ultimately fails, the bank gets the property, which they can resell.

In really bad times, though, it's not that easy, and credit dries up, which means its that much harder to borrow the needed money for expenses and sometimes to even make payroll.

So what are you going to do, reform the banking system to somehow enforce favoritism on a business model that might or might not fail?

Believe me, if a bank sees a chance for it to work, they will loan the money, after all that's what they are in business for, they make money in part by loaning money, and in part through the interest they make in investments. If interest rates are through the roof, then they make money in savings accounts. If interest rates are low, then their best money is made in loans.

So in the sense that all countries have a national currency and are responsible for minting it and releasing it through the banks, I guess to that extent they are responsible for creating capitalism, but not really. They just facilitate it using the banks and moderate it through regulations, but capitalism is actually created by the people, because its a reflection of a people's creativity on the one hand and their basic needs on the other.

One aspect supplies the goods the rest of society needs. Shit, this has been going forever, artificially creating a "working class" and giving them total control over the means of production, even if regulated, is imposing limitations on a society that will trickle down into all aspects of that society. It will limit job creation, it will limit production, it will limit GDP, all to substandard levels.

Does anybody really honestly believe Microsoft would have hired as many people as it did and contributed as much to technology and the overall economy if they had been compelled to function under the limitations of this kind of business model. If you do believe that, please send me some of what you're smoking, it must be some killer shit.

Fair and fairly regulated capitalism and competition is the ONLY way to go in the long run. It's the only kind of business model that can grow and prosper. Anything else with the kinds of limitations you describe, self-imposed or otherwise, will never grow beyond the point of hiring a few dozen individuals and will remain for the most part regional concerns.

Show me a worker owned cooperative that can grow into an entity the size of Exxon and I'll be impressed. Failing that, can one even aspire to be successful on the national level?

If they can not, and I am reasonably certain they can not, then where is the money going to come from for research and development, for funding and testing new inventions and improvements? They will all pool their resources for the common good, I suppose? Under whose direction and impetus? Why? Why should they? How could they?

Translation-it won't work.

Larry Gambone said...

Competition is not what creates giant corporations, it is rather the restriction of competition. Vast top-down authoritarian hierarchies are actually highly inefficient and need government support in the form of privileging laws and regulations to exist. One can get an economy of scale through federating rather than authoritarian vertical integration.
Worker management is actually more efficient and more innovative. (It shouldn't take much thinking to figure out why.) Google "Mondragon Cooperative" Google "Worker cooperatives Emelia Romagna"
Microsoft became a monopoly through patents - a govt. granted privilege.
Anyway, this is too vast a subject to deal with here. Right now I am reading "Organizational Theory - A Libertarian Perspective" by Kevin Carson - an excellent work which deals in great depth with the questions you raise. It is available from Amazon. I suggest you get a copy, study it then tell me what you think.

The Pagan Temple said...

Oh great so now we're going to do away with patents. Just what the world needs, a green light to rip off other people's creative work. I guess we can expect copyright laws to be done away with next. Why not, it's basically the same principle. No thank you. All the libertarian treatises and expert opinions in the world won't change my mind on that. I consider myself actually a fairly open-minded guy, but on that, my mind is closed as tight as a steel drum, and that is a great big NO!!!

Now if you want to discuss people buying up patents and then shelving them to prevent their making their way to the marketplace, we can have some common ground there, but that's about the most I'll go along with.

Yeah, I'm going to invent a sure-fire way to get automobiles that are stuck in the mud free and clear, or out of a ditch, without having to call a wrecker service, then I'm going to sit back and watch some Yabo from Fukyustan sell it and me not make a dime from it-NOT!!!

Larry Gambone said...

Ever hear of royalties? I have nothing against rewarding someone for inventing something of value. But patents create monopolies and are one of the most corrupting influences of the state upon the economy.

By the way, my suggested reading has little to do with that question, but has much to do about corporate efficiency, worker coops, management. The other questions you raised. If you are really interested in those issues do read Carson.

Renegade Eye said...

Larry G: Where patents are really out of control, is in biology. Patents have been a cause of scientists discouraged from sharing research on issues dealing with life and healthcare. It is slowing vaccine development.

Farmer: Keynesianism has a formula it uses, to determine amount of spending. It doesn't work against stagflation. Freemarketers use borrowing percentages. When the percentge got to 0%, you were out of the game.

Pagan: What you are saying, is shattering in front of your eyes.

What you are saying about competition, and regulation was true decades ago. A system based on supply and demand, defies regulation. With more regulation the crisis would have been less severe, but it still would have happened. It is a crisis of overproduction, more productivity combined with less ability to buy things.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ren-

I agree with you up to a point, but I have to point out that with the proper regulations this would not have amounted to much more than a worse than usual economic downturn, maybe worse than most, but still not insurmountable.

The people doing the smashing in front of our eyes are the people that are acting like they genuinely think they are helping but in all likelihood are just making matters worse throwing more good money after bad, into what is turning out to be a bottomless pit, only because they insist they should keep digging it.

Otherwise, this would be just another in a long string of business cycle adjustments. A bad one, to be sure, but not nearly as bad as it is and could very easily get yet.

By the way, shouldn't overproduction result in lower prices? The problem is still based mainly on energy costs and exacerbated by the housing market and the greedy manipulations of those markets, especially in the sub-prime mortgage sector, which by the way is one bizarre example of a combination of the wrong kind of regulations paired with not enough of the right kind of regulations (if any).

The problem, again, is big government? Why? Because its a beast that needs constant feeding, just like this goose I saw once on television that somebody had shot an arrow through. It ended up dying from an infection, but up until that time, there it was waddling on the ground eating constantly. Whenever somebody tried to approach it it run away.

That is a perfect symbol of our damn government. It doesn't want to be fixed, it just wants to keep prices inflated, because with inflated taxes comes the inflated revenues it needs to feed off of. They are running in circles now just like that goose, trying their damndest to keep on eating and determined not to let anybody get to them that might help them.

Of course the difference is when that goose died it affected nobody except the feelings of the more sensitive among us. When this beast that is the federal government succumbs to its own self-inflicted wounds its going to take us all with it.

Srsly

Larry Gambone said...

"The problem, again, is big government"

The point that I have been making all along is that "Big Govt." and "Big Business" are inter-related and always have been. "Free market capitalism" is an oxymoron. The system is statist from its very inception and at the same time capitalism encourages the growth of government to feed itself. To complain about "Big govt." and avoid dealing with "Big business" is like complaining about alcohol poisoning, yet not cutting down on your boozing.

The Pagan Temple said...

I'm all for regulating big business and for maintaining a level playing field to whatever extent is necessary and appropriate. I just don't believe in dismantling big business. You come across as somebody that wants to totally destroy big business. I may be reading you wrong, but if that's what you stand for, that's just not advisable.

They should have to conform to certain laws and guidelines. For example, they shouldn't be allowed to dump products in order to run smaller companies out of business. But that's actually more of a problem with foreign companies who do business in America than it is with American companies. The Wal-Mart phenomenon is actually fed by foreign products. I'm not a hater of Wal-Mart by the way, I just want them to have to act responsibly. There was a time not too long in past when they destroyed the economies of several small towns with their business practices.

It's a tough nut to crack, because there is not really a political entity in the United States that will rein them in. The Republicans will in an off-hand sort of way, because they are traditionally the party of small business as much as they are of major corporations. The Democrats, up until the advent of the Democratic Leadership Council, openly hated small business. They were never against big business, because they knew they had to have them for the taxes they could never get from the small business owner, who they saw as an impediment to implementation of many of their policies.

I still say the best thing to do would be to eliminate all business taxes, on big and small business, but apply certain regulations. Then simply tax individuals at the same base rate, say twenty-five percent. The economy would grow, jobs would flourish, and tax receipts would still come flowing in. Or, establish a kind of national sales tax. Anything would be better than what we have now.

Plus eliminating taxes and just applying appropriate regulations would result in significant decreases in say health care.

By and large though you have to have some leeway in allowances for big business, you can't just eliminate them. Why would you want to, as long as they are brought in line and made to act responsibly. Even during the worse of times they add more to the economy than they take away from it, but of course that's just my opinion. It's just hard to see the positive aspects during those periods when the more negative are so glaringly obvious.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: It is reported that Obama will oppose limits on compensation to CEO's receiving bailout $$, because it'll discourage other corporations from applying.

nanc said...

i'd rather hold hands with satan himself.

Larry Gambone said...

No, Pagan, I do not believe "one size fits all." In some things an economy of scale is what is more efficient. Such as a credit union federation. (The Dejardins C.U in Quebec is worth $120 billion and has 40,000 employees.) Some situations - like a trans-continental rail road it is inevitable. But the problem is when this model is applied generally - as we see with the contemporary corporation. And while the reason why the corporate "big business" model is so generalized is complex, it in the last instance, is rooted in state involvement in the economy. Again, Carson deals with this at great length...

The Pagan Temple said...

I don't mean to be coming off like an apologist for big business, because I am not that at all. I think they should be reined in to a very great extent more than what they are. But you have to be careful with how you go about doing that, with what laws you use and how you implement them, because you are setting a very serious precedent.

If you use government power to break up large corporations, then you had better make sure you are on solid ground. We have anti-trust laws, and we have notable exceptions to those laws (major league baseball is one example of of this). Aside from those anti-trust laws, which should be rigidly enforced, what can you do?

I've already told you, people have to change their habits, their lifestyles, in fact they have to change their hearts. This rampant consumerism is what is driving this. Nobody is holding a gun to people's heads and forcing them to spend money that in a good many cases they don't even have to spend. The government isn't doing that, nor is business, though they go out of their way to promote and encourage it.

Get with the program, Gambone, I thought you and Ren were all about giving power to the people. What do you think you are going to accomplish taking a few people out on the streets shouting with bullhorns.

Reason it out in your head. How many people have changed their minds about having an abortion because some right-wing fanatic shoves a picture of a chopped up fetus in their face.

I'm not saying that you do anything anywhere near that disgusting or reprehensible (though I can somehow see you throwing a pie with horse semen marangue in Donald Trump's face), I'm just saying that these kinds of things have limited value at best-and that's usually limited to entertainment value.

If you want to do something constructive to change the system, start a movement to discourage people from profligate spending and dependence on credit cards. If people were more frugal with their money some of these behemoth corporations would collapse from the weight of their own debt. What ones survived would have to adopt to a more viable business model that was more human and community friendly.

I know it might not quite have the dramatic appeal of burning flags and blocking street traffic, but the difference is, my way might actually accomplish something.

You're addicted to politics still and are still hooked on the notion of political solutions by way of organized party activities. Me, I believe in people power.

As Madison told Jefferson once "your people, sir, are a great beast".

He was never more right than when he uttered those words, and it's time to rouse that beast. Screw the government, and screw political parties-all of them.

Renegade Eye said...

Nanc: No surprise there.

Larry G: I think you are in a sense defining the state.

The bailout package wasn't adhoc. It was planned for months.

Even in a country like Venezuela, a governor or judge, will defend a corporate interest as a priority. In Venezuela two workers were killed by police last week.

Pagan: I'm not sure what larry would say about what I've been thinking. The great revolutionaries were thinkers and generals, not activists like todays activists.

I couldn't picture Trotsky at sit-in, at a parlimentarian's office.

In another words, I agree the fetus pix don't work.

Larry Gambone said...

Ren is right, Pagan. I have no time for that sort of nonsense. I am 63 years old, not 16. And while I can appreciate that riots like in Greece are a manifestation of popular frustration, this is not the way that change comes about. Change comes from the grass roots, from neighborhood associations, trade unions and a host of other associations. The sort of parties you refer to, are actually an obstacle to popular power. The real function of a socialist or anarchist organization is to encourage people to take the initiative, to encourage self-government and to combat the groups which would seek to take over, mis-direct and control the popular struggle.(This, and not dogmatism or sectarianism, is the reason for our hostile comments about Maoists and Stalinists, as their goal is to control the populace, not to encourage popular power.)

Larry Gambone said...

I should add, Pagan, that one of the finest manifestations in history of self-government was the New England town meeting. Here the populace met and discussed the affairs of the own and elected a group of recallable Selectmen to carry out the tasks. The city of Boston was run on these lines up until the 1820s or so. Each neighborhood had its neighborhood meeting to carry out its affairs and selected a delegate to the larger Boston Council. It was abolished because the wealthy wanted to centralize political power in their own hands.

Larry Gambone said...

"If you use government power to break up large corporations."

Taking away their privileges is not using governmental power. If you eliminate the government's ability to use its power to create, promote and protect corporations, you are also limiting the power of the state. The anti-trust laws were moderate reforms designed to maintain corporate capitalism. They could have easily pulled the plug on them by eliminating their privileges, but they didn't, as the liberal reformers had no interest in really changing the system. Contrary to stupid right-wingers (and you are NOT one of these) liberals are the bulwark of capitalism, its greatest defense and are no more socialistic than Ronnie Reagan. (But let the righties think that. Good to have our rulers fighting among themselves.)

The Pagan Temple said...

A lot of good points, Larry. I didn't realize you were such an old codger. I guess my first clue should have been you knew pagans that could be your grandkids.

Honestly, I don't have a clue what the answers are. I only know I don't trust any group to wield power with integrity on a long-term basis. Whether that be workers or "bourgeois", one thing they all have in common is, they are people, and I know what people are capable of, good and bad.

As long as there's sufficient checks and balances, then damage can be kept at a minimum. Where political parties are concerned, as far as I'm concerned they exist to keep checks and balances to a minimum, so I don't trust them-any of them. They all tend to be people, and people tend to breed.

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