CAPITALISM'S INNATE MURDEROUSNESS is manifest everywhere we look.
We see it in the Ebola epidemic and in how the Obama Administration's decision to permanently define health care as a privilege of wealth rather than a human right has already spread Ebola to two nurses here in the United States. We witness that same wanton capitalist lethality in the escalating atrocities committed by federalized, militarized police against blacks and other minority people. Its deadly dynamic underlies the methodical disenfranchisement of college students and minorities and lower-income people in general. The fewer anti-capitalist voters, the more of us the capitalists can exploit, work to death or otherwise murder with impunity.
And last Wednesday, the furtively hidden poverty that is a consequence of capitalism's morally imbecilic restructuring of the USian domestic economy literally came within a telephone-pole's thickness of killing me.
I had been shopping for a few mid-month essentials and was walking along the sidewalk to the bus stop on the northeast corner of Tacoma's Pacific Avenue South at South 72nd Street. It was 5:15 p.m. on 15 October, unseasonably very warm, terminal-climate-change muggy and drizzling in what is already by far the most uncomfortably hot autumn ever recorded in the Pacific Northwest. I was traveling via this seaport town's vindictively downsized public transport because I am loathe to inconvenience my vehicle-owning friends with unnecessary requests for rides; my own carefully maintained V6 Ford Tempo died at 260,000 miles in mid-2009, the same year capitalism's deliberate contraction to a wage-slave economy cost me nearly 70 percent of my annual income, which in turn decreed I will never again in this lifetime have enough money to own an automobile.
Hence the bus, and hence my near-death encounter with a newish bright-yellow Jeep Wrangler that was meticulously polished and cared-for in every superficial way but was nevertheless running on – and skidding wildly toward me on – four utterly bald tires. I heard it before I saw it – the terrifying sound of a speeding vehicle out of control on wet pavement. My reactions are said to be unusually quick for a person of my 74 years, but by the time I had turned my head toward the threat, the jeep had already slammed into the telephone pole that saved my life. The collision, no more than 10 feet away, was as startling as an unexpected artillery round. I hardly felt its shrapnel, a matching yellow “KC Daylighter” headlight cover flung by the impact as it brushed its sinister happy-face smile across the backs of my legs. My exclamation was not thankful but outraged: “Jesus fucking Christ!”
An elderly, half-toothless woman ran from the entrance to an adjacent store to make sure I was ok; I suspect she feared that, given my obvious age, the momentary terror evoked by the accident might trigger a heart attack. I reassured her. She returned to her shopping.
But the driver of the jeep would not so much as acknowledge my presence. A dark-haired, slightly plump but attractive 30-something white woman in a baggy gray sweat-suit, she had turned the corner from 72nd Street onto Pacific, obviously in a hurry to get somewhere and going way too fast for conditions, and the combination of her defiantly bald tires and the pavement's slick emulsion of oil and drizzle turned her intended 90-degree turn into a 180 degree skid and transformed her jeep into a potentially deadly projectile that, but for the pole, would have bounced up over the curb and onto the sidewalk and into my body and over it no doubt either crushing me to death under its oversized and (say again) bald tires or smashing me into a vegetable or, infinitely worse, a hopeless cripple fully aware of my irremediable wretchedness yet physically unable to end my life. (This is not hyperbole; I have seen, as a newspaper reporter, how human flesh is ground to raw hamburger when a vehicle crushes a pedestrian against pavement.) Thus there is no question in my mind that, had I not been saved by the telephone pole, my death would have been the best possible outcome of our encounter.
Meanwhile the jeep's driver continued to behave as if I were invisible. Nor was I surprised. Her demeanor was the typically hostile reaction of a Puget Sound-area motorist to a pedestrian. It was also a commonplace local expression of class warfare. In this oppressively auto-centric society, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users – people who by definition seem to lack motor vehicles – are assumed to be absolute failures, worthless bums, parasites, the ultimate dregs of society (note again the material linked under “vindictively downsized”). Especially when mass transit is a subject of public debate, those of us who ride the buses are often the targets of insults shouted by passing drivers: if you're elderly, it's “hurry up and die, you fucking bum,” or if you're younger, it's the more commonplace “get a job – and get a car.” And there at the bus stop on Wednesday 15 October not only was I obviously a pedestrian and a bus-rider; I was also obviously old, obviously burdened with my purchases – and therefore, given the no-doubt bigoted, probably suburbanite perspective of Ms. Bald Tires, I was likely a homeless bum and undoubtedly a non-person, someone to whom a respectable citizen would never speak, someone to be ignored at all times and in every circumstance, one of those Others the Ayn Randers would happily exterminate.
Now, because Ms. Baldies and her smashed-nose jeep were blocking rush hour traffic, I figured the cops would be there within minutes, particularly since a passing motorist shouted out he had called 911 to get the woman help. But instead of the cops, an elderly male Good Samaritan in a pickup truck pulled up behind her, climbed out and helped her tie down the ruptured hood and otherwise get her damaged vehicle mobile again. Their interaction was perplexing. Sometimes they seemed to be strangers. At other times they seemed oddly comfortable with one another. But there is no doubt his assistance, which after maybe only 10 minutes enabled her to flee, saved her from a ticket. She'd have been charged with defective equipment at least, and probably reckless driving as well. Though it was not until she fled the scene of the accident I saw the condition of her tires and understood why and how she had lost control of the jeep that might have killed me. As for the cops, strangely enough they never showed.
Riding a typically herky-jerky bus and halfway home, I suddenly understood what a telling lesson the jeep incident had taught me about USian capitalist reality. The woman or more likely her husband bought the jeep. Then one or both of them was thrown out of work by capitalism's downsizing and outsourcing of jobs to cheaper labor overseas. Rather than admit their circumstances – rather than acknowledge their victimhood to others and build a solidarity of resistance – they hid in shame, carefully washing and waxing their jeep and otherwise doing everything in their power to conceal the poverty proven by the bald tires, trusting the rugged treads on the sides of those flagrantly unsafe tires to hide the total absence of tread where the rubber meets the road. It is a genuine microcosm of capitalism in action: not just how capitalism victimizes all of us, but how most of the victims have been brainwashed to such fretfully conformist what-will-the-neighbors-think helplessness, they will never find within themselves the honesty – much less the courage – necessary to rise up against their masters.
A teachable moment indeed – that is, if it really was an accident...
Something to remember: as a student of history, I am of course aware that any ideology or system of government, however emphatically humanitarian its stated ideals, can be corrupted into an apparatus that serves its Ruling Class at the expense of everyone else. But only capitalism – its morally imbecilic credo spelled out by Ayn Rand – brazenly elevates infinite greed to maximum virtue, thereby publicly rejecting every humanitarian precept our species ever set forth. And only capitalist governance openly declares, as in the Powell Memo, that its sole purpose is providing absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class while totally subjugating all the rest of us.
I began this week's OAN by mentioning Ebola because that is mostly all I have written about for the past seven days.
Admittedly, the Ebola crisis had remained at the periphery of my consciousness until two detailed reports brought it into sharp focus as yet another capitalist atrocity. The first of these texts was “Assassination' of Public Health Systems Driving Ebola Crisis,” a cutting-edge exposé published by Common Dreams that documents how capitalist greed – chiefly the downsizing and privatization of public health facilities – has inflicted this out-of-control epidemic on our planet. The second article, “Ebola In The US: Story Of A Broken Healthcare System,”is an anthology of damning revelations collected by Dr. Margaret Flowers MD and published by the ever-more-informative website PopularResistance.org. Its most important disclosure is that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas sent the now-dead Ebola victim home with minimal treatment – and thereby jeopardized us all – because “he was a man of color with no health insurance and no means to pay.”
Capitalism is thus threatening us with a disease for which there is no known cure – not because science cannot find a cure, but because there is no profit in developing cures for diseases that (hitherto) afflicted only woefully impoverished Third World peoples. Ebola is 70 percent fatal, and now as a direct consequence of capitalist greed, the deadly virus may be loose in the United States. Worse, an Obama-specific expression of that greed, the so-called Affordable Care Act – its title nearly as grotesque a Big Lie as “change we can believe in” – forever defines U.S. health care as a privilege of wealth. Meanwhile, capitalism has reduced fully half the nation to lower-income status. This means the prohibitive fees required by ACA's no-treatment-without-advance-payment policy will force even some of the most desperately sick people to avoid care and spread disease. (Or if they seek care as paupers, they'll be rejected as unprofitable, precisely as the late Thomas Eric Duncan was by Dallas Presbyterian in its telling display of Christian charity.) And yes, that health-care-only-as-a-privilege-of-wealth definition truly is “forever” because the windfall profits from mandatory insurance are sufficient to fund the perpetual bribery of every politician in the nation, thereby ensuring the system imposed on us by the insurance barons and the prescription drug lords through Barack the Betrayer's treachery is eternally immunized against humanitarian reform.
While I did not comment on “Ebola in the US” – Popular Resistance threads do not encourage any sort of extended dialogue – I commented at length on “Assassination of Public Health Systems”:
Wake up, people. The Ebola epidemic is intensifying exactly what the neoliberal social model is intended to do: facilitate the genocidal extermination of all Third World peoples and all lower-income peoples everywhere else in the world. That's why the virus is being allowed to run amok – to eliminate all of us the One Percent regards as surplus workers.
Never forget: the entire planet is now ruled by capitalists – people for whom, by definition, infinite greed is maximum virtue – that is, the conscious rejection of every humanitarian precept our species ever set forth. Our Ayn Rand-minded overlords are thus truly moral imbeciles by choice – literally the personification of incarnate evil. And their policies – such as the methodical destruction of public health facilities and social-services in general – are shaped accordingly.
In response to a poster who poignantly hoped my analysis was wrong, I wrote:
Unfortunately, no other analysis suffices to explain what is being done to us.
Obviously it is no coincidence that just as medical scientists started warning us of the inevitability of deadly disease spread worldwide by the global transport network, the One Percent – the capitalist Ruling Class – began methodically destroying the public health and social service facilities that would have enabled us to cope with any such outbreak.
In this context, once we recognize the true nature of capitalism – that it is literally the greatest evil ever unleashed on this planet – all the rest becomes obvious. Final-stage capitalism is behaving exactly as Marxian analysis predicted, maturing into fascism at home and world-conquest imperialism abroad.
Just as importantly, the capitalists themselves – in the ultimate expression of the Shock Doctrine – are seizing upon the looming environmental apocalypse to restructure global governance into an electronically policed, drone-enforced, zero-tolerance tyranny akin to that of Hitler's Third Reich but infinitely worsened by modern technology.
Doubt me? It's already happening. Look at the methodical killing of blacks in the United States, the drone-massacred wedding parties in Afghanistan and the U.S. military's gleeful machine gunning of civilians in Baghdad. The United States is already the de facto Fourth Reich.
The capitalists' ultimate motive is of course their own survival – maintaining their present-day, obscenely lavish lifestyle by stealing from all the rest of us, forcing us into a wretchedness that can scarcely be imagined. To accomplish this, they're restructuring global governance into a system that is half neo-feudalism (with the corporations in place of the medieval baronies), half Nazi-style terrorism to keep us – the 99 Percent – in total subjugation.
Part of that terrorism is the elimination of surplus workers. The Nazis did it in death camps, but those have become unfashionable. Hence – at least until now – the main Ruling Class methods have been less than obvious, chiefly low-intensity genocide by elimination or reduction of the social safety net. (In this context, the primary function of Obamacare is to perpetuate and enforce the U.S. modality of health care as a privilege of wealth rather than a human right. Those too poor to pay are abandoned to die. Again, it's already happening.)
But now the One Percent have the Ebola virus on their side, and their destruction of public health and social services are having exactly the effect they intended. The long-term result will be a world reshaped into the global equivalent of an antebellum plantation. The One Percent will be absolute masters and we – those of us who survive – will be their slaves.
Could anything alter this terrible prognosis? Yes: a global socialist revolution. But there is neither the uniform ideology nor the discipline – much less the solidarity of popular will – necessary for such an event. In which context remember that, since the advent of patriarchy about five thousand years ago, democracy has never been more than a very occasional, very brief, very faint spark in the timeline of our history. The norm has not just been tyranny – it is tyranny infinitely worsened by every technological advance. Thus the past shows us our real future – if indeed our species survives at all.
And in response to a skeptic I wrote:
Three points in rebuttal:
(1)-The malice you deny is overwhelmingly evident in the works of Ayn Rand, which show us the core doctrine of capitalism – infinite greed as ultimate virtue – and are in fact a fictionalization of the principles set out in Hitler's Mein Kampf. These principles include the glorification of the übermenschen (the One Percent), the condemnation of the üntermenschen (the 99 Percent), and the implicit demand we 99 Percenters be exterminated for our own good. The train wreck scene in Atlas Shrugged is in fact an endorsement of genocide.
(2)-Rand's murderous (and consciously, deliberately immoral) ideology is now openly declared the ideology both of capitalism and of the Republican Party. Though closeted, it is also the ideology of the Democratic Party, as evidenced by their collaboration with the Republicans in attacking the social safety net.
(3)-To label the One Percent “stupid” and to otherwise dismiss their conscious, deliberate, Ayn Randian espousal of moral imbecility is to make the strategically and tactically suicidal mistake of under-estimating the enemy. It also provides the official propagandists with a convenient “they didn't know any better” defense for the capitalists' deliberate embrace of policies and practices our species defines as evil. Were the capitalists motivated by “stupidity,” they would not own half the planet's wealth and possess the capability of tyrannizing all of us. Nor would the capitalists have developed the technologies of death and oppression that give them powers earlier generations deemed divine – powers that in the real world of today give our overlords true (and probably eternal) omnipotence.
Another skeptic cited past decades of humanitarian aid to Africa as an argument against neoliberal genocidal intent. I responded with a brief history lesson:
Government programs often have inertial momentum. Note for example how Great Society programs continued almost into the Reagan era despite the staunch anti-social-services positions of the Nixon, Ford and Carter regimes.
I do not know how to assign a date for the total conquest of the planet by Ayn Rand economists. But I do know that in 1955 (and well into the 1980s at least), the occidental governmental consensus toward Africa, though capitalist/imperialist, included a facade of humanitarian concessions to obstruct the professional revolutionaries of the Soviet Union and (then-genuinely-Communist) China.
Now, with the Soviet Union gone and China totally co-opted by Wall Street, there is no need for any such deception, which is why capitalism now openly displays its true savagery without fear of any consequences.
Further researching the Ebola crisis, I found several informative links on Global Research, the website of the Center for Research on Globalization, a Left-leaning international think tank headquartered in Montreal. These include:
“World Health Organization Says Ebola Cases Could Reach 10,000 Per Week,” here.
“U.S. is Responsible for the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Liberian Scientist,” here.
“Instead of Appointing a Medical Expert, Obama Appoints a Lobbyist as Ebola Czar,” here.
And a general primer on the Josef Goebbels/Big Lie factor, “US Propaganda: How Corporate America Manipulates the American Public Into Unwitting Support for Corporate Fascism,” here.
Meanwhile on an Ebola-related Reader Supported News thread, my denunciation of the pathetically unfunny “comedian” Andy Borowitz garnered not just a record-number of 59 thumbs-down but a couple of nasty accusations of cowardice as well. This and the general tone of the thread suggests RSN's present-day readership is notably more Democratic Party-orthodox than it was even a few months ago – which perhaps explains why RSN in these pre-election weeks seems ever more desperate for sustaining donations. By contrast, my remarks on Common Dreams, where in the past I was often jeered by doctrinaire Democrats and obvious agent-provocateurs, brought me a record 67 clicks of approval and no disapproving clicks at all. (Could it be the Democrats are running a clandestine site-destroying operation, trying to oust genuine Leftists by deluging us with disheartening Democratic disdain, thereby discouraging the donors who would otherwise keep the site alive? Hmm...wonder if the same tactic was being employed, obviously unsuccessfully, against Common Dreams? Obviously too, the Lev Bronstein rule applies: “In every gathering of three revolutionaries, there is at least one agent of the Okhrana.”) In any case, here is what I wrote on RSN that provoked so much ire:
I find Mr. Borowitz's “humor” sophomoric at best, buffoonish at worst, grotesquely “American” at all times. But to belittle our fears of this looming Ebola epidemic – which government has been deliberately rendered powerless to combat – is like jeering at our legitimate terror of ending up crippled (as one of my sisters did), or dying in an iron lung (as a neighbor child did) during the Polio epidemics of my boyhood years.
Then I took on a poster who implied the Dallas Presbyterian Hospital nurses had infected themselves:
The two nurses who are now facing death in Dallas did not “slime (themselves) in an infected person's body fluids.” This fact tells us two things:
Either (A), the supposedly 100-percent-safe protective apparatus touted by for-profit medicine is as defective as most other capitalist products; or (B), the government is lying to us (what else is new?) about the communicability of the virus.
Then there's possibility (C): that both (A) and (B) are true.
The one absolute truth – given we know with 100 percent certainty the government routinely lies to us – is that we don't know what the truth is.
Worse, given that our major media is no more than a privatized government propaganda apparatus, its mode of operations guarantees we will never find out...until it's too late.
(Exactly, by the way, as in Iraq, Afghanistan and “change we can believe in.”)
Disclosure: At age 74, I am hardly subject to panic at the prospect of yet another mode of death, though I will admit I am not enchanted by the possibility of drowning in my own blood, which is how Ebola kills most of its victims.
But I do fear for all those who have not yet lived their lives – especially since I do not believe the U.S. government (run as it is by, for and of the One Percent) – has the capability of containing the epidemic.
In which context note Obama's “czar”: a Josef Goebbels-type propagandist – which tells us all we need to know about government intent.
Finally I realized the entire dialogue was not so much a defense of Borowitz as of the underlying capitalist ideology that defines USian health care:
What astounds me about this thread is the majority of posters who are implicitly defending for-profit doctors, for-profit health care and access to care as a privilege of wealth rather than a human right.
As I have observed throughout my adult life, scratch a U.S. citizen – even a self-proclaimed "progressive" – and you'll most often find a fascist.
No wonder real health-care reform – that is, single-payer public-option health care – was dead on arrival, never really part of the Big Lie of “change we can believe in.”
And that – another example of how capitalism kills – is the point of the entire Ebola story.
But, precisely as this thread demonstrates, any sort of genuinely humanitarian socialist consciousness is forever beyond the (sorely limited) capabilities of the (infinitely selfish) USian mind.
And when one of the very few supportive posters gently chided me for not mentioning Cuban socialism and how its doctors and nurses are the primary effort against Ebola in Africa, I responded accordingly:
Consider those Cuban doctors now praised.
Cuban socialism has in fact done more for health care in Latin America and the Third World than all the capitalist intrusions combined. A good source on this subject is here.
Meanwhile the best the USian Empire can do is send troops (Why? To euthanize the victims?) and appoint a Josef Goebbels-type propagandist (instead of an MD) as its Ebola "czar."
With a propagandist as “czar,” it's obvious the USian anti-Ebola campaign will be a microcosm of capitalism itself – that is, a Big Lie to cover a miasma of deception, exploitation, (unnecessary) death and (obscene) profiteering.
What is carefully avoided by the Southern Poverty Law Center report entitled “How Cliven Bundy Defeated the US Government” is there is only one logical conclusion to be drawn from the government's apparent "inability" to prosecute the armed Right. It is that our political overlords are so terrified of the revolutionary fervor now building on the Left – particularly the advent of various forms of eco-Marxism – they are making secret alliance with the armed Right to bolster the defenses of capitalism. Relentlessly logical though it is, it is also clearly too disturbing for the forcibly optimistic, perpetually happy-faced, “have a nice day” USian mentality.
Meanwhile, as I noted on the associated RSN comment thread, capitalism is in fact fulfilling all the predictions of Marxian analysis by (inevitably) maturing into fascism. That the USian Empire is thus becoming the de facto Fourth Reich is further indicated by the refusal of the so-called "Justice" Department to intervene in the burgeoning atrocities committed by federally militarized police at Ferguson and elsewhere.
The national direction is obvious. As we the people awaken to the Big Lie of USian "democracy," the Ruling Class moves ever closer to unabashed fascism, perhaps even – in the escalating murder and imprisonment of minorities – to an USian variant of Nazism. Likely in anticipation of the eventual, no doubt inevitable USian de jure criminalization of already de facto criminalized minority status and/or lower income status, the Ukrainian Nazis are already rioting for official public recognition. And how bitterly ironic the key Judas-goat in this entire process of subjugation and enslavement is himself an African-American.
LB/13-19 October 2014