Capitalism – From the Standpoint of Its Victims

It has never been easy offering a critique of capitalism or markets to my undergraduate students. Most have never heard an unkind word about these bedrock institutions, which they know to be the foundations of American power and prosperity.

These are hallowed institutions. The power of private capital to produce jobs, wealth and freedom is one of the central dogmas that many Americans absorb with their mother’s milk. To hear this dogma challenged – in any context – is unsettling. I sometimes suspect that this bitter pill is harder to swallow because it emanates from someone who, so transparently, is not a native-born American.

As the weeks pass, however, my students appear to settle down. In the past, they have been reassured to learn that markets have done a good job at delivering prosperity to a few centers of global capitalism. They do work for us, even if they have not worked for most Asians, Africans and Latin Americans.

Nevertheless, the thesis that ‘free’ markets have rarely worked for economies lagging far behind the economic leaders, does not quite take root. The fault could not lie with markets. For too long, the West has believed that Asians, Africans and Latin Americans failed because they were lazy, spendthrift, venal and unimaginative.

My students – like most Americans – have been conditioned to look at capitalism from the standpoint of the winners in global capitalism. Because of the accident of birth, they have been the beneficiaries of the wealth and power that global capitalism concentrates at the nodes of the system. They cannot conceive how a system that has worked so well for them could produce misery for others in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

I have been away from my teaching duties as the United States has led the world into a deepening recession. Within a few months, the titans of Wall Street have been laid low, rescued from extinction by tax-financed bailouts. Teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, the auto giants have been placed on life-support also by taxpayers, their future still uncertain. In this maelstrom, there steps forward Bernard L. Madoff, the Einstein of Ponzi schemes, who operated his colossal con for twenty years without notice from regulators.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs; millions are threatened with loss of their homes; millions have seen their retirement funds melt before their eyes; millions are threatened with loss of health care. As Americans on Main Street were being devastated, executives of bailed out banks continued to receive millions in bonuses. That straw now threatens to break the back of the fabled American tolerance for the foibles of the capitalist system.

Ordinarily, American democracy directs its venom against writers and activists on the left, foolish enough to want to defend the underprivileged. For a change, Americans are threatening captains of finance, venerable bankers, with dire consequences – even death threats.

I was on sabbatical when Al-Qaida brought down the Twin Towers on September 11. Then, I was relieved to be away from my students, afraid that some of them might want to lump me with those who had perpetrated these attacks.

I am on sabbatical, again, as the towers on Wall Street were being toppled by greed, recklessness and fraud; by a free-market ideology that has no regard for human life; by capitalist elites and their partners in the White House and Congress, who had turned the financial sector into a giant Ponzi scheme.

Americans have been subjected to acts of ‘terrorism’ whose final human toll will make September 11 look like a tea party. The perpetrators of this terror are all homegrown; they were trained not in the mountains of Afghanistan but at Harvard, Yale and Stanford; the bankers, executives and legislators who preyed on Americans are the crème de la crème of American society.

When I return to teach in Fall of this year, I expect to meet students chastened by their experience. Nothing undermines capitalist ideologies faster and more effectively than capitalist crises. No critique of capitalism can be more penetrating than the depredations of unemployment, immiseration, homelessness that it inflicts on its victims. So recently victimized – at the very center of global capitalism – perhaps, Americans might learn to empathize with victims elsewhere – in Africa, Asia and Latin America – who have been ravaged by this system for centuries.

Capitalist ideologues will be working overtime to deflect American anger away from the system to a few villains, to a few rotten apples. Congressional hearings will identify scapegoats; they will hang a few ‘witches.’ A few capitalist barons will be sacrificed. As public anger subsides, attempts will be made to shift the blame to feckless homebuyers and compulsive consumers. At all costs, the system must be saved. The capitalist show must go on, with as little change as possible.

Quite apart from this crisis, however, new technologies, in combination with the irreversible shift of sovereignty to some segments of the capitalist periphery, have been changing the dynamics of unequal development. The high-wage workers – the so-called middle classes in the developed countries – have been losing the protection they have long enjoyed against competition from low-wage workers in China and India.

More and more global capitalism will enrich some workers in the ‘periphery’ at the cost of workers in the ‘centers’ of capitalism. In the years ahead, the great alliance that was forged between capitalists and workers in the centers of capitalism will come under greater strain. More and more, the interests of these two classes will diverge.

Powerful corporations will still insist on openness, while growing ranks of workers will press for protectionism. This revival of class conflict in the old capitalist centers will strain existing political arrangements. After a co-optation that has lasted for more than a century, the demos will begin to threaten the corporate elites. New demands will be placed on intellectual mercenaries in the media and academia to use new, more effective tools to dumb down the demos.

As growing segments of high-wage workers in the rich countries become the new victims of capitalism, will they slowly learn to see capitalism from the standpoint of its victims? In this new emerging reality, will orthodox economics migrate from its old centers in London, Cambridge and Chicago to new centers in Bangalore and Beijing?

A curious world this will be when seen from the old centers. In truth, this will only be a long-delayed correction to two centuries of unequal development, dominated by Western centers. Sadly, the correction will not go far enough: it will leave much of the world mired in poverty and disease.

M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University, Boston. You may read this essay with footnotes and references in Real World Economics Review where it was first published. He is the author of Poverty from the Wealth of Nations (Palgrave-Macmillan: 2000) and Intimations of Ghalib (Orison Books: 2018). Read other articles by M. Shahid.

55 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on March 23rd, 2009 at 11:49am #

    how does a victim of capitalism feel towards it? not a very good question since it is elementlistic; i.e., isolated from myriad of other questions about other aspects of one reality.

    amer capitalism, in whatever sense one uses this label [and labels explain little to nothing], does not exist apart from jurisprudence, state police [fibi,cia, city police], armed services, private jailers, constitution, three houses, media, ‘education’, shamanism/cults/religion, etc.

    so the proper question wld be to ask a victim of all of the above-enumerated aspects of one reality, how does a victim feel/think/talk about each of the aspects and as the reality.

    so one needs elucidation of all salients aspects of one and the only reality in order to obtain a fair answer to how a victim feels about capiatalism. tnx

  2. Brian said on March 23rd, 2009 at 2:48pm #

    One of things I would point out is that children in America grow up corporate, as Ralph Nader says. Much of the time they are inundated with corporate messaging and the business point of view.

    If they want to join a club in school they have the choice of FBLA or DECA among others and they learn marketing and the business point of view.
    Where do they learn the labor point of view? Are there Future Labor Leaders of America clubs in ANY high school? I asked someone at AFL CIO about this and they ask me if I teach labor history in my classes. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about internalizing a set of practices that is labor oriented. They don’t get it. And why do they think so many citizens are apathetic to the labor point of view?

    I asked the Wisconsin head of the AFL CIO what he’s going to do about getting high schools to adopt FLLA clubs (they have to if there’s interest or the school board has to drop all clubs). He says here’s my card. Doesn’t get it. And they wonder why so many citizens in Wisconsin aren’t organized and are not responsive to the labor point of view (or even know there is one).

  3. Tennessee-Christian said on March 23rd, 2009 at 4:57pm #


    I have not studied Wallerstein, so I’m curious about his “socialism or barbarism” view — what does he mean by a worse system?

    I understand worst-case scenarios, like an inter-imperialist war going nuclear or biological leading to a kind of “Mad Max” feudalism, but worst-cases are rare and not much to base your theory on. In the last 100 years we’ve seen some major crises and world wars that lead to new rounds of accumulation. How are things significantly different today?

    As I see it, there are two new factors in play here: resource and environmental exhaustion, which can only be overcome by large-scale planning, and the widespread IT infrastructure, which makes possible economic planning beyond the dreams of the 1930s. Both of those tend toward socialist solutions.

    I don’t really understand how a large-scale break down of accumulation leads to something which is exploitative and hierarchical and not capitalist and not socialist, unless he’s talking about the “Mad Max” scenario. Even that would seem to lead back to capitalism.

    Wallerstein is not saying that socialism is inevitable which was the position of mechanical marxist predictions in the past about the demise of capitalism. The Second and Third International prophecies about the end of capitalism tied together the thesis of the “inevitable end of capitalism” with the thesis of the “inevitable emergence of socialism.”

    The latter was deterministically thought as a result of the former. In Wallerstein we have the thesis of the “inevitable end of capitalism” without the “inevitable emergence of socialism.”

    As a matter of fact, Wallerstein is very insistent on the problem that the new historical system that emerge might be worst than capitalism and that all will depend on our agency and political struggles in the next decades. The thesis of the inevitable end of capitalism as a historical system that have lasted 500 years, is very well argued by Wallerstein not in THE NATION essay but in his books

    Immanuel Wallerstein sees capitalism like other historical systems in the past: they rise and demise, they have a beginning and they have an end. The Roman Empire was a particular form of world-system that Wallerstein calls World-Empire and that lasted one-thousand years.

    The Modern World-System is a particular form of world-system that he calls a capitalist world-economy and that so far have lasted more than 500 years. He explains in detail how historical systems end out of its own systemic contradictions.

    In his recent books, Wallerstein has analyzed at length in what consist the contradictions that are going to lead to the end the present capitalist world-system (read his work to find out more about his analysis because it is impossible to summarize here).

    However, there are important epistemological issues involved here. Wallerstein’s perspective represents a revolution in the social sciences because of his challenges to the analytical TIME/SPACE unit that informs most of social scientists today.

    If you think about capitalism as many traditional social scientists, that is, from a nation-state unit of analysis, the argument Wallerstein is making does not make any sense. But if you take the global system, or as he says, the world-system as the unit of analysis with its large scale and long-term structures, then his argument is very coherent and easier to understand.

    One of the points made by Avakian in his so-called new synthesis is about internationalism. He claims that the international system is decisive over the national context. Well, I find dishonest that Avakian does not acknowledge here the contribution and influence of Wallerstein on this point.

    This is a point developed by Wallerstein in many of his historical sociological works since the 1970s. However, Avakian takes ideas and just cite the “founding fathers” or himself and never acknowledges the influence of contemporary marxists and neo-marxists in his perspective.

    But coming back to the question of Wallerstein, I think that it merits a profound consideration because he is not only arguing about how capitalism is coming to an end but also about how if the global left does not create a new historical system that is better, the transnational capitalist elites will create for us a new and worst world-system than the present capitalist system in order to protect and defend their own privileges.

    This is Wallerstein’s historical sociological thesis of what happened in the 15th century with the demise of feudalism in Europe. The feudal aristocracy created a new historical system to preserve their wealth. They created the capitalist world-system by going global and expanding to the Americas. This is what is called in history the European colonial expansion that created the world market and a new international division of labor. One of the many points raised by Wallerstein is that something like this could happen today but that nothing is guaranteed. There are no apriori outcomes for the coming struggles for the formation of a new world-system….

  4. john andrews said on March 23rd, 2009 at 11:57pm #

    Capitalism, per se, is not the problem. The problem is the fact that our political decision makers are directly controlled by big money, and big money is only interested in one thing – becoming even bigger money.

    My dictionary defines capitalism as basically having the right to do what you want with your own money (which is quite reasonable) – it does not define it as the right of the very rich to control governments (which is the way capitalism is applied).

    Capitalism is a bit like democracy. Democracy is a fine principle, but the way it is actually practised is a million miles away from the intended principle of real people power. So too with capitalism. There’s nothing wrong with the principle, but that word too is stolen in order to provide a figleaf for the gangsters who actually rule us.

  5. bozh said on March 24th, 2009 at 7:50am #

    like any ism so is the word “capitalism” meaningless/meaningful to exasperation unless one is conscious of this fact when thinking/talking about it.
    defining [explaing by other words] the word “capitalism” is a personal affair.
    to me, capitalism means, in the main, ownership of production by a person or a group of people.

    but the key, to me, is not so much what any ism is [or how one defines it] but what a given ism does.
    when transportation, power plants, mines, etc., are nationalized, the entire nation owns them; at least in principle.
    can we call this capitalism? Or socialism? but only as a shortcut to the fact that all people own much of production; sales and distribution of it?

    so, almost all workers wld be part owners of means of production, etc?
    in US, most workers do not have a share in ownership of the work place.
    does this fact mean that we cld cal them “dependents” on the will of others; oft unseen and uncaring people?
    being independent is not much better; best is being interdependent.
    once amers/world realize [if ever?] that that’s the life worth living, change is possible and probable.

    possibly not without a struggle, death, torture, repression of all kind, jailings, etc.
    but i suggest that every child wld quickly realize, once it was pointed to her/him, that dependency and even independency suck.
    how about adults? we cld get some onside! tnx

  6. john andrews said on March 24th, 2009 at 9:27am #


    Your definition seems fine. I guess the main point I’m trying to make is that I just don’t see capitalism as the great evil the left would have us believe; and therefore I think the real enemy is being overlooked.

    The real enemy is surely the system used to make political decisions. This system is institutionally corrupt because it is totally dependent on rich people i.e. big business. Until this link between big business and our political decision makers is properly identified as the real cause of all our woes there is no hope of it being severed; and until it is severed there is no hope of meaningful reform. Fixation with capitalism serves only as a distraction from this far more serious problem.

    I see no reason why the business community should not be able to thrive under a humane government committed to social and environmental welfare; BUT it won’t happen until political decision making is more dependent upon the wishes of the ordinary citizen than the corporation boardroom.

    Your point about dependency is good and wholly relevant. I’m doing some reading at the moment about Britain’s land enclosures. The enclosures occurred slowly over a couple of hundred years. Before the enclosures most poor people were self sufficient – able to survive from farming common land, fishing open rivers and foraging in open forests and woodlands. The enclosures ended that, making poor people completely dependent for their survival on employers – the beginning of wage slavery.

  7. bozh said on March 24th, 2009 at 9:58am #

    john a,

    all our ills emanate from, broadly speaking, master-serf relationship.
    all the patching in the world or cosmetic changes of this iniquity
    will only lead, i assume, to greater iniquity.

    today, we see the result of such a relationship as the robbers are being rewarded. natch, our masters wld say they are pouring money into banks for the good of the country.
    and the word “country” means the ruling class, the uebermenschen.

    and no amount of pleading or armed resistance wld alter the sit’n in the least; actually expect worsening of the sit’n.
    only knowledge can alter the governance! tnx

  8. kalidas said on March 24th, 2009 at 10:35am #

    “While the miser is merely a capitalist gone mad, the capitalist is a rational miser”
    Karl Marx

    “Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force.”
    George Bernard Shaw

    “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class”
    Al Capone

  9. Sam said on March 24th, 2009 at 10:54am #

    Do people do anything anymore? I mean something like sit-ins that clog the streets for miles, or protesting Obamas health care sham? I want to sign up, and I want to bring everyone I know. I just don’t know where to look for events.

  10. Sam said on March 24th, 2009 at 10:57am #

    bozh said ubermenschen, and it made me smile. I think it’s time to read zarathustra again :]

  11. Don Hawkins said on March 24th, 2009 at 1:49pm #

    like sit-ins that clog the streets for miles and miles will be needed no way around it. That kind of optical delusion of consciousness is not what it used to be. We need to make it dissolve before are very eye’s and that can be done with only a thought. The truth the knowledge.

  12. Suthiano said on March 24th, 2009 at 1:55pm #


  13. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 24th, 2009 at 5:52pm #


    First of all: what people need in this country is to create a united-front composed of all the small socialist, leftist parties of this country (The Green Party, The Socialist Equality Party, The Democratic Socialists of USA, The Socialist Party of USA, The Revolutionary Communist Party of USA, The Workers World Party of USA, The Marxist-Leninist Party of USA, and other alternative socialist parties) which would be a real vehicle in which the masses, the majority of americans who are pissed off with the capitalist-system, would have an answer out of this mess. to caste their votes every 4 years.

    However there is a catch-22 with a creation of a United-Socialist-Front composed of small socialist parties.

    The catch-22 problem is that the USA corporate fascist system thru the media and its other evil things it has, will not let that united-front succeeding, The media apparatus would denounce it as a cult or an evil organization, and would spread dirty propaganda against it, just like it did and it has done many times against Ron Paul, Howard Dean and even against Obama.

    Second: An educational-propaganda campaign

    In order to create a united socialist party we would also need an educational campaign in order to spread socialism and marxism propaganda, information and knowledge to the masses about the evils of capitalism, fascism and imperialism and that the only solution for American citizens is socialism and marxism as the only real alternative which is participative democratic socialism. An educational program to debunk the taboos and myths created by right-wing libertarians and conspiracy theorists such as Jeff Rense, Alex Jones and other conspiracy free market libertarian lunatics against Marxism, and communism ideology.

    I read the biography of Hugo Chavez and that’s how he started his political program in order to change Venezuela. He first tried to wake up Venezuelan poors about the evils of neoliberalism, he talked about the importance of teaching the masses about capitalism vs. socialism. And then when Venezuelan’s poors digested the ideology of socialism, Hugo Chavez and his political movement began a campaign in Venezuela as an electoral option in 1998.

    And here in USA we gotta do the same thing that Chavez did, teach the US poor for some months or years what is capitalism and what is socialism before trying to do form any political party.

    Almost nobody in USA have taught the masses the evils of neoliberalism, not even Kucinich, Ron Paul or any other candidate.

    Ron Paul was one of the few candidates who talked about the US constitution and nobody listened to him, however his major flaw is that Ron Paul is not socialist or marxist. I don’t know why if he is good intentioned as people say, he chosed the Libertarian free market ideology. If he is real smart, he should be a socialist and leftist, not a libertarian.

    Because we all know that in history and present, countries with real bad economic problems and where its population is real poor, adopt state-capitalist policies or social-democrat leftist policies, but not libertarian free markets at all. In fact, when libertarianism free market is applied it increases poverty and destroys whole economies (Examples: Argentina)

    So Ron Paul didn’t teach the US population about the evils of capitalism, because of the fact that Ron Paul was a capitalist, not a real alternative for poor people.

    Only socialist parties can be a real alternative for victims of the Bush-Obama 1.5 trillion dollars bailouts, but socialist parties don’t have access to TV and the press in the USA and that’s why most americans don’t know the ideology of socialism,ge in TV.

    So before marketing a United Socialist Front in USA as a third party alternative we need to spend some months or years trying to teach the poor people of America about the evils of capitalism and the wonders of a participative democratic socialist system, a people’s system.

    socialism is so good, that it is the only ideology in this country that proposes a minimum wage of 15 dollars an hour.

    No other ideology proposes 15 dollars for minimum wage: 3. We call for a minimum wage of $15 per hour, indexed to the cost of living. 5. We call for all financial and insurance institutions to be socially owned and operated by a democratically-controlled national banking authority, which should include credit unions, mutual insurance cooperatives, and cooperative state banks. In the meantime, we call for re-regulation of the banking and insurance industries

  14. Deadbeat said on March 25th, 2009 at 12:12am #

    I read the biography of Hugo Chavez and that’s how he started his political program in order to change Venezuela. He first tried to wake up Venezuelan poors about the evils of neoliberalism, he talked about the importance of teaching the masses about capitalism vs. socialism. And then when Venezuelan’s poors digested the ideology of socialism, Hugo Chavez and his political movement began a campaign in Venezuela as an electoral option in .

    Your ideas are rather reformist than radical. There must be an end to private banking. Re-regulating the banks will not work. It took capitalist 60 years to repeal Glass-Steagel. What is needed is exactly what Marx called for in the Manifesto — a single national public bank that operates for the people. In other words what is need is a takeover of government by the people.

    Folks like Ron Paul are actually “anti-gov’t” they believe that the government is some sort of foreign body that needs to be eradicated rather than an institution that needs to be taken over by the people. As we know that won’t happen. People need to take control of these institutions and make them function for the people.

    Also in the case of Chavez, coming from a poor family made him have more affinity with the poor as well as BLACK Venezuelans. This is something that is missing from many on the so-called “Left” in the U.S.

    Class and race privileges still reign among the “white” left and this is why solidarity is extremely retarded in the U.S. And let’s not forget the power of Zionism that has confused and diffused the Left. What is really needed is understanding what socialism truly is and how to build the solidarity needed to really build a united front.

  15. Don Hawkins said on March 25th, 2009 at 4:58am #

    I am taking a few months off to work with my son. Let’s see how things look by September.

  16. bozh said on March 25th, 2009 at 8:20am #

    98% of the USans have in nov. 08 rejected for selves universal healthcare.
    do the 98% also still sanctify US constitution? or let about 000001% of amers interpret it?
    and how many amers understand any constitutional wish/command or the interpretation of it?
    how many know the fact [yes, fact] that constitution cannot be understood, only interpreted?
    and that inquisition of the constitution is performed by carefully chosen elititists; i.e., members of the ruling class?

    only a party wld be able to spread this knowledge. so, yes, all the socalled leftists, shld unite and educate the people.tnx

  17. bozh said on March 25th, 2009 at 8:33am #

    since i am not a palestinian, it is easy for me to demand onestate sol’n and the return of expelees.
    thus i owe an apology to all those suffering palestinians who’d settle for a state of their own.
    or wld accept compensation for refugees and let go of the right to return.
    however, the future palestinian state may not differ much from now occupied palestina.
    US/euro/isr, might recognize a new palestina but disperse so many ifs, buts, and ununderstables that wld render palestinian independence a total dependency.

    oslo ‘accords’ shld ring a bell and alert people about future accords. tnx

  18. bozh said on March 25th, 2009 at 8:54am #

    please don’t mention socialism when talking to the people of and on the street, hobos, house people, prisoners, latinas/latinos, indigenes, afrikanas/afrikanos.

    just offer them [with smiling or solemn face;whatever u prefer] just initially three goodies: healthcare, free higher education; and i forgot right now about the third goodie.

    well , u can chose your own; not, of course, the right [or wish] to invade/threaten every country. one cld choose to tell amers that we did not descend from apes but from darkest afrikans.
    without which we wldn’t be here.
    so much for racism! which largely emanated from shamanism/cultism.
    and only shamans and cultists [euphemistically called “priests” ruled the serfs.
    now, it is modern shamanism, called euphemistically “capitalism” that rules america. tnx

  19. Ken said on March 25th, 2009 at 9:03am #

    Hugo Chavez, along with George W. Bush is living proof that any idiot can get elected, anywhere.
    He would be a laughing stock were he not so dangerous.
    I predict he will be ground under the boot of history … fairly soon. If the price of gasoline stays down, he will go broke and the folly of his idiotic dictatorship will be but a footnote in history … bye, bye Hugo.

  20. kalidas said on March 25th, 2009 at 10:01am #

    “Under capitalism man exploits man; under socialism the reverse is true”

    Polish Proverb

  21. bozh said on March 25th, 2009 at 10:21am #

    throw out the words capitalism and socialism [as poles use it] and we might use the word “interdependence” which signifies that a body uses every other body and all bodies use a body.
    the end goal of socialism wld be to make all of us much more interdependent.

    the polish proverb may refer to an incipient democracy and socialist structure of society and not getting better and better every day. tnx

  22. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 25th, 2009 at 11:08am #

    Ken: I am sorry, but you are a bit biased. I don’t have too much time right now to explain to you why Hugo Chavez is the best president that this world has had in all of the history of mankind, and Venezuela’s current Bolivarian Government and welfare-state capitalist nationalist economic political system is the best democracy that the world has had, even a lot more democratic, humanist, libertarian and egalitarian than Norway, Sandinavia, Costa Rica, Chile, etc.

    If you will, please go to which is a great site on debunkying the myths that exist here in the Capitalist Mainstrea Media against Bolivarian-Venezuelan socialism.

    In fact, USA would benefit from an American Hugo Chavez and an American Bolivarian Socialist System of the XXI Century here in USA.

  23. kalidas said on March 25th, 2009 at 11:26am #

    I prefer not to throw out those words. If so, the meaning/intent/idea/gist would be lost..

  24. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 25th, 2009 at 12:51pm #

    Deadbeat: hi, how are you? Your education and sociological knowledge of USA is impecable. Indeed, USA has not only classism problems, but also racism problems, and even discrimination against obese people, against gays, etc. etc. so it’s really a lot more complicated than Venezuela.

  25. bozh said on March 25th, 2009 at 12:56pm #

    not being off the fence re what that proverb means, a ask you, what does the, Under capitalism man exploits man; under socialism it is the other way around.

    people have been [ab]using other people for millennia to also continue under capitalism.
    socialism, on the other hand is just being built.
    if the intent of the proverb is to convince via speciousness that socialism [ab]uses or exploit everybody, then , to me , that is one hand clapping.
    but i may have misduderstood the overgeneralization which is easy to do as all overgeneralizations are pani in he neck; at least to me.
    it’s a curioso that the ‘proverb’ comes from poles, one of the fiercest antisocialist nations and, too boot, adherents of a cult.
    oh, yaz, it is the polish way. tnx

  26. Max Shields said on March 25th, 2009 at 1:29pm #

    I think John Adrews point about capitalism “is not the problem” should be considered.

    Imagine a socialist world. You can’t. I can imagine a world called “socialistic”. I can imagine people calling various policies socialistic. I can imagine a world where the world thinks the word “socialism” is good and thus uses it to bolster an idelogical direction that has some beneficiary.

    But I can’t imagine a world that is socialistic. Or perhaps, I can only IMAGINE it.

    Shakespeare said: “The answer dear Brutus, lies not within our stars but within ourselves.”

  27. kalidas said on March 25th, 2009 at 1:39pm #

    bozh, the offered (Polish) quote was simply meant to be a thoughtful quip.
    But since you insist, I notice you at times, well, struggle when exposed to other than that which you accept or conjure, and since I was unable to penetrate your defense with a broad based quip, perhaps one or two other quotes from one or two others who are widely accepted as wise and learned, at least as compared to you and me, may provide the needed clarity or at the least stand on their own merit without a need of reinterpretation..
    Oddly enough, or perhaps not, I’m not at all averse to socialism, to some degree, under some circumstances.

    Socialism is the same as Communism, only better English”
    George Bernard Shaw

    “Socialism is nothing but the capitalism of the lower classes”
    Oswald Spengler

    “As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents”
    George Orwell

    Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
    Alexis de Tocqueville

    “The goal of socialism is communism.”
    Vladimir Lenin

    “The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.”
    Norman Mailer

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
    — C.S. Lewis

  28. Deadbeat said on March 25th, 2009 at 3:42pm #

    T-C writes…
    Deadbeat: hi, how are you? Your education and sociological knowledge of USA is impecable. Indeed, USA has not only classism problems, but also racism problems, and even discrimination against obese people, against gays, etc. etc. so it’s really a lot more complicated than Venezuela.

    How am I doing? Living life as a deadbeat that how I’m doing. But T-C I don’t think that the USA is any more “complicated”. In fact it is quite easy to understand so long as if you see the issues from a radical perspective. That is what is missing primarily because the “working class” in the USA has been so indoctrinated and conditioned by primarily “Liberalism” which was very successful in winning workers away from a truly radical perspective and ideas of how to change the economy and soceity as a whole. Essentially American workers want to maintain the “American Dream”. This is why it is hard to win people over. It has taken 30 years to kill the “American Dream” and 60 years to repeal the New Deal. It may take further immiseration of the citizenry before real solidarity can be constructed.

    Also T-C the discrimination that you listed are false identity categories. They are products of the “job” and “housing” MARKETS. In other words those identity grouping are problematic because of the phony scarcity and impediments produced by capitalism and exacerbated by the Ford Foundation who was instrumental in substituting identity politics for class politics. RACE and CLASS are still the major divider in society so to place obesity, gender, and homophobia as equal weight diminishes the core issues and helps to RETARD the solidarity that you seek. Because when it comes down to it a fat, gay, female person of color will face greater discrimination and injustice than an white one any day of the week. This unfortunately reveals how such attitudes in your response create distrust when TRUST and EMPATHY are the most important aspect in building a united front.

  29. bozh said on March 25th, 2009 at 4:15pm #

    it seems that lenin’s dictum/definition of socialism is by far the best; the others apper to me fascistic.
    what they are saying is that free higher education [can one imagine how much talent one is missing by not educating mns more], health care, etc., are iniquitous goals.

    as for CS Lewis’ comment, it appears more than a cult; it’s worse than anything i have read by any priest save may be some rabbis.
    re your personal attack, you get one more chance.
    you use ad hominem attack or statement once more only. OK?!
    remember, i did not attack your personality nor mentioned your shortcomimngs.
    i only referred to polish satement a specious. you were obviously hurt by that word; which was directed solely towards asocialist poles and the proverb; now scaled dwn to a quote. tnx

  30. kalidas said on March 25th, 2009 at 5:25pm #

    bozh, I’m not sure if you consider this a “ad hominem,” (a completely overused word) personal attack” or not, but thanks for your help in making my point.

  31. Brian Koontz said on March 25th, 2009 at 6:32pm #

    Terms like “capitalism” and “socialism” do not have a single meaning, so a lot of fighting about the terms is really two people fighting about two different meanings, while thinking (or pretending) that they are fighting about the same meaning.

    Historically speaking, socialism is defined as state control of capital. But this definition has little in common with, say, an anarchic version of socialism in which there is no state. So when an anarchist talks about socialism he means social (equitable and healthy) distribution of resources. These resources in many cases are still owned privately, thus “socialism” in this context incorporates the capitalist concept of private ownership (a much more limited version than in modern capitalism).

    Likewise, the term “capitalism” covers a very broad range of meanings and associations. Free Market capitalism is vastly different from corporate capitalism which is vastly different from anarchic capitalism.

    Kalidas’s many quotes all refer to *state socialism*. Yet based on his past comments bozh is an anarchist, and especially with respect to his thoughts about the *future* of socialism is likely thinking of an anarchic version of socialism. Thus Kalidas is not addressing bozh at all, an example of the Strawman Fallacy which is very common on messageboards in general.

  32. Max Shields said on March 25th, 2009 at 7:11pm #

    I don’t think many actually read Das Kapital, that seems to matter not an iota. Even fewer Adam Smith.

    The “dialog” is a kind of grotesque version the Amerikan political system – Dem/Repub. Problems can only be framed within the narrow context of ideology/party. Both have little to nothing to do with how the world really works.

  33. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 25th, 2009 at 8:00pm #

    Brian: I am sorry but socialism is not what is defined in CIA fact sheets, in CNN or in the US mainstream educational books.

    Socialism is none others than workers-ownership of corporations and at the same workers-power in the government high level possitions (Including all 3 major branches of the government: Executive, legislative, and judiciary)


  34. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 25th, 2009 at 8:03pm #


    According to Nietzsche, most individuals are easily controlled by classes and by other men, because they think that they are real weak, and they think that they as regular individuals have no way of liberating themselves from the upper-capitalist classes. According to Nietzsche, his task is to liberate individuals from that slavery mentality that people have, like a sort of fear. most individuals are not aware of their domination power, are not conscious of their own self-power. So *awareness* is a key to break out of the vicious trap of fear and weakness and of the Democrats and Republican Corporate Parties.

    Read this article related to Zarathustra’s Philosophy of Liberation (A real change i can believe in)

    At the age of thirty, Zarathustra goes into the wilderness and so enjoys his spirit and his solitude there that he stays for ten years. Finally, he decides to return among people, and share with them his over-brimming wisdom. Like the setting sun, he must descend from the mountain and “go under.”

    On his way, he encounters a saint living alone in the forest. This saint once loved mankind, but grew sick of their imperfections and now loves only God. He tells Zarathustra that mankind doesn’t need the gift he brings, but rather help: they need someone to lighten their load and give them alms. Taking his leave of the saint, Zarathustra registers with surprise that the old man has not heard that “God is dead!”

    Upon arriving in the town, Zarathustra begins to preach, proclaiming the overman. Man is a rope between beast and overman and must be overcome. The way across is dangerous, but it must not be abandoned for otherworldly hopes. Zarathustra urges the people to remain faithful to this world and this life, and to feel contempt for their all-too-human happiness, reason, virtue, justice, and pity. All this will prepare the way for the overman, who will be the meaning of the earth.

    On hearing this, the people laugh at Zarathustra. Zarathustra suggests that while it is still possible to breed the overman, humanity is becoming increasingly tame and domesticated, and will soon be able to breed only the last man. The last men will be all alike, like herd animals, enjoying simple pleasures and mediocrity, afraid of anything too dangerous or extreme. Zarathustra says, “‘We have invented happiness,’ say the last men, and they blink.” The people cheer, and ask Zarathustra to turn them into these last men.

    Just then, a tightrope walker begins walking between two towers in the town. A jester comes out behind him, following him, and mocking him for being so awkward and moving so slowly. Suddenly, the jester jumps right over the tightrope walker, upsetting him and making him fall to the ground. Zarathustra approaches the dying man, and allays his fear of damnation by explaining that there is no devil and no hell. But then, the tightrope walker suggests that his life has been meaningless and that he has been a mere beast. Not at all, Zarathustra suggests to the dying man: “You have made danger your vocation; there is nothing contemptible in that.”

    That night, Zarathustra leaves town with the dead tightrope walker to bury him in the countryside. A poor day of fishing, he muses metaphorically: he has caught no men, but only a corpse. On his way out, the jester approaches him and warns him to leave. The jester says that Zarathustra is disliked here by the good and the just, and by the believers in the true faith. Only because Zarathustra isn’t taken seriously is he allowed to live.

    Outside the city, Zarathustra encounters a hermit, who insists on feeding both him and the corpse. After that, Zarathustra goes to sleep. He reawakens with the conviction that he must give up preaching to the masses, and seek out like- minded companions to join him. Rather than be a shepherd, who leads the herd, he must lure people away from the herd. The good and the just, and the believers in the true faith will hate him even more for this, for he will appear to be a lawbreaker and a breaker of the table of values. However, Zarathustra believes this breaking of laws and values will be a glorious act of creation.


    This prologue contains the two moments in Nietzsche’s writings that loom largest in popular consciousness: the declaration of the death of God and the declaration of the overman. Nietzsche first wrote “God is dead” in section 108 of The Gay Science, the book immediately preceding Zarathustra. People often mistake this phrase for the metaphysical assertion that God does not exist. In fact, Nietzsche is making the cultural observation that our idea of God is no longer strong enough to serve as the foundation for truth and morality. He is not saying that God does not exist, but that God is no longer universally accepted as giving meaning to our lives. If God was what previously gave meaning to our lives, a world without God is meaningless. Nietzsche believes his age is characterized by nihilism, lacking strong, positive goals.

    The portrait of the “last man” is meant to give us the ultimate result of nihilism. Lacking any positive beliefs or needs, people will aim for comfort and to struggle as little as possible. Soon we will all become the same—all mediocre, and all perfectly content. We will “invent happiness” by eliminating every source of worry and strife from our lives.

    The overman is meant to be the solution to nihilism, the meaning we should give to our lives. The German word Ubermensch is often translated as “superman,” but Kaufmann’s choice of “overman” is more accurate, as it brings out the way that this word evokes “overcoming” and “going under.” The overman faces a world without God, and rather than finding it meaningless, gives it his own meaning. In so doing, he upsets the “good and just” and the “believers in the true faith” who have not yet come to recognize the bankruptcy of the idea of God. Essentially, the difference between regular humans and the overman is that we need to put our faith in something—be it God or science or truth—while the overman puts all his faith in himself and relies on nothing else.

    Zarathustra suggests that humans are great only as a bridge between animal and overman. Humans are not the be all and end all of existence, as the “last men” would see themselves. We are still largely governed by our animal instincts, which lead us to prejudice, superficiality, and to easy reliance upon faith. In order to refine our being, we must turn our instinct for cruelty upon ourselves, and carve away at our prejudices, superficiality, and faith, creating something deeper. Zarathustra speaks of the triumphant moment where we look with contempt upon all the human qualities that we once valued. This would signify our triumph over our shallow, human nature, and our progress toward the overman.

    This image of humanity as a bridge is illustrated in the story of the tightrope walker. The tightrope walker is making the slow and dangerous progress between animal and overman. The jester bears some resemblance to Zarathustra: he can move lightly (lightness and dancing are praised a great deal later in the book) and he can easily leap over those who are slower—in other words, he can cross the rope toward the overman. In urging the tightrope walker to hurry up, the jester upsets him and ruins him; similarly, Zarathustra’s preaching of the overman may upset and ruin the many people who are unable to deal with this news.

    Nietzsche makes many allusions in this book to the New Testament and to the ministry of Jesus. For instance, we are told that Jesus also went into the wilderness at the age of thirty, though rather than enjoying his stay there, Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in the forest being tempted and tormented by the devil. Nietzsche implicitly suggests that Jesus lacked the strength of will to enjoy his solitude, and could endure his loneliness for only just over a month. We also find echoes of the New Testament in Zarathustra’s musings that he has been unsuccessful in “fishing” for followers. Jesus told his apostles that they would be fishers for men. Moreover, unlike Jesus, Zarathustra explicitly says that he does not want to be a shepherd and lead a flock of sheep: rather, he wants to teach the individual to break free from the flock.

  35. HR said on March 25th, 2009 at 8:26pm #

    Just wonder if workers will be fooled, once again, into going along with fixing the kaputalistic system that treats them as objects to be used, at the lowest cost possible, and then discarded.

  36. russell olausen said on March 25th, 2009 at 8:51pm #

    Mr. Tennessee Chavizsta=You are the Man,well said and much appreciated.

  37. Max Shields said on March 26th, 2009 at 5:50am #

    Nietzsche talked about “capitalism” or “capitalists”? All of Nietzche’s writings are based in Antiquity and the “anti-Christ” Zarathustra is an example of his sense of “morality”. Nietzche was not a spokesman for an underclass, and tended to view good as something that can be achieved through power (not to be confused with imperialism) but the power to give. That only the truly powerful can give, that in fact regardless of title or wealth, that true giving to others is one of the key characteristics of true power.

    While I think Nietzche is a great thinker (perhaps one of the most fecund of the 20th Century) and his works do provide clarity, beyond “good and evil” and thus ideology, he was the complete opposite of an ideologue.

    Still, I do think that injecting Zarathustra amd Nietzche into this “dialog” is very useful.

  38. bozh said on March 26th, 2009 at 7:42am #

    is every person afraid of at least another person? i am talking about fears of being put dwn or chastised for real or imagined shortcomings.
    or is it 95% of adults who fear the wrath/scolding/criticism of at least one person?

    does any of us fear an ape? no, i’ve never heard of such a case.
    but priests, pols, and dogs have very strong vocal chords that i don’t wish on anyone.

    there is no question that people fear disapproval of other people. question is, how to teach people not to fear other peoples’ wrong and right thoughts.

    it can be seen that no amount of talking wld help any person to overcome own feelings of inferiority.
    thus, i am not a bit impressed what nitzche has to say. and it seems to me that, what he learned, had been learned by countless individuals from almost all folks.

    to bolster my conclusion, i offer jesus and his supposed teachings as an example of using zillions of words and not advance a cm.

    but a smile of a stranger or non-stranger is of value than anything jesus may have said. jesus, as a savior, had merely enabled the priests to spread hatred and intolerance.

    as a wise person said, To know how to criticise is good, but to create is better! tnx

  39. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 26th, 2009 at 7:46am #

    Max Shield: Yeah but if you think about Nietzsche’s philosophy of the self-power and Superman, what he says is true. That most men, most individuals are not really aware of their own self-power.

    According to Nietzsche, his task is to liberate individuals from that slavery mentality that people have, like a sort of fear. most individuals are not aware of their domination power, are not conscious of their own self-power

    So *awareness of individual’s self power* is the real answer and key to break out of the vicious trap of fear, insecurity and weakness against the totalitarian hegemony of the Democrats and Republican Corporate Parties

  40. Brian Koontz said on March 26th, 2009 at 10:11am #

    Slaves do not have a slave (craven) mentality – they have a revolutionary mentality.

    If someone holds a gun to one’s head one acts as a slave toward that person, that’s a form of wisdom. Notice that the phrase “give me liberty or give me death” has the outcome of death whenever liberty is not achieved. Death is the *antithesis* of slave values, thus death is the greatest threat to make against a slave, which masters well understand. Corporeal bravery, a devaluation of death, is largely held by masters not as a mark of their superiority over slaves (as they and their lackeys have long pretended), but as one of inferiority.

    Every revolution has three possible outcomes – death (for the revolter), freedom (for the revolter), or a return to slavery (for the revolter). I’ve never seen any reason to believe that slaves are against *wise* revolution – the disagreement among slaves is about *how* and *when* to revolt, not whether to revolt.

    One of Nietzsche’s tragic outcomes is the false assertion that humanity is cowed slaves. It’s not surprising that the 20th century featured so much fascism – Nietzsche was not an antidote to fascism but a *cause* of it.

    Nietzsche said that humanity needed saving and he would provide the philosophy of salvation. But if humanity in fact does NOT need saving then his assertion degrades humanity. Nietzsche made humanity *into* pathetic slaves rather than recognized it.

    A slave by necessity is deceitful. Master is always watching so the slave can never give away his revolutionary movement and intent, or he will be punished, perhaps even killed, and there goes the revolution.

    So Western slaves watch TV, while retaining an ascetic distance toward TV. These slaves play video games, while retaining an ascetic distance. These slaves never enjoy the world as crafted by master, not because they ARE slaves but because this lack of enjoyment maintains an emotional distance from the master’s tools, does not lure him into the master’s tools, and maintains his revolutionary processes.

    The normal Western slave, according to modern slave morality, is to pretend to be a happy slave while acting toward revolution.

    Masters can speak openly with each other, deceiving each other only with respect to competition for profit and control. For slaves deceit is far deeper and more meaningful – slaves must always keep their true power a secret, from master. Slaves have hidden secret languages among themselves – a slave’s glance is nothing like the look of a master. For a master, truth is what is spoken. For a slave, truth is always what is not spoken.

    The role of Nietzsche is not to save slaves, but to seduce them. To mock their weakness, to cause them to lose their composure, to make them insecure, to cause them to rage out and lose the fight for their freedom.

    Slaves do not form freedom organizations or freedom structures until they openly revolt. Slave culture is completely amorphous and mostly involves interactions between individuals – family and friends. It’s primary language is comprised of empathy and emotion.

    One way to exterminate slave culture is to kill these interactions. The final extermination of slaves will be by science – for science (and thus the elite) to gain control of human reproduction and take that control away from slaves.

    Nietzsche ignored the identity of slaves, slave culture (for which Christianity is largely a front), and slave desires, so he could degrade humanity and offer his “redemption” for it.

    Nietzsche wanted slaves to *express* power, to threaten the elite, and then for the elite to predictably respond. Nietzsche is harmful at worst and a fool at best.

    Love is the greatest slave interaction and forms the core of slave culture.

    The religion of slaves is not Christianity – it’s fellowship, friendship, love, and life.

  41. alosargoles said on March 26th, 2009 at 10:27am #

    Ok, so I’m confused. Was Nietzsche an ideologue or not? Is being an ideologue different than having an ideology? And is it even possible to not have an ideology? (I doubt that one)

  42. HR said on March 26th, 2009 at 11:54am #

    Bozh, I wouldn’t want to tangle with a chimpanzee, or any other ape, for that matter. They’re very strong. So, I for one fear them.

  43. bozh said on March 26th, 2009 at 11:55am #

    to me, self- power/courage cannot exist/increase without support of other courageous/powerful people.
    nietzche may have not espied the fact that to be is to be related; i.e., connected to other people and biota.
    thus influenced by and influencing not only the selfpower but thoughts; i.e., knowledge of others.

    a loner has much less power, etc. [or selfpower, whatever that may mean?] than a gregarious individual surounded with people who think much like the sociable person.
    in short, interdependence strenghtens and encourages interdependent people.
    independent people discourage belittle other independent people.
    this leads to the fact that most ruthless, possibly the stupidest, people take control over us, who think of selves as near-total dependency or independency.

    paradox appears to be, that rulers selves are strongly interdependent; thus supporting one another even in obvious crimes that their members perp.

    bailout for robbers shows that the ruling class covers for them. obviously, for robbers to have been able to rob so much, specific conditions wld have to have existed.
    and manufactured by the pardoners!
    unfortunately, our much enlarged genetic pool, is producing not just lotsof more geniuses than ever but also crooks.
    but, alack, geniuses don’t rule; crooks do. tnx

  44. bozh said on March 26th, 2009 at 12:22pm #

    i thought that i was clear about talking about fears of other peoples’ judgments.
    we seldom if ever fear a woman beating s’mone; perhaps women spank/beat kids only/mostly.
    perhaps, i shld have explicitly said that we don’t fear a dog’s or an ape’s judgment. tnx for your observation.

  45. Max Shields said on March 26th, 2009 at 12:44pm #

    Brian K. I’ll assume you are talking about Nietzsche in terms of “slave mentality”. If so I think that it is left to some interpretation. I do not read Nietzsche in the literal sense of slave but one who is incapable of giving (not just physically, but empathetically) has a slave mentality. To me it is clear that George W. Bush had a slave mentality, at least, what we saw of him and his actions.

    You can be the President or a lowly peasant have power or be powerless (slave).

    The beauty of putting this in Nietzcheian terms is that it takes us out of the realm of ideology. There has been controversy about Nazis using Nietzche to provide crediance to the “super race”, but Nietzche was far too subtle and would never think of Germans (of all people according to Nietzche) as a “super race”.

    Nietzche made one thing emphatically clear – as I recall from one of his aphorisms – “don’t follow me”. He had neither a school of thought nor a system of thought. I think would abhor Marx and Adam Smith.

    Here’s a distinction between Marx and Nietzche:
    “Note that Nietzsche and Marx/Engels use the concept of “dominance” differently. For Marx and Engels, the dominant group is the one we ordinarily understand as dominant, i.e., the group that controls wealth and power. Thus for Marx and Engels, the bourgeoisie is currently dominant, and the workers are destined to become dominant. For Nietzsche, however, the “naturally” dominant “masters” are not socially or economically dominant; in fact, they are enslaved in modern times by the more numerous “slaves,” who wield power by their sheer numbers.”

  46. mary said on March 26th, 2009 at 3:38pm #

    I have just watched a excellent documentary on BBC2 TV about the Exxon Valdez disastrous oil spill which happened 20 years ago on March 24th. If ever there was an example of capitalism wrecking people’s lives and their environment and livelihoods, that was it. This multinational company’s greed has known no bounds and I learnt that the $5 billion settlement first awarded to the fishermen in Prince William Sound was overturned on appeal and a sum in the region of $500 million substituted, making the sum to be paid to each fisherman about $12,000.

    Witnesses told of their health problems and others told of the effects on the birds and mammals by the million and especially upon the otters and the whales, and the fisheries. Even the life cycle of the molluscs has been damaged and oil can still be collected on the shores on the many islands in the sound. The employees of the company seemed not to show any guilt for the catastrophe to this day nor for the very slow and inadequate response to the massive spill that occurred but could best be described as blustering.

    A beautiful part of our planet was spoiled and ruined.

    Oil Spill – The Exxon Valdez Disaster is available on this link for the next seven days.

  47. bozh said on March 27th, 2009 at 4:43am #

    brian, you are right,
    people are not aware that they are talking past one another; which leads to bitterness, self pity, frusration, etc.
    or one feels that nobody understand her/him.
    as you have pointed out an ism contains many meanings; all several steps removed from descriptive/factual level.
    an ism is a high-order word and defining it cannot ever end. but enumeration of what an ism does, ends.
    so, the key to it all is to use three-step method of talking:
    1)describe an event; i.e., enumerate the facts that pertain, using descriptive/actional language
    2)offer a conclusion
    3)suggest what ought to be done

    of course, not all facts need to be collated; just the salient ones. and facts can be evaluated as true or false; an ism cannot be thus evaluated.
    or one cld conclude that when people talk about an ism, all are right by their own definitions.
    the word “IS” forces us to define an issue using “IS” on and on; thus people may keep talking about it forever.

  48. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 27th, 2009 at 8:22am #

    Hi, this is a message i sent to Bill Johnson the president of the World Socialist Party, a utopian-socialist from the political party World-Socialism in which they believe that USA could change from a corporate-capitalist system toward a money-less, wage-less, state-less anarcho-communism system without a transitorial stage of state-socialism, like Venezuela and other countries are doing, by slow reforms instead of by utopian dreams.

    (hahaha, he said i work for CIA and FBI haha)










  49. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 27th, 2009 at 8:34am #

    Max Shields: your perspective, and total information about reality is impecable. And indeed, the real caste of strong lords which Nietzsche talked about in his books, don’t have any thing to do with economic, political and monetary power, in fact those are the ideals and set of values of the herd capitalist wage and debt slaves, who are unable to set their own set of values are instead *enslaved* by what’s ordered to them thru law codes, moral-codes, habits and traditions. A real superman cannot be enslaved by any law, code, habits, tradition, if you think about it Bush, Obama, Clinton are slaves, they are enslaved by all the political laws, by their mentors, by how they are supposed to behave.

    In fact, you will never see Obama wearing a red shirt like Chavez, he always has to dress ‘morally and politically correct, with suits and ties’ like the average American Capitalist Psychos.

    For example a man who masturbates in a plane like Elvis Crespo (The merengue music singer, might be stronger than a moral “educated” man. defying laws, codes, breaking the laws is more revolutionary and a trait of supermen than being legalist and moralist.


  50. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 27th, 2009 at 8:38am #

    Oh, and by the way Bush didn’t break any set of laws and standards. So Bush wasn’t a superman or a law-breaker like people say. He didn’t break any laws. The US law system orders presidents to be evil and killers. Remember that the US constitution itself is fascist, and US laws enable presidents to be fascists and killers.

    That’s why that US constitutions and system needs to be reformed into socialist-consitution and system, in order to stop US fascism, US wars and crazyness !!

  51. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 27th, 2009 at 9:02am #

    BRIAN KOOTZ: Wow you just read my mind about TV, the great differences of physical appearance between of Hollywood stars and average american slaves. What i meant is just what you said:

    “So Western slaves watch TV, while retaining an ascetic distance toward TV. These slaves play video games, while retaining an ascetic distance. These slaves never enjoy the world as crafted by master, not because they ARE slaves but because this lack of enjoyment maintains an emotional distance from the master’s tools, does not lure him into the master’s tools, and maintains his revolutionary processes. The normal Western slave, according to modern slave morality, is to pretend to be a happy slave while acting toward revolution.”

    Yeah and what you said is true, i mean if you think about it, there is a great big line between the physical appearance, monetary status and well-being of the Hollywood stars, celebrities and Gods of the US masses, and the masses themselves who lead desperate lives which lead to sickness, ugliness, biological physical deformations and depression.

    So you are right, the US capitalist simulacra system offers you: a great body, luxury houses, nice cars, sex and enjoyment but you will never get to enjoy it. It’s like if you are hungry and starving and your master shows you a pizza, but you won’t be able to get a slice of it.

    It is fair to state that only about 20% to 30% in America can enjoy all the things shown in movies, while the remaining 70% are alienated and separated it from those pleasures, like great body, sex etc.

    Thanx for pointing that out, i think about it all the time !!

    So, the solution is to socialize pleasures and every thing for everybody


  52. bozh said on March 27th, 2009 at 9:19am #

    tennessee c, i concur,
    bush did the job he was assinged to do. O will do the job prescribed to him by experts, who are in employ of the ruling class

    prezs as a rule know very little; they are pols; their field of knowledge is narow; concetrating on how to get elected and have no time left to obtain a broad and enlightening education.

    nixon’s and carter’s fates show us that. [un]spoken rule is, Don’t cross uncle sam! nixon did that and had been deposed; altho for trivial reasons when it is juxtaposed with vietnam, hiroshima, iraq, palestina, etc.

    carter is being slurred for merely telling the truth that differed from uncle’s. the ruling class, which is fiercely interdependent, will not allow an independent view.
    one must remain interdependent no matter what. if one is not a member of the gang or mafia, one can be independent; the more the better; devisiveness being the goal.
    cosa nostra have seen this centuries ago. thnx

  53. Don Hawkins said on March 27th, 2009 at 9:24am #

    The so called elite’s are the biggest slaves of all. That feeling of power that is nothing more than an optical delusion of conciseness is the most powerful drug of all. They will do anything to get it keep it. Well what’s coming that delusion is over and we all get to go down together. Boring it will not be. A nice quiet cup of coffee anyone.

  54. Tennessee-Chavizta said on March 27th, 2009 at 11:53am #


    The Trap is not about the selfish rants of idealistic recent college grads seeking a life of starving activism. It is about a pervasive crisis facing America, where it is becoming ever harder to live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle and pursue a meaningful career, even after graduating from a top-class college and holding a steady professional job.

    The book begins discussing a national PR director who took a job she doesn’t enjoy in order to make enough money just to raise a family, “feel comfortable and have a sense of security.” Chapter one profiles a computer programmer with a six-figure income who qualified for affordable housing in the town where he works. We also meet a teacher who, like many, can no longer afford to live in his own school district.

    Chapter two features a “master’s degree-toting professional married to a Harvard-educated lawyer” in Washington D.C. who is worried about how she will afford to have a house and raise a family in the nation’s hyper-gentrified capital. Born in Denmark she “grew up thinking that part of social justice is you can…afford some pretty basic things like decent schooling.”

    In Chapter five we meet an aspiring tech industry entrepreneur in California, a government-hands-off libertarian, who is finding the path of starting his own business (the bread an butter of a free-market economy) almost impossible because of the high costs of entry including prohibitively expensive health insurance.

    The Trap also discusses lawyers and investment bankers, many of whom hoped to do more productive things with their lives, finding no other way to raise a family and pay off their colossal college loans than to join a corporate firm. There they work as essentially glorified secretaries doing menial tasks, working every waking hour in a job they hate, unable to enjoy their lives.

    The Trap explains, with substantive data, that today’s struggles of all but the wealthy is a pervasive problem. Today’s America makes entrepreneurship ever more difficult, and forces the nation’s best and brightest into a select few professions where their skills, intellect and creativity are barely put to use.

    But it was not always this way, The Trap explains. Our current crisis is the result of generations of new tax policy, reducing the burden of the wealthy, and putting greater and greater burden upon the middle class. College tuition, healthcare, home prices and other basic expenses have risen exponentially, while middle-class incomes have been simultaneously falling.

    The Trap also discusses how this crisis does not just affect the middle class. Understanding the nature of the crisis raises critical concerns about how we can even begin to think that America can provide opportunity for those born into poverty if those privileged enough to attain a good education and professional career have trouble making ends meet. After reading The Trap, it becomes clear that the solutions of reversing the failed tax policies of recent generations will be necessary to bring the American dream back within reach of all hard-working Americans.

    This book struck a strong chord for me personally. I have plenty of friends in this position, trapped in the “golden handcuffs.” I also find myself in “the trap,” having graduated from a US News and World Report top-ten college, holding a professional job with a decent salary and benefits, and yet living in an efficiency apartment, finding it difficult just to pay my bills each month, including exorbitant college loans. I come from a middle-class family, I do not have a trust fund, and in my mid-twenties I see no economic feasibility in the near future of buying a house or raising a family.

    The Trap is for all the members of my generation who cannot figure out why the American dream is eluding us. It is also for the boomer generation, like my friends’ parents, who cannot figure out why their children are making decent incomes and cannot afford a home–why it is so much harder today than it was for them.

    The Trap is surely one of the most important pieces of social criticism to be written in the past decade. I hope it is only the beginning of a true discussion about the crisis imposed on America by now several generations of failed social and economic policies. I also hope it starts us on the road to rethinking those policies and ushering in a new and more hopeful era.

    This book is a great counter-intuitive look at how growing income disparity in the United States is hurting all of us, not just those trying to make ends meet with minimum wage. And it’s not just 20-something independent filmmakers who are now struggling to pay the rent (although Brook does profile plenty of them) it’s the district attorney who stops putting criminals behind bars to work in a corporate law firm to make ends meet. Teachers who can’t even afford to buy a home in the city they teach in. Investment bankers, corporate attorneys and software engineers are all vital to the economy, but that doesn’t mean they should be the only people who can afford to pay off their college loans, buy a house and (gasp!) maybe let one of the parents stay home and raise the kids.

    With the world we live in today, I for one want the people who commit their lives to community service or who work for the government–analyzing terrorist threats, tracking down tax cheats and making sure the medicine and food (and toothpaste) we consume aren’t tainted–are the best qualified, best educated people available, not just those born rich or altruistic enough to take a cut in pay for work they think is important. With a mix of economics, sociology and anecdotal reporting, Brook does a great job showing how the skyrocketing costs of health care, education and housing, combined with (and caused by) the shift in the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle-class, is hurting us all.

    President Bush says that community service should replace big government intervention; that’s fine, but as Brook shows, America’s economy is making it increasingy hard for people to even do that.

  55. Brian Koontz said on March 28th, 2009 at 6:16am #

    In reply to Max Shields:

    “Brian K. I’ll assume you are talking about Nietzsche in terms of “slave mentality”. If so I think that it is left to some interpretation. I do not read Nietzsche in the literal sense of slave but one who is incapable of giving (not just physically, but empathetically) has a slave mentality. To me it is clear that George W. Bush had a slave mentality, at least, what we saw of him and his actions.”

    Nietzsche talked about slave mentality in terms of “herd mentality”, in contrast with the “rugged individual”, which he considered himself to be. Rugged individuals are the antidote to the herd mentality in the short term, and a return to a Greco-Roman culture of nobility is the long term antidote, according to how I read Nietzsche.

    “You can be the President or a lowly peasant have power or be powerless (slave).”

    That’s naive. A lowly peasant has to spend most of his life just keeping himself alive – that’s the way slavery works – to *prevent* slaves from morality, which is why slaves value morality so highly. Not because they *are* moral but because they have so little opportunity to express it.

    Bear in mind that “poor Americans” are not slaves – poor Americans are the equivalent of the servants of lords, who get perks for their proximity to power. Most of the rest of the world are the true slaves.

    Peasants are the “herd” and the elite are the “rugged individuals”.

    “The beauty of putting this in Nietzcheian terms is that it takes us out of the realm of ideology. There has been controversy about Nazis using Nietzche to provide crediance to the “super race”, but Nietzche was far too subtle and would never think of Germans (of all people according to Nietzche) as a “super race”.”

    He thought someone was. He spent a lot of time and emotional energy talking about his own ancestry, and claiming that “above all I am not a German”. Nietzsche would say that he was talking about *culture* (which he explicitly stated could be superior or inferior) but given the limited amount of physical movement across genetically-linked individuals in the past there is quite a connection between race and culture (not so much anymore in the modern homogenized world).

    If certain cultures are superior to others, having more “giving” according to your analysis of Nietzsche, and these cultures are closely linked to race, then some races are more “giving” than others.

    And certain cultural traits (such as imperialism) are connected to racial ones (such as white supremacy).

    “Nietzche made one thing emphatically clear – as I recall from one of his aphorisms – “don’t follow me”. He had neither a school of thought nor a system of thought. I think would abhor Marx and Adam Smith.”

    Nietzsche also believed that “anything goes” in the quest for power, so the humility of “don’t follow me” or his “concern” that he would be made holy after his death can be read as a kind of calculation. Nietzsche likened himself to Jesus Christ and likened Christ’s charisma to an expression of Christ’s desire to be followed. So Nietzsche pretended to have anti-charisma, going so far as to cultivate a distasteful and ascetic personality, just so that anyone who disagreed with him could be disregarded as irrational. Even today, the most common response to someone who criticizes Nietzsche is “you just don’t get Nietzsche”. What other philosopher has a built-in “can’t be criticized” filter within his own philosophy?

    Nietzsche, much like Obama or Keanu Reeves (pardon the comparisons), is a blank slate upon which anything can be written. So Nazis and everyone else can find in Nietzsche whatever they’d like. It’s irresponsible for a philosopher to be a blank slate. The 20th century in part is a result of that irresponsibility, that immaturity, and that naivety that is the legacy of Nietzsche.

    Here’s a distinction between Marx and Nietzche:
    “Note that Nietzsche and Marx/Engels use the concept of “dominance” differently. For Marx and Engels, the dominant group is the one we ordinarily understand as dominant, i.e., the group that controls wealth and power. Thus for Marx and Engels, the bourgeoisie is currently dominant, and the workers are destined to become dominant. For Nietzsche, however, the “naturally” dominant “masters” are not socially or economically dominant; in fact, they are enslaved in modern times by the more numerous “slaves,” who wield power by their sheer numbers.”

    I believe that at least on some days of the week Nietzsche fantasized about an end to power relations, and I agree that Marx and Engels wanted the rulership of the proletariat. On other days of the week Nietzsche believed that the rulership of the many (the herd) by the few (the powerful) was the rightful way of things, with his support of “great men” and support of Greco-Roman culture merely two illustrations.

    So shall we talk about the Nietzsche of Sunday, or the Nietzsche of Monday? The Nietzsche after he woke up in the clear bright morning, or the Nietzsche after a painful reminder of his invalidity? The Nietzsche who resented his mother, or the Nietzsche who loved her?

    Nietzsche is irrational.