As Long as the Wars Continue, We Must Resist Them

As the casualty figures climb in Afghanistan and dip in Iraq and support for those wars plummets, the question of troop resistance remains on the table. According to US military estimates, desertion and AWOL rates have climbed since the resistance in Iraq began its armed campaign against the US occupation. In addition, recruitment numbers dropped drastically, although they have began to climb since the economy began its collapse in Fall 2008. Soldiers and Marines have been stop-lossed and their tours of duty in the combat zones were extended. In addition, many troops serve not one, but two or three consecutive tours with as little as one month stateside between tours. All of these phenomena have created increased levels of stress and depression among the troops, leading to one of the highest known suicide rates among veterans and active duty troops ever.

Many readers know at least one man or woman who has done time in Iraq or Afghanistan. Although most vets seem to adjust to civilian life once they are through with their military duty, many others do not. indeed, even those who appear to be adjusting just fine often cause concern among their friends and relatives because of changes in their behavior. The Veteran’s Administration (VA) is notoriously inept and callous in its treatment of vets, despite the best efforts of some individuals within the organization that struggle against the overwhelming bureaucratic odds and inadequate funding endemic in the agency. Newspapers run stories regularly about veterans lacking care, lashing out at family members or others, and most tragically of all, killing themselves. Yet, the Pentagon continues to push for an escalation of the war in Afghanistan while carrying on what appears to be a heated debate over whether or not to withdraw from Iraq.

Meanwhile, the US antiwar movement founders in the wake of a substantial part of its membership giving their collective soul to the Democratic Party. Since November 2008, it’s as if the bloodshed perpetrated by US policy in Iraq and Afghanistan is okay because Barack Obama is leading the charge instead of George Bush. Besides the National Assembly’s call for local and regional protests against the Iraq occupation and Afghan war in October, there has been barely a peep from other national antiwar organizations. This is despite the fact that Congress and Obama have approved several more billion dollars for the wars and the size of the US force in Afghanistan has nearly doubled while the promised withdrawal of US forces in Iraq has not even begun.

will-to-resist_cover_smallIt is the opinion of many anti-warriors that veterans have a key role to play in any organized resistance. After all, it was their presence in the movement against the Vietnam war that shook the conscience of the US public in that war’s later years. However, as Dahr Jamail and his subjects point out again and again, the strength in numbers and the political power of the GI movement against the war in Vietnam was directly related to the strength of the greater antiwar movement. So, despite the commitment of today’s GI and veteran resisters profiled in Jamail’s book, The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, that commitment is limited by the weakness of the antiwar movement as a whole.

Jamail highlights the various organizations organizing GI resistance, from the Iraq Veterans Against the War to the group Courage to Resist. He also commits a chapter to each of the primary forms of resistance and reasons for that resistance. He describes instances of individual resistance and the refusal of entire units to carry out missions. He also explores the nature of the sexist culture of the military and the immorality of the wars themselves. One of the most interesting chapters in The Will to Resist is titled “Quarters of Resistance.” It describes the mission and interior of a house in Washington, DC run by a couple veterans. The purpose of the house is to operate as a sort of clearinghouse for the GI resistance movement. At times, the house has provided shelter for veterans and GIs attending antiwar activities in DC. It is also a place that the founder of the house, Geoffrey Millard, calls a “training ground for resistance.” In addition to these quarters, Jamail discusses the beginnings of a coffeehouse movement slowly developing outside major US military bases.

Jamal’s book is also about his learning to understand and appreciate the humanity of the US soldier. Originally inclined to consider them all killers without conscience, his conversations and other interactions with the young men and women who have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan to kill in America’s name have led him to understand that many of these folks struggle with their souls on a daily basis. With this growing understanding of folks who are essentially his contemporaries, The Will to Resist becomes more than just another collective biography of troops who discover their conscience under the duress of war.

If the current commander of US troops in Afghanistan has his way, there will be more than 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan by the end of the summer in 2010. Already, Barack Obama has approved adding 20,000 more active duty troops to the 1,473,900 already on duty. Without public protest, the escalation of the war in Afghanistan is certain to continue. In addition, General Odierno in Iraq insists that US troops remain in that country, as well. Furthermore, the likelihood of combat against other foes chosen by Washington increases. Resistance is never easy, as the men and women in The Will to Resist can tell us. However, if the people who poured into the streets to protest Bush’s war are truly opposed to war, then they should also make an appearance in those same streets now that the war is Obama’s.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground and Tripping Through the American Night, and the novels Short Order Frame Up and The Co-Conspirator's Tale. His third novel All the Sinners, Saints is a companion to the previous two and was published early in 2013. Read other articles by Ron.

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  1. Annie Ladysmith said on August 7th, 2009 at 12:33pm #

    I’m so glad Jamal, whereever he’s from, is learning that the young and sometimes economically desparate young men who ‘join-up’ are probably some of the best souls we have in their generation. They are clueless, they believe their country is doing the right thing and they love their flag that they are dying for. Another point: they love their home towns and they have taken an oath to defend the constitution. (That makes them a danger to the Novus Ordo Seclorum crowd).

    The first Gulf War veterans are dying in droves. It is hard to believe that it is as mysterious as the government states it is.
    Dr. Healy from Dallas has done imaging of some of the guys that were near the hugh explosion when the US ordered the destruction of Camosea. He concludes there is imaging evidence to show brain damage in the prefrontal cortex (controls judgement and social interaction). There is an increase in crime and other antisocial behaviors, 90% divorce rate. Not only did the Bush team take out the Iraq army but they also took out a great chunk of the US army. The guys that are over there now will also come back sick and dying (DU has a half life of 4 1/2 BILLION years. For all intents and purposes the citizens of the US will be rendered defenseless.

    However, foreign troops are now being trained on US soil under FEMA and with the raging impatience to get the census underway a year early, so Fema can have our front door coordinants on their GPS system, it dosn’t take a lot of thought to see where we’re heading.
    Back to my point: i only have the utmost respect for my military brothers and sisters, they have always paid the price and they still are paying it. They come home from a place they didn’t want to be and get dumped by everyone. Besides, there was a lot of support for this invasion after 9/11, we all share the quilt of not being smarter than the cunning vipers that run our politics behind the scene.

  2. Erroll said on August 7th, 2009 at 3:16pm #

    Annie Ladysmith makes an excellent point when she notes the increasing number of maimed and crippled soldiers who are returning from Afghanistan [I almost typed the word Vietnam for Afghanistan]. A letter in the USA Today about two weeks ago [entitled Where Is the Outrage?] also brought home the same point when it observed that those soldiers coming back to this country in body bags and grievously wounded are met by their families with nary a protest against their government for having placed their loved ones unjustifiably in that position. Contrast that with the scene in the powerful documentary Sir! No Sir! when the male nurse said that not one soldier whom he had helped take care of in the neurology department at Fort Lewis, Wa. during the Vietnam War who had been paralyzed from the neck down had said that what they had gone through was worth it. It is as if, as the letter stated, that the families of today’s soldiers are all too often mesmerized by the crispness of the military uniform and the sight of the American flag to comprehend that they, like their relatives, have been had by their most uncaring government.

  3. Annie Ladysmith said on August 7th, 2009 at 7:44pm #

    Dear Errol, thank you. After 9/11 they tried to brainwash everyone to accept the ‘WAR ON TERROR’. If you get all your body parts blown off by an IUD (is that the correct initials)?, you did it for your country because we’re fighting that freaking, made-up pile of hogshit lies called THE WAR ON TERROR. It’s not going to end until we’re all dead.

  4. mary said on August 8th, 2009 at 1:25am #

    Lance Corporal Glenton is awaiting a court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan. A good man. He will probably receive a prison sentence like Flt Lt. Malcolm Kendall Smith before him. He was a RAF psychologist who refused to return to Iraq. One suspects he had seen too many of the horrors of torture and the like.

    General Richards the new Chief of the General Staff says this morning that the UK will have a presence in Afghanistan for the next forty years! A man as mad as his controllers, the psychopaths-in-charge, Blair and now Brown.

    Dahr Jamail, one of the few unembedded journalists in Iraq and a very brave young man, reported on the horror that was Fallujah, received the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Literature from John Pilger, along with another brave young man, his co winner Mohammed Omer. He reported out of Gaza and was arrested at the Allenby crossing on his return, tortured by the Shin Bet and was hospitalized. He is currently in Holland receiving treatment and so the Israelis have achieved their purpose by silencing him. That makes three good men I have mentioned here.

    PS Dahr Jamail wrote Beyond The Green Zone, an essential read for the study of the Iraq war. He signed my copy when I met him and Mohammed at the Martha Gellhorn prizegiving. Both are modest and unassuming young men and also old before their years. Imagine the horrors they have seen.

  5. mary said on August 8th, 2009 at 2:40am #

    I have just come across this poem by Gary Corseri on Counterpunch’s Poets’ Basement which I found extremely moving. His final couplet says it all.

    The Wound That Devoured the World
    By Gary Corseri

    It was blue.
    Like the color in an oil slick
    In a puddle on a New York street
    He’d seen as a kid.

    It spread across the sky
    And blotted the sun.

    It wailed like Coltrane’s sax.
    And cracked like fine china—
    Spider-web cracks
    Across a sky made of china.

    It was the world’s wound and it was in him.
    Shrapnel exploding in his gut.

    It was some stupid Afghan kid
    Getting his foot blown off
    Because he kicked a landmine
    That looked like a soccer ball.

    It was some stupid G.I.
    Getting his head blown off
    Because he bought the lies.

    It was an auto dealer in Michigan
    Losing his business after 40 years.

    It was a homeless man in Houston
    Who couldn’t figure it out.

    It was learning your kid has cancer.

    It was an auto wreck killing your sweetheart.

    It was your one true love loving another.

    It was hunger, ruin, disgrace
    And a lifetime of if only’s.

    It was the world’s wound.

    They said if you went into it, it could heal you.
    Jung called it the Archetype of the Wounded Healer.
    Christ on the cross comes back to heal the world.
    Buddha under the Bodhi tree
    Takes on the demons, suffers their wounds.

    Know that the World is dreaming.
    Know that your life is wound in a wound.
    Every event in your life, good or bad,
    Has led to this blistering wound.
    Good or bad, you will never recover
    Your life before the wound.

    Everything hinges on an eyelid—
    The world’s wound giveth and taketh away.

  6. Absolute-Marxist said on August 8th, 2009 at 3:33pm #



    My nostradamic mentality foresees a very ugly future for America in 2012: Sarah Palin for president, and Huckabee for vice president.

    This is a message to all Democrats out there:

    Beware of the Republican Nazi Fascist Party. The Republican Lunatics want to stage a coup de etat against the democratically elected President Barack Obama.

    That’s why they support the coup de etat against Zelaya in Honduras.

    Another fascist far-right militia are the Tea Party Terrorists who are composed of nazi far-right wing terrorists like the Minute Men, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Lew Rockwell, Alex Jones, Ron Paul, Jeff Rense, ultra-right wing evangelical protestants, and most high cupula leaders from the Republican Party like Sarah Palin who is one of the most reactionary nazis in The GOP. She is very dangerous for America.

    You people don’t realize the danger that these types of people represent for the world. These people are psychopaths and dangerous. I mean i was real happy when Obama won in these elections. Because if it wasn’t for Obama and The Democrat Party we would be in the Middle of a Nuclear Terrorist Armageddon.

    As bad and as terrible as Obama has been, he is less evil than Sarah Palin.

    Sarah Palin is calling on her facebook for a violent coup de etat against Obama, she said that the US government Health Reform will kill Americans !!

    And she is inflaming her evangelical zionist pro-Israel fundamentalist rednecks and ultra-wing pro-gun citizens from the Red States to revolt against US gov.

    Just like the Anti-Chaviztas in Venezuela, like the people of Globovision.


  7. Absolute-Marxist said on August 8th, 2009 at 6:28pm #


    It’s a video about life in the suburbs of America where the houses all look the same, made by same builder, the roads all look the same, the cars all look the same, opinions and thoughts in society are all provided, the future is pre-decided, people are detached and subidived in mass production zones. Growing up in American can turn anybody into a conformist drone, USA is so one-sided. Even the opinions all provided by CNN, FOX, Jay Leno, David Letterman and all talk shows. Its also a song about non-conformity and how American society tries to make people into a conforming drone. This is particularily bad in most cities suburbs where homes are built exactly the same by the same builder, and high school is all about being part of the crowd. The song is about the need for conformity and mass consumerism in the capitalist society we live in. Modern capitalism cannot function without it. When I listen to it, I hear an amazingly written eulogy for society by Neil.

    I also think it represents Neil falling away a bit from his earlier beliefs, as he’s mentioned he had. There is nothing inherently wrong with suburbia or living in it, if that is what someone desires. A lot of people don’t have the desire to go to “the bright lights.” This song is clearly more about conformity, which can be found anywhere: the suburbs, in the city, or “the far unlit unknown.” In my opinion, the only flaw in this song is the focus on suburbia as the only place where conformity can be found. Popular opinion has been manipulated to belive that The Suburbs are the worst place for conformity. Conformity also occurs when many people seek the same thing, including excitement in The Bright Lights (Everyone else is doing “the cool thing”, so why shouldn’t I?). That being said, Subdivisions is my favorite Rush song, and the best synth song ever. So much to write about this song. Basically, it?s a song about the ? ticking traps? that so many people fall into. A nightmare world where a person’s main desire is a never ending escape from the suburbs. The suburbs can take many forms: from the boring, quiet life of suburbia to the pleasure seeking thrill ride of the big city. Ultimately, the suburbs offer nothing meaningful, and there is no escape within or between them.

    However, in the first verse an outlet is available: the far unlit unknown.? This unknown exist within each person-the unique thoughts and feelings that make an individual; tragically, few venture very far into this territory. I’m also inclined to think that it’s more about teens trying to breakaway from suburbia (and thier upper-middle class parents telling them HOW to think/beleive/be), only for some to discover (as Peart writes) ”

    …Some will sell their dreams for small desires – Or lose the race to rats – Get caught in ticking traps ” Afterwards these suburb-raised, city-stressed folk “…start to dream of somewhere – To relax their restless flight – Somewhere out of a memory – Of lighted streets on quiet nights… ” I think it’s more of a commentary on the seduction of city life and the potential trappings it brings. It is also a social commentary on how cliques are hurtful, and how expectations of comformity often drive away our best and brightest. Very much like the suburbs of Chicago

    RUSH Subdivisions

    Sprawling on the fringes of the city
    In geometric order
    An insulated border
    In between the bright lights
    And the far unlit unknown

    Growing up it all seems so one-sided
    Opinions all provided
    The future pre-decided
    Detached and subdivided
    In the mass production zone

    Nowhere is the dreamer
    Or the misfit so alone

    Subdivisions —
    In the high school halls
    In the shopping malls
    Conform or be cast out
    Subdivisions —
    In the basement bars
    In the backs of cars
    Be cool or be cast out
    Any escape might help to smooth
    The unattractive truth
    But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
    The restless dreams of youth

    Drawn like moths we drift into the city
    The timeless old attraction
    Cruising for the action
    Lit up like a firefly
    Just to feel the living night

    Some will sell their dreams for small desires
    Or lose the race to rats
    Get caught in ticking traps
    And start to dream of somewhere
    To relax their restless flight

    Somewhere out of a memory

  8. beverly said on August 8th, 2009 at 6:31pm #

    Absolute Marxist:
    The lesser of two evils is still evil. Obama may have won but the action and inaction of his administration and the Democrats are leading us on a path to Armageddon be it of the terrorist type, economic collapse type, or a combination of maladies.

    Perhaps a McCain/Palin win would have been best. At least the Democrats and their supplicant followers (well, at least some of them) would be raising more of a stink/putting up a fight against the warmongering and bankrupting that is going on now. As it stands, if the deafening silence and complicity continues, we are in deep excrement.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain said on August 8th, 2009 at 7:10pm #

    I read a piece from the WSWS recently where they listed the violent crimes of returned US killers from Iraq. I seem to remember it was from Colorado, somewhere. The crimes had been brutal and horrific, but what really chilled the blood was the testimony of one killer as to the horrors he had witnessed in Iraq, inflicted by these psychopaths on defenceless Iraqi civilians. The depictions were too brutal to recount but sounded suspiciously to my ears like the acting out on real people of scenes from ‘splatter’ horror movies.
    I also remember a brief brouhaha early on during the Iraqi carnage where the Quakers, I believe, had stumbled upon a racket where death pornography from Iraq, images of eviscerated, decapitated, carbonised Iraqis, captured by Yankee psychopaths in uniform, were being swapped for sexual pornography over the internet. Apparently there’s a big market in the US for that kind of stuff.
    With these insane assertions that the carnage in Afghanistan will go on for another forty years, with the plain intent, under Obama the House Negro, to extend the slaughter to Pakistan and Iran, and to accelerate the killing in Somalia, and Israel’s increasing threats to obliterate Lebanon and Gaza again, it is surely plain by now just what is going on. Israel and the US are ‘blooding’ NATO in Afghanistan for a future role as the military spearhead of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’. I remember a prescient article in Asia Times, a couple of years ago, where a German intelligence agent, operating under a pseudonym, outlined how the German military, through ‘exchanges’ with the US military, were being indoctrinated into the brutal imperialist agenda of the US, and into the savagely racist and xenophobic mindset behind it. As we know the US military is becoming increasingly dominated by Christian fundamentalists, particularly in the chaplain corps, and the leaders of privatised military such as Blackwater, profess in private that they are involved in a Holy War against Islam. Clearly the worst is yet to come, but one cannot doubt any longer that all those stories of Christian Zionists seeking to provoke The Apocalypse so that they could be ‘raptured’ to God’s side were not somebody’s idea of a sick joke, after all.

  10. lichen said on August 8th, 2009 at 9:15pm #

    Yes, good points Mulga; any fascists coming here to say that the military contain the “best souls” of the young generations is blind, stupid, and ugly; the best souls would never participate in such a disgusting, anti-life organization as the military. They are serial-killing scum, and, indeed, many of them have made the mistake of continuing the serial killing/serial raping here at home, committing crimes which for americans can only be inflicted upon people in the middle east or children without serious consequence. Many countries in Latin America and Africa have learned the hard way that the military can be the opposite of an asset – and glorifying it as part of a reactionary culture is even more dangerous.

  11. lichen said on August 8th, 2009 at 9:16pm #

    We must resist militarism in itself.

  12. Myles Hoenig said on August 9th, 2009 at 6:52am #

    Oh? There’s an anti-war movement in this country?
    There was an anti-Bush’s war but not an anti-war movement, at least not when they gave a pass to all the Democrats that supported the continuation through funding, from the beginning.
    First they endorsed Kerry, who was even more hawkish than Bush, and then they endorsed Obama, who never opposed the occupation but just the war.

    The war was completely over on Dec 30, 2006, when the occupied government hanged Hussein. The first puppet government was installed on June 28, 2004. From that day onward, it has been an occupation, not a war. True, Iraqi patriots were still fighting but they were fighting an occupying empire. So when Obama campaigned on ‘ending the war’ he knew he was speaking to a gullible electorate. In fact, he was still a state senator when he was against the war, and as a new senator (Jan 05) the war was already 6 months over.

    Now it is Obama’s war and there isn’t a peep.

  13. Sam Simple said on August 9th, 2009 at 10:26am #

    Amen, Myles. There is no real anti-war movement in the United States. If there is, it is so inconsequential as to be non-existent. Where is the opposition to the build-up of troops in Afghanistan? Where is Cindy Sheehan? There is no one.

    Conservatives freak out over the U.S. government spending $100 billion per year (i.e. $1 trillion over 10 years) to provide health care for all Americans and then Congress approves a $636 billion “defense” budget for the Pentagon, which doesn’t even include the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Six times as much! What is wrong with these death-worshipping deviants?

  14. Absolute-Marxist said on August 9th, 2009 at 12:08pm #

    beverly: I know what you say, both parties are capitalists, imperialists, and part of the US status quo. But to tell you the truth i was real happy when Obama and The Democratic Party won.

    In fact, even the capitalists were happy, because The Republican Party is not even a capitalist party. It is a Nazi Party. The Republican Party was taken over not by capitalists, but by a cabal of lunatics (Neoconservatives). They were actually concentrated in taking the whole world to the brink of a nuclear armageddon.

    The neocons that tookover The Republican Party are not capitalists, nor right-wingers. These people are real crazy and psychopaths. That’s why Capitalists, Wall Street, Big Capitalists and the bourgeoise class (Middle and small businesses), and the left, supported Obama. Because The Democratic Party and Obama was a necessary evil medicine in order to prevent a whole destruction of mankind.

    Sarah Palin and John Mccain were actually even thinking about bombing Spain and some European Nations, all supported by her loyal 1 million facebook evangelical argmaeddonist lunatic fans

  15. Absolute-Marxist said on August 9th, 2009 at 12:18pm #

    lichen: indeed, US gov. should change from an imperialism to a republic by cleaning itself out of fascist generals and fascist people. And then by closing all military bases etc.

    However since i am an electoral modern new Marxist, i understand that a change in USA won’t happen within *regular elections* but thru an electoral-revolution Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa style. I mean a whole awakening of US poor people into accepting socialism and marxism as only solution for America and winning elections massively on 2012.

    and also getting away from all the crazy right-wing ideologies that exist in USA like libertarianism, paleoconservatism, conspiracy theory libertarians, Ron Paul, Tea Party Baggers, Reform Party, Constitutionalist Party etc.

    Only leftist ideology can fix USA


  16. Deadbeat said on August 9th, 2009 at 12:33pm #

    Absolute-Marxist makes a good point and it is a point that I think us Obama critics tend to gloss over. The right wing in the U.S. is quite extreme and they do have access to the media. I alluded to this during the election last year and especially as an argument against Glen Ford’s blaming the Obama voter stance. His critique of Obama is on the mark but believing that especially people of color voted for Obama because of his race misses the fact that the Left is too weak and divided to offer an alternative and with a Republican Party that built itself on the back of racism, people of color will pragmatically choose the lesser evil.

    This is yet another reason why Ralph Nader’s mantra of “more voices, more choices” sent exactly the opposite message needed by the Left and that is a UNIFIED voice and a UNITED FRONT (aka SOLIDARITY).

    Another point also extrapolated from Absolute’s response is that it is clear that not ALL motivations is grounded in “U.S. Imperialism”. Which many on the Left (especially those followers of Noam Chomsky) espouses. It is obvious that many on the right are motivated by RACISM (White Supremacy and Zionism). The fact that the Left refuses to acknowledge this fact is a major reason why Zionism has been allowed to flourish in the United States.

    Ronald Reagan inaugurated his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Clearly the message he was sending to the nation is that RACISM is central to building his coalition.

  17. mary said on August 9th, 2009 at 12:59pm #

    Will the American people go along with this – the war itself, its duration and the cost?

    Analysts Expect Long-Term, Costly U.S. Campaign in Afghanistan
    By Walter Pincus
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, August 9, 2009

    A Marine gunner holds fort as his comrades conduct the raid in Safar Bazaar. The Obama administration is in the process of overhauling the U.S. approach to Afghanistan, and analysts say this will call for significant commitments. (Nikki Kahn – The Washington Post)

    Marine Sgt. Christopher Henry, 25, guides his light-armored vehicle over the Helmand River on the way to a mission at Safar Bazaar in the southern province of Helmand. The raid occurred last month. (Photos By Nikki Kahn — The Washington Post)

    As the Obama administration expands U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, military experts are warning that the United States is taking on security and political commitments that will last at least a decade and a cost that will probably eclipse that of the Iraq war.


    PS Log in might be required

  18. Max Shields said on August 9th, 2009 at 1:12pm #


    I don’t know why you keep defending Obama. I know, you say, “we who criticize…” but if you want to read obfiscation read your posts when Obama comes into play.

    Just listening to an old Jackson Browne, Lives in The Balance. It says it all Ron. Every word of those lyrics which were written during the Reagan era, and was at the time of our contra support and low intensity wars in Central America.

    Absolutely nothing has changed…he got it one hundred percent right than and it’s never stopped..from how we elect the “leaders” right on to how we wage endless war…

    We go on and on and on here with our words…the only thing that will end this is not some kind of “left” uprising which will never occur just because there is no “left” to uprise…but as the engine sputters and stammers…it’s in process…and when it falls you can either be part of the problem or the solution as they say (and the solution begins NOW). Create resilent communities…get off the fossile drug…and start local economies. The rest is just meaningless talk.

  19. Max Shields said on August 9th, 2009 at 1:14pm #

    About that fossile drug we’ve od on for the past 60 years, that the middle finger going up to future generations as we suck the wells of the earth dry….aren’t we just a pitiful lot!

  20. bozh said on August 9th, 2009 at 2:16pm #

    maybe, it is simpler than what most people think about what is happeninig in US.
    it is, appears to me, about retaining or expanding what one has; thus, what is now [or has for last 3 centuries] happening in US is happening [or had been happening for millennia; hey, we’re all bipeds] in india, china, egypt, assyria, roman empire, and elsewhere.
    the wealth can only come from planet; thus, the race for it by the richest and strongest.
    a rich american, methinks, thinks and acts exactly like a rich russian, german, indian, italian, et al.
    i think, this analyses demystifies the mystories posited by the rich people mostly.
    they posit many religions, ideologies, systems, theories, etc., solely in order to make an enormous complexity out of a simplicity.
    then to further confound a houseperson, they create hundreds of , if not, thousands of movements and orgs.
    and the mess, in which probably 95+% people get lost, is on and on and on.

  21. Max Shields said on August 9th, 2009 at 2:28pm #

    Bozh, I agree. What the US has done is refine to an unsustainable level.

    The magnitude is greater than anything historically experienced and so we should I think we should not see the US as simply an example of an anscient human episode.

    Americans are not a separate species to be sure, and trashing the planet did not begin in the West, it has just reach a level much greater than all of human history combined.

    Petro was the fools gold that led to a massive plunging of the planet. We’ve grown a population the likes the world has never witnessed in a blink of an eye. In parallel with this growth of the human species is the extinction of plant and animal life at levels never before occuring on the planet. Of the earth’s estimated 10 million species, 300,000 have vanished in the past fifty years. Each year, 3,000, to 30,000 species become extinct, an all-time high for the last 65 million years! Within one hundred years, between one-third and two-thrids of all birds, animals, plants, and other species will be lost. Nearly 25 percent of the 4,630 known mammal species are now threatened with extinction, along with 34 percent of fish, 25 percent of amphibians, 20 percent of reptiles, and 11 percent of birds. Even more species are having population declines.

    This killing of the planet has happened because and during the great juggnaut of fossil exploit…the engine that has made this civilization at every level.

    Biology is clear, humans cannot exist in isolation of these life forms. We are completely interdependent creatures – fauna and flora.

  22. Don Hawkins said on August 9th, 2009 at 2:29pm #

    By golly Bozh you may have it. And in so doing some are more addicted to the system than others. Probably a good idea to go through a 12 step program now as will help later on. What just the last 100 years to make it so complex the chances of something breaking has increased by how much. Oh about all of it. The coming years it will be simple the change over could be a bit difficult. When you see Canada being barbed wired off it has started.

  23. Don Hawkins said on August 9th, 2009 at 2:42pm #

    Yes Max and now we are being told by people with no skin in the game so to speak warning warning warning and what is our response? Cap and trade or cash for clunkers. The clunkers I see are the minds high upon that hill and the people who tell us to call call now. It’s a joke right they can’t be serious.

  24. Don Hawkins said on August 9th, 2009 at 2:59pm #

    But wait technology will save us from ourselves. Did anybody ever see the movie the matrix? Save us while maintaining the status quo cash for clunkers and the moon is made of green cheese. “People of Earth we are in deep do do”, and what are the chances of that speech being given by so called leaders? About the same as maintaining the status quo.

  25. Max Shields said on August 9th, 2009 at 3:15pm #

    Don, yes one does not get out of a dilemma by stimulating it.

    Pushing the auto is a deadend. The energy expenditure for new cars is massive. You are better keeping the old clunker, repairing it and keeping it on the road. It actually saves energy; EVEN IF THE CLUNKER CAN’T PASS FUEL EMISSION. These an economic and physical fact!

    In fact, I was looking through a historical book of the city I live in. It spans the last hundred years or so. My city was settled over 3 centuries ago. You see the people walking all over the city. Literally hundreds and hundreds (this is a very small city). Then you turn the page and see the trolley tracks paved over, and with each picture the auto takes over. There are finally more autos then people, and then the streets are almost bare with nothing but autos parked here and there and there and here and here and the earth is asphalted to make room for more and more and more autos.

    I live in a city which has shrunk but nearly half in population. It is distressed according to the State and received yearly “stimulus” or remittance money which keeps it poor; poverty exceeding the county and much of the State. The auto didn’t cause it all, but it is central. The mobility created, pushed people out while diminishing accessibility.

    The sprawl has destroyed open space and farmland with big boxes and strip malls and brown fields. It is an ugly ulcerated spot on aerial photos when compared to 80 years prior when the city was dense, walkable, and the outskirts were fill with green fields, bountiful farms, and open space and wooded preserves and few roads or highways criss-crossing the landscape.

    Today’s ulcertated photo is labeled PROGRESS….and it’s literally kill us.

  26. bozh said on August 9th, 2009 at 3:37pm #

    in short, world’s rich people worship only wealth. And seems to me, they align with priests because priestly class of life always support the rich and both classes regard selves as a cut above the priestly serfs and us the ‘godless’ and die untermenschliche menschen.
    and man had been, since ca 10-20K yrs ago, the greatest enemy of man; mainly because of the rapaciousness and higher status of the patricians.
    also, ein uebermensch in der ewigkeit gegen einen untermensch.
    and for a long time it had been primarily priests who were actually also the rulers.
    and at one time kings of mesopotamia were regarded as gods.
    the wordl looks more brutal than ever but mainly because of ‘better’ weapony. Mind u, i wldn’t deny that perhaps we are getting worse as well. tnx

  27. Deadbeat said on August 9th, 2009 at 4:05pm #

    I don’t know why you keep defending Obama.

    I knew my response would draw you out Max to misstate what I wrote. What I did was to defend those (especially people of color) who have been harshly and unfairly criticized for voting for Obama in light of the fact that the Left has failed to offer a real alternative. That is NOT defence of Obama. That is stating the reality of the lack of solidarity on Left. The problem with you Max is that you DISTORT nuance and twist it to be something that it is not.

    What is the SOLUTION Max to the endless ossillation of between the Democrats and the Republicans and especially the Republicans use of racial fears and animosity that then forces people of color to have to vote for the Democrats. The only solition is solidarity on the Left that can offer people an alternative to the Democrats. So tell me Max how is that “supporting Obama”?

    What that is Max is called ANALYSIS and getting the Left to realize that the solution come from within.

    We go on and on and on here with our words…the only thing that will end this is not some kind of “left” uprising which will never occur just because there is no “left” to uprise…but as the engine sputters and stammers…it’s in process…and when it falls you can either be part of the problem or the solution as they say (and the solution begins NOW). Create resilent communities…get off the fossile drug…and start local economies. The rest is just meaningless talk.

    Max what is “meaningless” is your rhetoric. Withdrawing into isolated “local” and xenophobic communities will not be able to build the power base needed to confront GLOBAL capitalism. You are just a left-wing version of Ron Paul who yearns for an idellic era bygone era. Local communities can easily be destroyed and has been destroyed by GLOBAL capitalism. So you need to ADJUST your strategies and come to an understanding of HOW to make that adjustment. Unfortunately the Left refuse to come to such terms.

  28. Max Shields said on August 9th, 2009 at 4:43pm #

    DB, I’ve said nothing that is rhetorical. So, let’s just back off on that one for starters.

    I did not misquote you. You approach Obama with kid gloves always using “defense of black people” and their overwhelming vote for Obama. That is an obsurd “defense” since of those African Americans who vote, time after time, certainly since Roosevelt and increasingly after Johnson, overwhelmingly they vote for Democrats. Obama is no exception. Why does that need defense? Glen Ford is simply asking people to think – who ever they are.

    So, why the defense. I don’t know how many African Americans vote or that more voted this time than other times. Perhaps you could enlighten me on that point. But given the history, Obama is no exception. In fact, there is no exception between this Dem candidate/president and candidates/presidents the Dems have offered up as they’ve become more and more corporate and neoliberal in ideology. Oh, yea, he’s half African. Interesting, but offers little more as his policies in today’s world have pretty much the same impact on both Americans of all colors and the world at large as George W. Bush’s and Bull Clinton’s.

    Global capitalism has destroyed much including local communities. But global capitalism is not sustainable. You seem to ignore that. We know through history, anthropological studies of human tribes and civilizations, and geology (earth’s resources) that what we have is at an end. There are now tent cities throughout the country. On all humanly important indicators, Americans are at the bottom of quality of life compared to all other developed nations and some developing.

    We are at the end and “we” keep waging war as if the Titanic is still afloat and it’s 1955 or something. It’s insane.

    The adjustment must be made by those who deny, like you DB, the fact that we are at the end of a 60 year overdose on a limited non-renewable resource. You turn that into an ideology every time it’s brought up. Screw your Chomsky…he’s your whipping boy and your blind dislike for him closes your mind to a clear understanding of non-refutable evidence of what’s in play.

    Without local communities you have NO community. Human scale is the only liveable scale we can call reality. You keep trying to pigeon hole this as a “leftish” ideology. It has little to do with what you tend to refer to as “left”. You’re stuck along with the mass media in a time warp of Leftist. There are probably a few (very tiny) who may fit your frame. They’re not going to change anything and they really have no impact on the landscape. John Birch has a better chance of taking this sinking ship over than your “leftist”.

  29. Absolute-Marxist said on August 9th, 2009 at 9:23pm #

    Deadbeat and others: Damn so US society has deep problems that weigh on our shoulder like a Damocles sword and require a sort of Ubermensch (Overman) strength which Nietzsche wrote about. I mean USA has already a real bad economic problem and bankruptcy, and on top of that it has the war problems, the Israel problem, health problems, education problems, etc. etc. you name it. And on top of those problems we got the racism problem.

    Man we need the help of God. And i am serious, since USA is still a nation of believers i propose also praying for a Socialist Change in USA because all the problems together require some sort of super natural help.


  30. Absolute-Marxist said on August 9th, 2009 at 9:28pm #

    Max: Another thing i forgot is that i think that from my own point of view in order for American citizens to love socialism more, there would have to a rise in poverty levels in America, and a shrinking of the middle-class. As long as there is still a large middle consumerist conformist class in America, we won’t be at a revolutionary-stage.


  31. Max Shields said on August 10th, 2009 at 5:31am #

    The issue is that most of those alive today grew up in a world of ever advancing technology and science and endless growth and consumerism.

    This is the worldview that some here seem deeply embedded. Understandably. Afterall what is it to be without airconditioning in the summer or cheap food galore?

    I’ve stated it many times before and again, everything that is physically known to us in the USA today is based on fossil. That’s ending. With it is the collapse of this arc of life that most people under 70 has come to know as “reality” or more objectively, industrial modernism.

    Fossil amplified our existence and exploded whatever inclinations the species has had in hierarchical organization structures to concentrate both wealth and power and to plunder the earth’s resources has been raised to a magnitude of enormous proportions. No time in history has the human species been so positioned to utterly destroy the ecosystem of life on this planet as during the last century to now. Such tendencies were much more isolated. Fossil redefined what it is to be human, our relationships with one another, and ultimately destroyed our communities which gave birth to culture and much more.

    The internet has become the last bastion of “community” but there is no human feel to it. It is like the other Jackson Browne lyric, wit the bluesy-jazzy trumpet intro: The Next Voice You Hear Will Be Your Own.

    Some talk of Global Capitalism as pre-destined and immutable. It’s far from it. The lie is that Capitalism as we’ve known it (a corrupted version of those postulated by Locke, Smith and Ricardo) is that it is resilient, it keep “bouncing back”. It doesn’t and it definitely isn’t now. It is shrinking dramatically like a genie out of the bottle it is dissipating back into it.

    We have the dysfunctionality of China but that too cannot survive on this road. The West and primarily the US have taken the lion’s share and what’s left will not begin to sustain the masses in China as one calamity after another wipes out hundreds of thousands and a million here and there.

    But for those who cannot pierce the veil of fossil based Global Capitalism and it’s mechanized and technofied warmongering, they must forever talk in in limited terms about left/right.

  32. bozh said on August 10th, 2009 at 6:34am #

    i do discern that there is no longer nationalism nor national and international laws. Let’s forget america; it never existed as depicted by top classes.
    from this postulate i conclude that it wld be mostly the underclasses in US who wld be the greater losers than the higher classes of people.
    the overclasses, i deduce, have known there never was an america or an american dream; thus, they are not disappointed about losing what never was, to begin with.
    how poor will american untermenschen get? It seems to me we can expect that most americans will become even poorer.
    however, if top dogs retain control of armed services, spy agencies, fbi, cia, city police to the degree they do now, more equitable distribution of wealth is out of the question.

  33. Absolute-Marxist said on August 10th, 2009 at 10:26am #



    This morning, right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin joined the ABC roundtable on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Asked what the conservative opposition strategy is going to be this coming month while Congress is in recess, Malkin said there is a growing “tea party movement — these counterinsurgencies amongst taxpayer rights groups” — that is fomenting opposition to Obama’s health care plan.

    Malkin claimed the Obama administration has “vastly underestimated just how grassroots this movement is.” Lawmakers are going to face “townhalls-gone-wild,” she added. Watch it:

    The term “counter-insurgencies” does reveal the mentality of conservatives in opposition to Obama. Like Bill Kristol has said, the right wing is bluntly stating that it is going “for the kill.” Malkin has previously declare her hope that Obama fails.

    As ThinkProgress has documented, these tea parties may indeed be “counter-insurgencies,” but they are hardly “grassroots” movements. Corporate lobbyists — led by Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks and Tim Phillips’ Americans for Prosperity organizations — have staffed and funded these gatherings. (They are doing so again.) The Fox News network, including Malkin’s frequent appearances, has taken the lead in publicizing and promoting the events among its right-wing base.

    The tea-partiers have already proved that they can create a “townhalls-gone-wild” effect and are willing to demonstrate the violent qualities of an insurgency. Recently, Republican congressman Mike Castle (R-DE) faced down angry right activists who hijacked a townhall gathering by spouting crazy conspiracy theories. Right-wing protesters surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D) in New York and forced police officers to have to escort him to his car for safety. And anti-health care protesters hung an effigy of Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) in Maryland.


  34. Deadbeat said on August 10th, 2009 at 12:54pm #

    I’ve stated it many times before and again, everything that is physically known to us in the USA today is based on fossil.

    Please support that statement with evidence. The so-called “Peak Oil” is not supported by any evidence. There is evidence of global warming and whether it is attibutable to oil consumption is debatable. Air pollution has been linked to the consumption of oil thus it is more accurate to stated that oil consumption should be reduce in order to reduce carbon emissions. However it is hyperbole to claim that we are running out of oil. Also much of the consumption is due to commercial use rather than personal use. Therefore the real culprit is the production system which is capitalistic.

    Your claims, Max, targets the wrong group and helps to promote the false notion of scarcity which only feeds and advances the Capitalist rhetoric of scarcity when there is in fact ample supply of resources in the world. The real problem is that a few people in power CONTROLS those resources.

  35. Absolute-Marxist said on August 10th, 2009 at 1:49pm #


    Monday August 10, 2009
    Categories: Purple Politics
    I’ve gone on enough about the nuttery (and yes, racism) of the Birthers who are besieging the last remnants of sanity in the Republican Party. It’s only fitting, therefore, that the wackiness continue with the rise of Deathers, who insist that President Obama and the Democrats’ plans for health insurance reform amount to forced euthanasia of old people. No less an esteemed GOP scion as Sarah Palin herself gave this fledgling meme life when she proclaimed on her facebook page,

    “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

    In other words, Sarah Palin actually believes that The Government is going to deny health care to elderly people or those with disabilities, according to some twisted eugenics program designed to cull the weak and preserve the profit margins. Doesn’t this sound more like the behavior that the insurance companies already engage in? Not as an explicit goal, but simply as a natural byproduct of the policies they follow – including denial of coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and refusing payment for services retroactively.

    This idea that the Democrats are out to kill your grandma or forcibly abort your baby is pure scare-mongering 101, trying to rise the pro-life base and also drive a further wedge between the Democrats and the senior citizen voting bloc (who are very protective of their Medicare coverage, a fact that the Democrats have exploited in their own campaigns against Republicans before). In an extensive article at Slate, Christopher Beam gave these prophets of doom their name – the Deathers:

    First came the “birthers.” Now, as President Obama makes a final push for health care reform, we have the deathers.

    Many senior citizens are concerned that health care reform would mean cuts to Medicare. That much was clear at a town-hall meeting hosted Tuesday by the American Association of Retired Persons at which Obama fielded questions from seniors who don’t want to give up their benefits.

    But one question stood out. It addressed what the host from the AARP called the “infamous” Page 425 of the House health care bill. (Read the bill here.) “I have been told there is a clause in there that everyone that’s Medicare age will be visited and told to decide how they wish to die,” said Mary from North Carolina. “This bothers me greatly, and I’d like for you to promise me that this is not in this bill.” The host elaborated: “As I read the bill, it’s saying that Medicare will, for the first time, cover consultation about end-of-life care, and that they will not pay for such a consultation more than once every five years. This is being read as saying every five years you’ll be told how you can die.”

    […] Deathers point to several parts of the House bill as evidence that health care reform means letting old people die. Most prominent is the end-of-life consultation provision mentioned above. An article on World Net Daily argues that the proposal “specifically calls for the consultation to recommend ‘palliative care and hospice’ for seniors in their mandatory counseling sessions.” In fact, the bill says the meeting must include “an explanation by the practitioner of the end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice”-not a recommendation of it. (Emphasis added.)

    […] Another seemingly scary provision is one that permits “the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration”-or, more accurately, the withholding of it. [Betsy McCaughey] told me that the provision is a disturbing example of the government making decisions for the patient. But the bill specifically says that an order to withhold, say, an IV drip, must be one that “effectively communicates the individual’s preferences regarding life sustaining treatment, including an indication of the treatment and care desired by the individual.” In other words, a doctor can’t make you do it.

    Yet another bugaboo is “shared decision-making.” The House bill would establish a program that “provide[s] patients with information about trade-offs among treatment options, and facilitates the incorporation of patient preferences and values into the medical plan.” The legislation makes clear that this is an educational tool to help patients make informed decisions about whether a treatment is likely to help. To McCaughey, the decision-making is hardly shared. “This is coercion,” she said.

    As Beam points out, “scaring Grandma is irresistable” and so this is n’t something that we should be surprised about – but it’s still a prime example of how cynical the politics over health reform are. Living in Madison, I have become very fond of liberal radio hosts like Rachel Maddow who are pushing back aggressively on these memes, including deserved mockery to illustrate just how insane these people really are:

    this time, the reason they say changing the health care system is so scary is because – you guessed it – health care reform is really a secret plot to kill old people and to try to make people have more abortions.


    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They won’t pay for my surgery. What are we going to do?

    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But, honey, you can’t live this way.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And to think that Planned Parenthood is included in the government-run health care plan and spending tax dollars on abortions. They won’t pay for my surgery but we’re forced to pay for abortions.

    NARRATOR: Our greatest generation denied care. Our future generation denied life. Call your senator. Stop the government takeover of health care.

    Family Research Council Action is responsible for the content of this advertisement.


    MADDOW: You got that? The real agenda lurking behind health care reform is a secret plot to kill old people and to promote abortion. That ad was just released by the conservative group the Family Research Council.

    Now, you know about the conspiracy theory that the president secretly isn’t really the president because he’s secretly foreign. Those conspiracists are called birthers, right? Well, Christopher Beam at has christened the health care-reform-as-a-secret-plot-to-kill- old-people conspiracists as the “deathers,” which is sort of brilliant.

    Unfortunately, the disinformation campaign is working, with ordinary Republican voters falling for these outlandish claims. The irony is that the proposed reform will actually address many of their fears and give them more power, not less, over their own health and the health of their loved ones.

    Also, there’s something supremely disquieting about Palin dragging her child into politics in this way. For someone who makes a lot of (righteous) noise about her daughters being dragged into the public eye by others, using her son’s disability as a political prop seems pretty craven. I thought the far-left obsession about her pregnancy and whatnot was obscene, too, and don’t really see any difference between that and her invoking her baby now – especially since I personally think Palin is a very intelligent woman who surely knows that the health insurance reform proposed by Obama and the Democrats has nothing of the sort as she claims. If she was really just a fool, then it would be excusable, in a sense.

    Comments (5)

  36. Absolute-Marxist said on August 10th, 2009 at 1:56pm #

    Deadbeat: I think that the ones who preach no-peak oil are actually the capitalists. who love a world of unlimited resources in order to not apply distributive economic models like state-regulated market socialism. I don’t really know if Peak Oil is false or true. However Chavez said that there is oil in Venezuela for 100 years (I think that is Peak Oil) Because oil for only 100 years means that in 100 little years there won’t be oil in Venezuela.

    So i think that the world has limited resources, limited food, limited gold, limited money, limited water.

    However there is wealth for 65 billion people. So the real problem is the capitalist system, and the need f0r a world ruled by workers. A real workers-oriented socialist world.


  37. Max Shields said on August 10th, 2009 at 8:02pm #

    Deadbeat, yours is a bogus argument resting on the “there’s evidence of global warming…” which is suppose to make your argument about Peak Oil not having evidence credible. That’s a phony argument.

    How many geologists need to support the claim that oil is peaking throughout the globe for you to say “there is evidence”.

    Peak oil doesn’t mean the world instantly goes “dry”. Peak happens on a regular basis and it can be regionally predicated. There is a delay before the well is capped even after peak is reached. In some cases reserves which are scheduled to peak, as in Iraq, didn’t because of war and embargos limiting oil extraction and keeping the oil in reserve/ground. But thermodynamics is not a myth and oil is either kept in the ground (not used) or pumped to exhaustian. The better the technology for extracting the quicking peak occurs and the “well” is capped.

    Start with a simple and verifiable fact, oil reserves go dry (by dry I mean it cost more to extract than to leave it in the ground.) That’s an irrefutable fact. It is observable and there is no sane person who can (or would) deny it.

    Now, your argument must rest on some notion that there is an infinite source of fossil (retrievable and with a useable level of quality). You, it would seem, don’t believe that oil is a finite resource which has been scientifically proven to be peaking in all known locations throughout the world.

    Peak oil is NOT a theory or “conspriacy, any more than climate change/global warming is a theory. It is an observable, verifiable fact.

    People who think peak oil is a tool used by oil companies to create scarcity are NOT paying attention to who is talking about oil peaking.

    It just doesn’t make sense to say oil is not peaking. Not if you understand what peak oil is. It is clearly, again, not a theory.

    The argument you seem to be following Deadbeat is the same kind of denial used against global warming. Observable facts are trivialized and made common place. It is the denial of someone who just can’t give up the American dream or ever expansive glutenous growth.

    The world’s collective oil consumption is expotential and demands discoveries which are short in supply at ever increasing rates. You can not have a China and India each with a billion or more people and think this is anything but a catastrophy about to happen along with the climate change that releasing great quantities of fossil into the air produces.

    People like Lester Brown have no political or economic ax to grind;

  38. Deadbeat said on August 10th, 2009 at 9:43pm #

    The Coming Decline of Oil Lester R. Brown …
    When the price of oil climbed above $50 a barrel in late 2004, public attention began to focus on the adequacy of world oil supplies—and specifically on when production would peak and begin to decline. Analysts are far from a consensus on this issue, but several prominent ones now believe that the oil peak is imminent.

    Here is where Lester Brown is wrong and once again falls prey to the “dwindling supply” canard. The dwindling supply canard was also being promoted by the “War for Oil” faction who desired obscure the influence Zionism played in the current Iraqi quagmire.

    The real cause of the price rise was SPECULATION in the commodities markets and NOT due to a lack of supply. In fact the Saudi were INCREASING their productions in an environment where oil prices were rising. The fact that price was not in sync with supply indicates that there were other factor driving up the price. The major factor for the price rise in addition to speculation was the WAR IN IRAQ.

    The “Environmentalist”, neo-Mathusians like YOU, and apologist for domestic Zionism looking to blame the oil companies jumped on the Peak Oil bandwagon. Brown’s explanation is clearly unconvincing. Which is why I requested you to support your position.

    Also Max the problem as I stated in not “Peak Oil” which at best is a weak attempt SCARE people into action. The problem is as always… CONTROL of the resources and HOW those resource are used. I agree there should be a reduction of carbon emission but that is not going to happen until the biggest polluters — which is capitalist production — is brought under control. The best way for that to happen is conversation techniques and Max you are the one who is living in a fantasy. If India and China chooses to improve their living standards they will and you CANNOT deny them. What is needed is production that is democratized whereby then concerns of waste and pollution can be brought under control because said production will meet the needs of the people rather than Capitalist.

    Thus the problem is not LACK or dwindling resources or SCARCITY. the problem is CONTROL.

  39. mary said on August 11th, 2009 at 1:40am #

    Operation Enduring Freedom – make that last word Nightmare
    The list doesn’t even cover a complete month.


    U.S. commander says Taliban have Afghan momentum
    Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:19pm

    * Violence reaches record levels since Taliban’s ousting
    * Attacks becoming increasingly brazen

    KABUL, Aug 10 (Reuters) – The Taliban have advanced out of traditional strongholds in Afghanistan’s south and east, gaining momentum as they moved into the north and west, the top U.S. and NATO commander said in an interview on Monday.

    U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, who will soon present an assessment of the war, said the resurgent Taliban have forced a change of tactics on foreign forces and warned that record casualty figures would remain high for some months.

    “It’s a very aggressive enemy right now,” McChrystal told The Wall Street Journal newspaper ( in an interview in Kabul. “We’ve got to stop their momentum, stop their initiative. It’s hard work.”

    Violence across Afghanistan this year had already reached its worst levels since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-led Afghan forces in 2001 and escalated dramatically after major offensives were launched in southern Helmand province in July.

    Attacks have also become increasingly brazen, with suicide bombers and gunmen attacking government buildings and Afghan and foreign military targets in the east and south.

    At least three Afghan police and two civilians were killed in a strike by gunmen and suicide bombers on government buildings near Kabul on Monday, 10 days before a presidential election.

    With thousands of U.S. Marines and British soldiers aiming to push Taliban fighters out of populated areas in Helmand, July quickly became the war’s deadliest month for foreign troops.

    At least 41 U.S. troops were killed, easily surpassing the previous highest monthly toll of 26 in September last year. At least 71 foreign troops in total were killed in July.

    Britain has suffered its worst ground combat casualties in a generation, with 22 killed in July, raising questions about whether its troops are adequately supplied, how long they will be in Afghanistan, or whether they should be there at all.

    The Journal said McChrystal’s remarks showed he believed the Taliban were “winning” and had gained “the upper hand”, but McChrystal’s aides said the paper overstated the general’s views, and he believed the insurgents had difficulties of their own.

    “He did say that NATO forces are facing an aggressive enemy employing complex tactics, but during the course of the interview he also observed that insurgents in Afghanistan face their own problems in terms of popularity, cohesiveness and ability to sustain morale and fighting capacity,” said McChrystal’s spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Sholtis.

    There are now about 101,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, with U.S. numbers at about 62,000. Washington has been pouring in thousands of extra troops this year, in part to help secure Aug. 20 presidential and provincial council elections.

    Washington plans to increase the number of its troops to about 68,000 by year’s end, more than double the 32,000 it had stationed in Afghanistan at the end of 2008. McChrystal may ask for more after he submits a review of strategy in coming weeks.

    McChrystal wants a “very significant expansion” of the Afghan army and police, the Journal said.

    He planned to push more troops into Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban adjacent to Helmand, and to send troops from sparsely populated areas to more densely settled areas.

    (Writing by Paul Tait; Editing by David Fox)

    and as I said here earlier, one of our mad generals stated that the UK will be in Afghaistan for the next 40 years. No lessons have been learnt. Last man standing…….

  40. Max Shields said on August 11th, 2009 at 7:24am #

    Deadbeat, I’m trying to put my finger on where you are coming from.
    You seem to use African Americans as a kind of shield, turn just about every argument into a Zionist tirade and have this kind of “voodoo” notion of what makes sense and what doesn’t.

    The problem is control over scarce resources.

    You have such little concern over the fagility of this planet, the life that exists, and the rather inconsequentiality of human life to the larger interdependency, I can only conclude that YOU represent the PROBLEM.

    Because all of this is happening in fits and starts (diminishing availability of fossil) it affords those of your ilk, DB, to ignore the facts and to go after your hatred, not of Zionists – agreement for that poisonous ideology and their preditory creation – Israel – with Jews. And so there is no other issue for you, and you will turn all else into this one personal discourse.

    Aren’t we all a little sick and tired of going on and on about Judaism and Judeoism or whatever the f*ck you want to dissect. It’s sick. Peole are dying and starving and we, American taxpayers are responsible and the chickens are coming home to roost in spades and what do you have to say about this Deadbeat – it’s all about Zionism.

    What could tragically pass for intelligence is a glorification of a personal hatred….

  41. Absolute-Marxist said on August 11th, 2009 at 8:06am #

    Deadbeat: I agree with you, it is fair to state that the majority of Republican Party voters are racists. Just because there are a few blacks in the Republican Party doesn’t mean that it is an anti-racist party. Bill Cosby is black and he is racist against blacks, lots of black capitalists are anti-black in America. Because they don’t have the guts, the neceesary manhood, the necessary big balls, and will to power (Related to Nietzsche) to confront their white-racist friends of their own upper-class.

    This is why i think that it is necessary for a political leaders to be active-nihilists, tragic heroes, and to have the enough will to power, and strength of independence like Nietzsche talked about “Free spirits” to crush and destroy the racist values of this society in order to transcend toward a leftist paradigm like Rafael Correa is doing in Ecuador.

    So i think that one of the major problems of most political leaders in both the right and the left is that they don’t have the necessary strength of courage and will to power to confront the real government (Corporations and rich people). Even Bush. Bush was not really evil, but weak to confront the real rulers of USA, and that’s why he did all that he did (The illegal wars, 9-11, Patriot Act, torture, etc.)

    Here is a review of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” which is a manifesto to gain strength and courage:

    A superman doesn’t have any thing to do with political, military and abusive power, like the Nazis. Nazism and Fascism are elements of capitalism, of corporate exploitation, abuse, racism, chauvinism and evil, they twisted Nietzsches writtings (Specially Nietzsche’s sister who was a Nazi).

    But really, a great man, a Superman (Ubermensch) is this type of revolutionary, rebel, anarchist, totally free individual who has no laws, and authorities over him, he also doesn’t accept the morality and conservative laws of the current regimen, in fact he tries to influence others by breaking the old values in order to teach to other members of his society his new values. A superman would be a revolutionary reformer of new laws, new values.

    My friend, you can find out more about Nietzsche’s superman in the book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” which even could be used in today’s United States, a country oppressed by 2 corporate capitalist parties (Democrats and Republicans) and where US citizens feel that there is literally no hope, no liberation out of this hell of our kleptocratic Democrat-Republican 1 party monster.

    The main thesis of Thus Spoke Zarathustra is the fact that humans have literally 2 options in this existance, either to accept the current reality and values and succumb to a state of passive-nihilist resignation, or to be an architect of our own destiny, inserted in this reality as a active-tragic nihilist (A destroyer of old values, and creators of new values)

    Here is a short review of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, one of Nietzsche’s best works about the superman:

    Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra is probably his most famous work as well as being the work least popular among readers. This is probably partially because it is written in fictional form. Zarathustra is well designed to frustrate twentieth century conservative bourgeoise philosophy of the analytic tradition, which seeks conceptual clarity at the expense of rhetorical form, indeed often insisting on the separation between a concept and the vehicle of its expression. Moreover, the utilization of the work by the Nazi war effort did little to improve the books reception in the Anglo-American world.

    The book is philosophically interesting, in part because it does employ literary tropes and genres to philosophical effect. Zarathustra makes frequent use of parody, particularly of the Platonic dialogues and the New Testament. This strategy immediately places Zarathustra on a par with Socrates and Christ–and as a clear alternative to them. The erudite allusions to works spanning the Western philosophical and literary traditions also play a philosophical role, for they both reveal Nietzsche’s construct of the tradition he inherited and flag points at which he views it as problematic.

    Much of the book consists of Zarathustra’s speeches on philosophical themes. These often obscure the plotline of the book. The book does involve a plot, however, which includes sections in which Zarathustra is “off-stage,” in private reflection, and some in which he seems extremely distressed about the way his teaching and his life are going. Zarathustra attempts to instruct the crowds and the occasional higher independent man that he encounters in the book; but his most important teaching is his education of the reader, accomplished through demonstrative means. Zarathustra teaches by showing.

    Zarathustra stands in he tradition of the German Bildungsroman, in which a character’s development toward spiritual maturity is chronicled. Zarathustra can be seen as a paradigm for the modern, spiritually sensitive individual, one who grapples with nihilism, the contemporary crisis in values in the wake of the collapse of the Christian worldview that assigned humanity a clear place in the world.

    In the popular imagination, Nietzsche’s idea of the Ubermensch is one of his most memorable and significant ideals. However, the concept of the Ubermensch is actually discussed little in the book. The topic is the theme of the first speech in “Zarathustra’s Prologue,” which he presents to a crowd gathered for a circus. The audience interprets Zarathustra as a circus barker and the speech as an introduction to a performance by a tightrope walker. The concept is mentioned recurrently in Part I as something of a refrain to Zarathustra’s speeches. But the word Ubermensch rarely occurs after that.

    Additionally, the notion of the Ubermensch is presented in more imagistic than explanatory terms. The Ubermensch, according to Zarathustra, is continually experimental, willing to risk all for the enhancement of humanity. The Ubermensch aspires to greatness, but Zarathustra does not formulate any more specific characterization of what constitutes the enhancement of humanity or greatness. He does, however, contrast the Ubermensch to the last man, the human type whose sole desire is personal comfort and happiness. Such a person is the “last man” quite literally, incapable of the desire that is required to create beyond oneself in any form, including that of having children.

    Zarathustra’s opening speech, besides proposing the Ubermensch as the ideal for humanity also places emphasis on this world as opposed to any future world. In particular, Zarathustra urges that human beings reassess the value of their own bodies, indeed their embodiment. For too long, dreaming of the afterlife, Western humanity has treated the body as a source of sin and error. Zarathustra, in contrast, insists that the body is the ground of all meaning and knowledge, and that health and strength should be recognized and sought as virtues which is related to Marxism and Feuerbarch’s slogan of “You are what you eat” (Remember how right-wingers despise reality, economics, and physiology)

    Another prominent theme in Zarathustra is its emphasis on the relative importance of will. In part, this emphasis follows Schopenhauer in claiming that will is more fundamental to human beings than knowledge. However, Nietzsche stresses the will’s attempt to enhance its power, whereas he views Schopenhauer as placing greater stress on the will’s efforts at self preservation. Nietzsche’s famous conception of will to power makes one of its few published appearances in Zarathustra.

    Much of the plot of Zarathustra concerns his efforts to formulate his idea of eternal recurrence. At times, the idea possesses him in the form of visions and dreams. At others, he seems reluctant to state it categorically or to accept its implications. During a particularly despairing moment, he shudders at the implication of his doctrine that “the rabble,” the bourgeoise people who comprise most of the human race, will also recur. The fact that Zarathustra objects to the recurrence of the rabble is indicative of Nietzsche’s preference of a system in which we would be architects of our own destiny. Consistently, Nietzsche and Zarathustra contend that human beings are not equal and clones. Nietzsche objects to the bourgeoise conservative movements of his era in favor of more participative, libertarian and democratic forms of social organization that would place economic-control in the hands of each individual, instead of a few corrupt corporate crooks and burocrats like representative bourgeoise democracies (our current system).

  42. Shabnam said on August 11th, 2009 at 8:11am #

    All elections around the world from America to Zimbabwe have one thing in common and that they make no significant changes to average life of a citizen in their respective country in a meaningful way. In general, they offer a way for average citizen- who thinks the process will bring changes- to vent out their frustration. And, if it is in the US of A, have all night parties and get lucky. What we need to remember is that elections are about money. No country in the world allows their citizens to decide the fate of their elites and flow of the money.
    Depending on which country the election is held, there are filters in place to ensure candidates will not sway from the mainstream political and financial systems. Parameters that define a boundary for election is usually set by the elites of the country, if it is France- Rothschilds set the boundaries, and if it is USA- Soros’ and Adelsons. In Germany and Japan- Rothschilds and Soros’. But the whole process seems very civil and orderly in the rich countries of the planet, everything seems so politically chic. If it is Zimbabwe- Mugabe sets the rule for Mugabe. And, if it is our old country, Iran- Mullahs set the rules. And, not so chic.


    Down with Zionism
    Down with Rothschilds
    Down with Soros
    Down with Adelsons
    Down with Imperilaism

  43. Max Shields said on August 11th, 2009 at 8:23am #


    Though I concur with your interest in Nietzche, he aint no Marxist.

    Shabnam, some day, soon, we’ll all realize that these “isms” and contributed in untold ways to what is about to happen, but the damage is done and it will be sheer survival that will be before us. Think about drinkable water, massive epidemics due to climate change, food shortages due to reduced transporation, and fossil for agribusinesses.

    This is on the near horizon. As cities such as Detroit right-size (contract) as more “tent” cities are created, as unemployment reaches 30/40% and continues upwards…

    The old enemies of the people will be historical data points, and little more.

  44. Absolute-Marxist said on August 11th, 2009 at 8:33am #

    And which would include the following political parties, politicians and independent intellectuals:

    The green party, Ralph Nader, Socialist Party of USA, Socialist equality party, workers party, The Labor Party, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, green party, Ralph Nader, Cindy Sheehan, Howard Zinn, Ray Mcgovern, David Ray Griffin, Noam Chomsky bob bar, Cynthia Mckinney, James Petras, Michael Hudson, Bill Van Auken (President of the Socialist Equality Party), Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Juan Cole, Seymor Hersh, Chalmers Johnson, Alan Maass, Michael Parenti, Alexander Cockburn, Paul Craig Roberts, Tariq Ali, Jimmy Carter, Chris Hedges, and many other americans who are moralists, humanists, altruists, and rational human beings.

    However this is just an idea in my mind, a work in progress, its is still a utopia and a dream, not realized and materialized yet. I still have to propose this idea to some of the leaders in the US progressive and humanist anti-zionism, fascism, anti-war movement. It will be a United Front in solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution, The Iraqui Revolution, The Palestinian Revolution, The Iran government, The Evo Morales Revolution, the Cuban anti-Imperialist revolution and all movements, liberation churches, and just anybody who has good intentions and morality in this world.


  45. Absolute-Marxist said on August 11th, 2009 at 8:35am #

    Max: But i am not Marxist either. Remember that Marx said he was not Marxist. Hugo Chavez is not Marxist, what we just basically need is goodness, honesty, compassion and love. And if i like Marxism and Marx it is because it goes hand in hand with goodness and love, more than capitalism which is a less fair ideology than Socialism. But not because i am necesarily an unconditionally fan of Marx and Marxism.

  46. Absolute-Marxist said on August 11th, 2009 at 8:41am #

    Max: Marx was not the inventer of socialism, nor an inventer of any thing. Even without Marx political systems change thru time. From Ancient Monarchies, ancient empires, to Medieval Feudalism, Monarchism, represenative-capitalism, and the next stage will be socialism.

    So in this sense Marx even supported the capitalist-class in their overthrowing of Feudalism, besides no system is “evil” perse its just that humans and whole societies evolve thru time toward more humane and rational systems as a result of evolution.

    Our Representative-Republican (Capitalist) systems is better than Feudalism, we should support capitalism and this real-reality as part of evolution, and not negate it or emotionally fight it. We should live within this capitalist system, take part in it, and at the same time push with our Nietzschean Will to Power to the spreading of new values more advanced values and to destroy with our will (Will to Power) the current capitalist values.

    So that the lower-class of today (Workers) will become the Masters and Superman class of tomorrow.

    So don’t negate Nietzsche, and don’t take Marx as a dogma, and don’t be Marxist, because even Marx said that he was not Marxist.



  47. Suthiano said on August 11th, 2009 at 10:02am #

    Absolute-Marxist says: don’t be a Marxist….

    We’ve been over this before, but…

    Nietzsche, like Marx, recognizes that the individual inherits particular things from the historical moment of the culture (e.g., the prevailing ideas and, particularly, the language and ruling metaphors). Thus for Nietzsche the individual is not totally free of all context. However, the appropriate response to this is not, as in Marx, the development of a class consciousness, a solidarity with other citizens and an imperative to help history along by committing oneself to the class war alongside other proletarians, but rather, in the best and brightest spirits, a call for a heightened sense of individuality, of one’s radical separation from the herd, of one’s final responsibility to one’s own most fecund creativity.

    Nietzsche’s thought represents the fullest nineteenth-century European affirmation of a Romantic vision of the self as radically individualistic, and is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Marx’s views of the self as socially and economically determined.


  48. Max Shields said on August 11th, 2009 at 11:47am #

    Suthiano, I think you’ve captured the essence of Neitzche, certainly the spirit.

  49. bozh said on August 11th, 2009 at 2:28pm #

    today, tons of male semen is ejected into vaginas. And the semen contains blns of tiniest wigglers swimming towards uterus or an ovum or such a place.
    now arises the most fundamental question, Are all the swimmers about equal or actually equal and of the same quality and consequences?

    what we become belies the premise that wigglers are equal. I postualate that no wiggler is edentical with any other; some [perhaps only 000001%] being of superior quality; engendering, let’s say, pasteur, aristotle, bethoven, galileo, newton, einstein, bohr, fermi, sakharov, faraday, et al.

    unfortunately for us, better or best wigglers among hundreds in just one ejaculation [sperm] seldom reach the ovaries, because they are so few in numbers or the ‘stupid/bad’ majority gangs up on the brightest minute minority or whatever.
    some other ‘idiots’ get there first and we obtain bush, manson, madoff, yabotinsky, ribbentropf, stalin, et al.

    now a new important q. arises, Cld an ‘idiot’ possess the best wiggler ever and if reaches an ovary or just the right ovary and, voila, we obtain a new mozart or liszt?
    cld a wiggler of a genius in wrong ovum produce an ‘idiot’. I guess it cld!
    in any case wigglers produce short[er], tall[er], smart[er] clazi[er], sicker, healthier people.
    and healthy, wise, famous, talented people can produce a ‘stupid’, ‘sick’, ‘lazy’, etc., child.

    conclusion: So, since we all swim in one genetic pool, which causes [largely] all that befalls us, why are we excluded from swimming in one living pool?
    the words undr single quotes denote human categories and not nature’s.
    that’s the best nature cld do for us. The problem is in the main that man is the worst enemy of man. And had been for at least 10K yrs. Person was not enemy of person before that time. tnx

  50. Shabnam said on August 11th, 2009 at 5:59pm #

    [now a new important q. arises, Cld an ‘idiot’ possess the best wiggler ever and if reaches an ovary or just the right ovary and, voila, we obtain a new mozart or liszt?]

    To reach the right ovary you need a golden penis. I’m sorry to tell you that you are too late and a Saudi Businessman has already purchased the golden penis with his $$$:

    [A Saudi businessman has purchased what is being described by the Canadian seller as the world’s most expensive adult novelty item — a solid 18-carat gold penis enlarger worth nearly 50,000 dollars.
    X4 Labs, a Canadian manufacturer of medical devices, received the unorthodox request and recruited a Montreal custom jeweler to help with its design and construction.
    “This male health accessory is the most expensive traction device ever produced and will likely become a historical benchmark for the adult novelty industry,” the company said in a statement. His glitzy new penis enlarger, however, is being encrusted at his request with 40 diamonds and several rubies and is to be delivered by armored car in October, said Rick Oh, X4 Labs co-owner.]

    Stop the nonsense. Do something more productive. Why don’t you go into the street and demonstrate day and night to bring your killers, the soldiers, home? This can be achieved by demonstration and not working one day per week until the goal is achieved. They may produce more ‘genius’ when they are not under pressure. The United States – Israel – Britain, Canada and NATO with Barak Obama supervision are killing Muslims every day in large numbers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Palestine and elsewhere in order to speed up the establishment of ‘world government’, according to protocol.


  51. Absolute-Marxist said on August 12th, 2009 at 11:59am #

    Suthiano: Capitalism is so evil that we need every help and tool that we can in order to destroy it, even Machiavelli’s The Prince is a pretty good book for Socialist Politicians to use it in this evil world.

    With your closed minded dogmatism the World-Left won’t go anywhere.

    So yes !! We need Nietzsche, Machiavelli, Alexander The Great, Greek Philosophy, Roman Philosophy and all the knowledge that we can use in order to work within reality (An evil world, full of evil people) in order to help the world transcend from capitalism toward the next stage in political systems (Socialism)

    Dogma, and closed-mindedness is a thing of right wing conservatives, and not a thing of Lenin, Hugo Chavez, Trotsky and the great social-reformers of this world.

    Even Hugo Chavez claimed to be a reader of Fredrich Nietzsche, i saw him on an interview praising the book “Beyond Good and Evil” from F. Nietzsche.

    And Bob Avakian (The president of the Revolutionary Party of USA) said that we should not be dogmatic, dictatorial but open minded and democratic and we should let capitalists give us advises and we should even read capitalist books and capitalist thinkers like Ayn Rand, John Stuart Mill, John Locke etc.

    So don’t be dogmatic, dogma leads to dictatorship and to Stalinism. Besides if you are socialist and you read a capitalist book and you wear a John Mccain T-shirt nobody is gonna point a gun at you. So be free to read, do and say whatever you want, that the essence of socialism is freedom, not dogma, dictatorship and Stalinist-authoritarianism.


  52. Max Shields said on August 12th, 2009 at 12:31pm #

    Most people spout on about “capitalism” but it really isn’t even an “ism”. There is very little belief in “capitalism” or “markets”. The words are touted by those who rape and plunder to give some kind of credence to their thievery.

    What we have is a blended for of economics which is primarily the result of laws which have been placed over time to favor corporations and the class of people we refer to as plutocrats. This is not capitalism and it could readily be called socialism or anything you feel catches your fancy.

    Look at Wall Street. The purpose of investment is to provide capital or funding for capital investment to for entrepreneural ventures. So far so good. But that’s not what it is. It is a Ponzi scheme of derivatives and the like which are not meant to invest in new ideas which produce jobs, but to simply exploit the loop holes that the law has provided to capture on unearned wealth from people and resources that actually produce wealth.

    Is that capitalism? Again, I don’t think capitalism is an ideology because there are no believers (and without believers there is no ideology). One who truly believes in free markets would not need laws to favor them over all others.

    Running to another “ism” doesn’t correct this. That’s why the problem must be understood. What we have is ending. It will be a long, in some cases, journey to a time which pre-dates fossil but it is on its way.

    Re-thinking, rather than rehashing phony ideologies, is called for if we, humans, are to weather this massive “storm”.

  53. Deadbeat said on August 12th, 2009 at 1:23pm #

    Capitalism in Crisis, Government Impotent
    by Rick Wolff

    The media, academics, and politicians often speak and act as if government economic policies can or will “solve” or “end” or “overcome” capitalism’s crises. They don’t. They never have. The often-cited counter-example, FDR’s New Deal program in the 1930s, failed to get the US out of the Great Depression. World War 2 finally did that. Government economic policies targeted at crises are mostly secondary, weak sideshows. The main event is the intrinsic relationship between capitalism and its crises. Public attention is directed to the sideshows; we are distracted from the main event.

    Crises are internal mechanisms of capitalism as a system. Capitalism is prone to recurring “bubbles” (uncontrolled speculations in real assets or financial instruments, excessive investment in productive capacity, etc.) that can threaten its survival. Thus, it has evolved crises (rising unemployment, bankruptcies, foreclosures) to “correct” its bubbles. Today, for example, after years of out-of-control lending and an unsustainable housing industry bubble, a crisis corrects those excesses by wiping out billions in debts, collapsing home prices, and so on. In the late 1990s, after years of out-of-control stock market speculations and unsustainable stock prices, a crisis in 2000 corrected those excesses by collapsing stock prices. In both examples, the corrections entailed the mass suffering associated with unemployment, bankruptcies (especially of small and medium-sized businesses), fiscal crises that cut public services, reduced pension and other social funds, and so on.

    The capitalist system’s method of self-healing is crisis. When one of its recurring bubbles bursts, wealth is destroyed, people are fired, and production facilities are closed in a downward spiral of contraction. Eventually, the increasingly desperate unemployed, underemployed, and the still employed who fear job loss accept lower wages and fewer benefits. Likewise, bankrupt or downsized enterprises dump idle machinery onto the second-hand market, rent less space, buy fewer inputs, do less advertising, etc. The costs of equipment, space, materials, and ads then drop alongside the falling wages and reduced benefits. Costs will fall until businesses see profits in once again hiring workers and resuming production. The crisis has then done its job. The recovery starts, and capitalism begins its climb to the next bubble when the whole cycle repeats.

    Government policies over the last two centuries of capitalism’s ascendancy have neither ended nor replaced crises as the system’s method for correcting capitalist excesses. Nor have government policies prevented such excesses from recurring. The two most recent excesses (the 1990s stock market bubble and the 2004-7 real estate/credit bubble) and resulting two crises prove that. Capitalism keeps generating excesses followed by crises followed by excesses. That is how the system works.

    Government activities during crises typically serve three major purposes. Social welfare policies ease or at least make a show of easing mass suffering while the crisis proceeds to correct the previous excesses. Second, financial policies stimulate and regulate private enterprises and also bail out those firms whose imminent failure could jeopardize the system; such policies may lessen the extremes of the crisis as it proceeds to correct the previous excesses. Third, government statements blame the excesses, the crisis, and the suffering on “causes” other than the internal, routine workings of the capitalist system. Conservative officials stress that (1) mass suffering is the price “we must pay” to correct past excesses that they blame on workers or government or both and (2) “we should rely” on private business (freed of government- or worker-imposed constraints) to overcome those excesses. Liberal officials press to alleviate mass suffering associated with the crisis while insisting that (1) past excesses were caused by “greedy bad apples” and “unregulated” markets and (2) government interventions will overcome the current crisis and prevent future crises. Criticism of capitalism as a system is impossible — literally unthinkable — for either side.

    Government policies are mostly window-dressing for the painful cycles of capitalism’s inherent instability. At best, they soften the sharper edges of crises. Because capitalists oppose changing or even questioning the system, recurring crises are left as the main instrument to correct recurring excesses. Capitalists render government policies impotent by using the profits they take from their enterprises directly (lobbying, bribes, etc.) or indirectly (public relations). Politicians dependent on the support of capitalists show “concern” for mass suffering in crises while they limit what the government actually does to the three side shows listed above. Predictably, government policies never get to the root problem of crises.

    That problem is the capitalist system with its profound, built-in tensions. Inside all enterprises, endless struggles between workers and capitalists provoke decisions (e.g., over wages and benefits) leading to crises. Conflicts between boards of directors and shareholders provoke decisions (e.g., over investments) that contribute to crises. Market competition among enterprises provoke decisions (e.g., over outsourcing to sweatshops) that shape crises. Capitalism as an economic system structures internal conflicts among its participants that repeatedly generate excesses and crises.

    One obvious response to crises would be to question the capitalist system that produces and reproduces them. That leads logically to evaluating alternative economic systems. Might reorganizing enterprises so workers became their own collective employers help to overcome the instability imposed by capitalism? Might local, regional, and/or national economic planning by democratically accountable agencies end the ways market competition produces bubbles and busts? Might replacing private property (contesting corporations and their shareholders) with a system of collective, socially accountable property help reduce economic excesses and crises?

    Far from answering these key questions, most crisis discussions ignore them. They remain taboo because (and so long as) capitalists have the incentive and the resources to sustain their ban on questioning the system. Thus, pundits, politicians, and professors keep acting as if these were long-settled matters, as if no alternative to capitalism exists or is worth considering. Lacking the courage to question the system, they keep government policies from becoming more than impotent window-dressing.

    Yet capitalism’s own crisis undermines its taboos. The numbers and social influence of capitalism’s critics are again growing. The system’s injustices, material wastes, and immense human costs provoke the questioning and the criticism that can identify changes needed finally to break the cycle of excess and crisis. The dialectic of contradiction, that old mole, besets capitalism anew.

    Rick Wolff is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and also a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. He is the author of New Departures in Marxian Theory (Routledge, 2006) among many other publications. Be sure to check out Rick Wolff’s new documentary film on the current economic crisis, Capitalism Hits the Fan, at

  54. Deadbeat said on August 12th, 2009 at 1:25pm #

    Re-thinking, rather than rehashing phony ideologies, is called for if we, humans, are to weather this massive “storm”.

    Rethinking is very much needed. Confused thinking and obfuscation will only retard solidarity and cause more pain.

  55. balkas b b said on August 12th, 2009 at 4:03pm #

    actually, one does not need a penis to insert sperm into vagina. The problem is we don’t as yet know how to prevent hudreds of bad tiny ‘eels’ from entering an ovum.{or best ovum; or does it matter which one?}
    if we cld assist the best wigglers to come first into mlns of different ovaries, all our problems might be solved.
    i say “might”, because i am not sure that nature might not say, Hold it, i like the way it always was. I am going to put stop to your nonsense, right now! I and god are also evil! Never, ever froget that you puny, miserable, stupid man! tnx

  56. John Iozza said on August 13th, 2009 at 5:36am #

    How long are these wars going to go on for??? I seems like, it is just like, baseball, July 4th, Santa Clause, and WAR IN IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN, just part of normal every day American culture. At 18 you can not buy a bottle of beer, you might drunk and kill someone,join the army, but here’s a machine gun, go kill some people for us. If you kill the people that we want you to kill, wewill give you a medal of honor for it. Usually the only reason that some one 18 or 20 something joins the army is because they are too stupid to do anything else in life, so they join the army. and then if and when they get out, they become a dumb cop. Somebody 18, 20 something , if they were not in the militay, they would be a shit head , flipping burgers somewhare. DO YOU KNOW WHAT A WILDCAT STRIKE IS??? F***K WAITING FOR OBAMA TO GIVE THEM THE OK TO LEAVE, LET’S JUST SAY, JAN 1, 2010, PUT US ALL IN JAIL, GIVE US ALL A DISHONARABLE DISCHAGE, WE ARE WE ARE NOT WAITING FOR THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN IN THE WIZARD OF OZ, TO SAY WE CAN GO HOME, WE ARE LEAVING!!!

  57. John Iozza said on August 13th, 2009 at 5:50am #