I Hate to Bother You

I’d like to share with you some questions–some flies that keep buzzing in my head.

Is justice right side up?

Has world justice been frozen in an upside-down position?

The shoe-thrower of Iraq, the man who hurled his shoes at Bush, was condemned to three years in prison. Doesn’t he deserve, instead, a medal?

Who is the terrorist? The hurler of shoes or their recipient? Is not the real terrorist the serial killer who, lying, fabricated the Iraq war, massacred a multitude, and legalized and ordered torture?

Who are the guilty ones—the people of Atenco, in Mexico, the indigenous Mapuches of Chile, the Kekchies of Guatemala, the landless peasants of Brazil—all being accused of the crime of terrorism for defending their right to their own land? If the earth is sacred, even if the law does not say so, aren’t its defenders sacred too?

According to Foreign Policy Magazine, Somalia is the most dangerous place in the world. But who are the pirates? The starving people who attack ships or the speculators of Wall Street who spent years attacking the world and who are now rewarded with many millions of dollars for their pains?

Why does the world reward its ransackers?

Why is justice a one-eyed blind woman? Wal-Mart, the most powerful corporation on earth, bans trade unions. McDonald’s, too. Why do these corporations violate, with criminal impunity, international law? Is it because in this contemporary world of ours, work is valued as lower than trash and workers’ rights are valued even less?

Who are the righteous and who are the villains? If international justice really exists, why are the powerful never judged? The masterminds of the worst butcheries are never sent to prison. Is it because it is these butchers themselves who hold the prison keys?

What makes the five nations with veto power in the United Nations inviolable? Is it of a divine origin that veto power of theirs? Can you trust those who profit from war to guard the peace? Is it fair that world peace is in the hands of the very five nations who are also the world’s main producers of weapons? Without implying any disrespect to the drug runners, couldn’t we refer to this arrangement as yet another example of organized crime?

Those who clamor, everywhere, for the death penalty are strangely silent about the owners of the world. Even worse, these clamorers forever complain about knife-wielding murderers yet say nothing about missile-wielding arch-murderers.

And one asks oneself: Given that these self-righteous world owners are so enamored of killing, why pray don’t they try to aim their murderous proclivities at social injustice? Is it a just world when, every minute, three million dollars are wasted on the military while at the same time fifteen children perish from hunger or curable disease? Against whom is the so-called international community armed to the teeth? Against poverty or against the poor?

Why don’t the champions of capital punishment direct their ire at the values of the consumer society, values which pose a daily threat to public safety? Or doesn’t, perhaps, the constant bombardment of advertising constitute an invitation to crime? Doesn’t that bombardment numb millions and millions of unemployed or poorly paid youth, endlessly teaching them the lie that “to be = to have,” that life derives its meaning from ownership of such things as cars or brand shoes? Own, own, they keep saying, implying that he who has nothing is, himself, nothing.

Why isn’t the death penalty applied to death itself? The world is organized in the service of death. Isn’t it true that the military industrial complex manufactures death and devours the greater part of our resources as well as a good part of our energies? Yet the owners of the world only condemn violence when it is exercised by others. To extraterrestrials, if they existed, such monopoly of violence would appear inexplicable. It likewise appears insupportable to earth dwellers who, against all the available evidence, hope for survival: we humans are the only animals who specialize in mutual extermination, and who have developed a technology of destruction that is annihilating, coincidentally, our planet and all its inhabitants.

This technology sustains itself on fear. It is the fear of enemies that justifies the squandering of resources by the military and police. And speaking about implementing the death penalty, why don’t we pass a death sentence on fear itself? Would it not behoove us to end this universal dictatorship of the professional scaremongers? The sowers of panic condemn us to loneliness, keeping solidarity outside our reach: falsely teaching us that we live in a dog-eat-dog world, that he who can must crush his fellows, that danger is lurking behind every neighbor. Watch out, they keep saying, be careful, this neighbor will steal from you, that other one will rape you, that baby carriage hides a Muslim bomb, and that woman who is watching you—that innocent-looking neighbor of yours—will surely infect you with swine flu.

In this upside-down world, they are making us afraid of even the most elementary acts of justice and common sense. When President Evo Morales started to re-build Bolivia, so that his country with its indigenous majority will no longer feel shame facing a mirror, his actions provoked panic. Morales’ challenge was indeed catastrophic from the traditional standpoint of the racist order, whose beneficiaries felt that theirs was the only possible option for Bolivia. It was Evo, they felt, who ushered in chaos and violence, and this alleged crime justified efforts to blow up national unity and to break Bolivia into pieces. And when President Correa of Ecuador refused to pay the illegitimate debts of his country, the news caused terror in the financial world and Ecuador was threatened with dire punishment, for daring to set such a bad example. If the military dictatorships and roguish politicians have always been pampered by international banks, have we not already conditioned ourselves to accept it as our inevitable fate that the people must pay for the club that hits them and for the greed the plunders them?

But, have common sense and justice always been divorced from each other?

Were not common sense and justice meant to walk hand in hand, intimately linked?

Isn’t common sense, and also justice, in accord with the feminist slogan which states that if we, men, had to go through pregnancy, abortion would have been free. Why not legalize the right to have an abortion? Is it because abortion will then cease being the sole privilege of the women who can afford it and of the physicians who can charge for it?

The same thing is observed with another scandalous case of denial of justice and common sense: why aren’t drugs legal? Is this not, like abortion, a public health issue? And in the very same country that counts among its population more drug addicts than any other country in the world, what moral authority does it have to condemn its drug suppliers? And why don’t the mass media, in their dedication to the war against the scourge of drugs, ever divulge that it is Afghanistan which single-handedly satisfies just about all the heroin consumed in the world? Who rules Afghanistan? Is it not militarily occupied by a messianic country which conferred upon itself the mission of saving us all?

Why aren’t drugs legalized once and for all? Is it because they provide the best pretext for military invasions, in addition to providing the juiciest profits to the large banks who, in the darkness of night, serve as money-laundering centers?

Nowadays the world is sad because fewer vehicles are sold. One of the consequences of the global crisis is a decline of the otherwise prosperous car industry. Had we some shred of common sense, a mere fragment of a sense of justice, would we not celebrate this good news? Could anyone deny that a decline in the number of automobiles is good for nature, seeing that she will end up with a bit less poison in her veins? Could anyone deny the value of this decline in car numbers to pedestrians, seeing that fewer of them will die?

Here’s how Lewis Carroll’s Queen explained to Alice how justice is dispensed in a looking glass world:

“There’s the King’s Messenger. He’s in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn’t begin until next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.”

In El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero found that justice, like a snake, only bites barefoot people. He died of gunshot wounds for proclaiming that in his country the dispossessed were condemned beforehand, having committed the crime of being born.

Couldn’t the outcome of the recent elections in El Salvador be viewed, in some ways, as homage to Archbishop Romero and to the thousands who, like him, died fighting for right-side-up justice in this reign of injustice?

At times the narratives of History end badly, but she, History itself, never ends. When she says goodbye, she only says: I’ll be back.

  • Translation from Spanish by Dr. Moti Nissani.
  • Eduardo Galeano, among his other achievements, wrote, in 1971, The Open Veins of Latin America and, in 1976, escaped death at the hands of CIA-financed Argentine death squads. Read other articles by Eduardo.

    61 comments on this article so far ...

    Comments RSS feed

    1. balkas b b said on August 13th, 2009 at 10:02am #

      well, history is not mystory to me. By history, i mean history and hystrionics since roughly people became serial killers, methodical oppressors, liars, torturers and exploiters of felow humans.
      we cldn’t have been anything like that 20 or 30K yrs ago or we wld have either slaughtered one another, or being in small numbers, simply disappeared under such an iniquitous regime.

      Slaughter of one another might still happen. As terrorism by individuals or groups of individuals might be the only available tool to end enserfment and person’s meaness against usually weaker person.
      for that reason i pray to my devil [praying to a ‘god’ or an owl brings same results: nichts, nill, nishta, nada] to make me a thief or the best terrorist that a devil cld make.
      damn, she’s not listening?! merci

    2. balkas b b said on August 13th, 2009 at 10:02am #

      well, history is not mystory to me. By history, i mean history and hystrionics since roughly people became serial killers, methodical oppressors, liars, torturers and exploiters of felow humans.
      we cldn’t have been anything like that 20 or 30K yrs ago or we wld have either slaughtered one another, or being in small numbers, simply disappeared under such an iniquitous regime.

      Slaughter of one another might still happen. As terrorism by individuals or groups of individuals might be the only available tool to end enserfment and person’s meaness against usually weaker person.
      for that reason i pray to my devil [praying to a ‘god’ or an owl brings same results: nichts, nill, nishta, nada] to make me a thief or the best terrorist that a devil cld make.
      damn, she’s not listening?! merci

    3. United-Socialist-Front said on August 13th, 2009 at 2:17pm #

      Dear Friends commentators of this news website:

      This is not related to the main topic but something to ponder in our lives, i would like to comment about the increase in sexual activities in underage young children in America, specially in the way they dress. Yesterday i went to the supermarket in my car. And around my house i saw 2 little 7 year old girls walking around the sidewalk, not with regular clothes, but with triple XXX rated bikinis. The types of bikinis that show every thing in playboy models and prostitutes. I mean there has to be some culpability and guilt coming from parents. Because i don’t think young girls have the money and necessary skills to go to a store and buy these types of swmimsuit by themselves. Are the parents in USA going crazy or something? There has to be some sort of conspiracy to stimulate this immoral form of dressing in people in USA.

      Another type of provoking clothes used in America are the so called “Short shorts” that american women use in the summer time as regular clothes to provoke males.

      No wonder that the Muslim culture is attacked so much by the US oligarchies. Because the muslim culture preaches more moralism than the western bourgeoise consumerist culture. And moralism is anti-profits.

      So I think that the main goal of all these types of behavior motivated by the global elite is really profits $$$. That’s all they care about, and they will do any thing, rape, kill, sex, and stimulate rape, death, and immoralism in the masses in order to make more dollars. And i think that the profit-driven system is the main ROOT of all world problems. Because if you think about it, capitalists can make more money with: wars, sex, death, bombs, increased libido (hypersexuality in the exploited masses), divorces, individualism, and fattening foods. Than with a rational, moral, loving, altruist, compassionate, peaceful world.

      Here is a link-article which talks about Pedophocracy:

      http://www.the7thfire.com/Politics%20and%20History/Pedophocracy/child_sexual_abuse_in_US.htm

      .

    4. Jeff said on August 13th, 2009 at 3:23pm #

      #United-Socialist-Front said on August 13th, 2009 at 2:17pm#

      Just curious, what day was it you opened your eyes?

      Freedom of choice carries the burden of “Freedom of Morality” once you leave your personal enclave.

      Then again, Western society having been hijacked by Elitist Profiteers cares less. Ask the owners of Walmart. They do sell this type of attire, do they not.

    5. Annie Ladysmith said on August 13th, 2009 at 10:11pm #

      buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of shoes, selling even the sweepings with the wheat…
      Ican tell you that they are just getting started with the same old plan of world dominion that started (again) with 9/11…
      This time the weapons are literally weapons of mass destruction…
      They glory in destruction…
      Ican tell you that the face of evil is personified but you won’t believe me because you think there is something some human can do to stop this and there isn’t…

    6. Josie Michel-Brüning said on August 14th, 2009 at 5:16am #

      Sorry, I fear, I don’t understand what is said in your comments on a brilliant article like this by Eduardo Galeano!
      What a poor world we are living in!

    7. United-Socialist-Front said on August 14th, 2009 at 10:57am #

      I BLAME THE US MIDDLE CLASSES: AS THE CAUSE OF ALL USA AND WORLD PROBLEMS !!

      Here is a great article by Sociologist James Petras explaining the cause of apathy and conformism in most people today:

      http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23258.htm

      damn man and another thing that we have to point is that money is just not concentrated in the top 5% of USA, but also in a 20% (the middle bourgeoise class, people who earn between 60,000 and 200,000 a year) which works as a tool of US oligarchical capitalism to exploit the remaining 75% of lower-wage americans who earn less than 60,000 a year

      coz if all US money was just concentrated in the top 5% of USA, the 95% already would’ve been physically able to overthrow that 5%. But remember that oligarch-capitalists need the middle bourgeoise classes to prevent a revolution

      and that’s how the system works and is able to stay alive, with the help of the middle-class

      US corporate capitalist rulers are worried lately coz they know that the middle-class is shrinking and a country without a middle-class is at a good revolutionary situation, and capitalists hate revolutionary situations

      .

    8. Annie Ladysmith said on August 14th, 2009 at 11:16am #

      Dear Josie, you never have to apologize for not being educated enough to understand something, admitting it is a step in the right direction, cheers.

    9. Annie Ladysmith said on August 14th, 2009 at 11:21am #

      Dear world socialist/communist front: there is no such thing as money, it is a craftily constructed illusion, so stop beating yourselves up about it. In Russia and China, as examples of utopia’s you crave, there is still an elect with 98% of the wealth and power.
      So you can blow that out your A**!

    10. United-Socialist-Front said on August 14th, 2009 at 11:32am #

      I BLAME THE US MIDDLE CLASSES: AS THE CAUSE OF ALL USA AND WORLD PROBLEMS !!

      Here is a great article by Sociologist James Petras explaining the cause of apathy and conformism in most people today:

      http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23258.htm

      damn man and another thing that we have to point is that money is just not concentrated in the top 5% of USA, but also in a 20% (the middle bourgeoise class, people who earn between 60,000 and 200,000 a year) which works as a tool of US oligarchical capitalism to exploit the remaining 75% of lower-wage americans who earn less than 60,000 a year

      coz if all US money was just concentrated in the top 5% of USA, the 95% already would’ve been physically able to overthrow that 5%. But remember that oligarch-capitalists need the middle bourgeoise classes to prevent a revolution

      and that’s how the system works and is able to stay alive, with the help of the middle-class

      US corporate capitalist rulers are worried lately coz they know that the middle-class is shrinking and a country without a middle-class is at a good revolutionary situation, and capitalists hate revolutionary situations

      .,

    11. United-Socialist-Front said on August 14th, 2009 at 12:33pm #

      Annie: Stop relying on conspiracy wackos like Alex Jones, David Icke and Ron Paul. Most of that libertarian ultra-right wing conspiracy theory movement are agents of disinformation funded by the powers that be.

      Socialism is the real deal !!

      .

    12. United-Socialist-Front said on August 15th, 2009 at 12:04pm #

      CAPITALISM IS ANTI-SCIENCE

      http://www.marxist.com/capitalism-versus-science.htm

      Written by Mike Palecek Wednesday, 12 August 2009

      We are constantly bombarded with the myth that capitalism drives innovation, technology, and scientific advancement. But in fact, the precise opposite is true. Capitalism is holding back every aspect of human development, and science and technology is no exception.

      We are constantly bombarded with the myth that capitalism drives innovation, technology, and scientific advancement. We are told that competition, combined with the profit motive, pushes science to new frontiers and gives big corporations incentive to invent new medicines, drugs, and treatments. The free market, we are told, is the greatest motivator for human advance. But in fact, the precise opposite is true. Patents, profits, and private ownership of the means of production are actually the greatest fetters science has known in recent history. Capitalism is holding back every aspect of human development, and science and technology is no exception.

      The most recent and blatant example of private ownership serving as a barrier to advancement can be found in the Ida fossil. Darwinius masillae is a 47 million year old lemur that was recently “discovered”. Anyone and everyone interested in evolution cheered at the unveiling of a transitional species, linking upper primates and lower mammals. Ida has forward-facing eyes, short limbs, and even opposable thumbs. What is even more remarkable is the stunning condition she was preserved in. This fossil is 95% complete. The outline of her fur is clearly visible and scientists have even been able to examine the contents of her stomach, determining that her last meal consisted of fruits, seeds, and leaves. Enthusiasts are flocking to New York’s Museum of Natural History to get a glimpse of the landmark fossil.

      So what does Ida have to do with capitalism? Well, she was actually unearthed in 1983 and has been held by a private collector ever since. The collector didn’t realize the significance of the fossil (not surprising since he is not a paleontologist) and so it just collected dust for 25 years.

      There is a large international market for fossils. Capitalism has reduced these treasures, which rightly belong to all of humanity, to mere commodities. Privately held fossils are regularly leased to museums so that they may be studied or displayed. Private fossil collections tour the world, where they can make money for their owners, instead of undergoing serious study. And countless rare specimens sit in the warehouses of investment companies, or the living rooms of collectors serving as nothing more than a conversation piece. It is impossible to know how many important fossils are sitting, waiting to be discovered in some millionaire’s office.

      Medical Research
      The pharmaceutical industry is well known for price gouging and refusing to distribute medicines to those who can’t afford it. The lack of drugs to combat the AIDS pandemic, particularly in Africa, is enough to prove capitalism’s inability to distribute medicine to those in need. But what role does the profit motive play in developing new drugs? The big pharmaceuticals have an equally damning record in the research and development side of their industry.

      AIDS patients can pay tens of thousands of dollars per year for the medication they need to keep them alive. In 2003, when a new drug called Fuzeon was introduced, there was an outcry over the cost, which would hit patients with a bill of over $20,000 per year. Roche’s chairman and chief executive, Franz Humer tried to justify the price tag, “We need to make a decent rate of return on our innovations. This is a major breakthrough therapy… I can’t imagine a society that doesn’t want that innovation to continue.”

      But the innovation that Mr. Humer speaks of is only half-hearted. Drug companies are not motivated by compassion; they are motivated by cash. To a drug company, a person with AIDS is not a patient, but a customer. The pharmaceutical industry has a financial incentive to make sure that these people are repeat-customers, consequently there is very little research being done to find a cure. Most research done by the private sector is centered on finding new anti-retroviral drugs – drugs that patients will have to continue taking for a lifetime.

      There has been a push to fund research for an AIDS vaccine and, more recently, an effective microbicide. However, the vast majority of this funding comes from government and non-profit groups. The pharmaceutical industry simply isn’t funding the research to tackle this pandemic. And why would they? No company on earth would fund research that is specifically designed to put them out of business.

      Similar problems arise in other areas of medical research. In the cancer field an extremely promising drug was discovered in early 2007. Researchers at the University of Alberta discovered that a simple molecule DCA can reactivate mitochondria in cancer cells, allowing them to die like normal cells. DCA was found to be extremely effective against many forms of cancer in the laboratory and shows promise for being an actual cure for cancer. DCA has been used for decades to treat people with mitochondria disorders. Its effects on the human body are therefore well known, making the development process much simpler.

      But clinical trials of DCA have been slowed by funding issues. DCA is not patented or patentable. Drug companies will not have the ability to make massive profits off the production of this drug, so they are not interested. Researchers have been forced to raise money themselves to fund their important work. Initial trials, on a small scale, are now under way and the preliminary results are very encouraging. But it has been two years since this breakthrough was made and serious study is only just getting underway. The U of A’s faculty of medicine has been forced to beg for money from government and non-profit organizations. To date, they have not received a single cent from a for-profit medical organization.

      The lack of research into potential non-patentable cures does not stop at DCA. There is an entire industry built up around so-called alternative natural remedies. Many people, this author included, are skeptical about the claims made by those that support alternative medicines. Richard Dawkins is quick to point out that “If a healing technique is demonstrated to have curative properties in properly controlled double-blind trials, it ceases to be alternative. It simply…becomes medicine.” But this black and white view does not take into account the limitations placed on science by capitalism. The refusal to fund the testing needed to verify non-patentable alternative medicines has two damaging effects. First, we are kept in the dark about potentially effective medications. And second, the modern-day snake oil salesmen that peddle false cures are given credibility by the few alternative treatments that do work.

      Technology and Industry
      The manufacturing industry in particular is supposed to be where capitalist innovation is in its element. We are told that competition between companies will lead to better products, lower prices, new technology and new innovation. But again, upon closer inspection we see private interests serving as more of a barrier than an enabler. Patents and trade secrets prevent new technologies from being developed. The oil industry in particular has a long history of purchasing patents, simply to prevent the products from ever coming to market.

      Competition can serve as a motivator for the development of new products. But as we have already seen above, it can also serve as a motivator to prevent new products from ever seeing the light of day. Companies will not only refuse to fund research for the development of a product that might hurt their industry, but in some cases they will go to extraordinary lengths to prevent anyone else from doing the same research.

      The 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” goes into great detail about the role of big oil companies, auto manufacturers, and the US Federal Government in preventing an alternative vehicle from hitting the road. The filmmaker claims that auto companies would lose out if an electric vehicle was ever produced because of the simplicity of their maintenance. The replacement parts side of the auto industry would be decimated. Oil companies would see a dramatic reduction in the demand for their products as the world switched to electric vehicles. It is claimed that hydrogen fuel cells, which have very little chance of being developed into a useful technology, are used as a distraction from real alternatives. The film maker blasts the American government for directing research away from electric vehicles and towards hydrogen fuel cells.

      But the most damning accusations are against major oil companies and auto manufacturers. The film suggests that auto companies have sabotaged their own research into electric cars. What’s worse, is that oil companies have purchased the patents for NiMH batteries to prevent them from being used in electric vehicles. These are the same batteries that are used in laptop computers and large batteries of this type would make the electric vehicle possible. But Chevron maintains veto power over any licensing or use of NiMH battery technology. They continue to refuse to sell these batteries for research purposes. Some hybrid vehicles are now using NiMH batteries, but hybrid vehicles, while improving mileage, still rely on fossil fuels.

      While the purchasing of patents is an effective way of shelving new innovations, there are certainly other ways the capitalist system holds back research and development. The very nature of a system based on competition makes collaborative research impossible. Whether it be the pharmaceutical industry, the auto industry or any other, capitalism divides the best engineers and scientists among competing corporations. Anyone involved in research or product development is forced to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. Not only are these people prevented from working together, they are not even allowed to compare their notes!

      Peer review is supposed to be an important piece of the scientific method. Often, major advancements are made, not by an individual group researchers, but by many groups of researchers. One team develops one piece of the puzzle, someone else discovers another and still another team of scientists puts all of the pieces together. How can a system based on competition foster such collaborative efforts? Simply stated, it can’t.

      The governments of the world clearly recognize this as a problem; every time they are met with a serious crisis, they throw their free-market ideals out the window and turn to the public sector. It has been argued many times that World War Two was won by nationalization and planning. Capitalism in Britain was essentially put on hold, so that the war effort could be effectively organized. In the United States, such large scale nationalization did not take place, but when it came to research and development, the private sector was not trusted to handle it on their own.

      Fearing that the Nazis were developing the atomic bomb, the US government initiated a massive public program to ensure they were the first to wield a weapon of mass destruction. The Manhattan project succeeded where private industry could not. At one point, over 130,000 people were working on the project. The world’s best and brightest were brought together into a massive collaborative undertaking. They discovered more about nuclear fission in the span of a few years, than they had in the decades since the first atom was split in 1919. Regardless of what one thinks of the atom bomb, this was doubtlessly one of the greatest scientific advancements of the 20th century.

      Science, technology and economic planning
      The ultimate proof of capitalism’s hindrance of science and technology comes not from capitalism, but from the alternative. While the Soviet Union under Stalin was far from the ideal socialist society (something which we have explained extensively elsewhere), its history gives us valuable insight into the potential of a nationalized planned economy. In 1917 the Bolsheviks took control of a backwards, semi-feudal, third world country that had been ruined by the First World War. In a matter of decades, it was transformed into a leading super-power. The USSR would go on to be the first to put a satellite into orbit, the first to put a man in space, and the first to build a permanently manned outpost in space. Soviet scientists pushed the frontiers of knowledge, particularly in the areas of Mathematics, Astronomy, Nuclear Physics, Space Exploration and Chemistry. Many Soviet era scientists have been awarded Nobel prizes in various fields. These successes are particularly stunning, when one considers the state the country was in when capitalism was overthrown.

      How were such advancements possible? How did the Soviet Union go from having a population that was 90% illiterate, to having more scientists, doctors and engineers per capita than any other country on Earth in just a few decades? The superiority of the nationalized planned economy and the break from the madness of capitalism is the only explanation.

      The first step in this process was simply the recognition that science was a priority. Under capitalism, the ability of private companies to develop science and technology is limited by a narrow view of what is profitable. Companies do not plan to advance technology, they plan to build a marketable product and will only do what is necessary to bring that product to market. The Soviets immediately recognized the importance of the overall development of science and technology and linked it to the development of the country as a whole. This broad view allowed them to put substantial resources into all areas of study.

      Another vital component of their success was the massive expansion of education. By abolishing private schools and providing free education at all levels, individuals in the population were able to meet their potential. A citizen could continue their studies as long as they were capable. By contrast, even many advanced capitalist countries have been unable to eliminate illiteracy today, let alone open up university education to all who are able. Under capitalism, massive financial barriers are placed in front of students, which prevent large portions of the population from reaching their potential. When half of the world’s population is forced to live on less than two dollars a day, we can only conclude that massive reserves of human talent are being wasted.

      The soviet government immediately tore down all the barriers on science that strangle innovation within the capitalist system. Patents, trade secrets, and private industry were eliminated. This allowed for more collaborative research across fields and a free flow of information between institutions. Religious prejudices that had long held back rational study were pushed aside. One only has to look at the ban on stem-cell research under the Bush regime to see the negative effects religious bigotry can have on science.

      But it wasn’t all good news under Stalinism. Just as the bureaucracy hindered the development of the economy, it also hindered certain areas of study. While the many barriers of capitalism were broken down, in some cases new ones were erected as the direction of scientific study was subjugated to the needs and desires of the bureaucracy. In the most extreme cases, certain fields of study were outlawed entirely and leading scientists were arrested and sent to labour camps in Siberia. One of the most outrageous cases was Stalin’s contempt for chromosomal genetics. The study of genetics was banned and several prominent geneticists, including Agol, Levit and Nadson were executed. Nikolai Vavilov, one of the Soviet Union’s great geneticists was sent to a labour camp, where he died in 1943. This ban wasn’t overturned until the mid 1960s. These crimes were not crimes of socialism, but of Stalinism. Under a democratically planned economy, there would be no reason for such atrocities.

      Today, it is the task of those interested in science and socialism to learn the lessons of history. Science is being held back by private interests and industry. A lack of resources for education and research keep doors closed to young aspiring minds. Religious interference locks science in a cage and declares important fields of study off-limits. The chains of the free-market prevent meaningful research from being done. Private companies refuse to let new technologies out of their back rooms. Private collectors hold unique and important specimens for their own personal amusement. Potential cures for deadly diseases are tossed aside to clear the way for research into the latest drug to cure erectile dysfunction. This is madness. Capitalism does not drive innovation, but hinders it at every step.

      Humanity today is being held back by an economic system designed to enslave the majority for the benefit of a minority. Every aspect of human development is hindered by the erroneously-named free-market. With the development of computers, the internet and new technologies, humanity stands at the doorstep of a bright future of scientific advancement and prosperity. We are learning more and more about every aspect of our existence. What was once impossible, is now tangible. What was once a mystery, is now understood. What was once veiled, is now in plain sight. The advancement of scientific knowledge will one day put even the farthest reaches of the universe at our fingertips. The only thing that stands in our way is capitalism.

    13. B99 said on August 15th, 2009 at 1:10pm #

      I have to disagree on science and capitalism. Capitalism is dynamic, science is part of that dynamic. Science serves capitalism – there are immense profits to be made in invention and innovation. The falling rate of profit that is endemic to capitalism is a major driving force behind research.

      This is not to say that there can be science without capitalism, only that it will not be directed in the interests of capital. It will not be as dynamic, but that’s OK.

      The Soviet Union is not a good example of science in a non-capitalist society. The Soviets pursued much of the same sorry science as did the West. But the Soviet Union could not even make a decent toothpaste – and they short-sheeted agriculture to the point that famines were frequent and often there was no food on grocery store shelves. Ultimately, competing with a maximally capitalist United States and attempting to govern 8 million plus square miles via centralized decision making proved to much. It failed and its Lysenko-type science failed with it.

    14. Max Shields said on August 15th, 2009 at 1:48pm #

      B99, “I have to disagree on science and capitalism. Capitalism is dynamic, science is part of that dynamic. Science serves capitalism – there are immense profits to be made in invention and innovation. The falling rate of profit that is endemic to capitalism is a major driving force behind research.”

      Baffling general statement. Science, pure theoretical science followed by the empirical, and inductive/deductive reasoning, is not driven by capitalism.

      I know you “cover” yourself with the fact that science can exist without capitalism (just not as “dynamically”).

      Science is not based on an economics of socialism or capitalism. Galileo, Newton, Einstein are these capitalists?

      What you are describing is applied science owned by either the State (Soviet Union) or Corporations (US) and sometimes by War/Defense departments (which is not capitalism).

      I would argue further that the US is not a capitalist nation. That what we have is really an particular culture confluent with a legal and governance system which defines our economic exchanges coupled with a power structure of corporations (it is the legal aspect that created corporations).

      Industrialization and modernization that rose in the 19th Century and took off like a rocket in the 20th Century was happening throughout the world whether there was capitalism or socialism or feudalism or whatever “ism”. How these things take shape has more to do with the culture than the economic system.

      The United States is almost exclusively a consumer and low end services nation which is run by a financial (Wall Street and Banking) sector. The latter is suppose to provide capital investment to generate production – but that’s NOT what it does. It, instead, concentrates wealth through a variety of schemes and through hegemony of resources. The war machine supports it (and the war machine has its own agenda as well).

      None of this is capitalism. It is the basterdization of a label which is pretty much what this country is best at and is why anything “good” is undermined and corrupted for and by a few.

    15. Deadbeat said on August 15th, 2009 at 3:05pm #

      Max Shields sounds like Ron Paul — “this is not Capitalism”. Sorry Max but this is Capitalism and its dynamic is the exploitation of labor to extract surplus. That is what is ongoing and what the U.S. and much of the West is best at.

      Educate yourself Max because the rhetoric you are spewing will only retard solidarity — unless that is your agenda. I recommend David Harvey — David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) and author of various books, articles, and lectures. He has been teaching Karl Marx’s Capital for nearly 40 years.

    16. bozh said on August 15th, 2009 at 3:29pm #

      max, with respect
      i am not going to profer a definition of what capitalism is. It is, what it is! And i don’t know what it is nor will i accept any other answer to the q., What is capitalism?

      fortunately for us, we each know at least a bit about what is happening in the world.
      thus, each of us is justified talking about what is happening in he world.
      what is happening to the people of the world? And i am not talking about what fires, floods, storms, diseases do to people, but solely what people do to people.
      all of us know, some less, others more, what people do to people. So, one can offer at least one factual statement about how a person treats another.
      a factual statement is always descriptive. A description is not a generalization; i.e., conclusion, opinion, condemnation, wishfulness, theory, assumptions, criticism, etc.
      once we are on descriptive level, we are at our best and sanest. generalizing is OK if one is aware that one is doing that. Or warns others that one is doing it!
      so what is happening on interpersonal level?
      Well, people hire people! Employers make more money than employees.
      money buys liars and killers.
      liars and killers lie or even kill to protect their employers.
      and, that’s all folks. And to generalize [or short cut], man is the greatest enemy of man and nature!
      i do not think that even a 7 yr-old cannot understand this. And how about socialism, fascism, capitalism, etc? How much wld a child understand?
      and especially in view that we may obtain from hundred people hundred definitions.
      i do not dare talk to my wife about any ism! Why? Because, she’d scream at me or call me nuts, that’s why! Try it, if u don’t believe me! tnx

    17. Wingnut said on August 16th, 2009 at 8:53am #

      Hi gang! Hey bozh… does that 7 yr old share the lemonade with the kids of the neighborhood, or open a lemonade stand(ing guard) and possibly practice “Whatever the market will bear”? And when that capitalism-conditioning ice cream truck enters the neighborhood, and SOME kids can “afford” to have a treat, and some can’t… does the child share his/her treat with those who can’t afford it, or does the child practice ownership and label it as MY MY MY ice cream? WHO and WHAT teach the child “my my my” ownershipism? Does the child know the difference between sharing and fighting-over? How? Parents? Church? School? Herd-talk? Between lemonade stands and ice cream trucks, the capitalism training and indoctrination is presented and peddled. What does the church say about ice cream trucks and lemonade stands? Is “share” taught at all, anymore? Or is competing (business) taught for the most part? Is competition healthy?

      Are we seeing any policy reversal from share share share, to fight fight fight when the kids turn 18 and get nest-kicked into “out there”-land? Is there trouble with a capitalism “T” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for pyramiding? (See back of USA dollar for Colombian Freemason pyramid scheme symbol, and see “District of Colombia” for not-part-of-USA gov location.)

      Ugly stuff. Pyramiding = getting a leg up (rat racing). See Google IMAGE SEARCH for ‘pyramid of capitalist’ for more embarrassment. All pyramids collapse, and capitalism is crumbling as we speak. Yay! Abolish economies/ownership immediately. Hurry. Make monetary discrimination illegal, friends.

      Take care, gang!
      Wingnut – Anti-capitalism-ist

    18. bozh said on August 16th, 2009 at 10:26am #

      wingnut,
      a agree with what us say. It seems to me you are making factual statements and not positing questions.

      politico-cultish ‘education’ teaches children to be enemy of one another and not just abusers of one another.
      and they learn it well.
      if they wld be told that being interdependent is by far superior than being a total dependency as probably 95% of amercians are.
      I know, i know, the adults and children are told over and over again that they shld be fiercely independent which is an utopian goal but people don’t know it.

      once people are deluded to the degree that they strive strongly to reach that utopia then all laws and moral precept that stand in the way of that goal will be broken or ignored if people believe that they can get away with that.

      case in point is the banksters, bombings of hiroshima, expulsion and slaughter of indigenes, US serial wars, wife beating, pedophilia, robbery, etc.
      Does one need more evidence to be convinced what ‘education’ imposed on us by the meanest and the greatest enemy of man and nature, makes us all unsane and some even insane. tnx

    19. Wingnut said on August 16th, 2009 at 2:21pm #

      Hi bozh. Yeah, I was just sort of shooting-out “rhetorical” questions. Is THAT what they’re called? I dunno. Questions that we all could/should ask ourselves and grapple-with, socially and personally. Thanks for the comments, B! Yeah, the “grappling” with “commune” versus “independent” are seen quite easily in urban America. They/we want a “tight-knit COMMUNE-ity” with excellent COMMUNE-ication… and yet they/we wrap their/our houses in fences, cameras, locks, lights, police guns, etc. On another subject, there are a ton of sweets, meats, shopping, and motorsports JUNKIES in the upper 2/3 of the American Way (socio-economic) pyramid. Shopping is entertainment, and the kids buy right in… toy drool, glitter drool, star drool. Mothers try to learn how to be proper mothers… via TV and via watching other mothers… a constant strive to be “normal”. In many cases, its the blind leading the blind. Maybe one saving grace is… MANY of America’s children are being raised by the grandparents, and there is still some POSSIBLY-wise parenting policies to be found in that group, yet. But the days of finding ANYONE who didn’t grow-up worshiping money… are numbered. The USA is a greenstamp coupon nation. They can be traded for survival supplies (and luxuries) at greenstamp redemption centers (stores). Look at the full color catalog coming into your email boxes and ad banners! Yummy stuff, huh? C’mon along! Shopping and getting addicted to glitter and sweets is FUN! Yay Americo! (erf!) (I can almost HEAR them getting fatter, stupider, and more superficial.)

      Be good, kids!

    20. b99 said on August 17th, 2009 at 6:27am #

      Max – Only baffling if you live on Baffin island or such. “Pure theoretical science’ is indeed driven by capital. Moneydoes not grow on trees. Those paychecks do not come out of thin air. Whether the science is ‘pure’ or applied it is overwhelmingly funded by for profit institutions (like drug companies) or the gov’t (which duty to protect capital is clearly on display in the health care debate), and especially its military wing, which purpose is capital penetration of other countries.

      So what if Galileo, Newton and Einstein were not capitalists. We are talking about how science functions – not whether these men were owners of large firms. Galileo and Newton predate full-blown capitalism and the immense stores of money needed to accomplish research. Einstein most certainly functioned in the interest of capital. That he might have regretted doing so is not relevant.

      Culture does arise in a vacuum. It manifests itself in various ways as a response to material conditions and relationships. The US is not only a capitalist state – it is the bastion and vanguard of capital. Industrialization and modernization of the 19th century are capitalism manifest. Modern socialism evolved in response, culminating in Marx’s notions that as capitalism is about relations between capital and labor so too must socialism be so (rather than based on notions of altruism commonly extant in that day).

      But for you to divorce the US military from capital is truly baffling.

    21. b99 said on August 17th, 2009 at 6:29am #

      Sentence should be: Culture does NOT arise in a vacuum.

    22. Max Shields said on August 17th, 2009 at 12:23pm #

      B99 my point is that science and capitalism are not of or in the same domain of constructs. You seem to put them there.

      Industrial”ism” and modern”ism” are not unique to capital”ism”. Where in the developed or developing world are either absent? In fact the terms connote developing or developed usually in the crudest forms.

      We cannot begin to solve problems if we cannot clearly identify them. There is something much more fundamental at work that has little to do with these highfalooten ideologies.

      Of course, culture does not evolve in a vacuum, it evolves through interaction and relationships – whether one defines these as healthy and life giving/supportive or not.

      Today there are neo-socialists and neo-capitalists who continue to dialogue but in ways that have little to do with the fundamentals of either economic, social, cultural, or moral underpinnings of their forebears – classical economists who were more rightly considered philosophers, moralists and sometimes political economists.

      We talk in circles about these things, scrambling meanings into oblivion’s meaninglessness.

      Let’s agree that no place on earth is there a socialist nor a capitalist economics at work. For kicks, let’s say there are elements of each. How do we separate the yolk for the white of the economic egg? When can a nation’s economy (in a global corporate state) claim it is “socialist” or that it is “capitalist”?

      The academics can argue their theories but in the end they are changing the paradigms to keep the lectures full.

    23. Deadbeat said on August 17th, 2009 at 2:20pm #

      We cannot begin to solve problems if we cannot clearly identify them. There is something much more fundamental at work that has little to do with these highfalooten ideologies.

      The real problem and the real danger is that these kinds of strawman arguments are presented and then time and energy is wasted when the premise itself it false and setup to waste and distract people from the real problem. The problem is the class war that the Capitalist has constructed. That the ruling class has set up the system to function in this way DEFINED the relationships that everyone must function within to SURVIVE. That is clear and it is that structure that has to change.

      Folks who implant themselves and see themselves as “dissidents” with confused rhetoric retards solidarity and waste the time of others and distract them from what really needs to be done. The real issue is whether these folks are naive or whether they like to spew out such fallacies or whether the agenda is deliberately designed to misdirect people. Clearly the Left has been afflicted with misdirection for years. It is up to people to understand what is really happening. Capitalism is designed to EXPLOIT workers and to transfer the surplus of their labor to the Capitalist class. It is this exploitation that impoverishes everyone and is the source of crisis. Change will only occur when people realizes this and seek to rid themselves of this irrational and exploitative system.

      Thus the problem is quite clear and the solutions are even clearer.

    24. bozh said on August 17th, 2009 at 3:09pm #

      it seems to me that one concludes: capitalism is this and that; socialism is this and that; fascism is this and that; catholicism is this and that.
      by using the word “IS”, one reefies [evaluates them as an object] these ideolgies.

      in fact, all one is talking about is processes [hunches/words] in one’s head and not things outside their body-minds.

      second error that people make when they talk, think, or write about ideologies/isms, is, that once they reeified them, they then treat them as existing in isolation from all other isms/ideologies, nature, neurolinguistic
      processes, culture, structure of society, ‘religions’, work, parenthood, etc.

      instead of using word “IS” in talking about an ism, one cld say, As i define or explain fascism, it consist of some basic notions…
      and realizing that explanations or definitions are composed mostly or
      entirely of undefined and often undefinable terms, one wld be not so sure about what that person is talking about .

      each of which can be defined and then words in new definitions likewise
      defined, and so on. It is process that never ends and never ends in agreement.

      one of the fascits ideas may be stated thus: the less governance and the more private ownership of that governance, the better the soceity as awhole wld be.
      now we ask what “IS” or how u define/explain/elucidate the word “BETTER”.
      a fascits might declare, In a fascist structure of society there wld be fewer thefts or abuse of women!
      hold it, do u mean theft by a banker or a shopper? And who decides?
      clearly arguments never end.
      for at least 10+millennia we’ve been arguing, but the structure of governance and society is exactly the same today as it had been since a fair[er] structure of society had been usurped by priests mostly. tnx

    25. Max Shields said on August 17th, 2009 at 3:17pm #

      Ruling classes are not capitalists. Ruling class existed well before capitalism.

      The problem is structural as well as cultural and is supported by the political system and funded by corporate entities.

      Industrialism is part of the problem, but these cannot be simply pushed into a little, convenient box called Capitalism. Doing away with this word and supplanting it with socialism will not change the situation ONE BLOODY IOTA.

    26. Max Shields said on August 17th, 2009 at 3:20pm #

      Deadbeat you want simplicity for what exists. Dream on. This will require thoughtfulness not old-styled sloganisms to rouse the masses.

      The problem is imploding and you’re still talking about Marxism and Socialism and leftists. None of those are going to fix this humpty-dumpty.

    27. B99 said on August 17th, 2009 at 4:47pm #

      Max – In a capitalist society, capital penetrates pretty thoroughly but not totally. Unremunerated work at home, or family labor or some forms of barter are outside or nearly outside – but not science. If you are going to be a scientist you will do so within the confines of capital. Outside of it, you will receive no funding, no recognition. Science is bought and sold like any other commodity.

      The developing (or underdeveloped) world is IN the capitalist world. They buy their foreign goods on the open capitalist market like anyone else. They sell their resources to the developed world capital markets like anyone else. They are integrated into capitalism on the periphery, the providers of raw resources and virtual slave labor. The possible exception is much of Africa, which is so marginalized as to outside the system. But not quite. Their elites buy outside goods, and the poor struggle to make a dime to purchase that which they do not grow. In fact, capital penetration is deep enough that it destroys the local market for clothing – as the refuse t-shirts of the first world flood their country.

      There is nothing more material, more fundamental to humans that how they produce and reproduce society. This is not ideology in the real world – this is how people make their living and how they are held back.

      There are no socialist countries in the world today – and there never have been. There are elements of socialism in all societies I can think of – but they are all in capitalist states – including the US. Perhaps in some New Guinea or Brazilian groups, capitalism is absent – but its only a matter of time.

    28. bozh said on August 17th, 2009 at 4:56pm #

      max, with respect,
      may be deadbeat is talking about marxism and socialism, or to be more exact, his ideating about these ideologies, but i am not.
      and in the main, because i know i’ll get trapped in an unceasing arguments.

      but the fact is even americans, who were more imbued with false-to-fact- knowledge than any othere people, want healthcare.
      so, i am more worried about deadbeat and max not stating explicitly that every american has the right to be informed, educated, medically treated; that every american must be part owner of all public transportation, power plants, cia, fbi, mines, rivers, forests, fish, game, etc.
      Max, i deduce, is against all of this. And instead of saying that, he self often mentions capitalism, marxism, socialism; because, i assume, he knows that most amers wld go ballistic just hearing the very word “socialism”
      so, max, tell us what is it u want from our masters? tnx

    29. B99 said on August 17th, 2009 at 6:08pm #

      Bozh – Capitalism is first and foremost a relationship between capital and labor, between capitalists and laborers. These are relationships with material consequences. There is some use in reifying the ‘isms’ if only to isolate its essence.

      For instance, fascism is anything but a diminution of the state. You may be confusing it with the false cries of the American right who pretend they are anti-government when in actuality they only want social programs for the poor and minorities to be axed. They have no problem with their own subsidies. Fascism is an alliance of the state and capital. Big Businesses bankrolled the Nazis. The death camps were privately owned, some of them by household names still around today.

      The structure of government today is quite different both spatially and temporally from past governance and that of various states today. What do you suggest, we burn the constitution and go with a king?

    30. B99 said on August 17th, 2009 at 6:16pm #

      That industrialism can exist with or without capitalism does not mean capitalism does not exist. Industrialism takes different forms under different economic systems, our landscape itself is but a manifestation of a type of capital.

      Part of the ruling class are not capitalists. The wealthy heir to a fortune is not a capitalist unless he owns an enterprise that engages in capitalist relations. Unlike the landed elite of more than a century ago, they no longer resent capital, today’s scions of wealth are well invested in the system. But all capitalists except the pettiest of the bourgeoisie can be said to in the ruling class.

    31. balkas b b said on August 18th, 2009 at 6:46am #

      on interpersonal relationships some people have more econo-politico-military power than others.
      this inquity and inequality had been institutionalized by first tribal chiefs and shamans.
      centuries or millennia later, the usurpation of basic human rights was buttressed by priests, kings, princes, patricians, land owners with their decrees, laws.

      modern usurpers of decency and fairness have changed only one aspect of control: the military, which wld include cia, fbi, other spy agencies, privately-controled soldiery, and city police.
      ruling class has increased military power by thousnadfall.

      the people who don’t like or want to deny these facts will use the oldest tricks/ruses to try to bypass what i just said.
      watch out for these subterfuges: they’ll label that writing; use this label as proof [even tho the label doesn’t mean anything] that they are correct.
      Then they will put words in your mouth; then use them as your own words to refute the facts u posited.
      Then they define and redifine certain isms; while evaluating mere definitions as facts or hoping u’d evalaute them as factual.

      one caveat: i hyphenate politics, military, and economy to show that none of these aspects of reality stands in isolation from one another. One cld add to the above three aspects of one reality also ‘reiligion’ [cults, iniquities], [mis]education, entertainment, advertising, media, etc.
      all these aspects are interconnected forming a monolythic power.
      etcetc . tnx

    32. Wingnut said on August 18th, 2009 at 9:27am #

      Well described, Balkas! Its one, big, many-faceted, co-condoning, self-BSing machine. Capitalism and similar pyramid/hierarchy-allowing BS is a large part, and possibly the rudimentary element… of its structure. Monetary discrimination (earn’n’deserve tradition) is well-cemented into psyche. There is a blatant parental policy reversal from share, to fight, when the kids turn 18 and get prepared to “get a job or starve”. And that equals “join capitalism, or die”. And last I knew, that was felony extortion and forced religion. A civilized nation would give our 18 year olds freedom… freedom to join a cooperator’s church instead of a competer’s church.

      Sorry, I got ranty there. I despise pyramid schemes-o-servitude like capitalism. I hate economies and ownership. In a way, maybe I hate “establishments”. Maybe I’m a hippy!? :) The commentor who thinks the infiltration of the monetary discrimination system… is defined only in our minds… um… open your eyes to reality, okay? Ya got enjoyment addicts on the upper 1/3 of the pyramid… yachting and jetting and pissin’ money away on coc and whores… while 20,000 kids under age five… die per day on the planet… from lack of basic survival supplies. Anyone supposed Christian-like person… who hears/sees that REALITY… and isn’t totally disgusted by that… isn’t Christian whatsoever. I’d venture as far as to say that they aren’t even civilized.

      Pyramiding/inequlaity is easy to see, no matter what label you paste onto it. If the label “capitalism” is anywhat attached to these three phrases…

      “Whatever the market will bear”

      “There’s nothing wrong with making a good profit”

      “Competition is healthy”

      …then it is “capitalism”, that is the problem. I think we all know that capitalism might as well be named “the competer’s church” because capitalism is NOT a cooperator’s situation whatsoever. I’m going out on a limb here and saying that “competition” (the label and phenomena) is the exact opposite of “cooperation” (the label and phenomena).

      Labels, labels, labels. Call it pyramiding, call it hierarchies, call it monetary and ownership discrimination, call it rat-racing, call it imperialism, call it capitalism, but most of all, CALL IT A DAY! Quit using pyramids of discrimination and inequality, a very seeable and NOT “in my mind” thing. The problem has now been cleanly defined, right? :) Outlaw economies and ownership, worldwide. Follow the USA military supply system. Luxuries in repositories for all to share, and necessities free for all, just fill out a requisition form, available everywhere. Everyone an equal member of Team Earth… and goodbye national and international borders and ownership claims. Yay!

    33. balkas b b said on August 18th, 2009 at 10:10am #

      wingnut,
      excellent observing that the “competition” in the sense that US ‘elite’ [read, please, people who deceive and cheat] uses, bars cooperation.
      the ‘elite’ allows cooperation only then when the cooperation benefits them more than non-ruling class.
      tnx

    34. Wingnut said on August 19th, 2009 at 6:26am #

      Thanks B! Yes, we ARE seeing some “cooperation” in the upper echelons… needed to keep status quo (establishment) intact. But are you noticing the resent happening in those tiers… over the bailouts and co-back-scratchings? There’s lots of… “Hey, how come THEY get rescued and butts kissed, and WE don’t?” Favoritism and cronyism galore! Lets see, what have “we” (the USA and its sheeple) bailed out so far? Airlines, credit unions, banks, car companies, and coming soon, healthcare. There’s probably a few I’ve forgotten. But that friend-pickin’ stuff like “Hey, how come XXX is your friend and YYY isn’t?”… that will be the death of that mess… I believe. In a way, its the start of the potentially-long “Why is EVERYONE included?” equality battles… and such a war is in exact conflict with the “earn’n’deserve” system. We’ve already seen some earn’n’deserve problems arise in the halthcare debates. “Who has earned and deserves great treatment, and who hasn’t earned and doesn’t deserve?” What’s the big words for that stuff? Inclusion and exclusion? Discrimination? Friend-pickin’. Regime building?

      Let me tell us a stupid metaphor-filled story… seeing the fine folks at DV have allowed me this space and the pixel ink and freedom to fill it.

      Once upon a time, here in America, I went to “vacation Bible school”. If I remember right, it was three consecutive days, 9am-3pm, mid-summer, at a local church. It was essentially Bible stories and games in the summer sun, and lunch was served to the kids everyday, often sloppy joes or egg salad sandwiches. One day, the biggest “bully” in the entire church playground, grabbed the entire platter of sloppy joes as soon as they hit the table, and ran off into the nearby woods with them. Bullyboy was seen using his new-found hoard-power to make other children “service him” just to get a TASTE of a sloppy joe. I’ll leave “service” to your imagination, but feel free to push the limits of disgusting, as Bullyboy did just that. Bullyboy was also seen picking and choosing which kids would get to hold/taste “the power”. When God (the church playground monitor) found Bullyboy and saw this hoard’n’ration activity, God smite Bullyboy atrociously. (yay!)

      After that day, the sermons in the church… were often about ownership and materialism, and the “heads in the clouds” problem seen with elites atop pyramids of power’n’hoard (control). What IS pledging allegiance “and to the republic for which it stands”? What IS the replublic for which it stands? Is it a bully atop a “nikker pile”? (Remember the high-discrimination, most-powerful-wins playground game called “nikker pile”? (I’ve cleaned-up the term a bit, here). That game was where one person had the ball, and others tried to get it… by all means necessary… including crushing little tiny kids who weren’t even playing the rat-race game, just watching nearby. In a way, it was like another childhood game called “king of the mountain”…. another power-always-wins violent hoarding game. In a way, it was like yet another game called “keep-away”, a rationing game. Is it “human nature”… these power games? Or is it “learned behavior” (which might be the opposite of human nature)? In order to stop rat-racing games like nikker pile and capitalism, do we have some basic human (childhood) “games” to study and likely outlaw, first? Should we be doing our studying of civilized and moral behaviors… in the playgrounds?

      I don’t know where any of this is going. Thoughts, anyone?

      In a way, it was close to another game seen in playgrounds.

    35. Max Shields said on August 19th, 2009 at 6:41am #

      B99 the problem, as I see it, is who is calling who a capitalist. Are derivatives an example of capitalism? Do the people who deal in them call themselves or think of themselves as practicing capitalists?

      Is believing in markets, that dynamic of commerce and relationships, capitalism? Do socialists (who ever they are and what every variant they claim to cling to) believe there is such a thing as markets? Did Marx?

    36. Max Shields said on August 19th, 2009 at 7:31am #

      It is more fruitful to talk about industrialism, consummerism, and the economics that drive these than to simply talk about capitalism.

      If we were to identify industries that are harmful to life (isn’t that the real issue?) than should we consider deindustrialization? In other words, (tho I’ve used “ism”) I don’t think industrialization is an ideology so much as a tool which has created wealth, and unimagined products. Are there problems with that?

      I just think these are the questions of merit and not the dogma of capitalism/socialism that has so mutated that we don’t even know what we’re talking about.

    37. balkas b b said on August 19th, 2009 at 8:15am #

      wingnut,
      i’ve stated this observation before: the ruling class appears strongly interdependent or socialist.
      but it does strive to make us much dependent while at the same time trumpeting value of being fiercely independent.
      naturally, trying to obtain independency, leads to unsane behavior of all kinds.
      and the ruling class uses this fact to brag how much we need them for guidance and safety/security.
      of course, once the ‘elites’ makes us all sick, i guess, we do need them! tnx

    38. b99 said on August 19th, 2009 at 11:58am #

      Max – But what it boils down to is how industrialism manifests itself in a capitalist political economy and how consumerism manifests itself in a capitalist political economy. Industrialism came out of a nascent capitalism, consumerism is a product of recent capitalism.

      You have to have industry – cottage industries are industries. farming is an industry. But what we are talking about is the industrialization of virtually the entire economy – an acheivement of capitalism. Now farms have become extensive agriculture – i.e., industrialized. This does not happen outside the prerogatives of capital. Among other things – capitalism is about short term profit, you can’t fix industrialization without addressing capitalism – the capitalists will balk!

      Derivatives are part of the finance sector of capital. Those individuals who trade in derivatives are not capitalists for doing so, but they work for capitalists – capitalists who will pay the trader a small pittance of the derivatives value as a commodity. The owners and controllers of these corporations do think of themselves as capitalists. That’s why Forbes Magazine marketed itself as “Capitalist Tool.” The owners of finance capital then re-invest the profits in new investments.

      Markets pre-date capitalism, but they were largely for merchants to make a living and trade for things they don’t have. The notions of capital accumulation, reinvestment, and continuous growth to stay ahead of the falling rate of profit developed in the mercantilist period that evolved into capitalism – the period when Europe plundered the world to the extent it had more goods and riches than it knew what to do with.

    39. dan e said on August 19th, 2009 at 3:17pm #

      Max, it is your insistence on focussing on symptoms, on highly visible surface phenomena, instead of on the fundamental internal dynamics of this “for profit” society, that is not “fruitful”, except maybe in the sense of “fruitcake”.

      You have to understand the basic dynamics of any society based on Locke’s principles which hold capitalist property as sacred as life itself, before you can begin an investigation of the various secondary phenomena which emerge as the fundamental logic of the capitalist mode of production plays itself out on the stage of concrete historical circumstances.

      We are ruled by the members of a society within a society customarily described as the Capitalist Ruling Class, because they have attained their present position of great wealth and power by out-competing rival capitalists in the great game of “accumulate, accumulate: that is Moses and the Prophets”:)

      Said society w/in a society is made up of diverse groupings of individuals and families. In other words, the Ruling Class is not monolithic or a uniform featureless mass. Some groups within it are richer and more powerful than others. Each grouping or fraction of the class maintains hegemonic ties with different elements located in the Intermediate Strata, which fact accounts for most of the “political news” we see on TV.
      I don’t like see the term “Middle Class” applied to social strata within US society, because its use gives rise to so much misunderstanding. US society has been intentionally stratified into a pyramid of many layers, colors and flavors. Maybe the key reason the US remains the preferred base society for the globalized Imperial State Apparatus is the polyglot character of the society. The US public is made up of groups and groupings of wildly diverse origins, cultures, and historical experiences, which facilitates the task of those whose way of life is to divide and rule others.

    40. dan e said on August 19th, 2009 at 3:44pm #

      to gain an understanding of how stratification works in advanced capitalist societies, cf. the work of Nikos Poulantzas. Prof. Erik Olin Wright of the sociology dept at U of Wisc Madison has written the best books I know of applying Poulantzas’ method to the US of A.

      The capitalist system of production and distribution requires the capitalist class to engage in two main branches of activity: One, they must invest their capital soundly so that it comes back to them augmented, and Two, the class as a whole must create and maintain the conditions that allow capitalist activity to exist and flourish.

      This second branch is properly known as The State. Everything which helps maintain and/or expand the “statutes of the status quo” is part of The Capitalist State. The State is itself divided into different branches, the three main ones being the Political State, the Ideological State, and the Financial State. These can be further subdivided for the purposes of discussion, just as you can talk about the different parts of an automobile while realizing that it is only when all said parts are assembled in the proper way that the collection of parts will function as an automobile.
      This way of thinking about The State is based on the work of Louis Althusser and his collaborator E. Balibar. Yes they were Maoists, and Prof. A eventually killed his wife. You don’t have to kill your wife or join the RCP to make use of their theoretical investigations, just as you don’t have to accept any of the many versions of “Trotskyism” in order to find Ernest Mandel’s or Ben Fine’s work on The Law of Value useful.

    41. Deadbeat said on August 19th, 2009 at 3:48pm #

      Thanks Dan for your lucid and erudite explanation of the tapestry. Again your explanation is why the “U.S. Imperialism” label to define all actions of the ruling class is a tremendous distraction and why that “Chomskyist” notion in the end misdirect, misleads and misdirects activists. It explains why there can be simultaneously “rational” as well as “irrational” behavior exhibited in U.S. policy. What is consistent is the role that Capital plays in exercising its power and can be used to further the end of those who are both “rational” and “irrational”. It is that dialectic that Max Shields misses and when challenged lashes out with distorted rhetoric. Unfortunately his thinking is extremely clouded.

      The US public is made up of groups and groupings of wildly diverse origins, cultures, and historical experiences, which facilitates the task of those whose way of life is to divide and rule others.

      This observation is why I think that confronting racism is the weakest link in the ruling class armor. The only way solidarity can be built is when people can trust each other. The only way for that to happen is when people can get beyond the divide and rule. It is apparent when I hear people on the suppose “Left” pit racism against classism either they are ignorant or they want to maintain division. When in fact both are intertwined. A recent discussion on DV illustrated this. One is not about the other and both work hand-in-hand.

      Another illustration also is how the “Left” either downplays or downright reject Marxism which goes to great length to explain how Capitalism function as a system. It is lame to think that all things as “U.S. Imperialism” and to ignore Capitalism as a global system whereby all allocation of resources is controlled and administered. Without understanding how Capitalism function opens the door for all kinds of charlatans to expose fallacious explanations and excuses. Such confusion also is designed to retard solidarity and to misdirect the public from real solution developed to advance their interests.

      Dan, I appreciate your contribution here your participation in lifting the clouds of confusion.

    42. Max Shields said on August 19th, 2009 at 4:00pm #

      dan e I’ll respond to you later…

      B99, I disagree since there is no example of sustainable industialization that exists – China, former Soviet Union, India?

      The abstract notion that it is capitalism that creates the “problem” of life on this planet as it manifests itself within industrialization is hocus pocus because there is no example of such a corner of the world on a large scale.

      I would say, in fact, that it is scale which is the fundamental problem (or solution), not capitalism or socialism as evils or solutions. And this is where, belittle him tho you may, Schumacher nails it. And the truth is so does Wendell Berry who is pretty much on the same page with EFS. I think it’s a quibble to say you think one is passe and the other is not because one is still writing.

      But scale is a central issue and a principle that cross any and all economic “systems”. This is more a biological issue than a Marxist/Smith/Lock issue (all probably understood that much better than the dribble we hear today from so-called Capitalists and Socialists, I would refer to them as neo).

      The industrialisation of everything could be found in the Soviet Union and in Cuba prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. What Cuba did when it introduced organic farming and permaculture was a biological response NOT an ideological response to their great dilemma of oil depletion. We can and should learn from that. Soviet large scale mechanized farming, much like what we have today, existed in Cuba.

      Size is important. A large mass of land and people, an empire, if you will, is scaled to an order of magnitude which cannot be sustained. We all know that. History repeatedly shows it as does nature. Nature not only abhors a void it abhors monopolies. And it is this which is at the core of the problem. It is how we scale which is critical at every level.

      Remember life is our purpose, not ideology.

      As to derivatives, they make a tiny number of people rich; they serve no capitalistic purpose because the purpose of capital is to make, to invest and produce. Derivatives do not do that. Our high finance is an aberrition, a pathology, a parasitic disease. Ponzi is not capitalism.

      Again, I don’t care one iota about capitalism or socialism. I care about correctly identifying the underlying problem and it will always be a problem as long as we keep calling it capitalism or socialism or whatever.

      The financial sector was scaled up to such an extent it imploded. That’s what happens when hypergrowth is the name of the game. And it has been (and still is in many influential circles). Our politicians say we must “grow” our way out of a recession – Obama says it to this very day. That is simply suicide for this economy – which will be better for all in the long run, but it will be tragic for many millions.

    43. Max Shields said on August 19th, 2009 at 4:15pm #

      dan e, thank you for your attempts to enlighten me. (by the way, deadbeat is not really responding to you as much as to make his own case, which has little to do with what you wrote.)

      However, I think you provide the perfect example of how we confound the problem by introducing a “capitalist class”. I won’t disagree that you have specific people in mind. We know about he various barrons of industry and their off-spring.

      But you refer to books (you are an intelligent reader) but not to reality, to something that has flesh and blood on it’s bones.

      This does not solve the problem because it offers nothing more than a preponderance of analytical hodgepodge about capitalism and the State and Capitalist Class. You may think you’ve found the root cause, but it is a symptom of which can be found throughout human history in every type of economic scheme. So, what is the problem?

      I offer “SCALE” as one principle and I think it offers much more than any variant of Trotsky-ideology can ever provide. Swapping out one ill for another is what we’re left with when you rely on ideology and when the root cause it left in tact.

    44. B99 said on August 19th, 2009 at 6:11pm #

      “a corner of the world on a large scale.” Seems like an oxymoron to me.

      That capitalism is virtually the only mode of production standing after having subsumed or eliminated other modes should not be confused with non-existence. That Marx and Marxists describe a situation where one sells one’s labor to another because one has little or nothing else to sell and that said labor has to be remunerated for less than the commodity sells for with the difference going to the owner of capital is not an abstraction. That relationship is a fact of our existence. We see this all day everyday until which point it becomes ‘natural’ and ‘invisible’ and so we think we have solved the problem if we can just get past industrialization or if we can just make our polities smaller. Small may be desirable but fascism can exist in small entities as well.

      Marx did not abhor industrialization – he challenged who should own the factory – the factory of capitalists.

      I have no argument that derivatives are bad. They are as far removed from the labor that creates true value as any financial instrument ever invented. They contribute nothing to humankind. But they ARE a product of unrestrained capitalism. It is capitalism au natural. Because ultimately, capitalists don’t care if what they produce has use value – they care about profit taking. The goal of capitalists is to make, invest, and gain a larger share of the market – it matters not whether that product is useful. It could be artificial limbs for humans but it also could be pet rocks or derivatives. The idea that finance capital will rule is notoriously Marxist – and it did happen – this is not abstraction.

    45. Max Shields said on August 19th, 2009 at 6:55pm #

      “Marx did not abhor industrialization – he challenged who should own the factory – the factory of capitalists.”

      But this is the problem, not just who owns but what it means to produce regardless of the owner of production.

      If we look at Cuba…I really am trying to provide an example we can agree on…it was off and running with industrialization, even though workers were in charge of production. Unless you’re advocating anarchy, statelessness, than we have to conclude that such “ownership” did not avoid a unsustainable industrialized (fossil based) argriculture.

      Can we agree on this? It was not the form of economy it was the scale, in this case, of farming. Cuba had highly mechanized farming with large scale farms – not that different from the agribusiness model in the US.

      It was collapse of oil supply to Cuba (the special period) which altered their course to sustainable farming. This is well documented and you may have seen the documentary – The Power of Community. The joy of having re-introduced subsistence farming, where community gardens and small scale organic and permaculture are integral to their food system. This is NOT socialism; nor is it capitalism. Neither provided the solution.

      Marx says a great deal, much of which does not provide the crucial lessons. Right or wrong, the difference between say Marx and Berry is that one analyzes and prognosticates based on a dialectical materialism (Marx); while the other provides sound principles of life and observable discovery (Berry).

      One’s method of inquiry is important. I don’t think that Marx makes clear the role of derivatives. We agree that derivatives do not describe capitalism nor are they healthy, they are an example of a pathology. Ok let’s call it the result of capitalism’s final dialectic if you will. But what have we to demonstrate that Marx had an answer to this?

      Certainly no self-proclaimed Marxist/Maoist/Trotkyite/Soviet communist/socialist regime has provide an answer. The answer is not complacency…necessity will not allow that. But a return to Marx is not the answer either.

      We have examples here and there of possible solutions. These are worth all the volumes and lectures of Marx/Engels Dialectecs, Manifestos and Das Kapitals collected and stacked 20 stories high.

    46. B99 said on August 19th, 2009 at 7:31pm #

      Well, Marx was wrong that the only problem was who owns the factory – but that does not mean the factory was not a capitalist enterprise. It does not mean that human labor was not exploited – the relationship between capitalist and laborer was (and is) an exploitative one and this grossly unequal relationship is life denying, not life-affirming. That industrialism could have arisen within a socialist structure does not negate that it arose within a capitalist structure – and that structure has to be dealt with.

      I do not think that derivatives are a pathology of capitalism – I think capitalism is the pathology. Derivatives are an example of several where capitalism leads when there are no reins on it.

    47. Max Shields said on August 19th, 2009 at 7:57pm #

      I think we’re arguing semantics. Exploitation of workers? Is that unique to so-called capitalism? I think not.

      The other lesson is not just scale but organization principles, or structure. A top-down structure yields a master/slave (terms which can be adjusted) relationship. This is far from unique to capitalism.

      So, along with scale we have the problem of how we organize, our relationships, not just in terms of commerce, but in terms of culture (think of how US culture is defined, and by whom or how Chinese culture is defined…). Rarely is culture something indigenous once a society has structured itself in a hierarchical fashion. Add to that the industrialization of production and work. Is it capitalism that separates the worker from his/her work. Chaplin’s Modern Times is not about capitalism – it could be within any industrialized society.

      Read Schumacher again. He presents the problem quite clearly, quite succinctly. It needn’t be a heavy dose of German systems building through dialectic materialism for it to be worthy of consideration.

      Schumacher talks about intermediate and appropriate technologies, built to human scale. This is the natural scale of living not only living for now but for the yet to be born.

      Derivatives is a blow job…it should be given that level of consideration…sex without sex.

    48. balkas b b said on August 19th, 2009 at 10:02pm #

      as i have noted, the people talking or arguing about capitalism, industry, socialism, marx, etc., are locked in a never-ending discussion about their conclusions, hopes, wishes, predilections, etc.
      once they have concluded that capitalism is this or that, they go on to defend their conclusions, wishes, etc., with more and more conclusions or ‘explanations’.

      meanwhile religion with its deleterious effects, structure of society and governance, man’s inhumanity to man, miseducation, love for power, etc., do not exist; thus, do not play any role in our life or capitalism; whatever that is, it is clearly not an apple.
      they forget or do not know that capitalism or socialism is part of life or reality.
      and neither capitalism or socialism, whatever they be to anyone, stands appart from people and their doings.
      so, it all comes dwn to people and their behavior. And we can see with naked eye what people do to one another.
      it is not capitalism that does anything, it is solely people who act and bring on wars, hatred, oppression, inequality, etc.

      i suggest that any discussion about anything begins with at least one fact and not with definitions, ‘explanations’, marxism, socialism, etc.
      socialism or marxism are high-order terms, far removed from ditch digging, tool making, buying, marrying, etc.
      That people dig ditches, marry, work are facts; isms label ideating mostly.

      A ditch digger get’s paid so much. A tool maker makes more money than a digger.
      Teacher or professor get’s paid [much] more than both laborers. From such facts we can make conclusions.
      i conclude that all three workers shld ge paid the same or simialr wages.
      now name this whatever, but what is said is understandable and at least some people wld agree with that.
      one can conclude that a child of a laborer shdl not be penalized by being paid less than a father of another child.
      A child of a person who get’s paid less is discriminated against, shamed, and deprived of the opportunities that a child has whose father earns more.

      having healthcare, right to be informed, etc., falls in either-or not category of evaluating; i.e., it is either wrong or right. Capitalism, socialism, marxism, catholicism do not because, in the main, these labels are to high on the ladder and to which answers true and false do not apply.
      in fact, each person is right by own definition of anything. Acceptance of this fact leads to agreement and peace.
      Forever running dwn s’mbody elses’s definition of capitalism or socialism leads to rancour and frustration.
      so i accept deabeat’s, max’s, et al definitions. I merely wish they’d start their analyses [‘explanations’] from at least one fact and then go on and opine, conclude, wish, etc. tnx

    49. ABC said on August 20th, 2009 at 4:40am #

      This is good!

    50. Max Shields said on August 20th, 2009 at 6:40am #

      The correction for what appears to be the core problem is reclaiming the commons. By this, I mean, culture, and that which is born out of our collective existence whether it be science or music or settlements and infrastructure, air waves, food, literature, minerals, land, water, essentiall all natural resources.

      This is not so much an “ownership” but a claim to all use and improvement. People can build and own what they build/earn. Innovation and enterprise will continue to go on and thrive in a much different and healthy way.

      Whether it be the works of Albert Einstein or the music of Bach or the literature of Cervantes or the patents that are licensed to corporations. None of these exist in a vacuum. They are part and parcel of a collective community(ies). What enables all of these is what we and our forebearers created and likewise the legacy we leave for generations, yet to be born must all be included in this reclamation.

      Once this is done, debates about Marx and capitalism and socialism will be in the dust bin…other debates, hopefully more meaningful ones will emerge to build on a new era of living.

    51. dan e said on August 20th, 2009 at 9:57am #

      More horsepucky, Max. When did this “commons” of yours exist?

      More specifically, just what do you mean by the term?

      In Europe under Feudalism there was a tradition that the peasantry had limited rights to make use for designated purposes ( “gathering firewood Si, hunting the King’s Deer No”) of certain portions of manor/village land designated by the feudal lord as part of his “commons”, but when capitalism got going good, these rights were abolished.
      Do you know anything about the history of the Enclosure Movement? Do you know anything about Primitive Accumulation?

      To me you seem to be dreaming of some small-businessman’s Garden of Eden which never in fact existed. Are you hoping to go back to the era of “free land in the West”?

      If you seriously want to reclaim any of this whites-only “legacy” you cite, you will have to take it away from the persons who presently own it under the existing capitalist property laws backed by the Capitalist State.

      Ain’t gonna be no “new era of living” until the current Powers That Be are disempowered and society is reorganized on the basis of a different set of priniciples whereby the “right” to own property in the means of production is drastically limited if not abolished outright.

    52. dan e said on August 20th, 2009 at 10:35am #

      continuing:

      Any theorist or “thinking” who tells you that Marx & Engels can be safely ignored is working for the interests of the Ruling Class.

      Deadbeat, you hit the nail in the head: Racism was from the first an essential element in the creation of the modern capitalist world system. Only a cpl things are as important, one being Patriarchy, another is the mystified nature of the wage-for-labor agreement between Capital and Laborer(s).

      BTW, DB, Chomsky did not invent the term Imperialism or “US Imperialism”, and it bothers me that you seem to associate it exclusively with him and his “soft zionist” cohorts.

      The term was widely used by elites of the British Empire to describe their collective geopolitical/economic enterprise. cf. Hobson.

      Modern usage of the term by pro-workingclass/anti-colonialist writers springs from Lenin’s classic analysis Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”. You don’t have to be a “Leninist” to appreciate the seminal character of this work and the role it has played.

      But I’m going to stop trying to convince Max and the rest of these “have the cake & eat it too” denizens of the colonial metropole.
      Just look at the names that sprang to his mind when he wanted to describe “our common legacy”: all white, all male, all “Western”. Sorry Max, your narrowmindedness is showing. Please take moment to realize how culturally deprived you are? I don’t mean to blame you for it, none of us choose the circumstances of our birth, but at some point we have to try to expand our outlook…

      One point, Max: it was not I who introduced the Capitalist Class, nor can Marx be blamed. They introduced themselves. Well to a certain extent they were “midwived” by the then hegemonic Feudal Nobility, which is where a lot of them got their initial chunk of Primitive Accumulation. More importantly it was the Feudal State, mainly in the form of Absolutist Monarchy, which maintained the set of power relations that allowed the Capitalist class (aka the Commoners, or 3rd Estate) to grow and prosper to the point that they could shape the political State to their own desires.

      But these are not controversial propositions thought up by Karl Marx. This is just basic history.

    53. b99 said on August 20th, 2009 at 11:16am #

      Yes Max – exploitation of workers has a fairly precise Marxist definition when discussing the relationship of the owner to his laborers in a capitalist system. What you are referrring to instead is oppression, something that has been around much longer than capitalism or exploitation.

      The Cuban accomplishments in organic farming are wonderful and invaluable. It should be noted that the decision to go organic came out of a dire crisis in Cuba’s history (as you outline) and were instituted by the Cuban State. At least as important as this, is the fact that beginning in 1993, the workers own the farms in Cuba. They make decisions based in having an immediate vested interest in the land and produce – and not based on Cuban state planning demands. I do wonder, how much of the Cuban organics will survive a relaxation of the embargo by the US. There will be a lot of pressure from the US (acting on behalf of capitalist firms) to start using US-made fossil fuel fertilizers and pesticides. On the other hand, Cuban organic farming and the science that girds it is now a source of considerable pride for Cubans. And even if brought about by a state in crisis mode, may well develop a life of its own. Unless it can be co-opted by capital, however, Big Agribusiness may restrict it to a niche market.

    54. balkas b b said on August 20th, 2009 at 11:19am #

      dan e,
      i, too, am puzzled about meaning of the word “common”. I came across this label for the first time on DV just a few months ago.
      but if one is going to talk about this aspect of reality [i think “common” refers to the fact that at one time there was no private property] then it shdl be tied to everything going on or at least the salient aspects of reality.

      by just persistently leaving just one of the more salient facts such as ‘religion’ one is not going to ever proffer an elucidation.
      i think that at one time one may have owned a grass or straw bed, bat, cudgel, rock, sandals, etc., but not land and water and all that the two contained.

      so, we need to talk/ideate ab. how, when, why, where did the ownership of water and land became a law.
      And the why must be connected to when and how and by whom the usurpation of that basic right had been carried out.

      And not in order to enlighten adults, but children. We may have lost adults in a country like canada and US; so, let us speak english to children. That is the only language they know.
      by english, i suggest that we use as much as possible germanic words. Until just recently, german language used almost solely germanic words.
      tnx

    55. balkas b b said on August 20th, 2009 at 11:48am #

      i wrote my post before i read max’s post in which he defines “commons”.
      as i have said before max is right by own definition: hunches, knowledge or ‘knowledge’.
      by ‘knowledge’ i meant to say that most people know so much, too much, that ain’t so.

      my own definition wld be that “commons” appears as just one of the aspect of one and the only reality we have. Thus, arts, language, lore, land, etc., as max points out, is connected to “commons”.

      probably the key tenet to keep in mind is not to think elementalistically; i.e., thinking/talking about any aspect of one and the only nature we have as existing in isloation from any other aspect.
      in other words, commons, religion, forest, etc., are parts of nature or reality; reality [all that exists] is not part of religion, etc.

      Priests, it seems to me, look at religion as a separate entity. They will even instruct their ‘flock’ [read please: serfs], Be with them but not of them!
      Sad but true! tnx

    56. Deadbeat said on August 20th, 2009 at 12:46pm #

      BTW, DB, Chomsky did not invent the term Imperialism or “US Imperialism”, and it bothers me that you seem to associate it exclusively with him and his “soft zionist” cohorts.

      The issue Dan that I raise in critiquing Chomsky and his “soft Zionism” is his USE of primarily “U.S. Imperialism” to explain all actions and motives. My critique is no different than Jeffrey Blankfort’s critique of Chomsky for his misuse of Imperialism.

      The issue is not who invented the term Imperialism. The issue is RHETORIC. And how Chomsky’s rhetoric has narrowed the scope of analyzing issues. For one Dan as you point out Marxist analysis is extremely important yet these past 30 years with Chomsky’s rising importance as a spokesperson representing the “Left” he has done little to advance Marxist analysis. And that is my point.

    57. Max Shields said on August 20th, 2009 at 3:50pm #

      B99 good points on Cuba.

      dan e: “More horsepucky, Max. When did this “commons” of yours exist?”

      It is ancient, exists today, and the commons began to diminish a few centuries ago, and has nothing to do with whitey, because power doesn’t cares about control and domination more than anything else; in fact racism is born out of privatization of the commons.

      This is not white/black; this is about reclaiming what rightfully belongs to all.

      I don’t know perhaps on some page in one of his volumes Marx speaks to this. If he does or doesn’t is irrelevant, unless only what Marx writes warrents consideration. Such devotion is mindless dogma. And dan e, I do think you’re an intelligent poster who can think for himself. I have no problem in crediting the writings of anyone with a thought of originality and deep understanding. But just because Marx has written volumes doesn’t make all of what he says valuable or relevant.

    58. Max Shields said on August 20th, 2009 at 3:52pm #

      correction: …because power cares about control and domination more than anything else…

    59. B99 said on August 20th, 2009 at 4:41pm #

      The commons exists today. It can be found in small areas of Brazil, New Guinea and perhaps a few other isolated pockets where band societies still live. They are the commons insofar as they are utilized by one tribal group and are not a king’s preserve – because there is no king. If a chieftain tried to claim them for himself – he would be bounced, unceremoniously or not. This was, of course, the original way of life – hunting and gathering the original mode of production. Then, as today, all people in the group have personal possessions all the way up to and including shelter – though even this is not sacrosanct because often others in the group helped to build it. The lands and waters and all between is the commons.

    60. Wingnut said on August 21st, 2009 at 8:44am #

      Hi again, gang! Hey, isn’t “common” the base/primitive word for commune, communism, communication, and communion? I think it is. Not overly important, I guess.

      I want to take a moment to thank ALL the commentors… for educating me. I’m at a mere 20 years of activism, and I am just totally honored to read the perspectives of this “team of world problem troubleshooters” if I may call these thread-wranglers such. You guys and gals sure know how to wring-apart a subject matter from every imaginable angle plus a few hundred more. I’m not NEAR as educated as most of the people in this thread, so I should actually do more shutting up… but I can’t… cuz it feels so exciting to be around this “team”.

      I see some “chicken or egg, which came first”-ponder happening here… and that’s interesting to me. One comment claims that it is human behavior that causes the “systems” to form. Another says it is the systems… that cause the human behavior… and that the behaviors are being forced upon the humans… by systems. Other comments propose that those forced behaviors then become invisible to the humans, and humans tend to chalk it off to “that’s life” and “life isn’t always fair” and “that’s just the way it is”. They mistake “life” for the systems/traditions that are forced upon them. I see this often, especially in my own kin.

      I suspect that both are causes, or at least “pertinent factors”. The “systems” are often co-condoning systems… self-feeding… self-perpetuating. These systems “feed” upon a continuous source of humans… saying “that’s life” and thus going belly-up to the system’s likely-imposed beliefs and rules. For example, people are NOT forced to join the free marketeers pyramiding, greenpapers, and ownership system (capitalism). Or are they? When the entire planet is owned, and when the only way to get survival supplies… is to get past the capitalism-invented price tags that blockade those survival supplies, then “the people” are forced to get a job (or figure out some other way to acquire capitalism coupons/money).

      Nobody is created equal, at least not here in the USA and not when using capitalism as the measuring stick. Everyone is born at the pyramid layer of their parents, and pyramid layers are a system thing. (Right about here, someone could say “Yeah, a system that couldn’t exist unless human behaviors feed it and perpetuate it”.) Actually, true. And yet its a system that is SO overwhelming and infiltrating (COMMONly bought-into?)… that the “get a job or starve” is often unavoidable… barring being lucky enough to be born on a “set for life” pyramid layer, where no job is needed and the word “job” goes undefined.

      At “set for life” pyramid layers, the “job” is often shopping, eating in restaurants, and finding a place in one of the 9 “owned” houses… to put all the stuff that was bought today. Owner’s addiction, yes? The do-as-your-told-OR-ELSE servants that served the food and built the toys that the set-for-life shopped-for today… are invisible to the set4life. Those slaves are “that’s life” to the set4life, and that accessory-to-negligent-homicide kind of potential forsaking done BY the set4life… has gone invisible. The set4life doesn’t even know what they do. They are NOT out harming people, they are just shopping.

      I call this thinking… being “surface dweller”. Surface dwellers don’t think very deep about things, and rarely research or scrutinize the far-reaching ramifications of anyone’s “human behaviors”, including their own. In a way, its the “heads in the clouds” part of pyramids that I mentioned earlier. The kids at the top of the childhood playground pyramids… gave little thought to the back-crushing they were doing to the kids on the bottom layers… because the “glory” of being “high” was so mind-numbing. No “elite” would ever travel down to the bottom of the Earth-harvesting pyramid and check the emissions at the exhaust pipe… when the diamonds, yachts, learjets, and ice cream are so tummy yummy and creamy dreamy.

      Watch a young child lick an ice cream cone, and you’ll often see a blank stare of yummy goodness… a surface dwellism… a mesmerization. Take that ice cream from them at that point, and you’ll get a tantrum… just like when you take the cocaine away from a nose candy tooter. Is this a human behavior that causes the system to exist, or is it a system that promotes, condones, and railroads/bandwagons such human behavior into existence? Or is it both? (reciprocal?) Thoughts? Thanks again, everyone, for the excellent comments. Keep it up… good stuff.

    61. Wingnut said on August 27th, 2009 at 5:25am #

      Oh, way to go, Wingnut. Ya killed the thread. Brilliant.