Wake Up and Smell the System

The main cause of the destruction of the planet Earth is capitalism.

— Evo Morales

Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

— Arundhati Roy

The president of Bolivia and the writer from India speak for the majority population of earth which has born the brunt of the worst aspects of western culture. They are sending a wake up call to humanity to solve our existential problems as a race, the only one existing despite the propaganda, ignorance and hatred dividing us into competing national and ethnic entities that confuse learned culture with biological difference and jeopardize our future in the process.

Capitalism is not responsible for every problem we face but it is responsible for most of them. When a financial crisis in Europe has nations near bankruptcy begging for help to save themselves from system collapse, finance capitalism is at the root of their problem. When mining disasters kill workers it is not the act of mining but industrial capitalism’s pursuit of profit at the cost of worker safety that is the problem. And when off shore oil facilities sacrifice workers and cause a spill which threatens massive ecological destruction it is not simply extracting petroleum but the pursuit of private profit that puts life second to financial gain that is the problem. When Morales speaks of the threat to planet Earth, he means all of these things and more, and by confronting the menace he aims to help create another world materially that Roy speaks of poetically. That world is not only possible but necessary if humanity is to have a future, but that future will not be possible until we deal with the system of our past which weighs heavily on our present and threatens to deny our future as a human race.

As subjects of western culture we need to understand that the age of selfish consumptive competition has passed. Theories that rationalize injustice in an objective reality of squalid poverty of billions for the subjective benefit of minority millions will no longer appease global majorities who suffer the wretched excess of the capitalist organization of life. When present systemic stress has a relatively affluent minority here in the USA acting like subjugated peasants under the rule of cruel royalty, what might the mood be among those who have paid the price of that minority’s affluence?

American activists work to reform health care, military policy, immigration and environmental laws and the civil rights of identity focused groups. These and numerous other single issues are all vital to reforming the system to meet human needs and the ideals of democracy. But none of them do more than help selected minorities or confront problems in isolation, often causing further social divisions in the process. This system cannot be reformed by changing only one aspect of its increasing signs of decline for the same reason that a failing machine cannot be repaired by replacing one component part while neglecting its engine. The engine of our system is capitalism; the pursuit of private profit through the market under corporate control, free of any public intrusion save for minor reforms that try to keep its most destructive tendencies from all working simultaneously and destroying society in the process. But destruction is what we face if we try to make society healthier by segregating one group or aspect of its illness from the social body without confronting the terminal social disease that escapes notice, is hidden from notice, or is forbidden from being noticed.

Our public bailout of private capital is much greater than the 20th century one that saved the system the last time it was threatened by its internal dysfunctions. We are endlessly borrowing fabricated wealth from ourselves to protect a materially crumbling imperial structure that threatens to collapse on our heads. But more immediately, when legalized gambling entities called private banks are given trillions of our dollars to loan them back to us at exorbitant interest rates, Americans are being robbed more blatantly than ever before in the most colossal act of national plunder in our history.

That massive robbery has created a state of near social psychosis, but the public’s irrational reactions have been provoked by the irrational actions of their system’s rulers. When finance capital conducts terror attacks on American workers, homeowners and pensioners, it is only doing what industrial capital did in the past. Creating great profits for some by causing great losses for others is what the system is supposed to do and will continue doing until it is transformed or destroys itself and everyone else in the bargain.

When NAFTA introduces cheaper corn into Mexico, throws farmers off their land and then advertises for them to come to America as cheap labor on its farms and in its mills, it is simply acting for private profit. And when Americans surrender jobs and foot the social bills for the sudden entry of tens of thousands of foreigners, both sides are being used to absorb loss. But all too often the manipulated targets of wrath are either the profit creating illegal immigrants or their loss sustaining critics, not the capitalist system that created the problem.

It’s time for humanity to act on teachings of social justice that are only paid lip service now, if considered at all. The earth belongs to all of us but if we keep treating it as though only some of us own it and are privileged or chosen by some deity to exploit it for our benefit alone, it will collapse under the weight of a burden it has never known before. The sooner we acknowledge and deal with the fact spoken of by global leaders like Evo Morales, the sooner we embark on the path to the future potential for humanity spoken of by Arundhati Roy. Capitalism is the problem we have. Democracy is the solution we need.

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears online at the blog Legalienate. Read other articles by Frank.

15 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on May 1st, 2010 at 10:01am #

    “Wake up and smell the system“, says well-meaning scott, but then ignores it.
    As long as we blame capitalism with its bns of meanings and each meaning containing another bn meanings and these containing trns more, we are headed where? Assylum? Not me!
    I don`t give a hoot ab the word capitalism. To get to a child we need to describe what is going and postulate why is that going on and the word “capitalism“ does not describe a single event nor imparts to a child why that event happened.
    It`s like a fire. We can see it but we also like to know how it started; if by an arsonist, we`d like to know why shé-he started it.
    Wanna know all ab iraq? Then ask-study how-why it happened.

    Even clergy, who say wars are willed by god, refuse to tell us why. It`s god`s will and now shutup! Don`t bug me with stupid questions.
    On the other hand if u ask a man why he beat his wife, he`d be more than happy to give u all the WHYS he can think of but none of the HOWS.

    How ab a pol? Oh my devil! U`d get `answers` by the bushelfulls. If u`r `dumb` enough, u`d be amazed at his-her erudition-perspicacity-modesty-honesty, but the wars stay. tnx

  2. bozh said on May 1st, 2010 at 10:12am #

    No we do not need damn democracy we need timocracy and greater equality.
    If we wld have much greater equality we wld obtain even referenda, criminal prosecution or threats ôf prosecution of liars-deceivers, and the hell with democracy! tnx

  3. MichaelKenny said on May 1st, 2010 at 10:13am #

    “Capitalism is the problem we have. Democracy is the solution we need.”
    Well said! The lesson from the EU “crisis” is that it is a manufactured crisis, created out of the air by the Wall St elite and based largely on disinformation. Panicky Wall St has more or less blown the whistle on itself and one wonders, therefore, how many other “crises” were also manufactured.

  4. JE said on May 1st, 2010 at 11:07am #

    you need to do your homework centrally planned statism isn’t capitalism

  5. Don Hawkins said on May 1st, 2010 at 11:29am #

    Put on the Weather Channel and see the future just much more of it. The Gulf is being destroyed as I write this and that’s just here in the States we could talk about black rivers in China or sea level rise and the lose of life life in general on this planet. Massive rain today and people being rescued off the interstate in Tennessee only the beginning and our fearless leader I guess will over fly the Gulf, wow. What’s being done to slow any of this, nothing. The best I can tell the decision has been made to just do nothing. So far today I counted about 6 business leaders Icons who said this oil spill is no big deal has happened before drill baby drill. Am going to go have a nice cup of coffee now.

  6. Deadbeat said on May 1st, 2010 at 2:09pm #

    JE writes … you need to do your homework centrally planned statism isn’t capitalism

    On the contrary it is JE and his ilk absorbed in Cold War indoctrination that needs to learn about the system they are so devoted to. “Statism” is NOT what defined Capitalism. What defines capitalism is EXPLOITATION of the masses in order to derive PROFITS for the capitalist class. The system extracts wealth from workers (time and value in the guise of money) in the form of profits.

    In order for Capitalism to thrive it must continue not only to make profits but also must expand profit GROWTH. In other words the system must continue to expand EXPLOITATION in order to further capitalism’s growth.

    EXPLOITATION creates all kind of social, political, economic and environmental pathologies and anti-social behaviors because PROFITS and capital accumulation are the dominate “social” activity. In other words what better way to make money if you can control the means of LIFE. Housing is an example of this and the immorality of the fact that people have to pay usury and pay parasitical “landlords” to have shelter. However this as well as HOMELESSNESS are considered to be quite normal in Capitalism.

  7. bozh said on May 1st, 2010 at 2:49pm #

    DB,
    I haven’t taught of paying off mortgages as homelesness. However, that is a kind of homelesness-abuse.
    Other points u have made are echos of us being rendered dependencies via abuse of money and our sanity by rendering us blind mentally or conditioned to react like pavlov’s dog.
    One cld say we are well-fed animals; alas, most americans and canadians are not even fed well. tnx

  8. Deadbeat said on May 1st, 2010 at 3:24pm #

    bozh writes …
    Other points u have made are echos of us being rendered dependencies via abuse of money and our sanity by rendering us blind mentally or conditioned to react like pavlov’s dog.

    I agree bozh.

    I’ve only recently come to the conclusion that we need to get rid of money altogether. I used to think that money could be redistributed via the tax system. It can’t and even if it could be you’d need a host of regulations to prevent its re-concentation. Getting rid of money is one step among a series of steps to restore humanity.

  9. Don Hawkins said on May 2nd, 2010 at 4:28am #

    Yesterday was anything but normal whatever that is. The storms in the East here in the States I guess just another one of those hundred year storms. Many of the older people I’ve never seen that much rain. The blame game on the gulf spill continues it’s BP’s fault we need to do more, silly human’s. General McInerney on Fox New’s I think put it best yesterday. He said we learned a lot from Exxon and Alaska and we now have drones that can go to 60 thousand feet and map the spill. I wonder when we will invent a beam that can change oil into sea water. Then of course this Time Square thing that human’s with great wisdom and knowledge can handle. Again turn on the weather channel today and watch another one of those hundred year storms maybe we can map that from the outer reaches of our atmosphere. How’s that cap and trade bill coming along a joke on the human race.

    Some of our best friends have become the planet’s worst enemies.
    The climate and energy bills in Congress were designed by big banks and fat-cat
    environmental organizations that have lost touch with the people and nature.
    The bills all use smoke-and-mirrors: cap-and-trade, offsets, and give-aways.
    The truth is this: as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy we will go to the ends of
    Earth the deepest ocean, the most pristine land for the last drop of oil and gas, and
    destroy mountains for the last shard of coal.
    But that would guarantee climate disasters for young people and nature – we would
    destroy creation.
    Fossil fuels are cheapest only because they do not pay their costs to society – for damage
    to human health, the environment and future generations.
    So today, based on discussions with religious leaders, congressional staffers, economists,
    and concerned citizens, I am proposing a People’s Climate Stewardship bill.
    The bill defines a simple, honest carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies upon
    the first sale at the mine, wellhead or port of entry.
    The money collected will be distributed monthly to the public as a green check – so
    families can afford the energy they need during the transition to a clean energy future.
    The rising carbon fee will stimulate investment in low-carbon energy and efficiency.
    We will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We will create jobs, good jobs. James Hansen

    And the chances of this happening so far are at about zero. Again watch the weather channel today that rain the amount is anything but normal. This summer will be anything but normal and the People’s Climate Stewardship bill forget about it being tabled it will never come up so far on the third planet from the Sun.

  10. Wingnut said on May 2nd, 2010 at 7:52am #

    Hi gang. Good article, good comments, and hooray Deadbeat for knowing that money (economies) has to go. Do you realize that ownership has to go, too? The two greenpaper tools of empowerment, money, and (en)titles of ownership. Odd that they’re both green. Its a miracle that store receipts, another type of title of ownership, aren’t green, huh?

    So what do you think about comments like “my hard earn money” and “taxpayer dollars”? Are they self lies, considering each dollar bill (with the pyramid scheme symbol on the back) has “Federal Reserve Note” written at the top? Can dollars be owned? What if we JUST abolished/outlawed ownership (yet allowed custodianship like materials in the USA military and USA public library)? When money can’t be owned, will money abolish itself?

    And then, what if we let ANY organization, especially churches, print legal tender money themselves and distribute it at will? What if there was greenbacks and redbacks and bluebacks and yellowbacks? Why can we ONLY use greenbacks with the Columbian Freemason pyramid symbol on the back? Why is the USA gov in a district of Columbia?

    I somehow think that giving the people a freedom of choice as to WHICH money to use… would be an excellent little way to crush economy usage. FOUR price tags on every item in every supply depot (store)? Yeah! That would last oh… about a month. Without money, there’s be no more hiring or firing. There would still be ASKING, though. No longer could an empowered person wave greenbacks in the air and “make” (force in desperation for greenbacks) a mason build you a basement, and a carpenter build you a house atop… in service/servitude. You/one would need to ASK those skilled craftsman to help on that, and I believe that kind of activity was once called a “barnraising”… similar to a quilting bee or potluck dinner… a couple of the best things in life. Who owns the finished basement, house, quilt, or potluck meal? Nobody. Or everybody. Team Earth. With no ownership, one could walk ANYWHERE on the entire planet! What a ridiculous freedom! ;)

  11. Rehmat said on May 2nd, 2010 at 2:05pm #

    The rich and parasites, who have been the main beneficiary of capitalist system – also created wage-disparity, bankruptcy, loan, paper-money, credit cards, and world monetary organizations like World Bank, IMF, Frderal Reseve, etc. – to keep their grip over world monetary system, so much so, that during every recession – it’s the poor majority which suffers, while the rich become richer on the expense of their victims – the taxpayers.

    Capitalism is based on shear philosophy of loot – where the major shareholders of banking institutes take public money (deposit) against lower interest rates and then loan the same money (invest) to businesses and individuals against much higher interests rates to earn profits. The projectors of this system call it ‘the risk taking’ – that if banks’ investment suffer a loass – the depositor is still ensure of his/her ‘profit’ in the shape of interest. However, in practice it never happens that way. The bank loss is always covered by ‘low or no annual raise’ for the employees or some additional ‘service charges’ to the customers – or the banking institution declaring an outrght bankruptcy- which is usually put on the taxpayers’ shoulders – for the fear of more layoffs and thus increased unemployment – while the rich bank shareholders keep receiving their fat salaries and annual bonuses.

    Americans have a long history of recessions – but ironically, the fat fish always emerged from them – more fat than before the recession. During the 1930s US recession – 10 million Americans became unemployed while approximately 30 million Americans were without any income at all. However, US president Hoover in his self-denial declared: “Nobody is actually starving.” In the 1970s, American went through another recession as result of OPEC raising the price of crude oil (for America’s blind support for Israel) – resulting in greater trade deficit of tens of billions a year to pay for the additional cost of oil imports. Then came the Black Monday – on October 19, 1987 – the great crash on the stock market – evaporating of US$900 billion in stocks within a few days.

    According to Federal Reserve, in 1990 – the richest one percent of US owned 40% of its wealth – while the richest 20% owned 80% of America – meaning that 80% of Americans only owned only one fifth of country’s wealth.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/capitalism-parasites-golden-calf/

  12. JE said on May 3rd, 2010 at 1:50pm #

    Deadbeat,

    You are a deabbeat aren’t you? What IS my “ilk” exactly?

    Anyway you need to go back and READ Adam Smith and “The Wealth of Nations” or perhaps you need to just read it. It’s pretty obvious that you never have. Exploitation might be a de facto CRITERIA for capitalism by that does NOT define it as an economic system…I can’t believe you’d make this a point of contention anyway since we both know capitalism doesn’t work and a capitalist society has NEVER existed….

    Get off your high horse and stop assuming you’re the only educated person on this bored. It’s obnoxious and counterproductive. oh and if read more about marxism than I already have…I’d go grab one of his books off my bookshelf…I don’t need you to recited your paraphrased, derivative version…

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 4th, 2010 at 9:14am #

    Capitalism is plainly a system of economic and political dominance created by and for infinitely avaricious psychopaths who hate other people,one another and themselves. Capitalism creates a social milieu that advantages the most unscrupulous, the least empathic, those with the most hypertrophied egos and those most given to lying, dissembling and intimidating to gain advantage over others. Of course unless capitalism, which, in its manic desire to turn all existence into money and concentrate it in as few hands as possible, is absolutely antithetical to continued human existence on this planet, is replaced by an economic and political philosophy that sees the maintenance of ecological stability and diversity as its highest goal, then we are within decades of catastrophe.Indeed a pessimistic,but realistic, estimation of our predicament, based on the evidence provided by science, taking into account all the signs of collapse in all the essential ecological parameters of planetary well-being, would, surely, say that things have already passed many ‘tipping-points’, if not the dread ‘point of no return’.
    It is in regard to ecological collapse that the capitalists reveal their psychopathy in its most lurid light. They being, in the main, not totally ignorant nor mentally deficient, unlike so many of their brain-dead followers, must know that things are dangerously awry. Yet they go on, totally indifferent to the fate of generations to come, even their own children, lying, deceiving, suborning and financing all these activities in various denialist industries, so maniacally intent on profiting (when they are already rich beyond the dreams of Croesus)that everything else, even life itself, means nothing to them. Of course such antipathy to life and furious embrace of death is unsurprising in creatures whose dearest possession and highest good is that totally lifeless stuff, money, which destroys all living matter.
    However I doubt that ‘democracy’ is the answer to our predicament. Of course, ‘capitalist democracy’, that complete contradiction in terms, cannot save us, as it is totally controlled by money, with the rich buying and selling politicians at will, with malignant results such as the total domination of the West by Zionists and the consequent war of mass murder and destruction launched against Islam. In fact I doubt that democracy is possible in any mass society. The farce of parliamentary democracy, where identical parties vie for power through conscienceless lying, hatemongering and stoking fear and loathing, then ignore the voter patsies as they rule for the rich, is irredeemable. Moreover, democracy grants an equal vote to the dull, the greedy, the hate-filled, and the bigot as it does to the humane, the knowledgeable and the benevolent. After all, is not the lamentable debacle of the ‘Tea Party’ in the US, or the rise of vicious neo-fascist parties in Europe, simply democracy in action? A Chinese style system, where power is controlled by one party, and where those interested in politics enter that party and rise through merit, seems more rational to me. Naturally the corollary of such disempowerment of the non-participants in the political process must be great empowerment in day to day matters, where the citizens of the supposedly ‘democratic’ West find their alleged ‘freedom’ more and more circumscribed by corporate power, intrusive government and lack of access due to lack of sufficient funds to enjoy the good things of life. I think a system like this, allied to strict ecological imperatives and purposeful efforts to enable people to cultivate their talents and enjoy the finer things humans have created, based on strict egalitarian principles and real social solidarity, is the only hope for an extended human posterity. The alternative, market capitalism, based on inequality, class hatred and unquenchable avarice, has shown itself, conclusively, fit only for the psychologically deranged and spiritually deceased.

  14. bozh said on May 4th, 2010 at 10:40am #

    To me, the initial cause: division of people into classes is the root cause of all ills that happen to us on int’l and intereprsonal levels.
    Capitalism, in whatever sense one uses this term [Yes, use it, don’t lose it; i.e., let it {ab}use u] is a mere symptom-effect of the FIRST CAUSE.

    If one is angry with the word capitalism, then, one let’s self be abused by a mere word; a word that is meaningless-meaningful to frustration.
    Warfare, serfdom, slavery, mastery of war-people arose ca 7-15 k yrs ago and not with industrialization or invention of money. Money was invented in anatolia; probably by hittites ca 3.5k yrs ago.
    By that time clerico-patricians despots have already instituted slavery, serfdom, and abasement-devaluation of peasant class; leading them to poverty; inflicting torture and other inhumane treatments on them, and using them to kill other peasants.

    That is what is happening in US today; india, of course being an epitome of an iniquitous society and US being most blood thirsty empire ever.
    And if mastery of war-people [one cannot have one w.o. the other; thus the hyphenation] continues, expect even more severe punishment and cruelty towards peasantry everywhere. tnx

  15. bozh said on May 4th, 2010 at 11:11am #

    It cld be noted that clerico-patrician evil soyuz had not only devalued people but also biota and nature.
    To clergy god is a human; in effect, such attitude devalues animal life. Is it any wonder that we are so damn cruel towards them!!
    Furthermore, ‘religion’ as the earliest science, had devalued some humans by simply labeling them godless.
    Thus, even today we have godless and godful people; i.e., a good and bad humans.

    Since all msm collumnists, pols, ‘educators’; most commenters and contributors on DV and internet leave such an analyses and facts out, the person on the street just cannot ever get it. And, as per intent?
    So, with some 5bn pious people always voting in the masters of war-people, one expects change??
    Not me! We first must educate people: pious and impious. But not by hiding astounding facts! So, when are commenters and contributors on DV gonna wake up and smell the coffee?
    Or are we to continue to get sensation but without causation?tnx