Welcome to OZ

Being comfortable with what is most familiar to them, people are slow to realize that things are no longer what they used to be. In America, the Democratic Party has failed to offer working people an alternative to the Republicans. The only way democrats can win elections is to be more republican than the republicans. Few liberals have drawn a line in the sand and fought vehemently for the ideals they espouse.

It was not this way when the specter of socialism posed a credible threat to capitalism in America less than a century ago. But now the people are no longer permitted to speak of such things in public. Organized labor is dead as a revolutionary force in this country. The red menace was replaced by the ghost of Bin Laden, national security, and irrational fear of Islam. Thank god we have George Bush, Barack Obama, and the military industrial complex to protect us from democracy.

While voting is hailed as the cornerstone of American democracy, it is useless as a vehicle of change. American democracy does not exist. It never has. Nevertheless, millions of people will go to the polls this week and deceive themselves into believing that meaningful change is possible within the established order. They naively believe that the corporations that are running the country permit them to decide how trillions of tax dollars are spent. Like innocent children in the presence of a pedophile, they believe that those in power give a rat’s ass about what we, the people, think.

We live in a bizarre country where incredibly irrational events are a daily occurrence. These events would astonish visitors coming from a planet where justice and reason prevail, where the laws of physics and thermodynamics apply. But not here where the legal fiction known as corporations have the same rights as people but none of the responsibility of citizenship. Corporations and their CEOs routinely murder people en masse in the name of profits, but when has a corporation ever been executed by the state? When has a corporation ever served a prison term? Have you ever read about a corporate charter being revoked?

This year’s West Virginia coal mine disaster and the BP oil spill provide recent examples of systemic corporate mayhem and murder. But who cares? It is business as usual. The oil and coal must be kept flowing. The money must keep flowing into the coffers of corporate CEOs. The lives of the miners and oil roughnecks are as replaceable as cogs in a machine. The system rolls on. Markets, not justice, or ethical systems of conduct define value and thus behavior in capitalist cultures.

The supreme court, like all of the other branches of government that are supposed to provide checks and balances to limit abuses of power, is awash in corporate money. It, too, is owned and operated by the wealthy and their multi-national corporations.  In its infinite wisdom the Supreme Court has declared that corporate donors may now purchase outright the candidates of their choice and that money is free speech.  There will be no paper trail to trace which corporation bought which public servant. We, the people, are irrelevant. We are not part of the equation anymore, if we ever were.

Those in power permit us to vote in elections that provide nothing more substantive than the illusion of choice. The people are allowed to choose from a small field of war-mongering corporate fascists and capitalists whose sole purpose is to increase the wealth and power of the ruling elite at the expense of the working class. It is a game of predator and prey designed and operated by sociopaths. The super-rich have no empathy for the people whose lives they destroy. Annihilation is a sadistic form of amusement to them. Do the bankers lay awake nights worrying about those whose homes they foreclosed this morning? Not a chance. They are too busy counting their money and dreaming about who, and what, they can buy with it within the confines of their gated communities.

Capitalism is a game that only the privileged are permitted to play. Workers are no more than plastic chips in a game of chance.  The people are never permitted to deal the cards.

We are told that voting is democracy in action, that it is our patriotic duty as citizens to elect politicians to office, our duty to choose between the pro-business men and women that were pre-selected for us by multi-national corporations. This is our role in the political apparatus of America: to sanctify the choices that have been made for us by those in power, to give the substance of reality to the illusion of participation. It is we who give it the appearance of legitimacy by participating in a system that does not permit real change.

Without thinking, millions will do their duty and then return to the safety of the TVs’ tiny light to vegetate and marinade, their minds benumbed with entertainment, advertisements, and outlandish propaganda.  Unwilling to make trouble, they will do whatever the oracle tells them to do; they will believe whatever it tells them to believe. They will become all that it tells them to be, nothing more, nothing less.

The inert masses will continue to go wherever the herd goes, following the prompts given them by the men with the electronic cattle prods: the makers of video games, cell phones, Fox News, iPods and SUVs. Mystified by how bad things are, the people expect change from a system that does not permit transformation. Capitalism empowers money and those who have it, not people like us. We aren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy. Welcome to oz.

The only way out, if there is one, is organized and sustained class struggle against capitalism.

Charles Sullivan is a naturalist, an educator and a freelance writer residing in the hinterlands of geopolitical West Virginia. He has an academic background in Appalachian Studies. . Read other articles by Charles.

14 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on November 1st, 2010 at 8:33am #

    The pie is still large enough for most people of a region called “disunited nations”.
    What’s there to worry about?
    DU is at total peace. DU still use cars, electric toothbrushes, so let these few nabobs of negativity bellyache! We will not ever stop supporting our troops and DU to defend its holy self-interests!
    Don’t cry, here’s the pie. So, enjoy life! tnx

  2. Don Hawkins said on November 1st, 2010 at 11:44am #

    Charles wonderful and am astonished most of the time.

  3. Ray said on November 1st, 2010 at 3:22pm #

    So the alternative is what? Blood in the streets?

  4. Don Hawkins said on November 1st, 2010 at 3:42pm #

    The light of consciousness has no mind to change or alter anything. When you start to see the light that you really are, the light waking up in you, the radiance, you realize it has no intention to change you. It has no intention to harmonize. It has no agenda. It just happens. The Truth is the only thing you’ll ever run into that has no agenda. Everything else will have an agenda.


  5. Don Hawkins said on November 1st, 2010 at 4:40pm #

    Charles you just had a rally Palin, Ted Nugget did they have an agenda or the guy that used the rife and put some holes in the cap and trade bill an agenda. I have been to West Virgina and the light of consciousness has no mind to change or alter anything and if you can’t find it there something is missing. There it was a green field a mile or so and an old house with smoke coming from the chimney. Fight them.

  6. Don Hawkins said on November 1st, 2010 at 4:46pm #


    “West Virginia, you know, Todd and I flying in this morning, just thinking, flying over this land, how blessed you are,” she said. “This truly is almost heaven. And looking out at this beautiful crowd, I’m seeing all these mountain mamas, and wondering, ‘mountain mamas? Is that anything close to the old mama grizzlies?’ I would imagine.” West Virginia public broadcasting

    If the truth be known fight them.

  7. Don Hawkins said on November 1st, 2010 at 5:26pm #

    In the coming day’s, week’s, year’s how to fight back could treat them like the Plague. Political rally’s toilet paper comes to mind.

  8. hayate said on November 1st, 2010 at 9:00pm #

    “The only way out, if there is one, is organized and sustained class struggle against capitalism.”

    There you go.

    But remove the zionists from the picture FIRST, as their sabotage has been THE major stumbling block to replacing the capitalist class system.

  9. Don Hawkins said on November 2nd, 2010 at 4:35am #

    Sent this to the Capitalist New’s Broadcasting Company.

    Well well,

    The big day has arrived or is that the Fed the jobs report and the real
    number is? Here’s a quote from an angle.

    “West Virginia, you know, Todd and I flying in this morning, just thinking,
    flying over this land, how blessed you are,” she said. “This truly is
    almost heaven.

    Yes the last few months is that in billions to keep the electorate
    uneducated and another way to put it Nothing is real any more. Nothing is as it
    seems or has that been the case now for many moons? It sure costs a lot of
    money to fill people’s heads with crap and today we will see talking heads
    and in many cases fancy clothes with an invisible C on there chest special
    people.“This truly is almost heaven” I have been there and for some it still
    is and after Palin and Nuggent left the State a little less almost heaven.
    Anyway after the vote how does that work the new people drive or fly to
    another almost heaven and are met by more angles who will teach them the way’s
    of heaven. Shocking well again many of us who know also find it a tad bit
    shocking and just think instead of waking up in the morning with crap on the
    mind could have had a nice cup of coffee maybe read some Plato then use
    reason, known knowledge, imagination and see if we can save as many of the
    pioneers of our time as we can and don’t scorn the ones who are currently
    scraping by on the fringe wise one’s and have fun doing it.

    Citizen of the Universe,

    The call has gone out for civil disobedience by some of the best minds we have and that would be past and present and very sure if those minds could see today that call would get very loud indeed. These so called leaders that just spent much money on keeping us uneducated that could have gone to a much better purpose need to be treated like the Plague.

  10. Don Hawkins said on November 2nd, 2010 at 5:03am #

    The pioneers of our time and don’t scorn the ones who are currently scraping by on the fringe much blame has been spread around well ever hear of MBS’s or CDO’s or CEO’s or for that mater a corporation that if left unchecked in there present form the one’s that make it will live in a slum and think big a planet called Earth. My fellow Americans people of Earth we are in big trouble and my mind well you can’t have it spend all the billions you want gather all the talking heads you like give all the feel good speech’s you want you can’t have it oh and think of this as kind of a war.

  11. Don Hawkins said on November 2nd, 2010 at 6:20am #

    Anyway after the vote how does that work the new people drive or fly to
    another almost heaven and are met by more angles who will teach them the way’s
    of heaven and just maybe there is one or two new people who do understand we now face the biggest problem, problems the human race and all other life have ever faced. So when they get to the hill and the older angles try and teach them the way’s of heaven and they say sorry I have a higher calling well for the free lunch in the dinning room the corner table almost out of site while McConnell or Hatch, John Boner and yes Nancy or Hurry and not much difference get the table by the window while maybe talking to the Koch brothers on the cell phone or Forbes, Murdoch well am thinking good old fashion food fight. Yes spinach dripping off McConnell’s face sorry Mitch am just a little nervous in your presence’s my leg my leg this isn’t going well sorry John Boner maple syrup here a nice warm towel. Fight back

  12. Don Hawkins said on November 2nd, 2010 at 6:32am #

    Underground Appalachian coal mining is being replaced
    in recent years by mountaintop removal. Big companies come in, dynamite the tops of the
    mountains, push the debris into the valleys, gather the coal from seams that are only several feet
    thick, and throw grass seed on what remains.
    The number of jobs with this coal mining practice is small, and it leaves the environment in a
    shambles, the streams and underground water heavily polluted. But it pays off big for the few
    guys at the top. The head of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship, was paid $17.8 million in 2009
    plus $27.2 million in deferred compensation. They must also have a lot of political clout, as it is
    hard to see how this abominable practice could continue otherwise.
    Blankenship is the fellow who was photographed vacationing on the French Riviera with a West
    Virginia Supreme Court Justice. He also contributed $3 million to help defeat re-election of
    another Supreme Court Justice he opposed. References for these statements can be found on
    Wikipedia under “Don Blankenship”. The reason I mention the Wikipedia article is that it
    demonstrates the courage that it takes for Roselle to stand up to such people. Blankenship, for
    example, threatened an ABC News photographer with “If you’re going to start taking pictures of
    me, you’re liable to get shot!”, as documented by references in the Wikipedia article. Reminds
    me of the bullet holes in Larry Gibson’s cabin – made me nervous just to ride in his pick-up.

    He was arrested for trespass while protesting
    blasting near the Brushy Fork impoundment of 8 billion gallons of toxic coal sludge located
    directly above Marsh Fork Elementary School. (No word yet on trial date for Larry Gibson,
    Daryl Hannah and me re our arrest on 23 June 2009 for “obstruction”, when I was reading a
    request that Massey Energy provide funds for a new elementary school at a safe distance.)

    James Hansen

    Welcome to Oz.

  13. mary said on November 3rd, 2010 at 1:24am #

    Why was Boehmer blubbing? Surely he got what he wanted.

    What does Amerika do now? They’ve had hope and change and now another change.

    Time to have another look at the late, great George Carlin’s take on ‘who owns America’ –


    RIP George Carlin

  14. Don Hawkins said on November 3rd, 2010 at 6:47am #

    I checked out the network’s this morning after the big elections and read a little online while we still have an online and it look’s like the greatest minds in human history are going to move to the center work together to bring the system back to normal no more of this far far left socialism stuff. Yes the free market the private sector working from the center of course will make all this happen. I wonder this center concept is it like say the center of our Galaxy where there is a force so strong not even light can escape and or anything else that get’s near the event horizon get’s sucked in never to be seen again. We should know the answer to that fairly soon.