Emerging from the Fog of Capitalism: New Dawns

Part I -- Yawning out of the Insanity with a new book

Finished the first draft of a book about my commentary looking at the belly of the beast from the lower intestine up at the unending gluttony of Capitalism. It feels good, and I am ready to send it to the publisher, after a fellow dissident — John Steppling — looks at it, and, I hope writes a bang up introduction to inculcate some magic from my muses. As always, though, being hyper precarious in this rot gut society, I can’t see much these days as worthy of celebratory zeal to the point of letting my guard down.

The book is set in a frame of defiance and roustabout and clipped anger and my own narrative hitched to all sorts of places where I’ve found love and death and exploitation. It’s a slice of life, but tied to my own radicalization – which is normalization, in my mind, more of a holistic view of the world now, trapped in merchandising, marketing, murder which is Capitalism.

Here, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber

Recommendations, and one from DV editor Angie Tibbs. Here, a fellow Oregonian, Ken Kesey guy, Michael Strelow:

Paul Haeder’s prose channels Henry Miller, Celine and Charles Bukowski all fed through a machine gun. I think musically of Warren Zevon singing “Excitable Boy,” and “Werewolf in London.” Give me the mad ones, Kerouac pleaded, those guys mad for the world and tastes of language. Haeder’s topic is always the world, and Haeder is the filter through which the world has to pass: rhythmic outburst, lyric language, howling at the moon. When other authors have forgotten to be outraged by the outrageous, Haeder has been a North Star who says, “You gotta look at this! You won’t believe…” and fill in here the absurd and unimaginable bullshit of the universe. We need prophets. We need seers. We need Haeders to sing out the injustices and awful thinking of politicians and bureaucrats and bumper-sticker philosophers. Take along Haeder as an escort into any of the myriad underworlds of our times; you will be well guided.

―Michael Strelow, author of Henry, A Novel of Beer and Love in the West; and The Greening of Ben Brown. Kesey is his non-fiction book. Upcoming novel is The Moby-Dick Blues.

I just interviewed Michael and reviewed his book, on Henry Weinhard, and that piece is coming out Dec. 21, 2015 – Cirque Journal, out of Alaska. That is one way to break the logger-jam of lunacy in society now – the trappings of careerism in education, the lie of capitalism, the bureaucratic hells created by the monied and the institutional leadership class, AKA ADMIN class. Writing and helping small independent rags survive. This writer’s dilemma, life, is not for mixed company. In fact, it’s a life that goes up against the movement toward group think, lifting words from a middling zone, the MFA creative writing world.

No matter where one turns to find some sense of things, some intellectual grounding, some sense of place, it’s easily a house of mirrors, broken up by scheme after scheme, more and more crass and classless humanity in the ruling class, more and more disconnected middle class, more and more giant erasing of compassion and knowledge by almost every American, every Westerner, in the world. This is the dying culture, broken by the fear and worse attitude of “I-got-mine-so-all’s-right” – a world of Americans absolutely incapable of handling two contradictory ideas at once, let alone the entire mess that is Capitalism. That death, unfortunately, is like a blaze, taking with it the few healthy ones left, the clear-headed ones who see right through the sickness of Capitalism. Not all enlightened folk get out of the pyre of prejudice and the hedge and usury that is Capitalism, ALIVE!

Here’s one idea most people I know struggle with: “Oh, Mister ex-journalist, former part-time college teacher, oh with your two graduate degrees, oh my, oh my, all that traveling around the globe, and you are hitting 59, and, shit, you, avowed socialist since 15, radicalized, sacked from jobs for not toeing whatever line they wanted toed, now what do you have to show for it? You broke the covenants of capitalism, failed to believe, failed to profit, failed-failed-failed!” … This state of slave labor creates that sort of attitude, and it’s deeply ingrained, unfortunately, to the point where a world shifting to what we would hope looks like ecosocialism might just be another capitalist jihadist adventure, with the West – Canada, USA, Europe, just colliding with itself, and fighting national, local, global planning to retrench, to tackle all those polluting industries, the entire shooting match, because this Western military-financial might is hooked to “you will have to peel that .357 magnum from my cold, dead hand!” Time to nationalize almost all industries, localize, simplify and ready ourselves for 450 or 500 ppm, if we are lucky.

Think about it – this society built upon disaster capitalism, all those externalities of the Corporate state, poisons in our water, air, food, cities, climate, and our bodies and heads. All that is a given, and the American Way of Life is vicious, winner takes all, and it’s a society that is flabby, where you cannot talk about Black Friday representing the blackness of the soul, or that the thanksgiving is a myth, sham, and even before the pilgrims came with cross and sword and cannon, the conquistadors had their first thanksgiving on the banks of the Rio Grande, 80 years before the lie of Plymouth Rock. Guns, germs, steel, the cross, the money changers — imperial forays into much better societies, first peoples.

These people want no criticism of their toys, military, games, food, ways of life. They are anti-thinkers, anti-knowing, anti-history, anti-anything-other-than-this North America, this home of the free (free to bomb, pollute, kill, maim, enslave), land of the brave (with powerful depleted uranium shells, night vision, bombers with payloads of skin burning magic), where offshore we take in order to prosper as the One Percent of the world!

Here’s how the world works, broken by the sycophants of silly thinking – the corruption reported in the news is never dissected by the vanguard and the people, victims, of the corruption. Today, newspaper x or y covers poverty, homelessness, hunger, or in Oregon, the paper of record covers the new poor, the new people struggling in this Corrupt Capitalism: older folk, in their 60s, working two jobs … sometimes with missing lungs or with their walkers. This is Capitalism to a tee.

Precision exploitation, these images of people working to pay for their deaths, people shut out of any Macy’s Day Parade of the Junk-Junk-Junk of Jolly Make Believe Capitalism. The newspapers and NPR’s and CBS’s can never get under the story, really, because, as always, reports are done by the tenured class, those jolly reporters with 401-k’s and hipster think, and loving the system that allows them to peek into misery but still drive the Prius to the Slow Food Extravaganza at the Ski Lodge.

What would the narrative be like from the eyes, loins and heart of the precarious? This is it, for those of us without the lucky ticket of America – precarious at-will employment, a dead majority of people coming into their 60s with no savings, no retirement, and that social security is a fucking joke, the kind that should compel all of us toward larceny or strong-arm robbery. This is it, for the voices of the anti-Capitalist Murder Inc. You don’t go very far spouting off at the mouth when you don’t have tenure, or when you aren’t independently rich or set.

I know, I know, we don’t talk like that in America, about the many more in our ranks turning belly up, especially when there is a load of antibiotics and toxins to consume with that cranberry sauce (did anyone hear or care about the avian flu, killing 10 million turkeys in the USA. Capitalism, baby, Capitalism); so we let the pigs, little murderous ones running the financial-taxation-punishment show destroy granny, uncle, pops, brother, sister, you name it, anyone who never got smart enough to stock up on that slice of pie American Capitalism throws to the masses while listening and watching the puerile propaganda ooze into our children’s children’s skin.

The story in newspaper x and y, eventually, is about the aging population all over US Murder, Inc, but in my temporary case, here in Oregon, in so tragically hip Portland. A Willy Loman story of the necessity of 60 or 65 year olds and plenty of septuagenarians, too, going back on the job market because we have shit for savings and retirement. Think about that social security tax on wages, capped at $118,000 a year income. This is Capitalism, and no one wants, in a consumer dead society, to be negative about the future. Tis the season to be jolly. Not about personal safety nets, the destruction of social contracts, and the fact that few ever existed. These conversations are verboten.

A country of drone killers, collateral damage, sanctions central, so what if a million Iraqis died because of Clinton’s sanctions. So what if every square inch of land America soils, every single family ripped from a future because of the One Percent and the Neoliberals, is the formula of Capitalism. These are triumphant times for American Brand X.

So what if that beast eats itself (and us) from the inside out. So what if we have Trump as a testament to the Trump-Think oozing from a good 50 percent of Americans living and breathing, lying and waiting for that magic to rise from the cancer of Capitalism, white shit Trump, blasting away. So what if we are the dumbest race of people on earth. So what if Capitalism is defined by the psychological and sociological warfare perpetrated by the elite and Chosen People running markets and the rule of law and the crack cocaine coming into little Mary and Little Johnny via TV, Xbox, Netflix, the entire bizarre warmongering, zombie loving, insipid lizard brain shit that is our culture, from ball field to ball room.

Americans have an aversion to the truth, to understanding the hardscrabble truth of her fellow citizens almost ready to go belly up, yes, those of us living just down the street, around the bend in the cul de sac. This is the season to be merry, all that shit, all that Black Friday and continuous conspicuous shopping shit that is America, and when the story looks bad, really bad for a good chunk of us — economically, spiritually, sanity-wise – this is no time to be complaining. Shop early, get the tree up, sing those Charlie Brown carols. It’s the most uncaring, selfish, deluded, denigrated backward society ever.

Capitalists look at the airbrushed world in their catalogs, TV ads, the entire shit for brains crap coming out of schools, and, it’s a wonderful world to them, when they run the numbers. Those buggers in the five and ten percent are fascists, mean breeds, mocking the lack of success on their scale of what it is to be successful when those of us are struggling deeply. Greedy, stingy, uneducated people with shitty degrees from shitty schools.

I am amazed at how for forty years of my adulthood how quickly any sanity has vanished from the collective noggin of this society. How engrossed children at age 2 are with the Consumopithecus Retailosapiens nature of their upbringings – keyed into buy-buy-buy-buying worthless, polluting, climate changing, junk, sold and marketed by the Chieftains, the Elites, those Money Changers, those through and through devoted to conceiving of more stuff that breaks down or goes out of style or ends its mode or becomes incompatible with the new drivers of the buy-buy-buy.

Capitalism – accumulation of wealth, driving markets, growth, competition, and the essence of a beast eating itself from the alimentary canal up. Until a very few of us even understand where we need to be to mitigate the planet’s demise, all those ecosystems and species other than human Retailopithecus going extinct, living fractured existences, rarities, and then, complete extinction. Rapacious capitalism, shock doctrines, sacrifice zones, exclusive economic zones, transnational companies, global money, a mere 85 people – Economic Hitlers – controlling 50 percent of global wealth.

So, listen to the winds, absorb those TV and movie and game addictions, and watch the continual updating of crap we don’t need until 50 years from now Capitalism is dead while we live under a green sky. We have Google driverless cars being hawked in Oregon when the state has major crisis after crisis existence – under funded education, housing shortage, rental crimes, poverty, shit for jobs, and now the aging population struggling to exist, survive, while Google tries out the streets up here for this piece of human idiocy, a robot car, when aunt and uncle live on $15 an hour and own medical bills that are criminal.

Capitalism creates that – winners, few of them, and they are crass, elitist, above anyone’s recrimination and ire because they don’t hear anything below their covey in the realm of 5 percent status or less status.

The commonsense has turned into war is peace, and if we are going to have a revolution around ecosocialism, then it’s got to be more than one schmuck at a time being bulldozed by Capitalism. We have to teach daily the way out of total climate disaster. Or, as the Capitalist says, these animals, these other humans, AKA animals, just will have to be sacrificed – it’s always been that way in evolution, survival of the fittest, and will always forever be dog-eat-dog, law of the jungle.

Marxists can take their inspiration from Marx’ remarks on the Paris Commune: workers cannot take possession of the capitalist state apparatus and put it to function at their service. They have to “break it” and replace it by a radically different, democratic, and non-statist form of political power.

The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to the productive apparatus; by its nature, its structure, it is not neutral, but at the service of capital accumulation and the unlimited expansion of the market. It is in contradiction with the need to protect the environment and the health of the population. One must therefore “revolutionize” it through a process of radical transformation. This may mean, for certain branches of production, to discontinue them altogether: for instance, nuclear plants, certain methods of industrial fishing (already responsible for the extermination of several species in the seas), the destructive logging of tropical forests, and so on—the list is very long! In any case the productive forces, and not only the relations of production, have to be deeply changed to begin with, by a revolution in the energy system, with the replacement of the present sources—essentially fossil fuels—responsible for the pollution and poisoning of the environment, by renewable ones: water, wind, and sun. Of course, many scientific and technological achievements of modernity are precious, but the whole productive system must be transformed, and this can be done only by ecosocialist methods, i.e. through a democratic planning of the economy that takes into account the preservation of the ecological equilibrium.

By Michael Löwy, Truthout.

Paul Kirk Haeder has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington. A forthcoming book (Dec. 15, 2016), Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber, looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice, and before, to bring defiance to the world that is now lobotomizing at a rate never before seen in history. Read his autobiography, weekly chapter installments, at LA Progressive. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.