Defund the Pentagon: Refund the People

When profit determines every outcome of social and economic life, the minority politics of lesser evil wins again, and again, and again.

— Anonymous

The pandemic has heightened public awareness of the injustice of a political economic system that profits private wealth at massive loss to the public good. All talk of change that simply involves different individuals serving in positions of responsibility but committed to maintain rather than radically transform that system are support for a status quo that will eventually destroy more people and the rest of nature than has so far been the case. We need political representation dedicated to that transformation and not simply trading fake right wing loonies and hustlers for fake left-wing hustlers and loonies. Further attempted maintenance of a system that grows food not to feed people but to be sold for profit at the market, that transforms forests into lumber not to bring people into shelter but to be sold for profit at the market and provides overwhelming force to enable more profit making for some at increasing loss to most spells ultimate doom for all.

These essentially anti-social practices which are very profitable for some of us, as was slavery, are highly unjust and disastrous to many more, as was slavery. It’s time for a change of substance and not just symbols.

Purging language of hurtful speech is important but calling poor people millionaires or hungry people well fed or tearing down a statue or monument while continuing to build slums and bombs are only change for those who can afford to privately profit from such things. The socially responsible things some of us do and support can make us feel good about ourselves by forgetting or remaining ignorant of a system that only does good for some by causing dreadful suffering to others.

The horrible image of a non-resistant man having his life smothered by a policeman’s knee on his neck has been seen by millions and provoked pain and outrage leading to demonstrations calling to “defund the police”. Defund the police? How about defunding the Pentagon? Which institution is sought for protection of Americans by other Americans and how often does it murder innocents in the process? And to which institution do taxpayers contribute hundreds of billions of dollars every year? We spend 100 billion a year on the police and local defense but more than 700 billion on international defense. Where do you feel less safe and more in need of protection?

Anyone ever phone the Pentagon if they were burglarized? Their car was stolen? They were assaulted, robbed or raped? Heard a scream or gunshot in the night? How much do we pay for the “protection” allegedly given us by the military industrial complex, aptly named by a republican president, by comparison to the local police? But it turns out that poor strangled victim was very safe from attack by Russia, which we surround with military bases on its border, thousands of miles from our own, or China, where we sail an armada in the South China Sea, so named because it is south of China, not California, New York or Mississippi. Thankfully, that poor victim was kept safe by the Pentagon. But how threatened by racist low income American reality was he? And how many more like him who are brain washed into fear of Russia and China while ducking American bullets in neighborhoods and communities that would make most Russians and especially Chinese gasp, “They tolerate this? And fear us?” That’s what all the demonstrators pay for, along with the rest of us, whether we support, oppose, daydream or go hungry during the foreign wars which we fight every single day, slaughtering thousands of innocents at enormous expense and mostly oblivious to public consciousness and action.

We also hear justifiable calls to cancel student debt. But why not all debt for earners of less than 100K? How many of them could even qualify for a student loan or even entertain thoughts of going to college where a majority of Americans never go unless they are there to make a delivery or clean toilets?

Voter fraud is also an important issue but voter purchase is an infinitely larger problem in an alleged democracy with billions spent on national elections, hundreds of millions on state votes, and hundreds of thousands on local elections. This farce dominated by great wealth to entice ordinary people into maintaining support of criminal inequality is as democratic as the corona virus is a sign of good health. We just had more than 6 billion dollars spent on a presidential election and more than 14 billion on electing congress and state “representatives” overwhelmingly by and for private wealth under that name of democracy. If that is democracy, then rape is a cost effective form of dating. Just have someone with a doctorate in economics explain how skipping dinner and the movie and getting right to the sex can profit the aggressor. Sure it’s at loss to the victim but hey, everyone can’t profit in a private profit system. That may seem a stretch but it isn’t to those hundreds of millions slaughtered in our (?) wars who might, as we vote for polio to avoid cancer, choose rape over death. No one sleeping in a doorway, under a highway overpass or in a tent is doing so because they chose it in something alleged to be a free market, though absolutely nothing at the market is free unless you steal it.  And even then, unless your theft is in the millions, you can end up in jail, prison, or underneath that overpass or in that doorway.

The identity of a person or a group, the current method of ruling class division to prevent human class democracy, is far more influential with money than without. If you owe, you owe, no matter your skin tone, genitalia, religion or language. A near moron born into the 5% share of American millionaire households is in far better economic condition than a brilliant child born to the other 95%, whether in slums, the projects, middle class gated communities or lower class gated jails. The rich kid is a massive property owner at birth; the poor kid will be lucky to survive as a renter. This is a lousy social reality put over on all of us as an equal rights democratic society and those who claim to be “woke” who are not hip to this dirty “joke” are as regressive in essence as their supposedly sleep-walking opposition.

The all-powerful cosmic force of nature under assault by a demented social system threatens to foreclose on humanity. It is time for the peasants to take over the plantation, the workers to take over the mills and the people to take over the banks, united in democratic action to do that and more. Taking back the money they have taken from us and using it for the things we most need is a truly democratic project a majority of us can join in transforming reality from the present growing nightmare into a blossoming of humanity.

We all need food, clothing, shelter, and health care but none of us are served by market forces governing our ability to get them. The public good should be served before any private profit is even allowed. Taking hundreds of billions away from warfare that protects capital and murders humans will not just save money to be better used on what humanity really needs. We could have better trained police working in far less dangerous and more humane communities and far more and better paid teachers, health care workers and bus drivers to serve the overwhelming majority of people’s real needs. Businesses owned and run by their employees, public banks, an end to poverty and the beginning of real equality and social justice will be far more achievable once we reclaim our funds and use them for majority humanity’s well being and not for minority inhumanitarian profits.

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