16 April 2003


A respondent to my last post (as I circulated it on the ecosocialism Yahoo! group wrote:

"Could you expand on this and explain why you think the Greens are to be lumped with the Republicrats??Thanks!"

SDF: The current MECHANISM for winning a Presidential election (raising huge quantities of money in order to hire a corporation to manage one's national election effort, avoiding the media blockade by promoting a corporate-friendly agenda, bombarding the public with advertising in said corporate-owned media, getting into corporate-sponsored debates, pleasing constituencies with corporate ideologies etc.) requires corporate obedience at every step of the way. If the Greens (or anyone else) are to offer anything different, the mechanism for winning elections must be dismantled.

Thus any candidate under the current system, Democrat, Republican, Green or otherwise, incurs an automatic suspicion of being another interchangeable shill for the System, another suit. Ralph Nader, for all his mediocre political ideas, recognized at least this much: to "win" as an anticorporate candidate, one must attempt to rush into the corporate-controlled buildings past the corporate bouncers while at the same time organizing an alternative election system (superrallies etc.). Nader was the best we could get at pulling this trick without selling out, and he didn't succeed by any standard one cares to name. Any future Green that actually manages to shake hands and chat with the corporate bouncers will furthermore be suspected, correctly, of being One Of Them.

The idea that a small, white middle-class, almost sectarian, party such as the Green Party is going to dismantle the mechanism for winning elections in a mere year and a half is wishful thinking. The point is that any alternative to the policies of the present, whether it be Democrat, Republican, independent, or Green, will have to begin with a boycott of mainstream news. Really, anyone who despises corporate plutocracy, the "giant sucking sound" that Ross Perot mentioned in '92, or endless warfare on the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld plan, should be promoting such a boycott regardless of their party affiliation. The revolution will be made possible with political organization, but it will begin with the turning-off of television sets.

15 April 2003


A friend of mine who supports Howard Dean for President writes:

> Thanks, Sam. Very interesting and a bit
> distressing. But then I know
> nothing about Charles Knight and the Project on
> Defense Alternatives nor the
> leanings of Common Dreams. Do you? I still like
> Dean the best.j Do you
> have a candidate yet?

We were discussing an article that discusses Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean's position on foreign policy, characterizing it as being very close to Bush's. Dean, if you remember, had once been against the war with Iraq. I responded:

SDF: Common Dreams, Charles Knight, PDA etc. are most likely a bunch of liberals. It is of course quite necessary to be skeptical as to whether their facts are correct, and to corroborate what they say with other sources to determine whether they are wrong or right. I shall try to do that when time permits.

As for your other question: no, I have no candidate. In fact, I'm not even sure what I will do about the next election at this point. It is indeed quite possible that Dean is the best of what the corporate Establishment would allow into the Presidency. I may in fact support him and vote for him. Yet I still perceive that it's possible that Bush-style policies will persist in American government regardless of the 2004 election's winner.

My thinking in this regard is based partly on the economic analysis of Harry Shutt (The Trouble With Capitalism). Shutt's analysis is as follows: the standard expectations for investment brokering are today far ahead of any actual growth rate that exists in the world, which has been steadily declining since 1973. (Shutt figures the investors hope to turn a 20% yearly profit, whereas the actual growth rate is 3 to 5% per year and declining.) So, according to this analysis, since 1973 we've been living in a corporate world dominated by economic unrealists whose expectations of profit far exceed the growth rate.

So how does this play out in the real world? What constitutes that 15-18% yearly profit that has to be found above and beyond the actual growth rate? Shutt claims that the corporations find such profit by claiming a bigger share of the surplus each year, whilst at the same time creating more and more poverty 'round the world. Whole nations (e.g. Argentina) are ransacked for their resources and left with huge unemployed populations picking through the trashcans of the rich. Shutt predicts, therefore, that the whole economic system is likely to collapse. But, before it does, the corporations are likely to attempt to ransack nations that have so far been "out of reach" because their leaders haven't been permitting the sort of corporate penetration demanded by profit-hungry corporations. So that's what the "boom of the '90s" was: a continued ransacking of the world's resources for the sake of propping up America's corporate economy.

Who's Harry Shutt? According to his bio, he's a low-on-the-food-chain investment advisor. Another ordinary guy.

Naomi Klein's explanation of why Bush invaded Iraq makes sense in terms of Shutt's framework. Klein's analysis can be found at The Nation website if you want to read it, and I recommend it highly. The Nation is of course a magazine run by liberals. Klein thinks that Iraq was invaded for the sake of getting Saddam Hussein out of the way so its oil reserves could be privatized. Iraq does have 10% of the world's oil, and in fact Iraq's oil is rather high-quality, easy-to-pump stuff. None of Bush's stated reasons for invading made any sense, not to mention the impending oil crisis detailed at hubbertpeak.com , and you'd have to suspect that the oilmen in the White House know this stuff already. So, now that they've ransacked the rest of the world, Bush can invade countries with oil for the corporate profit-mongers so they can be ransacked too. Iran? Venezuela? The Bush Administration has threatened Iran already, and Venezuela was briefly invaded by Colombian troops early this month (and remember Clinton's $1.6 billion gift to them). (The "coup" strategy appears to have run out of gas, however.) I think, however, that it's quite arguable that any corporate-controlled President would pursue most of Bush's policies, since any election winner, Democrat, Republican, or Green, will be responsible to his corporate backers (and their desires for profit) in much the same way that Bush is.

Now, as for the candidate thing: the whole point of nominating Nader last time, as I saw it, was to expose to all the way in which the system is rigged -- I suppose the media blackout was stronger than any Presidential gesture the Green Party could have made to defy it. I remember watching ridiculous TV reports on the 6 O'Clock News back in 2000, where the news anchors would briefly mention Ralph Nader and "his party" as if it were taboo to mention the actual NAME of that party. I'm beginning to think we'd be better off with a campaign against the corporate mass media than with any Presidential run...

13 April 2003


What does one say to pro-war people who tell one that "if you don't like it, leave"?

First of all, it seems to me to be impossible to leave America in the first instance. America rules the world. Its products can be seen everywhere, its military might is unchallenged, it invades countries at will. But the America that rules the world does not do so as the country whose national anthem is sung at baseball games, nor is it the America that created a democratic space, a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. It's not that America that rules the world. No, the America that rules the world is a proxy for corporate financial interests. The America that rules the world is an America that drives countries (like Argentina, but Argentina is just one example) into bankruptcy and paralyzes them through fear of realities even worse. The America that rules the world threatens the world's democracy with its military power; if yod don't elect the people we like, we'll invade your country and slaughter you by the thousands. Or we'll pay for some proxies to do it for us.

So how would moving to another country allow us to escape America? No, America must be confronted wherever one is, right there. Those of us who love the world and its people cannot be bludgeoned into silence before a world-destroying "patriotism" that is a mere placeholder for corporate profit. Remember, "supporting the troops" does not mean supporting a President who cut the benefits of veterans living on food stamps.
Naomi Klein has done it again! Attacking Iraq was just another attempt at privatization. And privatization, as we know, is an ongoing attempt to prop up the profit rate despite maddeningly-slow growth rates. Of course, the standard prediction since Marx's Capital is that the process of capital accumulation will devour the world, and then the working class will rise up in revolt because it will be producing the world without participating in it. But what if everything dies instead?