A Political Primer (leaflet)

1. Beginners sometimes join us in great numbers — for instance, when the three World Trade Center towers fell, when the first Zeitgeist film appeared, when the banks crashed, and when Trump got elected. The new political activists give themselves bold names like “patriots,” “resistance,” etc. They are wrong about nearly everything, but I need to recall I was too in 2006. I still haven’t figured out some things now.

The crises are growing, so we need more people talking about what is really going on. They might not listen to me, because what I’ve seen is so different from what they’ve previously heard. Still, maybe they’ll at least consider it. So here goes:


2. Lies are everywhere. Politicians and the “mainstream” news are owned by the same few people who sell weapons, fossil fuels, and pharmaceuticals, and they lie about everything. A good start would be to get away from the corporate news media (FOX, NYT, MSNBC, NPR, WaPo, etc.) and start reading alternative media. My own favorites are Counterpunch, RTIntercept, Greanville Post, Truthdig, Black Agenda Report, DemocracyNow, Common Dreams, WSWS, OffGuardian, Caitlin Johnstone, Richard Wolff, Lee Camp. And read Howard Zinn’s history, too.


3. Ecocide is everywhere – plastic in the ocean, oil in the rivers, and most of all carbon in the air raising the temperature. It’s warming faster than people realize, due to tipping points and feedback loops are about to send us over a cliff. Ecosystem collapse has already begun: Other species are disappearing faster than any time since the dinosaurs. To survive, we’ll need huge changes in government and market. Governments are doing too little to fix things, because politicians (of both major parties) are owned by businesses that profit as things are. And market transactions are ecocidal as an unmeasured side effect, paid for not by buyer or seller but by everyone else. That will continue until we share. The rich, owning government and market, are short-sighted, because in the past their wealth has always protected them from the consequences of their actions. But soon they’ll discover they can’t eat money.


4. The economy may collapse even before the ecosystem. Its biggest flaw is inequality. Trade – wages for labor, rent for space, money for shopping, interest for the use of money, etc. – gives greater profit to the trader in the stronger bargaining position, making him stronger still, increasing inequality. That’s inherent in private property, and can’t be overcome by reforms; it will continue until we share.

Inequality has grown enormous, creating poverty and plutocracy. The world has resources enough to end poverty, but that won’t happen because our rulers wouldn’t profit from it.

Our “democracy” is a sham: The tiny wealthy class gets the public policies it wants, and the rest of us don’t. We can’t end plutocracy by electing better plutocrats. And power corrupts; our rulers grow greedy and cruel. We should replace all hierarchies, even so-called “representative” democracy, with horizontal networking.

It’s not just the rulers. We’re all corrupted by this economic system: Competition kills empathy, producing racism, sexism, nihilism, sociopaths, mass shootings, and acceptance of war. Sharing would help.


5. Wars get 60% of the federal budget, but they’re all based on lies for profit. Russia is not attacking us, Saddam Hussein didn’t have WMDs, North Vietnam didn’t shoot first, nuking Japan didn’t save lives, the attack on Pearl Harbor was provoked, and so on. Real reasons for the wars include extorting cheap labor and materials, perpetuating the petrodollar, selling weapons at high profit, and distracting from domestic issues.

Shortly after the novel 1984 was published, the War Department was renamed the “Defense” Department, but it was never about defense. The USA has always been an imperialist plutocracy, founded on genocide and slavery; it starts more wars and imprisons more people than anyone else in history. And the mass murder has all been bipartisan.


6. Human nature has been misrepresented too. To justify our economy of separateness, we’re told that humans are naturally selfish and greedy. But really, we’re social animals. Most of us prefer to live and work together in community and cooperation when we can. We can’t, under our current economic system. Let’s replace it.


7. Reforms are not enough. Reformists say that we have good institutions run badly – that our society is based on sound principles such as freedom and democracy, from which we’ve strayed superficially into corruption. But none of that is true. Really, we have bad institutions based on bad principleshierarchy, property, and separateness. We must replace those with something better – but not “freedom” and “democracy,” for those ideas can’t work as claimed:

  • “Freedom” is independence from others. But we are social animals. Rather than separateness, what we need is harmony: to get along in comfortable relationships of respect, understanding, caring, sharing, and cooperating.
  • And “democracy” is a misinformed and uncaring 51% overruling the other 49%. “Representative” democracy is even worse, as 1% choose the representatives. What we need is consensus, but for that we must understand each other and care.

Judgment is at hand: paradise if we find each other, extinction quite soon if we don’t. The first step is talking about it.


2018 Aug 2, version 5.06. The printed version fits on two sides of a “letter” (8.5 x 11 inch) piece of paper. Here are links that go directly to sections 2 red pill, 3 ecocide, 4 economics, 5 wars, 6 human nature, 7 reforms.