Capitalism is Awful
BEGINNERS in political activism generally focus on one crime, one politician, one party. But that’s just one symptom.
TRUTH is elusive; we’ve all been fooled. Whistle-blowers are locked up, not war criminals. Corporate news often lies by omission, not discussing historical context, the real basis of our society, or the very different world that is possible. My own favorite non-corporate sources are: Consortium News, Counterpunch, Dandelion Salad, Grayzone, Greanville Post, Mint Press, Popular Resistance, Rad Indie Media, WSWS, Brian Becker, Lee Camp, Jimmy Dore, Caitlin Johnstone, Aaron Maté, Ted Rall, Richard Wolff.
WARS are based on lies to make a few rich and powerful men more so; thus our politicians are thieves and mass murderers. Accidental nuclear war could end us all; that has nearly happened many times. Only friendship and disarming can make us safe.
WARMING is about to worsen explosively due to feedback loops, tipping points, and cascading failures, rarely mentioned by the corporate press. Little time remains – we’re in the endgame now. Crop failures will starve us; albedo loss and methane release will finish us. Big, fast changes might still save us, but our rulers won’t consider that – they are focused on short-term private profits that keep them in power one more day. Their lies have moved from denial to greenwashing; is that better, or worse?
HIERARCHY is how government and business are arranged. But that concentrates power; we’d fare better with a horizontal network. Power corrupts, as we see in workplace bullying, prison torture, killer cops, corporate ecocide, and unending war.
PROPERTY concentrates power too. That’s been going on since ancient kings; capitalism is just the latest form. If we don’t share, we must trade; but that brings greater profit to the trader in the stronger bargaining position, making him stronger still. So inequality increases; it’s now huge. Rents rise faster than wages. Debt bears interest, so money is always insufficient, like the game of “Musical Chairs.” Externalities trash the ecosystem, hurtling us toward extinction. That’s the opposite of the market’s claimed “wisdom” and “efficiency.” All these ills are inherent in any system of not sharing; they can’t be fixed by mere reforms.
DEMOCRACY is fake. Gilens and Page proved statistically that, regardless of elections, our public policies favor the rich. Our taxes subsidize oil and arms companies that are killing the world for profit. The USA has been a plutocracy ever since its founding in land theft, genocide, slavery, and indentured servitude. True democracy would be scant improvement: Misled by corporate lies, we can’t vote wisely – we aren’t even asking the right questions – and 51% ride roughshod over 49%. And so-called “representative” democracy is hierarchy, which inevitably corrupts. Money is influence; we’ll only end rule by the wealthy class when we no longer have a wealthy class. What we need is caring, sharing, understanding, cooperation, and consensus.
ALIENATION makes us crazy: Our workplaces are dictatorships that objectify, exploit, and discard us; that’s why we hate Mondays. Property separates us. Dog-eat-dog competition kills empathy, leaving fear, lies, greed, hate, racism, sexism, shootings.
THE REAL BASIS of our society, for 12,000 years, has been hierarchy and property. But for the previous 300,000 years we shared as friends and equals. That’s still what we teach our kids, still where we turn in crisis, still who we are genetically. That’s what we can and must resume, to survive our current crises, but it will bring us far more than just survival.
AWAKENING is bigger than revolution, more than just changing laws and leaders. We must see the world and each other in a new way. In our hearts and in our institutions we need a culture of caring and sharing that leaves no one behind. The first step is to get more people talking about it. Call a meeting, carry a sign, post a video, write a song or a leaflet, or copy this leaflet if you like it.
2023 March 20; links at LeftyMathProf.wordpress.com /primer
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Version 8.81. Underlined words and phrases are links to related materials. The leaflet fits on two sides of a half page. Here are direct links to sections after the first: Truth, Wars, Warming, Hierarchy, Property, Democracy, Alienation, Basis, Awakening.
The original version of this essay was in Sept 2020. This essay has gone through many revisions, including several name changes. I think that the original title may have been “A Political Primer”; some other names were “Waking From Capitalism,” “Bigger Than Revolution,” and “Reasons to End Capitalism.”
Here is an excerpt from John Pilger’s excellent Sept 2022 article “Silencing the Lambs: How Propaganda Works“: “When will real journalists stand up? An inspirational samizdat already exists on the internet: Consortium News, founded by the great reporter Robert Parry, Max Blumenthal’s Grayzone, Mint Press News, Media Lens, Declassified UK, Alborada, Electronic Intifada, WSWS, ZNet, ICH, Counter Punch, Independent Australia, the work of Chris Hedges, Patrick Lawrence, Jonathan Cook, Diana Johnstone, Caitlin Johnstone and others who will forgive me for not mentioning them here.”