A Political Primer

Beginners sometimes join us in great numbers — for instance, when Obama increased the wars and pipelines, or when Trump put kids in cages. New activists usually focus on symptoms. I’ll discuss underlying root problems, and how to solve them for a better world.

Lies are everywhere – for instance, the Department of so-called “Defense” is no such thing; all our wars are based on lies. Different factions of politicians call each other liar, and many beginners believe one of these factions. Some beginners see past one or two lies, think they’ve seen it all, call themselves “woke,” and stop looking. We all have different trusted sources for what we see as facts, and trust – like friendship – can’t be won through de­bate. Politicians and the “mainstream” news (FOX, CNN, NYT, MSNBC, NPR, WaPo, etc.) are owned by the same liars who sell weapons, drugs, and oil. I recommend switching to alternate sources such as Popular Resistance, Current Affairs, Counterpunch, Greanville Post, Grayzone, OffGuardian, Black Agenda Report, RT, Common Dreams, WSWS, Caitlin Johnstone, Richard Wolff, Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp.

Ecocide is everywhere – plastic in the ocean, oil in the rivers, and most of all CO2 and CH4 in the air. The climate apocalypse is growing faster than most people see, because they don’t understand feedback loops and tipping points – but I do, as a mathematician. Deadly heat waves and crop failures have already begun; I expect extinction of our species by 2035 if we don’t turn things around entirely by 2025. Ecologists tell us what to do, but governments aren’t doing it, because their owners profit from the status quo. The fundamental principle of capitalism is “every man for himself, and to hell with the commons”; thus the destruction of the ecosystem. We’ve too little time to build the ecosocialist revolution we really need. As a stopgap, I recommend Bernie Sanders: Among presidential candidates with any real chance of winning, he’s best on all the issues, including climate.

Gilens and Page (2014) proved statistically what most of us already knew: Regardless of elections, the rich get the public policies they want and the rest of us don’t. The USA has been a plutocracy thinly disguised as a democracy ever since its founding in land theft, genocide, and slavery; that won’t be ended by electing better plutocrats. Money is influence, so the only way to end rule by the wealthy class is to not have a wealthy class. But inequality is huge and increasing, because trade (for labor, rent, food, interest, whatever) favors the trader in the stronger bargaining position.

Property separates us, killing empathy. Competing against you, I readily blame you for my troubles and for yours. Thus we get racism, sexism, imperialism, austerity, and other kinds of bullying. This culture of hierarchy and property, which began 10,000 years ago, has caused war and poverty, and now its side effects are destroying the ecosystem.

We’d be happier sharing everything. That’s how we lived for the previous 200,000 years, and genetically that’s still our nature. What we need is not rugged individualism and 51% rule, but caring, sharingcooperating, doing whatever is best for all of us, and leaving no one behind. The first step is to get more people talking about it.


2020 Mar 28, version 6.24. The leaflet fits on two sides of a half page. Here is a direct link to the recommended sources.