Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category
This is from a reply to a Joe Bageant piece on Dissident Voice, here.
Capitalism works well as a system of control. As long as we are controlled, justice is superfluous. If we aren’t controlled, justice is inevitable. Without capitalist control there is no capitalism, in the same sense as without a bully’s fists there is no bully.
When there’s a gun to one’s head, obedience or death become the options.
The vast majority of heroes throughout history rapidly become corpses following their announcement of such. Thus many of us are heroes within ourselves – few of us are heroes in society. Even the best of us (especially the best of us) feel guilty and unmanly. And so we beat our women. And so we feel even guiltier. And so our women prefer capitalists, who feel only happy and contented at the state of the world.
We living human beings under capitalism are those who choose obedience over death. All that separates us is the degree to which we resist obedience, accept the resulting oppression, and flirt with death at the hand of the state.
Precisely because we do not accept death, we are corrupt. Most of our “hope” is based on vanity, on the thought that we can destroy the system.
Even accepting death does not defeat capitalism, since capitalists will oblige the threat in such a way to cause increased fear of death in the remaining not-yet-dead citizens. Murder is exploitable, as feudal lords and all other capitalists understand.
Martyrdom is useful, but martyrdom lacks rationality and can also be exploited. The ruling class simply subverts the meaning of the murder and the martyr becomes irrelevant (for his populist purpose).
It’s popular in the US to say that capitalism is decaying, but there’s no proof of that. It’s only true that capitalism in America is decaying – it’s doing well enough in China and India. We may see several more centuries of monstrosity with different faces, different races, but the same old shit issued from master to slave.
Even the left, which considers itself sophisticated, rarely sees beyond it’s own national borders. This myopia, this lack of a global war to destroy capitalism, this continued desire to transfer criminal blood money from American capitalists to American workers, is doing as much or more to damage the future of the world as capitalism itself.
Some of us are waiting for the right time and the right structures so that when we accept death it will not necessarily be in vain. Until we accept our destiny and build those structures we will be guilty.
We’ll all become corpses soon enough – let us be wise prior to our death. Let us be forgotten by the elite instead of being called heroes, like the vain do who partake in foolish death.
Although this article is largely about India, it’s equally true in the United States. India is becoming an imitation of the US in terms of it’s elite culture.
I don’t own a television (haven’t since June 2000) but I watch some at work.
The Judge shows are proliferating on daytime TV. These shows run parallel to garbage “freak shows” like Maury Povich. The singular features of both Jerry Springer and Judge Judy and their imitators is that they serve to demean and dehumanize the poor and the working class. It’s tragedy as spectacle. These shows should be illegal and would be in any moral society. They are far more damaging than a stabbing that can get someone put in jail for many years and they are several orders of magnitude more damaging than smoking pot which can likewise earn a hefty prison sentence. But in a nation run by a ruling class that has killed millions, impoverished somewhere between tens of millions and billions and abused billions, I suppose drawing some logical relationship between degree of damage and punishment is irrelevant.
In terms of daytime TV the best thing on is soap operas. It’s a sad day when that is the case. Soap operas are insipid, worn out, lifeless, and often poorly acted, but at least they aren’t aggressively abusive. Are you aware that there is now a TV show where spouses are given a lie detector test to determine whether or not they are telling the truth when they say they are not cheating on their spouse, with their spouse present (for the reaction shot when the “lie detector reveals the truth!”)
After the sun goes down “reality TV” comes out – nevermind that there is no reality and can never be when the cameras are out and the “real people” become actors. Reality is what happens when there are no cameras. Instead comes more abuse – classically related by Simon Cowl on American Idol but present in one form or another on all of reality TV.
There is always only one reason for abuse – the ruler loses his just authority. This vast increase in abuse by the elite, seen in any number of ways (economic policy, reaction to disasters, causing disasters, manner of “entertainment”, etc.) means they no longer are trying to be a just authority, which means they have lost control of themselves as rulers. When rulers lose control over their ability to create just actions but retain their power very very bad things happen. I see no end to this problem because I see no end to the present configuration of the ruling class. Americans just aren’t responding to this condition. They aren’t turning off the TV, they aren’t doing critiques, they aren’t debating, they aren’t caring. Britney Spears’s “Hit Me One More Time” was quite accurate.
Another sad but I suppose potentially good thing – Americans are more outraged about gas prices than anything else. Truckers have now implemented a major strike. Countless dead in Iraq – no problem. Hundreds of billions funneled from American taxpayers to a few American multinational corporations by way of death and destruction, billions impoverished by American policy – no problem. Gas prices go up a couple dollars a gallon and it’s time to be outraged! I keep hearing that “Americans are a compassionate people”. Obviously this is true – they are outraged at the death of cheap gas. The extinction of a species!
In any case – tomorrow’s another day on the neofeudal corporation plantation of wage slavery in order to avoid further impoverishment. Another day of seeing hopelessness and despair on the people and abuse on the television that “entertains” these people, free of charge of course through irrationalist advertising designed to program their consumption and colonize their imagination. It’s another day of seeing overpriced food that causes malnutrition and early death – the row of vending machines issuing sweets and salts. On the wall next to the machines is a poster that urges a healthy lifestyle, and next to that is one that tells employees earning $7 to $9 that they are “remarkable”. It’s funny how those signs are never present when workers earn $12 to $14 an hour. Or rather, it’s “funny”, since what it truly does is presents a quite effective moral argument that the most just action one can take is to destroy the American ruling class.
I remember reading dystopian short stories. Why were they always set in the future? The dystopia is now. Stories of life in hell should be set in the present. Stories of life on earth should be set in the future. Earth is to me what heaven is to people who fantasize.
There is a followup to Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase that “There can be no great disappointment where there is no great love” – Love is only fulfilled on a two-way street. On earth that two-way street exists and King’s love comes back to him. In hell King’s love is trampled.
Where are we living?
This is a reply to Max Shields from Dissident Voice, as here. Max’s words are in italics.
“Brian Koontz, I had not read your post before writing mine. I think we’re saying much the same. I would differ somewhat on the extent to which most American blacks have gained from a largely white driven empire.”
I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 billion people in the world living (barely and often not for long) on $2 a day or less. Don’t kid yourself – American blacks have benefited tremendously from the American criminal machine. And they know it – which is why they ask the monster for reparations just for them (and maybe also for the 400,000 remaining indigenous Americans) instead of demanding that the monster give out true reparations to all it’s victims. American blacks don’t want justice – they want wealth. They want to move to a higher rung on the criminal ladder. Check out Michael Eric Dyson as he drools over the possibility of “one of his own”, Barack Obama, possibly gaining the high seat of the American throne.
“The voice for the voiceless?” It’s not American blacks who have no voice – it’s the blacks and the “blacks” of the third world who have no voice. American blacks don’t give a shit about them.
Martin Luther King made a critical error when his vision was one of integration. One cannot change the beast from within – it can only be killed from without. It’s the global population – a global democratic movement that will destroy all forms of oppression including the American empire. And you’d better believe that most American blacks will side with the empire instead of with the global democratic movement. The empire has the wealth that American blacks covet. They just want a piece of the pie that was made with blood, sweat, and so many tears.
“Still, on the whole there is great complicity regarding racism. Experiments by Milgram on authoritarianism in the 1960s showed just how universal some of our worst traits. It just takes the right conditions for us to be willing to hate and kill.”
Emotions are derived from social relationships (both real and pursued). That is to say, if you plan to steal and subjugate someone you hate him in order to make the theft, subjugation, and possible murder all the easier (both instrumentally easier and easier on your psyche). This truth is utterly universal.
“Colonialization, as you rightly note, is not something that happens exclusively to external lands, but also within the borders of nations, in this case the USA. There are issues with nation-states which we cannot readily dismiss. A nation the size with the population of the US is nearly impossible to construct without imposing the very same neo-liberal and imperial approaches to its cities and various poor rural areas as it does tries to do in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East (and to some degree in Southeast Asia).”
“This is very fundamental to the issue of racism in America, but there is no denying that the citizens of this nation are complicit, regardless of color, in the racist, imperialistic empire we perpetrate on many areas of the world where we have military outposts and settlements.”
Right – it’s about who gets the money – and American blacks are in a completely different position from third world blacks. While most of the wealth transfer goes from third world peoples to the American elite, American non-elite, white, black, and otherwise, share in the criminal gains.
“Poor Americans may have some benefits from that set up, but there is a major issue of proportionality.”
If one man steals $10 Million and another steals $1,000, both are criminals. For the latter to say “well, proportionally I’m not nearly as bad” is a weak argument. And, proportionally, black Americans have 10% of the wealth of white Americans (per capita). What percent of the wealth of white Americans do black third-worlders have? And more importantly, how many Americans care? And more importantly yet, how many Americans are willing to do something about it?
“Still, the deep seated willingness to look the other way on the part of most Americans – regardless of color – as we perpetrate racist hegemony cannot be denied, anymore than our at home statistics against minorities and poor.”
Yep – and it has nothing to do with racism – since black Americans hardly care more about black third-worlders than white Americans do. It has to do with “looking out for #1”, the capitalist ethos of utter greed. The most common excuse is “I’m taking care of my family”. A mafia boss uses the same argument.
“Nevertheless, I think we are all capable of changing our world, through local transformation. This can and should be done in solidarity with our diverse cultures, ethnicities and races. Or, we can just keep calling one another racists. Choice is ours.”
We’re not racists – racism is created and maintained solely by the elites who benefit from divisions within the exploited class (per divide and conquer). However, we need to wake the hell up to our own moral failings and recognize the power that we have to improve the world. The world can be changed – but only if we have real solutions and aren’t just lesser versions of the monsters we claim to despise.