Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

More on imperial benefits and the imperial left

August 31, 2008

This is a reply to Tennessee-Socialist on Dissident Voice. His words are in italics.

“Brian Koontz: Americans recieve benefits if you are a conformist american. But most american workers can only eat and drive a car in America. But american workers cannot go to a university for example to study law, political science or philosophy, or cannot go to an endocrinologist doctor if they want to lose weight, because doctors are so expensive in America. So it is evident that the majority of americans are not well and *don’t* receive benefits at all.”

Education and healing should be universal rights, but there’s a massive difference between the welfare of “poor” Americans and the welfare of the global poor.

Take one huge difference – the minimum wage. Regardless of gender or race at least, most Americans can get a low-paying job. It’s not too difficult once American citizenship is attained for anyone to be a “poor” American. The federal minimum wage is currently $6.55 per hour and will be going up to $7.25 per hour next summer. The concept of a “living” wage in America* is sheer nonsense and political opportunism – it’s easy to live on the minimum wage in America.

According to even the World Bank (not exactly an unbiased organization), in 2001 1.1 billion people “lived” on less than $1 a day, and 2.7 billion “lived” on less than $2 a day. In other words, nearly half the global population makes less than a third in an entire day what a “poor” American makes in an hour. This was *before* the Bush Administration took it’s toll on the world.

The minimum wage in America is an *imperial* benefit. It resulted not (just) from “democratic movement”, as Chomsky claims, but from imperial theft and redistribution of that theft. The redistribution from Mob Boss to Mob Underling is what Chomsky calls “democracy”. Third-worlders perhaps have another name for it.

Life for a poor American is not peaches and cream. But at least a poor American knows what peaches and cream *are*.

“The only folks who are benefiting from Imperialist USA is Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, the yuppie middle libertarian right wing bourgoeise elitist classes, but the majority of american employees and workers are not doing well at all. That’s why there is a need of socialism in USA so that wealth could trickle down to the masses”

The American poor are *not* the masses! The masses are the GLOBAL poor, the truly poor, those 1.1 billion “living” in sheer desperation and the 2.7 billion “living” in dire straits and the other billion+ mildly less exploited. The American poor are the Mob Underlings, exploited for sure but with a highly privileged and highly exploitive place in the global system.

A problem with Americans is that they always compare themselves to other (richer) Americans. Your examples of Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez are tragically typical. The American poor consume American media that shows opulence and the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and cry out “exploitation!” For the Mob Underling to compare himself to the Mob Boss and ignore the victims of the mob, the *true* victims, is to be blind and to not live in reality.

The American left is hardly less racist and monstrous than the right, but they have 1000 times the self-righteousness. They are the ones who “know about” Imperialism without actually knowing about it.

Don’t you think that one point of American media showing the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” is so that poor Americans will focus on that instead of on attaining solidarity with the global poor? Don’t you think that you yourself have fallen into a capitalist trap, Mr. Socialist?

“Socialism in the USA” is nothing more than the Mob Underling trying to get more imperial benefits from the Mob Boss.

* I support a “living wage” in America as well as all other transfers from the Mob Boss to the Mob Underling only insofar as they do not distract the American left away from solutions to the world’s problems. It seems for most of the Imperial left that being distracted by those transfers is the point of their existence.

A quote from San Francisco mayor Willie Brown

July 24, 2008

“I say to people who are poverty-stricken, I know how much you love San Francisco, but, because of the nature of cost of living here, you are better off being poverty-stricken where the cost of living is not so great.”

Enormous Oil Profits and Abject Poverty in Nigeria

May 12, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

Don’t Give Back: Take Back!

April 17, 2008

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Critique of the Elite and India: Disappearing the Poor

April 15, 2008

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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?

Let Them Eat Ethanol!

April 13, 2008

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Iraq – Childhood is Dying

March 12, 2008

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Revisiting 2003 with Dennis Kucinich: "No More 16 Tons In America"

February 23, 2008

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Unemployed, and No End in Sight

February 23, 2008

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Types of Poverty in order of degree of suffering

February 17, 2008

Material poverty: lack of one or more of the basics – healthy food in a quantity so as to provide full nutrition, shelter, clothing, health care

Spiritual poverty: lack of solidarity, of communal togetherness

Sexual poverty: lack of sexual relations

Social poverty: lack of social relations

Intellectual poverty: lack of understanding of one’s reality

The left overwhelmingly focuses on Material poverty and nearly entirely ignores the other types.