Archive for the activism Category

Free Trade, CETA, TPP, and the US and Canadian Federal Elections: Some Critical Perspective

Posted in activism, Canada, economics, politics, trade, US with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2015 by jtoddring

The following is critical to understand – for the people of Canada, the US, Europe and the world: “free trade” deals such those already signed (NAFTA), and those being pushed through with great secrecy now (CETA, TTIP and TPP), are agreements which grant supra-national powers to transnational corporations, powers over and above democratically elected governments, and therefore, they are agreements which are disastrous to everyone but the few – the global corporate elite.

In both Canada and the US, the major parties all support “free trade,” aka, neoliberalism, and the wrongly labelled “trade deals” which are in fact corporate rights agreements.

Both the Liberals and Conservatives in Canada are in open support of such democracy-destroying, sovereignty annihilating, economically, socially and environmentally devastating “trade agreements,” making them the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of political prostitution to corporate rule.

In the US, the Republicans and Democrats are both staunch supporters of neoliberal policies of “free trade” – not surprisingly, since Wall Street pays for their elections, and Wall Street gains from such policies, while the middle class is wiped out, poverty and inequality soar, and the nation is eviscerated, and eaten live.

The one exception in the US seems to be Senator Bernie Sanders: a rare, sane and honest voice in US federal politics. I wish there was such a one, and such a one with such fast-rising prominence and popular support, in the Canadian federal election – but that does not appear to be the case so far.

In Canada, the Greens show promise, but require two things now to be relevant: much greater boldness and focus – for example, in terms of a strong stand on core, critical issues such as the quite monumentally significant and potentially disastrous trade deals, including CETA; and much stronger and broader popular support. So far, both seem to be sadly lacking. I beg to be proven wrong, however, and would be thrilled to see it.

Nevertheless, the Greens have shown more courage and integrity on the critical subject of trade than any of the three major Canadian political parties, and that alone places them head and shoulders above the old-guard parties of the past which still, sadly, dominate the Canadian political landscape – or have to date.

Greens in Canada and Europe have made a clear stand on CETA – a trade deal which would allow corporations to overrule the sovereignty and democracy of member nations by allowing corporations to sue governments for passing legislation which impinge upon their profits.

The Council of Canadians, a leading citizens’ action group in Canada, sums up CETA in a few stark and lucid words:

“CETA is a “next generation” free trade and investment pact that Canada and the EU have been negotiating since May 2009. But it is better understood as a corporate power grab. The Harper government clearly sees CETA as a way to further deregulate and privatize the Canadian economy while increasing corporate power and undermining Canadian and European efforts to address the climate crisis.”

And the Liberals under Justin Trudeau have also declared their support for CETA.

The Greens have said no to CETA. The Liberals and Conservatives are pro “free trade” and openly support CETA. And the NDP policy under Muclair on CETA and other similar “trade deals” – which have to date universally been corporate rights agreements? That’s anyone’s guess, since Mulcair’s NDP have been notoriously vague, ambivalent, and decidedly wish-washy, at best: or worryingly soft, to be more honest and blunt.

The Greens appear to be the only party in Canada which at present to have any resolve, conviction, clarity or vision on the matter of such disastrous “trade” deals which are in truth corporate rights agreements. The position which the big three parties have taken, it seems clear, is effectively, to roll over for corporate interests – at the expense of the Canadian people, the economy, the environment and democracy.

We must understand this:

More “free trade” = more corporate rights agreements = corporate rule and the death of democracy.

This is not the way to conduct trade – by handing over supra-national, anti-democratic powers to large corporations, over and above democratic governments. The major parties don’t agree – because they have either lost their courage, or their integrity, or both, and have become wholly subservient to the ruling oligarchy of global neo-feudal corporate rule and the billionaire class. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: on this key issue, and others like it of similar gravity.

The policies of political parties and political candidates on such “trade” agreements – which, again, must be understood to be corporate rights agreements – such as CETA, the TTIP and the TPP, FIPA, the SPP and the FTA, are the litmus test for whether these parties and candidates are in service to the ruling corporate powers, or whether they stand with the other 99% of the people. And, unsurprisingly, most parties and most candidates fail that test.

In Canada, I would say, vote Green, since they are the only party now worthy of support.

In the US there is similarly only one choice, and one candidate who in any way, or by any stretch, merits support – and that is Bernie Sanders.

There are a great many well-meaning people out there – both Democrats and Republicans, and also, Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrat supporters – who frequently fall for pretty words and hollow promises. And there are many more people yet, who can and do fall for parties and candidates with some genuinely good policies on this or that issue, while the voters miss the bigger picture entirely, and do themselves severe injustice as a result. If we do not understand what is going on with these giant, nation-dissolving, sovereignty-eviscerating, and democracy-destroying “trade agreements”, then we do not understand what is happening at all.

This is critical to understand. This is central. This is, as I say, the litmus test of a party’s or a candidate’s legitimacy in this hour. If we fail to understand this, then we understand nothing of what is happening in the world at this time.

We need to be clear, and we need to vote with clear minds. Our choices have narrowed: we can vote for the parties and the candidates of the super-rich and the ruling corporate powers, or we can vote for the rare ones who still stand with the people. The time to decide is here. Let us use it wisely.

Political parties and political candidates can have the prettiest, loftiest speeches and policy platforms on earth, but if they are not firmly and unequivocally opposed to the corporate rights agreements which are being pushed through now, then they are either deeply confused and misinformed – in which case, their words and promises will come to nothing – or they are effectively owned by the corporate elite, and are in service to them. These are the simple facts. We should vote accordingly.

J. Todd Ring,

September 29, 2015

Please see:

Picking apart one of the greatest lies in American politics: “Free Trade” – Thom Hartmann, Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/economy/picking-apart-one-biggest-lies-american-politics-free-trade

Here is an excellent analysis of the three major political parties in Canada, by Toronto Star journalist Thomas Walkom, PhD in Economics from University of Toronto. (In a nutshell, they are all shills.)

Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau Offer Little On Economy

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/08/04/stephen-harper-tom-mulcair-and-justin-trudeau-offer-little-on-economy-walkom.html

And one more brilliantly clear-headed analysis of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals:

With Justin Trudeau, Canada Now Has Two Conservative Parties, by Will Dubitsky

http://commonsensecanadian.ca/with-justin-trudeau-canada-now-has-two-conservative-parties/

And another excellent article by Walkom, on the gleeful embrace of the failed policies of neoliberalism and “free trade” by the three major Canadian political parties:

Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair buy into free-trade theory that doesn’t work: Walkom

Other countries ditch free-trade orthodoxy to protect jobs. But not Canada.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/04/19/justin_trudeau_stephen_harper_thomas_mulcair_buy_into_freetrade_theory_that_doesnt_work_walkom.html

What do you get the corporation that has everything? CETA. – Council of Canadians

http://canadians.org/ceta

Liberal Party Statement by Justin Trudeau on CETA

http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEVrhbx8lVmXgAR9MPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–/RV=2/RE=1439315932/RO=10/RU=https%3a%2f%2fwww.liberal.ca%2fstatement-liberal-party-canada-leader-justin-trudeau-ceta-2%2f/RK=0/RS=quEeYwXf8HagopNPlS7zn2QTnqs-

Fact Sheet: No More NAFTAs! No to CETA-TPP-FIPA-FTA… – Council of Canadians

http://canadians.org/publications/factsheet-no-more-naftas-no-ceta-tpp-fipa-fta%E2%80%A6

One Million To Stop The Corporate Death Star – Avaaz

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_corporate_death_star/

BUSTED! What corporations are hiding about TPP

Ukraine: CIA coup, geopolitical analysis, and WWIII

Posted in activism, American politics, analysis, Barack Obama, books, Brzezinski, Bush, class, corporatism, coup, democracy, elite, empire, fascism, freedom, geopolitics, Global War on Terrorism, globalism, globalization, imperialism, money, Obama, peace, police state, policy, political economy, politics, politics of oil, right, Russia, sovereignty, U.S., war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by jtoddring

Important facts about Ukraine, 2014 – that the major media won’t tell you

 

We often hear, at least from the more reputable businesses out there – and there are some, despite the trends in the opposite direction, led by the ruling corporate oligarchs – that you should “do your research before you buy.” How much more important is it that we do our research before we buy the official story told by political elites and their media presstitutes, than doing our research before we buy a new car? We need to look behind the headlines and the sound-bites – and this is arguably more important with regards to the situation in Ukraine, than it was even before the launch of the war in Iraq. We saw what a fiasco the war in Iraq turned out to be, what a quagmire it became, and what lies were spun to rationalize and justify the US invasion of a sovereign nation – over oil reserves and corporate profits for the already astronomically rich ruling 0.001%. Over a million people were killed in Iraq – mainly women, children and innocent civilians – as a result of war, devastation of critical infrastructure and brutally inhumane sanctions. The case with Ukraine is even more ominous. Ukraine could become the flash-point, quite literally, for WWIII. We, the people, absolutely must be aware of what is really going on there. The stakes are immeasurably high, and the situation is in a critical state, right now, as we speak.

When I first saw headlines and images about popular protests in Ukraine, I thought, “Wonderful – the people are standing up for democracy in Ukraine, and exercising their democratic power;” but I immediately thought afterward, “We’ve seen events misrepresented and completely distorted in the Western media many times before, so I will not assume anything, until I look into it more deeply for myself.” Being busy with a number of things already, and it being an impossibility to follow every event, or even every major event, in every country around the world, it took me some time to get around to digging behind the headlines of the mainstream media. When I finally did, I was not surprised at what I found; but what I found was troubling, and very disturbing, to say the least. Here are my findings from a first look behind the curtain of the media spin machine.

But from the outset, let me say this. The more I look behind the headlines into what is actually going on in Ukraine, the more I wonder if the neo-cons who still rule Washington – Obama being the leading offender and buffoon-in-chief – are actually trying to create a war between Russia and NATO: which would be, of course, the beginning of WWIII. They may just be that mad. Certainly, they are risking the outbreak of world war, whether that was the intention or not. This is sheer madness. And the Western media will give you no honest information about it.

 

Important facts about Ukraine, 2014:

1. The United States and Western Europe – or at least, the business, financial and political elite who rule this part of the world – have been trying to restore Russia to its traditional role as a purposefully underdeveloped backwater colony of the West – a resource base and source of cheap labour – ever since the Russian Revolution of 1917. And ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Western powers have been encircling Russia militarily, as NATO has encroached further and further East, swallowing up 12 nations into its sphere of influence that had formerly been aligned with Russia. Now, in Ukraine, the Western powers are on Russia’s doorstep, and Russia is not very happy about it, and with good reason. If we do not understand this larger context, then we understand nothing about what is happening in Ukraine, or anywhere in Eurasia, for that matter.

2. The basic game, the primary motives and modus operandi for the American Empire, for the European great powers, and for the Western corporate empire, which has now swallowed both of the former, has not changed. Money rules, and the prime concerns are the pursuit of ever greater wealth and power for the few at the top – the richest 1%, or more accurately, the 0.01% who are the plutocrats, the oligarchs, the business and financial elite who rule the Western world, and who dominate the globe – with no concern and nothing more than rhetoric, pretty speeches and public relations gestures for the overwhelming majority of the people, the other 99.99%, the environment, or the future of life and human beings on Earth.

Obama took the neo-con agenda of the Bush-Cheney regime, and took their core two policy goals – increased militarism and imperial warfare abroad, in order to further the interests of the ruling corporate elite; and a full-scale attack on democracy and freedom, not just around the world, in pursuit of ever greater riches and power, but even more critically, at home, in the heart of the empire, with a full frontal assault on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, civil liberties, democracy and freedom in the United States, in order to protect the ruling plutocrats and their political prostitute cronies from the increasingly restless and discontent populace, by creating a quite literally fascist police state at home.

(See Jonathan Turley, American Constitutional law expert, or Naomi Wolf, Michel Chossudovsky, Paul Craig Roberts, Chris Hedges or Gerald Celente, among numerous other solid and thoughtful observers.)

“Let’s call it like it is – it’s fascism.”
 – Gerald Celente, the world’s leading trend analyst

With the passing of the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, the United States ceased to uphold the Constitution or Bill of Rights, or any meaningful, substantive sense of either democracy or freedom, and descended into what is, by any legal definition, a fascist state.

The pretense of freedom and democracy still remain – but that is to be expected. The United States is now an Orwellian society run by and for the business elite of Wall Street and London. For the moment at least, democracy in the United States, is dead.

When habeus corpus is suspended, and even the Magna Carta overturned, throwing out 800 years of rule by law, along with all civil liberties and the very foundation of all human rights and freedoms; when arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention become permitted and routine, when torture is made legal and becomes institutionalized, when universal and global surveillance becomes the established norm, and when extrajudicial summary execution, either through drone strikes, illegal and unconstitutional police or security force actions, mercenaries, military tribunals or CIA black sites, then there is no other word for it: this is fascism.

So no, we should not expect something different from Obama than we what saw from Bush. In fact, Obama has expanded Bush’s wars abroad; he has intensified the Bush-Cheny/neo-con/Wall Street attack on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, freedom and democracy at home; and he has escalated and accelerated the drive towards a police state in America. This is your champion of “hope and change.” He is a Wall Street hireling – a whore to the military-industrial-security complex and the bankers who rule the land.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves. By his actions – pretty speeches notwithstanding – Obama is at least as bad as Bush and Cheney, if not worse. He is a crypto-fascist, working hard to ensure the continued rule and ever-expanding wealth and power of the ruling business elite – the people, the Constitution, freedom, democracy and the Earth be damned.

We should not be surprised at cynical, deceitful, Machiavellian or Orwellian maneuvers, regime changes and power plays undertaken by Washington under the figure-head of Obama’s “presidency.” The real rulers, the Wall Street and international banking and corporate elite, are still in charge – and their game plan has not changed: it is still, divide and conquer, subjugate and rule. Or as Adam Smith called “the vile maxim of the masters” – “All for us, none for anybody else.”

Fascism won’t come to America dressed in swastikas and accompanied by goose-stepping soldiers in the streets. It will come draped in the flag, wrapped up nicely in ribbons and bows, all smiles, as loveable and American as mom and apple pie – Orwellian to the core, and deeply camouflaged. It will be the full institutionalization and consolidation of a global corporate rule: and the well-paid public relations industry, and its most influential arm, which is the major media networks and the media prostitutes which staff its rank ranks, will put a happy face on it, and make it look sparkling and wonderful to any and all who are foolish enough not to look behind the thin veneer which covers over the ugly truth.

And fascism is not coming to America – it is here.

Obama is just the latest pawn, the latest face of the now globally dominant Western corporate empire. And he does not take his direction or his orders from the American people, anymore than he has any genuine concern for freedom, democracy or human rights anywhere on the planet – including at home, in the United States, much less in Europe or Ukraine.

3. The recent events in Ukraine were portrayed in the Western media as a popular democratic uprising against a corrupt political leader, and a yearning by the people to have stronger ties with the EU. It is true that a large percentage of the people of Ukraine felt this way, although it seems that this may have been a minority opinion; but in any event, that is a small part of the picture. There is also a large element of neo-Nazis that were involved in the protests and the ouster of the democratically elected government – neo-Nazies who trace their histories back to the Nazi sympathizers who murdered up to two million Jews, Communists and Russians in Ukraine during WWII.

And in case anyone is inclined to dismiss this element as fringe and inconsequential, it should be noted that the newly installed government in Kiev, under Wasington’s direction, has put the leaders of the neo-Nazi parties, Svoboda and the Right Sector, in charge of the military, the police and the judicial system. The neo-Nazi element, therefore, is in power. They are holding the big stick. And they have made it clear that they are not afraid to use it.

“For anyone in the Western propagandistic presstitutes from James Kirchick for the Daily Beast to the BBC to the Washington Post to Foreign Policy to the Guardian, as well as the Western regimes who have tried odiously over the last three months to whitewash the Right Sector (Ukraine’s Far Right paramilitary group that played a part in toppling the government), I give you their young, intelligent, eloquent, photogenic, charismatic, fluently English-Speaking, philosopher and press spokesperson – Olena Semenyaka – an open, proud, unrepentant, Nazi Swastika-waving, Hitler-saluting fascist.”
– Occupy London
(When I learn how to overcome my all-thumbs approach to digital technology and know how to use WordPress better, I’ll include the photo of Semenyaka proudly waving the Nazi flag and giving the Nazi raised-arm salute. Until then, you can easily find it on OccupyLondon’s facebook page.)

This large neo-Nazi element is, of course, anything but democratic – not to mention, racist, fascist, antisemitic and violent. And this is the element that US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was recorded in a phone call as saying she wanted intimately involved the US putsch which just occurred in Kiev.

Yes, what just happened in Ukraine was “a text-book CIA coup” – according to former CIA analyst and specialist on Russia, Ray McGovern; as well as the University of Ottawa professor of economics and founder of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Michel Chossudovsky; and Francis Boyle, professor of international law in Illinois.

We have seen such regime changes over and over, ever since the US staged a CIA-orchestrated coup in Iran to install the Shaw – and the CIA even has a manual on how to go about such things. And yes, the US political and business elite will work with anyone who will get the job done for them, and act as puppets in their grand imperial game.

Look at the US support for Al Queda in Syria, in the efforts to overthrow the government there, or in Lybia, where US-backed Al Queda forces successfully overthrew that regime. The fact that neither regime is or was desirable is not the point – the point is that the US business and political elite will work with any goons they find useful to their purposes, and who will help them overthrow the governments of their choosing. Imperial ambition has no scruples, and will resort to dirty means and dirty allies and pawns, whenever it is expedient to do so. The US and Western business and political elite, and the new global empire they rule over, are no different. As Chomsky said, “International politics haven’t changed significantly since the time of Ghengis Kahn.”

It was the leaders of the US-backed neo-Nazi movement in Ukraine that turned the peaceful protests into a violent confrontation and a putsch to overthrow a democratically elected government. Worse yet, the leaders of the neo-Nazi parties in Ukraine have openly made death threats against the “Jewish-Russian” conspiracy, and have said that they will gun down the Jews, Communists and Russians in the streets. With over half of the people in Eastern and Southern Ukraine being native Russian speakers – to say nothing of political and religious freedoms, or the appalling renewal of antisemitism in Europe – we are talking here about very real threats of genocide. And these are the goons that Washington and the Western business elites have decided to make their allies and puppets, for the sake of imperial ambition and power politics. We should be deeply alarmed, and deeply concerned.

4. The tipping point in Ukraine came when the democratically elected president – a fact never mentioned by the Western press – who was thrown from power by a Washington-orchestrated coup – another fact which is never mentioned in the Western press – with the critical aid and allegiance of neo-Nazis – which is a third fact that is not mentioned in the Western media – President Viktor Yanukovych, reversed his former decision to accept a trade deal with the EU. That is when the gloves came off, and the coup was set in motion by Washington and its allies in Europe.

The reason that Yanukovych reversed his decision and rejected the trade deal with the EU, from all indications, is two-fold. Firstly, the billionaire oligarchs of Ukraine realized that if this deal went through, then they could quite reasonably fear that the bigger, badder, and more powerful billionaires of Europe, and the corporations they control, would move in and carve up Ukraine, and leave them with only a few remaining crumbs – so they pulled out their support for the deal.

The second major reason was that there was a little known clause in the trade deal, which would in the end, bring Ukraine into the NATO alliance – which would mean a tectonic shift of allegiances for Ukraine, from Russia and the East, where it has traditionally been for centuries, to Europe and the West: and Yanukovych apparently decided that that might not be the best move, all things considered.

So, Yanukovych killed the deal – Yanukovych had to go. The putsch was on.

It was a very similar, almost earily similar pattern to what we saw leading up to the war in Afghanistan. And in both Afghanistan and Ukraine, a critical factor was a pipeline, and a deal that fell through, with dramatic reprecussions. (Keystone XL activists, make note of this. The oil giants are ruthless and vicious. Be unafraid, be brave, be bold, but do be alert.) The Taliban had been best buddies and allies with Washington, and there are photos of a grinning Donald Rumsfeld, I believe it was, shaking their leader’s hands – or was that Saddam Hussein? I’m making a joke, but it is deadly serious. Rumsfeld and his neo-con cronies were the best of friends with the Taliban, just as they had been with Saddam, and armed and funded them both, for various economic and geopolitical reasons. But Saddam got out of line, and forgot who buttered his bread and who ruled over him, so his masters in Washington took him out.

It’s a familiar pattern. Noriega in Panama was on the CIA payroll – until he disobeyed orders, and had to be taken down. The Taliban were favourite allies of Washington, until they refused the offer of large sums of cash in return for protecting a US oil company’s pipeline (UNOCAL) which was to run from the Caspian Basin through Afghanistan to the sea, for shipment to Chinese markets. The talks between US government representatives and Taliban leaders were transcribed and leaked, and the negotiator for Washington was recorded as saying, just before the US invasion of Afghanistan, “You either accept our offer of streets paved with gold, or we will bury you.” The Taliban refused, and the rest is history.

Former National Security Adviser under Jimmy Carter, “Zbig” Brzezinski, even bragged, in an interview in Paris, abut how he created the Islamic terrorist networks based in Afghanistan. It was a plan, he openly stated, to draw the Soviet Union into “their own Vietnam,” in order to weaken and destabilize the USSR. And he was proud of the fact that the plan worked, and lead to or at least contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union, and he scoffed at having created a rabid terrorist network in the process, saying, “What’s a few worked-up Muslims?” That’s bloodless geopolitical power politics for you.

So yes, the US, or rather, the Washington political elite, and the business and financial elite for whom they work, have been engaged in highly deceitful, duplicitous coups, treachery and regime changes for a very long time. Yanukovych is merely the last in a very long line.

According to William Blum, who used to work for the US State Department, but resigned in protest over the war in Vietnam, and author of Killing Hope – a history of the CIA: the US has engaged in coups or regime changes, putsches and the like – however you prefer to call the overthrow of a foreign government – 77 times prior to this latest putsch in Ukraine.

The CIA is now very good at this sort of thing. However, freedom and democracy are always the victims, along with the people, and the blow-back is usually severe as well. Such wild, brazen arrogance on the part of the US is making the American people less safe and more in danger, because of the hate it creates, and it is simply morally appalling and utterly unacceptable, as well as a straight up violation of international law, all democratic principles and principles of freedom, and all basic human rights, of course, at the same time.

The idea with the trade deal with the EU was to plop this economic basket case of Ukraine onto the EU’s lap, in order to a) bring Ukraine and its assets into the control of Western bankers, plutocrats, corporations and business elites; b) more specifically, to overturn Russia’s control of critical gas pipelines through Ukraine going into Europe, for greater control over, profits from and security of energy resources; and most critically, to sever Ukraine from Russia, not just economically, but also militarily, in order to further weaken, surround and isolate Russia.

But, again, Yanukovych killed the deal, so he had to be removed. The fact that neo-Nazis were chosen as the pawns to do the job, and to effectively replace him, makes no difference in the eyes of the Western imperial powers. They are used to such nefarious allegiances. They are the world’s leading terrorist powers, as Chomsky has said, and has documented in great detail. Why would they quibble or wince at working with, or putting in power, some small-fry terrorists in Afghanistan (the Taliban), or a thug in Iraq (Saddam), or neo-Nazies in Ukraine? It’s all just business as usual to them.

And again, of course, the Western media and their loyal presstitutes will tell you nothing of these critical details, the history behind them, or their critical significance in the events of the past few days and months in Ukraine.

5. Ukraine literally sits on top of critical pipelines bringing natural gas from Russia to Central and Western Europe. The big Western oil giants are looking to unseat Gazprom, the giant Russian national oil and gas company. We are looking at another battle over control of the world’s energy resources. In a nutshell, Russian billionaires are competing with Western billionaires for control over the multi-billion dollar fossil fuel sales in Europe.

We have seen, across the Middle East, what lengths the Western oligarchs are prepared to go to secure such riches and power. Over 1 million people have died in Iraq alone in the bloody wars over oil and gas. The Western plutocrats have no conscience – mass murder does not faze them; and of course, they have no interest in either democracy or freedom, grand rhetoric aside. The Russian oligarchs have acted no better – although they are primarily concerned, as Putin is, with stablizing and securing their empire, and not expanding it, as the Western powers seem intent on doing. In any case, a confrontation between billionaires from the East and those from the West, would be anything but peaceful or pretty, if it comes to a head: it would be, quite literally, WWIII.

That being said, the Western expansion Eastward, economically and also militarily, through NATO, its encircling of Russia, and its recent putsch in Ukraine, is not just about oil and gas profits, as enormously significant and motivating as that may be for the Western plutocrats – and is. It is also about global geostrategic dominance, and global hegemony for the West.

The Western elite seem hell-bent on an extraordinarily dangerous gambit, and seem to want to retain and consolidate their present global dominance, by any means necessary or expedient – even at the risk of global war and the extinction of humanity. The madness has no equal, either now, or at any time in the history of humankind.

As Chomsky clearly elaborated in one of his many major works, Hegemony or Survival, the dangers of this current path which we are being led down, cannot be overstated. We face a critical juncture for humankind. Either we swear off of empire and all its grandiose and horrifying games of power politics, or we watch as the power-mad destroy the world, and all future for human beings on Earth. Our choices have indeed become that stark.

7. Russia will not, and furthermore, feels it cannot, back down. Russia not only has deep, long-standing historical ties with Ukraine, but further, the Eastern and Southern portions of Ukraine were historically a part of Russia, and 60% of the inhabitants of the region are native Russian speakers who still retain strong ties to Russia.

And the bonds of allegiance go both ways. Ukraine, and especially the Crimean Peninsula, are very close to the hearts of the Russian people, for reasons of history, and also because the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea is the principle Russian vacation land and Club Med. Watching the West and NATO make gestures towards moving Ukraine, or even the Crimean Peninsula alone, into the sphere of Western dominance, would be something akin to Russia taking over Florida and Ellis Island at the same time. One could imagine what kind of response that would arouse among Americans. The analogy is, of course, imperfect, as all analogies are, but the point remains. Both Russia and also the people of Eastern and Southern Ukraine wish to keep their close ties with one another, and no threat to this long-standing relationship will be easily endured.

Ukraine is also, to repeat, the major route for Russian oil and gas pipelines to Europe. Russia will not surrender one of its most vitally important export routes, for one of its most vitally important industries.

Furthermore, Russia has critically important strategic naval bases on the Crimean Peninsula, giving them vitally important access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. And again, after watching NATO and the Western powers expand East and encircle Russia militarily, while taking away important economic allies, piece by piece; and with Ukraine at Russia’s southern border and doorstep, and further, being in a strategically critical geographic location, Russia was bound to draw a red line in the sand.

The Russian people back Putin in his move to put troops into the Crimean Peninsula in order to prevent any moves by the West to encroach any further, and also, to protect the Russians living in Ukraine against the neo-Nazis in Kiev who have made public death-threats against them. Putin had no choice, politically, according to Russian specialist, Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus from NYU and Princeton. Had Putin not made this move, his credibility in Russia would go from low, to shattered. Russia will not allow the West to take Ukraine. That is, and should have been, as Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and another specialist on Russia has said, “a known-known.”

As the leading intellectual and long-term geostrategic planner for the Western elite for the past forty years, “Zbig” Bzrezinski has said, Central Eurasia has always been critical to control, if the Eurasian continent is to be controlled. And since the Eurasian continent contains the majority of the people, markets and resources on the planet, it is critical to control Eurasia, and hence, Central Eurasia – if, like Bzrezinksi and the Western elite, one is above all concerned with global dominance.

All imperial strategy rests, centrally, upon control of this strategically critical area of the world, as the wars in the Middle East indicate and make clear – yes, they are about oil, but more importantly, they are about global geostrategic hegemony and control.

Central Eurasia is the linch-pin. As “Zbig” said, in The Grand Chessboard, historically, whoever controls central Eurasia, controls the continent, and whoever controls the continent, dominates the world.

That is why Brzezinski argued for the “projection of force” in the Middle East, why he argued for the necessity of a large crisis in order to get the American people to agree to or at least tolerate such “projection of force,” and why he armed, funded, trained and created the Islamic terrorist network based in Afghanistan, to use as a puppet in the region – the same terrorist network that is alternately an official enemy, say, in Pakistan and Afghanistan, after the pipeline deal went sour, that is, or, in Libya and Syria, unofficial friends, who suddenly become recast as “freedom fighters” – exactly as the Taliban were called, before they became official enemies, and while they were still loyal allies and puppets.

Does all of this sound confusing? It is straight-forward, when you understand the operating principles: anyone we control, is a friend. Anyone we can’t control, is an enemy. Simple as that. Sometimes Al Queda can be used and manipulated for our own imperial objectives – and by our, I mean Western business elite objectives – in which case they are eagerly embraced and gladly used, and are official or unofficial friends and allies. Sometimes they get out of line, as servants sometimes do, and then they become official enemies, and must be decried, shot like disobedient dogs who turn on their masters, or simply cast to the wayside, or thrown in prison, like Noriega. It all depends on whether they are considered useful, or in the way – and that can change, literally, from one day to the next.

Yes, central Eurasia is considered geostraticially critical, and Ukraine is in the heart of it. Putin certainly knows this, as do the Western oligarchs. That is yet another reason why Putin is not going to give up Ukraine, or access to the Black Sea. The balance of power globally may well rest upon it.

Putin is trying to secure and stabilize a great nation, Russia, that is, of course, which has collapsed twice in the past century: once in 1917, and once in 1991. His aim, from all evidence, is not expansion, but protection of Russia.

He may be vicious and corrupt, and he is. He was head of the KGB, after all, so what else would we expect? He was the head of the Soviet goon squad. But, what is important here to note, is not his character, or his domestic policies in Russia, but his international relations: and his primary interest, from all indications, is in stability and security for Russia, not the expansion of its territory. And Putin has every reason to be concerned with Western powers staging a coup on his Southern doorstep – clearly. He would have to be a fool not to be concerned; and Putin may be many things, but he is no fool.

Considering the recent expansionist actions of the West, which go back decades and even centuries, the Russian people are rightfully concerned about having Washington, NATO and the Western bankers and oligarchs on their doorstep, and staging yet another regime change – this one, as close as it could get, without actually crossing the Russian border.

Putin will not back down. He can’t. The US and the EU can back down, and have or foster a cooperative relationship with energy-rich Russia, but Russia cannot back down. The expansion of Western powers has now reached its limit. Any further, and there will be world war. I don’t believe there is any question as to these most essential facts.

The neo-cons and their plutocratic overlords and masters in the corporate and financial world, who, it must be repeated, still control Washington, hopefully have some trace of sanity left in them. So far – with Russian troops deployed in the Crimean Peninsula, protecting the Russian people of Eastern and Southern Ukraine, as well as their naval bases on the Black Sea, facing down the very real threat from Western-backed neo-Nazis in Kiev – not a shot has been fired. A diplomatic resolution could still be reached. But this could change at any moment. If this turns into a shooting war between Russian forces and a Western-backed proxy army of neo-Nazis, Al Queda forces, or whomever the West deems its latest favourite pawn, then, as Stephen Cohen has said, “All bets are off,” and anything could happen – including the unthinkable, which is the extermination of the human species on Earth. Pray that sanity prevails.

6. As Stephen Cohen said recently, US options are “Zero. Zero options, unless they want to go to war. Russia is holding all the cards.”

Russia holds all the cards politically, since, a) the Russian people back Putin in drawing a line in the sand against further Western expansionism on Russia’s doorstep – as it is quite rightly perceived; and more essentially, because b) the people of Eastern and Southern Ukraine are primarily native Russian speakers, with strong historical ties and a strong allegiance to Russia, as well as a very legitimate fear of what the neo-Nazis now installed in Kiev might unleash upon them, in the form of literally genocidal acts, not to mention oligarchic and despotic rule; and c) the evidence is clear that the newly installed government in Kiev was put in place, installed, that is, by the US and its Western allies, through a Washington staged regime change, a coup, and therefore has no legitimacy.

Russia also supplies 30% of Europe’s natural gas. The EU will not likely press the matter, believe me. Russia could simply turn off the taps, and Europe will freeze. Europe is now arguably far more dependent on Russia than Russia is on Europe.

The global balance has shifted. Just as China now holds the US by the purse strings, holding its debt and being its principle banker, as well as having American trans-national corporations deeply dependent upon Chinese manufacturing plants, and with the Chinese economy about to surpass that of the United States as the biggest economy in the world, Russia is fast-arising as a global economic super-power, while Europe is on the edge of insolvency, and is struggling economically, to put it mildly.

Europe and the United States are sinking, at least in relative terms, if not also in absolute terms, while the BRIC nations, and especially Russia and China, continue to soar. Europe is in no position to play it rough.

Europe is a sinking ship, as is the US. These declining world powers can no longer afford to engage in boyish imperial games, much less hollow sabre-rattling. The world is increasingly interdependent and also poly-centric. If Washington and the Western elite persist in pursuing 19th century policies in the context of 21st century realities, to paraphrase the hopelessly hypocritical John Kerry, they will not only harm others, but will very likely destroy themselves, and quite possibly all of humanity along with them.

And it is not just in terms of energy and gas that Europe is far too dependent upon Russia to do anything more than bellow in idle gesturing. Russian billionaires and plutocrats now store their money and riches in Europe – in Swiss bank accounts, London real estate and secretive Jersey Island financial havens for the world’s super-rich. Europe’s big money is now intertwined with Russia’s big money – and Russian billionaires have more mobility, by all indications, at least in terms of this relationship is concerned. The European oligarchs don’t dare to press the matter, or any matter, for that matter, with the great and increasingly powerful Russian bears.

Europe is simply far too addicted to Russian gas and Russian wealth to do anything more than make hollow public relations statements, which will in all likelihood amount to absolutely nothing more than PR. And without European Allies, a weakened American empire with a struggling US economy would be foolish in the extreme to press the matter – even more foolish than if they had the full support of Europe, which they most decidedly do not.

As Ray McGovern said, anyone who had any understanding of Ukraine and its place in the relationship between Russia and the West, could have known that Russia will not back down and allow its most critical satellite and borderland to fall into the Western military and economic orbit. In McGovern’s words, this was “one regime change too many,” and Washington “has bit off far more than it can chew.”

The putsch in Ukraine is a classic case of imperial hubris and imperial overshoot. Declining empires always tend to behave the same way, and such foolish arrogance tends to put the final nail in the coffin, and seal the fate of the decaying empire. We will see what Washington chooses to do, but it would be wise to acknowledge the facts, and bow out gracefully, to return to the business of rebuilding its own economy and its own crumbling infrastructure and decimated industrial base, and forget about ruling the world or changing regimes around the globe – which will be the end of the nation as well as the empire, if they persist in it.

Obama’s only options now, as both McGovern and Cohen have made clear, are to back down, and quietly acknowledge the mistake, even if it means demonstrating the growing weakness of the United States and its Western allies; or, start what may well be the beginning of WWIII. Let us hope that some shred of remaining sanity prevails.

 

A final note on the US – being the principle antagonist in this very dangerous, still unfolding situation in Ukraine:

The US has more than enough problems of its own for it to be meddling in the affairs of other nations. Are the Washington elite and their Wall Street masters on crack? The US has been de-industrialized through corporate globalization. It has decimated its manufacturing base, and its economic base, through off-shoring of production and profits. It has a trade deficit running into the billions of dollars a day. It has gone, in a few short decades, from being the leading creditor in the world, to the leading debtor. It has squandered its natural resources and stripped itself of its economic powers, through a short-sighted greed by the ruling few, at the expense of the people and the nation. The end of American hegemony is clearly in sight, if it is not already here; and yet, the ruling elite continue to push as hard as they can towards full, unbridled disaster.

Poverty and inequality are skyrocketing across the US – as a result of globalization and the off-shoring of production and profits, and the extraction of wealth from the many to the few, in what can only be described as a conscious and systematic class warfare, waged by the super-rich against the nation and the rest of the population. Meanwhile, while the middle class is being eviscerated and liquidated, and driven into the growing sea of an underclass.

There is more poverty, and also greater inequality, in the US now than at any point in its history – even during the Great Depression. Half of the people in the United States now live below, at, or just above the poverty line – and poverty continues to rise daily. Living conditions in most US inner cities are now worse than many of the poorest third world nations.

For any country, and especially for the richest country in the world, this state of affairs would be an utter disgrace – and it is.

The United States continues to spend over a trillion dollars a year on the military-industrial-security complex, on war and war preparations, on foolish imperial stratagems and adventures, and on the build-up of a police state at home – more than enough money to rebuild the crumbling economy and infrastructure, create jobs for all, eliminate all poverty in the nation, and put the country on track towards true environmental stability and sustainability. But the military-industrial-security complex must be fed – even if it is with the people’s own blood, and the blood of their daughters and sons: it is demanded by the ruling super-rich, so the folly must continue, it seems – at least until the American people rise up and say, “No more.”

Meanwhile, the richest 1% have grown ever richer and more powerful, while the other 99% face ever-increasing material insecurity and disenfranchisement, their voices silenced and their future raped of all hope, as the political elite in power continue to serve the ruling robber barons and the Wall Street plutocrats – or kleptocrats, as they should more accurately be called. This situation is reaching a breaking point, and rapidly so. America should take care of America, before it goes telling, or imposing on others, its magnanimity and wisdom. Put your own house in order, Washington.

And this is just an overview of the severe and growing economic and social problems in the United States, to say nothing of the deepening political crisis. America, under the rule of Wall Street and the corporate oligarchs, has gone from freedom to fascism in short order. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are in tatters and flames. The people of America grow more weary and more frustrated daily, not only with the rapidly increasing inequality and poverty which they face, not only with the bankrupting of the nation by an imperial fetish among the reigning elite that is out of control, but even more so, by the increasing attack on freedom, civil liberties, democracy and basic human rights at home. They will not take much more, I assure you.

The US is truly a powder keg, and revolution is brewing, as leading trend forecaster Gerald Celente and others have said. But the Wall Street oligarchs and their political prostitutes carry on merrily, singing a chorus of “Let them eat cake.” This hubris we have seen before, and we know where it leads.

Revolution is not always pretty, but it is sometimes unavoidable, and moreover, simply necessary. And the ruling elite in the US are making sure that it is, in fact, unavoidable: through sheer arrogance and contempt for the people. I pray that it will be peaceful, but that it will come, is by now, a virtual certainty.

Mr. Obama, you have more than enough work to do at home. Stop meddling in the affairs of other nations. If you persist in this madness any further, it will be the end of America. Enough is enough. It is time for peace, and for prosperity and freedom for all.

No more regime changes. No more games of empire. Take care of your own people – or step aside, and let the people renew their own democracy, and their land.

Conclusion: On empire or survival

Empires have always been brutal, bloody, aggressive, violent, war-like, and inherently anti-democratic, oppressive and tyrannical; and there have always, therefore, been good and strong reasons to resist and oppose them. At this point in time, however, empire is no longer just an extreme offense to every decent human value and an oppressive weight on human beings. At this time in our history, the nature of empire has become quite simply suicidal.

The present rulers of the world, the oligarchs and plutocrats of both East and West, believe that they are engaged in what they call political “realism.” It is anything but. What they are engaged in, is imperial folly, which has been shown in every age to be a fool’s errand, a lust for power which harms and oppresses human beings widely and profoundly, and an enterprise which, in the end, always turns to dust.

The mongers of empire are engaged in deep self-deception, and in delusions of grandeur. It is the values of freedom, democracy, the self-determination of peoples, and the love of one’s neighbor which are the basic tenets of both, basic sanity, and also a sane and truly sustainable, as well as a just and free society.

At this point in human history, we either re-assert these principles of basic sanity and common sense, or we will simply cease to be. This is realism. The rest is pure fantasy, pure delusion.

Madmen now hold the power, but the greater power always resides with the people. When, and if, the people stand up, and stand for their rights, then, and then alone, will the world have a chance at true peace, at justice, at real freedom, at democracy, and at simple survival.

We are now faced with a clear choice: end the age of empires, and let democracy and freedom truly reign; or let the errors of our past be repeated in new and more hideous ways than ever before, sowing, not only a dark age, but our own self-destruction, until human beings are no more, and the light goes out for the entire human race.

Our choice is clear. There is no choice. Empires must end now. This madness must cease, or humanity will simply cease to be.

Again, the billionaires of the East are battling the billionaires of the West for oil and gas money, and the domination of the globe. And I have to say to that, “You childish, reckless, mad putzes – stop endangering us all with your foolishness and utter insanity. Are you completely mad?”

This is a richly abundant planet, and as Gandhi said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, but for no one’s greed.”

It is time for these games of greed, power lust, empire and egomania to come to an end – and now.

The situation in Ukraine could end up being among the final notes of our collective demise, or it could be a warning call that awakens the people of the world, and catalyzes the movements for democracy, freedom, and a better world for all. The choice, is entirely up to us.

The power is always in the hands of the people. Let us use it wisely – and now.

No more war. No more empire.

Stop the madness now.

Stand.

J. Todd Ring,
March 5, 2014

 

For further details please see the references below. The first rule to finding out or knowing anything about what is truly going on, is to turn off the major media – both the corporate and state media. The second rule is to read widely, and dig for verifiable information. The third rule, is to seek out and discover selectively chosen, reliable sources, that you have learned from experience and from verification with both reason and evidence, to be highly accurate, if not at all times perfect.

As to reliable sources, you must think for yourself, and discern for yourself. Take no one’s word on anything. As the Buddha said, examine things for yourself. But as a starting point, I would recommend a few, generally excellent sources. They have their faults and their blind spots, but generally they are excellent – and certainly they are in an entirely different league, many leagues above and beyond the major media outlets. Among the best sources for news and analysis that I have found, are the following. Most of the rest, with few exceptions – and even those that portray themselves as “alternative media” or “independent media” or “public broadcasters” – either chronically miss the heart of the matter, and skirt about the surface of things merely, or else offer pretty much the same spin, PR, lies and illusions as you would find in the thoroughly corrupt corporate and state-run media. But again, above all, think for yourself. Examine things for yourself.

Trends Research / Gerald Celente

Centre for Research On Globalization / Global Outlook / GRTV

Project Censored

Z Communications / Z Magazine

The Kaiser Report

Dandelion Salad

CounterPunch 

A few excellent articles on the situation in Ukraine (my apologies that this is not more neatly presented – time seems like it may be critical):

Ukraine – Recent developments and contextual analysis:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/05/chronology-of-the-ukrainian-coup/
http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/is-the-u-s-backing-neo-nazis-in-ukraine/
http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/ukraine-one-regime-change-too-many/
http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/u-s-has-zero-options-in-ukraine/
http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-was-a-playbook-cia-coup-detat/5371296
http://shar.es/RnwvN
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-backstory-to-the-russia-ukraine-confrontation-the-us-nato-encirclement-of-russia/5371776
http://shar.es/RnjiU
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/lighting-the-fires-for-chaos-in-ukraine-by-bruce-gagnon/#more-158787
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/ukraine-the-dangers-of-dealing-with-delusional-western-leaders-putin-holds-aces-obama-deuces/
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/03/russia-vladimir-putin-the-west-104134.html

(The last article is the weakest, but I will include it, since it does add some important points on Russia’s wealth being stored in Europe, and on the hypocrisy of Europe’s ruling elite – and because of the lead photo of Putin staring down Obama, and Obama trying hard not to blink. Two thoroughly corrupt oligarchs posturing like they are the saviours of humanity, and looking like two pre-pubescent school boys caught up in childish bravado – such is the current state of the world, and this photo sums it up.)

A few excellent books for an overview of the state of the world:

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Chomsky

The Ecology of Freedom – Bookchin

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Mutual Aid – Kropotkin

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de la Boite

NAFTA, “Free Trade” and the TPP: Fast-Track To Full Corporate Rule

Posted in activism, analysis, Canada, capitalism, Chomsky, civil liberties, class, collapse, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, coup, crisis of democracy, deep integration, democracy, democratic deficit, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, FTAA, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, imperialism, jobs, labour, Mexico, money, Mussolini, must-read, NAFTA, nation state, national democracies, NAU, peace, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, politics, Security and Prosperity Partnership, sociology, sovereignty, SPP, sustainability, tipping point, trade, truth, U.S., war on democracy, WEF, World Economic Forum, WTO with tags , , , , on November 6, 2013 by jtoddring

The TPP In A Nutshell: Growing corporate power and the death of freedom

The FTA, NAFTA, the WTO, the WEF, the SPP, and now, the TPP – it is all a further drive for increasing global corporate power, and we should be very concerned. This should not need to be spelled out. The situation is becoming critical. Here is some background and context.

“Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those promises have failed to materialize. U.S. trade deficits with both Canada and Mexico have surged, crippling domestic industries, prompting massive job displacement and the replacement of living wage union jobs with jobs in sectors with low pay, minimal benefits and no job security.”

– Expose the TPP

 

What have been called “free trade” agreements are more accurately called corporate rights agreements, as Chomsky and others have said. And these agreements have helped to de-industrialize the US and Canada while shifting production to Mexico and other cheap labour offshore locations, such as India and China, wiping out the bulk of the middle class at home in the process, while leaving the great majority around the world in poverty as well, and generally benefiting only a small elite. Continuing in this course would clearly be disastrous for the vast majority of the people world-wide.

NAFTA, CAFTA, the FTAA, the WTO, the WEF, the SPP, the ECB and the Fed, and now, the TPP – all of these are treaties and organizational structures which represent the enthronement of the global corporate elite as the de facto rulers of the world, as the London Financial Times itself has said. They represent, in essence, a set of treaties between big business and governments, in which governments yield and cede their power to the trans-national corporate elite who already dominate the global economy, the major media and the political process and governments of most nations in the world today.

What this represents is the merger of business and the state, which as Mussolini himself said, is the very definition of fascism. What we are seeing is the destruction of both democracy and freedom, as well as human rights, constitutional law and civil liberties, under a global corporatist rule of increasingly stark neo-feudalism.

And if that were not already bad enough, we should also recognize that the people do not even benefit economically. Such moves benefit the few at the top, while the middle class is eliminated, the sea of poverty grows as the great majority of the people are driven into a growing underclass, inequality skyrockets, and a police state is constructed to keep the increasingly discontent masses silent and obedient, suppressed, subjugated, and neutralized – meaning effectively, neutered.

This is not even mentioning the utterly disastrous effects that our new global empire of corporate feudalism is having on the environment and the prospects for any kind of future for human life on earth.

Say no to the TPP and corporate rule, or say hello to a new and hellish form of Babylon, and an accelerating race towards a collective suicide.

J. Todd Ring,
November 6, 2013

Anarchism, capitalism, democracy and common sense

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, American politics, analysis, anarchism, banks, capitalism, China, class, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, ecological crisis, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, freedom, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, health care, human rights, hybrid, inspiration, Jefferson, Lenin, libertarian socialism, libertarianism, media analysis, money, must-read, neo-feudalism, oil, Orwell, peace, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, propaganda, psychology, resources, social theory, socialism, sociology, sovereignty, sustainability, the world's other superpower, tipping point, truth, U.S., war, war crimes, war on democracy on October 25, 2013 by jtoddring

I am not inclined toward market anarchy, or anarchist capitalism, as I see it as being both non-viable, since capitalism without restraints invariably breeds monopoly capitalism, which is no longer capitalism in the sense of a free market, but a form of feudalism, since the few end up dominating and ruling over the rest; and because capitalism is based upon a two-tiered society of the owners of production, in Marxist terms, the people who have an unequal share of economic power, and hence also, social, cultural and political power, and those who must work for them in order to survive; and thus, capitalism is based upon the need (of the many, not the few) to rent yourself out for money, which is degrading and dehumanizing, as well as antithetical to freedom.

Renting yourself out for money was called wage slavery by Abraham Lincoln and others who opposed it. A more stark and honest term for what it means to rent yourself out for money is simply prostitution.

Unless you want to be a slave – or a slave master, if you are both lucky and also supremely unethical – or you are simply lost in confused thinking and illusions, you cannot support capitalism in any form: at least, not without strong legislation such as labour laws, minimum wage standards, workplace safety requirements, environmental protocols, and above all, anti-trust legislation to prevent and break up monopolies.

If you want capitalism, if you want an economic system and a society based upon wage slavery – though I do not see why any sane person would – then at the very least, you have to put restraints on it: you have to chain the beast, or it will devour you.

You certainly cannot support a form of capitalism that strips capital, and the controllers of capital, of all restraints – unless you are either a self-deluded ideologue, or you are a member of the business elite, or a wanna-be member of this class.

So I would say that the idea of market anarchy, or anarchist capitalism, is one that is propounded by two groups: the deluded, and the cynically dishonest and self-serving.

Of course the business elite like the idea of eliminating all government oversight and restraints on their actions. It would mean total freedom for them – freedom to loot and pillage at will, to play one nation, state, province and community against another in a race to the bottom, with ever lower wages and working conditions, and ever lower environmental standards, and by these and other means, to gather even more of the wealth, resources and power on the planet into their hands, even more rapidly and frantically than they are already doing.

The corporate elite also favour the elimination, not only of all governmental restrictions on their actions – although they are quite keen to push for a police state to restrain the actions of the people, and to further secure their power and their de facto rule; they also strongly favour the elimination of all social safety nets and all government programs that help the poor and unemployed.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, social programs that help the people cost money – and the corporate elite would rather their multi-billion and trillion dollar state subsidies increase; therefore, programs that help the people must be slashed and eliminated – the welfare state is supposed to provide for the rich, not the masses.

Secondly, and more essentially, the welfare state, and all social safety nets and social programs that help the poor and the unemployed, must be slashed and eliminated, so that the people will be driven to desperation, and will welcome their corporate masters, and beg to be shackled and chained for a mere few cents an hour, or a few crumbs of bread.

The business elite like to talk amongst themselves and in the business press about what they call pampered Western workers. They like Chinese workers much better, as the offshoring of production and the deindustrialization of the West make abundantly clear. They do not want to pay $30 or $40 an hour for labour, or even $10, or $7.50 an hour for a wage slave in North America or Europe, when they can get one for $1 an hour in Mexico, or $0.10 an hour in China. Destroying social programs and safety nets means that Western workers can be trained to accept Chinese standards of pay – which is to say, social programs and safety nets must be destroyed in order to make the pampered Western workers more compliant and malleable serfs.

The other means of creating an ultra-low cost labour pool is through slavery, and that is being vigorously pursued by the reigning corporate powers as well – it is called the prison system. Prison labour is a rapidly growing out-sourcing choice for large, profitable corporations. With prison labour, you can pay workers just pennies an hour, and if they get out of line, you can get the guards to beat them to a pulp.

But to return to the driving down of wages and benefits across the West…

This is the primary reason for the so-called austerity programs being foisted on the people, purportedly for their own good, and the reason for the attack on the welfare state and all social programs across the Western world: free the corporations of the bondage of having to pay wages that people can live on, by driving the people to utter desperation, where they can be more easily manipulated, and exploited on a greater scale, for the increased profits of the already astronomically rich few. It is a grand and noble vision indeed.

But the main attack on government is an attack by big business on government regulations applying to big business. (They are happy to see red tape, high taxes and bureaucratic hurdles thrown up for small business, but they want a fast-track and a back door, with zero restrictions and zero taxes for themselves. Taxes, laws and regulations are for the little people.) The business elite do not want government restrictions on their actions. They want the subsidies and the bailouts and the protection of an increasingly militarized police state and a welfare state for the rich, but they do not want any restrictions on their own actions. Fascism for the people, total freedom for the elite – that is what the corporate oligarchs who rule the world today want, and that is what we are rapidly being driven into, like corralled cattle, being herded down the cattle chute.

While the elimination of government would mean total freedom for the corporate elite, it would mean total subjugation under neo-feudal corporate rule for the rest of us, and therefore we should oppose it – vigorously and passionately.

If you want to abolish government, you had better abolish all great concentrations of economic power first, or you will not have anarchism, much less freedom – you will simply have unfettered corporate rule, and a new form of tyranny.

So no, I do not support market anarchism or anarchist capitalism. I would tend to favour libertarian socialism, or anarchist socialism, where collectivism and anti-statism come together in a valuing of both freedom and mutual aid, as Kropotkin, Rocker, Bookchin, Bertrand Russell, Chomsky and others have argued for. In the short term, however, I would be happy simply to see a government that truly is, of the people, by the people, for the people, and not simply a servant of ruthless corporate powers and the super-rich.

I do not believe that a truly free society is even attainable without a very strong degree of mutual aid and solidarity among the people, which is absolutely necessary to accomplish the goal of a free society. So freedom and mutual aid must go hand in hand. To dream of it being otherwise is sheer fantasy.

How we blend and balance freedom and mutual aid, or liberty and collectivism, is the question. Whether or not we must, is a non-issue.

*

The seizure of corporate property by the workers, or by the people otherwise, at the local level, I do see as frequently if not generally justified, and Rothbard gives some good examples, such as workers taking over any and all corporations that are tied to the military-industrial complex, since they are involved in mass murder, among other reasons.

We can also look to the example of Argentina, where workers took over factories and ran them themselves, very successfully, as the documentary, The Take, revealed.

Or we can look to the Spanish Revolution, which was a largely anarchist revolution. The anarchist experiment in Spain, which lived between 1936 and 1939, I believe, was extremely successful, and could certainly be repeated elsewhere, but it would take great international solidarity to keep it alive in the face of the predictable backlash by the presently reigning vested interests.

As Chomsky has said, what the elite fear most, is the threat of a good example. For that reason, any example of worker control or workplace democracy, of any alternative to elite corporate rule, will be viciously attacked, no matter how small or remote. We must be prepared for that; but that is not an insurmountable obstacle to real social change. The people always have the real power. They simply need to realize it, and act upon the fact.

The anarchist revolution in Spain unfortunately ended up being crushed by an alliance between Western business elites, Western governments and the Soviet Union – Bolsheviks despise worker control just about as much as capitalists do. (Lenin destroyed the worker councils immediately upon seizing power, and Kropotkin declared after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, that the revolution is dead. But the example of a successful anarchist revolution, and a proven successful anarchist-socialist model for an advanced industrial society, still lives, and it still offers a better alternative, by far, over what we have now.

But to return to the subject of appropriation – or reclamation, as it might better and more accurately be called – there are other good reasons which justify such actions, and make them entirely legitimate, aside from the ones mentioned by Rothbard.

First of all, if what is nominally called private property was gained through illegitimate means, then all claim to title is null and void. For example, if an armed band of thugs rolls into town, and steals all that the people have or possess at gun point, we would say they have no right to that property. If one nation sends in its military to seize the oil or other resources of people in a foreign land, then that nation has no legitimate claim to such property. If a slave owner amasses a great fortune by means of the labour of his slaves, then he has no right to that property, which is more justly the property of the slaves who produced that wealth – cotton for example, or sugar cane, and the revenues from it – and not the slave master who illegitimately lays claim to it. And there are less obvious reasons for the invalidation of claims to property rights, such as great imbalances of power. In essence, all of these examples involve the exploitation of an imbalance of power to acquire wealth, and the imbalance of power makes all such claims to property acquired through these means, null and invalid.

That is the case generally for large concentrations of wealth and economic powers, such as the big corporations have today – for reasons of imbalances of power, and special favours sought by means of what is essentially bribery to political candidates, through what is euphemistically called election financing, among other reasons. The claims of property rights on the part of the corporate giants are highly dubious at best, and in reality, groundless, invalid and illegitimate.

Of course, this raises fears and even terror in some, for fear that their property will not be regarded as sacrosanct. Where do we draw the line between legitimate property rights, and appropriation or reclamation of what are reasonably viewed as illegitimate claims on property or resources, is the question we must ask. We draw lines all the time, and it is not hard to imagine a reasonable balance being sought and found. For example, leaving all small and medium businesses intact, as well as all family farms, family homes and personal possessions, but endorsing and supporting an appropriation or reclaiming of resources and assets which are presently held by the largest corporations, forthwith to be held as the shared property of the people – just as we now share public parks and public roads, public libraries and public fire departments – with shares in these corporation distributed equally to the people (and full voting shares, of course).

This would break up the corporate giants, immediately strip them of their excessive powers, put some teeth in anti-trust measures, and most essentially, would bring an immediate end to the domination over the global economy, the political process and the media by the presently ruling corporate elite. And it would once again restore some semblance of equality and also accountability within our society, and would at the same time dramatically increase the justice in our society, and also the quality of life and well-being of the people, immeasurably. I would therefore urge that such steps be taken immediately.

And it does not have to be an all or nothing scenario. We could start with the worst offenders, the banks, for example. If you want to dethrone Wall Street, and reign in the banking elite, and thereby get money out of politics, as any sane person should want today, then break up the big banks. And what are you going to do with them, one might ask. Well, one option is to do just what I have described here: seize their assets, and distribute shares of ownership equally among the people, effectively turning them into democratically controlled co-ops, with dividends paid directly to the people.

You do not let such corporate criminals get away with such crimes, nor do you give them a mere slap on the wrist. They are said to be too big to fail. Well, they are too big to exist – unless they are controlled by the people. Confiscate their assets, and return the power to the people.

Six giant banks now dominate the entire American economy, as well as both major political parties. Seize these powers, and put them in the hands of the people, and you will have a revolution – and real social change.

And we can have a mixed economy. We do not have to move too fast, if that scares people. Look at Europe – mixed economies are the norm. Most European nations have universal public health care, which is essentially a socialist feature of their society, yet they have democratic governments, constitutions, freedom and civil liberties, and they have capitalist, market-based economies. Adopting a universal public health care system did not turn these countries into Communist regimes, no matter what the paranoid right may scream. They are mixed economies with essentially republican governments and market economies. We can drop the paranoia now.

Despite the red scare tactics and the misunderstandings, having a socialist medical system has not turned European nations into Stalinist regimes, or anything remotely of the sort. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of Americans have wanted a Canadian or European style health public health care system for decades – and it is half as costly as the for-profit private health care system of the United States. But this is an aside.

So we could easily imagine a mixed economy where we have excellent social programs, such as universal pensions, unemployment insurance and public health care, a market-based economy, open and transparent constitutional democracy with rights and freedoms for all enshrined in law and custom, and also have large sectors of the economy run as worker co-ops or publicly owned co-ops; run, not by the state, but by boards of directors and chief executives that are elected by the people directly, with the people being the majority or even the sole share-holders.

We are talking about taking giant, unwieldy, unaccountable and undemocratic corporations which are now out of control and running rampage, and turning them into accountable, democratically run co-ops, owned and controlled directly by the people. This would make a dramatic, and much needed, urgently needed change to our society. I see no reason to delay.

So yes, re-appropriation, or a reclaiming of resources by the people from the corporate oligarchs who have seized them and laid claim to them, is not only entirely justified and legitimate – it is also highly practical, workable, and an attainable goal which should be sought without delay.

In fact, I would say that if we do not take such measures, and soon, then the corporate elite will consolidate their power globally, with the results being that we find ourselves living in an Orwellian, technocratic, neo-feudal fascist regime, and a very dark age.

We must take bold steps now, to protect the people and ourselves from the clear and mounting threats of a full-blown corporate fascism. When six banks control 40% of the wealth of America; when six corporations control 90% of American media and can effectively manipulate the public mind; when Wall Street and the Fortune 500 fund the elections and effectively choose the political puppets of their liking; and when and a few dozen corporations, mainly banks, effectively control the global economy and rule the world, as a recent Swiss study showed, in a case of science confirming the obvious, then it is time for a bold and unhesitating response on the part of the people, without question.

Furthermore, with regards to claims of property rights: abuses of any great power also render all claim to that power null and void, as the Declaration of Independence states – and this applies to economic powers, such as those held by the business elite and the corporate giants, every bit as much as it applies to kings and queens, governments and political powers. If you abuse it, you lose it. And the corporate giants and the billionaire class who control them, are most definitely abusing their power.

A tax on tea sparked the American Revolution – it was a last, final insult, after myriad insults and injuries by an oppressive and tyrannical power. Such a tipping point is fast approaching again, when the people will say, No more, and the corporate empires will be swept aside, like so many empires that have fallen and been cast off in the past.

*

So I would say no to market anarchism, or anarchist capitalism, but yes to the people reclaiming the resources and assets that are held by the big corporations: for reasons of justice and equitability, for reasons of accountability, for reasons of environmental stewardship and the survival of the human race on earth, which is now in great peril, and because the corporate powers have become, and are now, simply tyrannical, by any reasonable definition or meaning of the word, and are causing great injury to the people as well as the earth on which we all depend for life.

If Thomas Jefferson could argue that a tax on tea is overly vexatious and justifies a revolution – I am exaggerating somewhat of course, to make a point, but we get the point of it – then surely today there is every justification for revolution against the new tyrants,  who are the reigning global billionaire class of the super-rich, and the giant corporations they control – who are infinitely more injurious to the people than King George ever dared to dream.

Two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson warned that the corporations, and what he called the new moneyed aristocracy who controlled them, were already bidding defiance to our laws and challenging our democratic government to a contest of strength. And he said that he hoped the new moneyed aristocracy shall be killed in its infancy. He did not mince words, nor did he have any illusions as to the great dangers which confronted the people. We did not listen however, and that is why we are in trouble today. By now, any further delay in putting serious checks and balances on the new ruling super-powers of the corporate elite, would be nothing short of disastrous.

The powers and the abuse of powers, of and by the King of England, pale in comparison to the powers and the abuse of powers of and by the Bank of America or Goldman Sachs alone. It is time to dethrone the new tyrants. It is time to kick the corporate oligarchs out of the palace and into the streets – certainly out of government, and out of their present position as the de facto world government, and the unelected rulers of the world, as the business press itself calls them.

(The business elite prefer to call themselves the masters of the universe – and no, I am not joking – and their demonstrated egomania, power-lust and sheer madness only adds to the reasons to throw them from power.)

Gentleness is the best general rule, but there is a time for boldness. There is a time for the ferocity of a lion. And there is a time for the overturning of tables. Throw the money changers from the temple. They have overstepped their proper bounds, and have made themselves a menace. They must be deposed. And the most direct and effective way to dethrone this newest ruling class of would-be emperors, Caesars and Tsars who are the global corporate elite, is to reclaim their assets, and thereby to strip them of the very basis of their powers.

If a person on a rooftop with a rifle starts shooting at people, you disarm that person, and stop the violence. The big corporations and the business elite who control them are now wielding vast and unaccountable powers, which is reason enough to strip them of such powers; and in addition, they are demonstrably wreaking havoc, destruction and great suffering on the earth and upon the people. Therefore, they must be disarmed. And the only way to effectively disarm them, or to reign them in and halt their drive to fully dominate and control the global economy and the resources, the wealth and the nations of the world, which they are well on their way to doing, as anyone who is paying attention can clearly see; as well as to prevent them from destroying democracy completely, and to halt their clearly suicidal onslaught against nature and the earth, is to strip them of their powers – which means, stripping them of their assets.

It must be done. The people must reclaim their power. And no, Lenin, you were wrong, and we will not repeat your mistakes. No, this time, the revolution must come from below, and power must be returned to the people, and kept close to the people, at the level of the grassroots, and not in the hands of any ruling class or ruling elite of any kind – be it a political elite, a bureaucratic elite, a military elite, a religious elite, a self-proclaimed intellectual elite, or a business elite.

Freedom will come. And it will mean more than being able to choose between Coke or Pepsi, or choosing between which slavers will shackle your legs and make you their wage-slave.

A new day is being born. The writing is on the wall.

Stand now, people.

J. Todd Ring,
October 24, 2013

Mexico City: A study in impermanence, and a lesson to us all

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, anthropology, collapse, consciousness, conservation, crash, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, empowerment, end-game, global warming, Mexico, must-read, political economy, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, social theory, sociology, sustainability, tipping point, truth with tags , , on October 19, 2013 by jtoddring

pablo lopez luz photographs the concrete waves (or carpet, as he puts it) of Mexico City

 

The unbelievably sprawling concrete carpet of Mexico City seen in these photos make me think… Gorgeous country, beautiful culture and people, horrible government, amazing capital city – but utterly unsustainable, as most cities are. Watch for the ruins – like those in Palenque or Tikal, the ruins of the fallen, once-great cities of the Maya, now covered over by jungle.

Watch for the ruins of most of our present sprawling modern cities, as the people flee the collapsing infrastructure, brought on by our own unwillingness to live in ecological balance.

Sayonara.

Return to nature? We will soon have no choice. As Matt Stein, Ronald Wright, Jared Diamond, David Suzuki and many others have told us, we are bringing on a collapse of our civilization, due to our ecological neglect. We will go back to nature, and learn once again to live more simply, as well as more richly, rest assured. Some of us will do it voluntarily, and with foresight. Others will be forced into it, by necessity as infrastructure breaks down.

Foresight is always the wiser path.

The work to protect nature and all life on earth must go on, of course, and so too must we work towards a sustainable society, both sociologically and ecologically. But we must now also man the life boats. The ship is sinking. Of that, there is no longer any doubt. Human beings will carry on, but not without some major challenges ahead. It is time to face the music, and deal with the facts as they are, and not as we wish them to be.

J. Todd Ring,
October 18, 2013

Are we alone? More importantly, are we even awake?

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, anthropology, books, collapse, consciousness, conservation, cosmology, crash, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, end-game, environment with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2013 by jtoddring

The “man the life boats and head for the stars” answer to our present human dilemmas is simply delusional. We can and should explore space, but if we don’t get our act together here on this planet immediately, we’re dead – extinct: plain and simple.

A recent book seems once again to miss that point entirely, sadly, judging from an interview with the author in The Atlantic, titled, Are We Alone?

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/are-we-alone/280706/

A better question might be, Are we awake? Because at present, all indications are that we are sleep-walking into our own self-annihilation, as David Suzuki, Ronald Wright, Jared Diamond and others have said.

The Atlantic asks, “What are the big intellectual questions today?” Well, we can say this much: the big intellectual questions do not include asking how we can build a space ship to fly a handful of the richest people on Earth to some fantasy space colony and leave behind billions of our fellow species and the vast majority of our fellow human beings to slowly drown in the excrement we have left as our legacy.

Even if this were technologically possible within the remaining time-span before our civilization’s infrastructure crumbles under the weight of our own self-created ecological holocaust – which it is not; it would be grossly irresponsible, inhuman, obscenely callous and cold-hearted, and unethical in the extreme.

And by the way, if the scientists who are star-struck and mesmerized by these dreams of escape into space from a world we are actively destroying, think for a moment that their seat on the grand interstellar lifeboat is secure, they had better think again.

Firstly, space colonization is, by all reasonable assessments, 50 years off, if we are wildly optimistic, and more realistically, 100 to 200 years away: but, by World Bank and other estimates, at our present pace of ecological destruction, we will be extinct in 50 years – and our civilizations infrastructure, including our capacity to build or utilize advanced technology, will have collapsed quite some time before that. So it is pure fantasy to begin with.

And second, even if this somehow did magically come to fruition, there would only be a few seats available, in all likelihood – and they would, of course, go to the super-rich who will fund such projects and who can afford the seats. The rest of us may get lip service, but will simply be left to go down with the ship. And the scientists will be shoved out the door when their job is done, have no doubt; and will be left behind like the rest of us – were such fairy tales ever to become reality at all.

But let’s return to the first point: the basic facts as to our present capacity for colonizing space.

Firstly,do we remember the project to build a self-contained and self-sustaining miniature ecosystem on earth? I forget what it was called, but it is forgotten, and not mentioned, and the reason is, that it was a complete failure. We have no idea how to set up a self-sustaining ecosystem that would support even the simplest forms of life, much less human beings.

As geneticist and environmentalist David Suzuki has said, our understanding of life is still very rudimentary. Optimism is great, but if it is not grounded in reality, in an honest assessment of where we presently stand, then it is not optimism at all, but sheer foolishness.

We are far from having the knowledge to create the life-support systems that would replicate another earth. So all such talk is grand speculation, and such feats are at least generations away, even if they are possible or desirable.

Secondly, the study of other earth-like, potentially habitable planets, or exoplanetology, is in its infancy. We are at least decades away, in all likelihood, from even discovering a potential candidate for a new planet to call home – to say nothing of finding the means to get there, and then, to successfully colonize it.

Thirdly, even if we somehow found what appears to be a perfect candidate for a second home on some distant earth-like planet, we are a century or more away, if we are lucky, from developing the means even to travel there, much less to live there.

So we are really talking science fiction here, and would be better off watching Star Trek, and munching on popcorn, than devoting serious time and energy to such things, when we are approaching impact with a civilization-shattering and possibly species terminating ecological cataclysm of our own creation.

At least if we are watching Star Trek, we are not distracting or misguiding anyone with our drivel about how we’re going to save humanity by such ungrounded fantasies of colonizing space before the ship of our civilization is sunk by our own hands.

No, if we are to have lifeboats, as we wisely should, they must be earth-bound. We need contingency plans, fall-back plans, but they will be earth-based, or they will be merely whimsical, and based in sheer self-deceit and illusion.

I would say that we have a better chance of being beamed up and rescued by friendly aliens than we have of building a starship and colonizing space in time, before our civilization collapses and such questions are mute, as the technological capacity for them has been laid to waste, even if the theoretical know-how is achieved.

Dream of the stars, but live on the earth. We will go to the stars one day, most likely, but not in this generation, and not for several generations to come – and no human beings will live to see it unless we get our act together and learn how to live on this planet, and in very short order.

The big questions today do not revolve around grand schemes of techno-fantasy and the colonization of space. They are grounded in the real world, here on planet earth.

The big questions today – aside from the perennial questions, the deeper questions, of who we are, what is real and what is the true nature of our own being – the most pressing of questions today, are these:

1. How do we survive the next 25 to 50 years without going extinct?

And,

2. How do we live in justice, harmony and peace on this small, fragile, beautiful planet we call home?

If we fail to answer these two questions, and answer them in practice, and not just in theory, then we will have failed our children, our grandchildren, and all of our fellow human beings – not to mention the rest of the living beings we share the planet with.

And if we insist upon obsessing about other, ultimately more trivial matters, then we are either sleep-walking toward our collective suicide, or else, we are sociopathic, or simply mad.

First things first. End wars and empire. Restore or create authentic citizen’s democracy, with freedom and human rights for all. End poverty and injustice. (There is more than enough money and resources to accomplish this – it is simply a matter of will, and resource distribution.) And find ways now to live on this earth without destroying the basis of all life on the planet.

By this time, we really would have to be wilfully ignorant, if not simply self-deluding, to believe that there are other, more pressing issues – or any way around these issues, than to confront them directly.

Time to wake up.

We have run out of time for daydreams and technophilic fantasies. We need to learn how to live in peace and ecological balance on this planet, right now.

The writing is clearly on the wall. We have run out of time for obfuscations, reality-avoidance, or waiting to see what happens. It is time for decisive and clear-minded action.

Now.

J. Todd Ring,
October 18, 2013

 

The deeper reasons for the “war on drugs”

Posted in 9/11, activism, Afghanistan, American politics, analysis, banks, Chomsky, CIA, civil liberties, class, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, detention centers, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, fascism, fascist, freedom, geopolitics, Global War on Terrorism, globalism, globalization, health, human rights, imperialism, Iraq, jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., Middle East, money, must-read, neo-feudalism, oil, peace, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, politics, politics of oil, propaganda, sociology, sovereignty, truth, U.S., war, war crimes, war on democracy, War on Terror, wellness, work with tags , on September 30, 2013 by jtoddring

There is a deeper reason for the war on drugs, which is the central reason for the policy, even outweighing profits from private prisons and seizure of property by law enforcement officers, both of which no doubt are also significant and strong motivations for keeping the “war on drugs” going.

Nearly thirty years ago, Chomsky said that the US and other leading industrial nations are being “third-worldized” – they are being turned into third world nations, where a tiny elite owns and runs the country, a small privileged class serves the ruling few, and the rest live in a sea of poverty and destitution.

He pointed out that with the advent of corporate globalization, which began in earnest in the 1970’s, and with the off-shoring of production as well as profits – which is the central fact and pattern of globalization, of course – what used to be a large middle class work force became superfluous and obsolete.

Millions of people who used to have decent jobs would now become unemployed or join the ranks of the desperate working poor as factories closed and moved to Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, India or China. What used to be the middle class of North America are now just a bunch of discontent people who are no longer needed, and who are not only disposable, but in the way – and a threat to the ruling powers, since they are rightfully unhappy about being driven into poverty and insecurity.

“What are you going to do with them?” Chomsky asked, then answered his own question. “Well, one thing you can do is to put them in prison. Then you have what amounts to slave labour, because you can make them work for essentially nothing. I think that is what is happening.” (Sorry, I haven’t heard this clip of him saying that for over twenty years, so I may be paraphrasing somewhat, but that is the gist of it.)

So what is the real reason for the so-called “war on drugs”? To remove large segments of the population, especially discontent youth, who may turn to serious political action – following in the footsteps of the Black Panthers, Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr., for example – and put them in prison, where they can be more easily controlled, and where they can be made to do forced labour for fifty cents and hour, or something like that – probably less in most cases – and in this way, make extra profits for the big corporations that are increasingly relying on prison labour, while keeping the rabble in line. It is a brilliant plan – if you’re a sociopath, and the ruling elite truly are that.

What does the future hold? Detention centres and prison labour for many more people, I am afraid, unless the ruling corporate elite are deposed and thrown from power.

Note also that keeping drugs illegal keeps street prices high, and this is a part of the real motives for the war on drugs, as Gerald Celente has pointed out. It’s not in order to benefit the small-time dealer on the street corner – it’s for the benefit of the big traffickers, like the CIA.

Illegal drugs are a $500 billion a year industry world-wide, and the CIA controls the bulk of the cocaine and heroin traffic. One of the main reasons for the war in Afghanistan, along with oil interests and a certain pipeline, was to return control of opium production to the CIA, after the Taliban had burned the crops, which instantly turned them from an unofficial friend into an official enemy. After the US invasion of Afghanistan, the opium was replanted and global heroin sales resumed, with the CIA firmly in control of this giant money-making machine (See Michael Ruppert, Peter Dale Scott and others.)

The entire US economy is now propped up by drug money, as are Wall Street and the big banks, who rely on the daily flood of liquidity from drug money laundering. (See Catherine Austin Fitts and Max Keiser.)

If we want a more sane, just and health-promoting policy on drugs, and not the present one, which destroys millions of lives, fuels organized crime, gang activity, violence and wars, and imprisons millions for non-violent “crimes” of possession of criminalized substances, then we will have to take on the new empire of global corporate rule, and defeat it. This may sound like a large task, and it is, but the tide is turning, and this is entirely possible.

We have a choice: throw the plutocrats, the corporate elite from power, or watch the continued third-worldization of the formerly wealthy nations, the continued drive toward a global neo-feudal world order, the continued growth of prison populations and prison labour, the continued drive toward a global police state, and the continued war on democracy, freedom, civil liberties and the vast majority of the people by the stratospherically rich, who, by the way, only seem to know one word, as Chris Hedges has said: and that is, “more.”

The war on drugs, like the war on terrorism, is part of a broader campaign of class warfare being conducted by the world’s ruling billionaires and their criminal friends in high places, against the other 99.99% of the population. If we don’t understand this, then we really don’t understand the matter at all.

The “war on drugs,” and the “war on terror,” have nothing to do with their stated objectives of controlling drugs and protecting the people from terrorism. As Chomsky said, if we want to stop terrorism, there is an easy way to do it: stop participating in it. What he meant was that the US is the leading terrorist power in the world, dwarfing all others combined. Official terrorism accounts for 20,000 deaths a year. Unofficial terrorism, meaning, the kind that we do, by waging murderous illegal wars around the world, for example, has accounted for over a million deaths in Iraq alone. There is simply no comparison. It’s like comparing a small-time local thug or neighbourhood bully with the Godfather.

Abolish the CIA (do we really need this criminal goon squad, in addition to sixteen other known US intelligence agencies?); shut down the CIA detention centres and black sites; close the School of the Americas – which has been the world’s leading terrorist training camp for decades, located on the Fort Benning US military base in Georgia; and stop arming, supporting, training and funding terrorist organizations and local thugs, dictators and war lords around the world. Then you will see terrorism decline to levels that are a tiny fragment of what they are now. But of course, the ruling business elite and their political allies don’t want to do that, because the present arrangement benefits them handsomely, and they are making a killing.

Likewise, if you want to reduce harm and deaths from drug use, stop letting the CIA flood the world with crack, cocaine and heroin; and put bankers in jail for laundering drug money on a daily basis and a giant, global scale.

The “war on drugs” and the “war on terror” have nothing to do with their publicly stated intentions – they are a conscious and very deliberate war on the people, on civil liberties, democracy and freedom, by the ruling few who profit from these actions greatly. They are also a part of the grand plan of turning the world into a feudal society and a labour camp – a giant pyramid, with the astronomically rich at the top, ruling over all; a few privileged ones loyally serving them, like courtesans or well-paid prostitutes; and the rest abandoned to a sea of poverty, or corralled and contained in prisons to be kept under control or used as slave labour.

End the empire of corporate rule, or watch the world go into a very dark age. These are our two, and only two real choices now.

J. Todd Ring,
September 30, 2013