Facing the tipping point of American civilization

Published on Intrepid Report, by Brian P. Stetten, July 12, 2012.

When on Earth are we going to wake up and begin questioning the very nature of our economic and political systems? In June of last year, Conservative Member of Parliament Cecil Parkinson on BBC made the surreal statement, “The capitalists are destroying capitalism.” He stated this with a certain amount of surprise, as if he was saying to himself, “Why are they doing this? Eventually, they will only hurt themselves.”  

Karl Marx warned of this over a hundred years ago. He predicted that capitalism would destroy itself through liquidity crisis, through competition driving down workers wages to the point where they could not afford to buy the products or services they produced, that competition would lead to powerful monopolies that would destroy small businesses.

Yet the collapse of capitalism never happened. As the worse of abuses and exploitation took its toll on workers, the workers found ways of pushing back. Recently, Times Magazine in its early July issue, in an article “The American Dream-has seen better days-much better,” the author makes it clear that the income inequality between the rich and the poor is even greater than it was during the Great Depression. In actuality, the income inequality has never been this bad throughout America’s entire history. During the Great Depression, labor movements and far left parties united and pushed the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration towards the New Deal. Government regulations were put in place to prevent some of the worst abuses of capitalism. Unions gained more prominence and power. After this period, we had the growth of the middle class.

So, Karl Marx’s prediction was proven wrong, or was it? … //

… As the moral fabric of our society ends up in shreds, you can see it filter down through the media, and then to our people. Who can forget the behavior of youthful Americans hitting the streets and cheering the death of Osama Bin Laden? What Americans would cheerfully send in donations to George Zimmerman adding up to $150,000 for killing a black youth? Who can forget Tea Party members marching with extremely racist signs? At another Republican debate, audience members cheering on the idea of a fellow citizen dying due to lack of health insurance coverage. This is not surprising if one refers back to C.W. Mills who states that the higher immorality of the elites becomes accepted and essentially a feature of our mass society. In other words, the mass society itself is also left without any moral standards to hold on to, or even rise against.

To the joy of the ruling elite, the conservatives pander to the religious right and use falling moral values as an excuse to attack gay rights or women’s reproductive rights. A type of divide and conquer strategy to keep people’s eyes off their own worsening economic positions. When Barry Pateman interviewed Noam Chomsky in 2011 in a discussion over anarchism, Noam pointed out that the elite have used the corporate controlled media to create a consciousness of subordination among the population that is deliberately intended to suppress normal human emotions of sympathy and solidarity. Noam Chomsky, states, ‘Why threaten Social Security? It’s a normal feeling to care if the disabled widow that lives across town has enough food to eat. However, they are trying to drive that idea of our skulls. They want you to think, if that disabled widow that lives across town does not have enough to eat it is her own fault because she didn’t save up enough money in her lifetime. Why should you care?” This bizarre Ayn Rand type of morality represents the values of the corrupted elite as they become part of the rest of our society. It is also deeply ingrained in our system of capitalism. Our economic system rewards greed and self-centered behavior and depends on it to thrive. As the economic inequality worsens, the morality declines and the inhumanity floats to the surface. Do we truly want to become a society of backstabbers?

Worse yet is the total failure of our institutions of democracy, as the elite easily buy the politicians through campaign donations, heavily lobby and write their laws, or define their character through the media. Just this past June 15, former Prime Minister Tony Blair of the U.K. admitted that Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., pressured him into joining the United States in the war on Iraq. Just recently, it has been reported a number of times, that casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson wants a war with Iran, and he is willing to pay for it. He will donate up to $100 million to former Governor Mitt Romney to get that war at all costs. Sheldon Adelson is the same character that funded the Clarion Project to produce the film ‘The Third Jihad’ with the deliberate intention of promoting Islamophobia.

What right do the elite have to impact our foreign policy to such an extent? What right do they have to influence any of our policy to an extent that benefits their greedy needs or sick desires? They have made a complete mockery of our democracy, and effectively the capitalism itself destroys democracy. With our variant of capitalism, you have a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and that automatically converts to political power. China has managed to create a very highly effective system of state sponsored capitalism that requires no democracy at all. The notion that capitalism and democracy go hand in hand is simply a myth. Matter of fact, the notion of ‘economic freedom’ those on the right like to push as equivalent to personal freedom is also a false equivalency. Economic freedom for corporate America is the freedom of the rich few to exploit the poor masses. Many deep Marxist thinkers believe that our current form of capitalism is heading toward barbarism. In other words, a world where workers are enslaved to the rich elite who live in gated communities completely out of touch with the rest of society. I think we are already part of the way there.

What should wake up everyone once and for all is that our current system of capitalism may very well drive the human species to extinction. The system simply is not sustainable, as you cannot assume infinite economic growth when the world has a finite amount of resources. More to the point, we are a mere five percent of the world’s population, and yet we consume about a third of the world’s resources. We may have only five years to stop carbon dioxide emissions to prevent conditions that will not be survivable by humans, assuming it is not already too late. Once again, the greed of the elite and their control over the political system and media completely controls the discussion and destroys all political will for effective action. As the average global temperature increases and more energy is placed into the system, water vapor content increases in the atmosphere and we have far more energetic storms and unusual storm activity like tornados in Brooklyn or western Pennsylvania. Areas that tend to be dry have increased rates of evaporation and heat waves, areas that typically have precipitation have harsher storms. The results are major wild fires and floods that haven’t been experienced for hundreds of years. Yet the news media will not even connect the increasingly volatile weather with the phenomena of global warming/climate change. The precious profits of the greenhouse gas emitting coal and oil companies are far more important than the future of the human race. Tens of millions are spent on programs to convince the public that global warming/climate change is a mere liberal hoax. Glaciers are disappearing before our eyes while anywhere from a third to half the public is in a state of denial as to what is actually happening. As the glaciers melt, massive amounts of water enter the oceans and that weight is redistributed over the surface of the Earth. Think of squeezing a balloon at one end and seeing the other side bulge. This effect, called glacial rebound, shifts tectonic plates and increases seismic and volcanic activity. Should one be surprised that we have a natural disaster of the month?

It doesn’t get any better, a recent report from the United Nations Environmental Program also warned of the following: about 20 percent of vertebrate species are under threat of extinction, coral reefs have declined by 38 percent since 1980, greenhouse gas emissions could double over the next 50 years, and 90 percent of water and fish samples from aquatic environments are contaminated by pesticides. The oceans are particularly becoming impacted by the increase in carbon dioxide which dissolves in the water and chemically reacts to form carbonic acid. The acidity or pH of the ocean has increased by 30% over the past two decades. Kill the oceans and we kill the well spring of life from whence we originally came. Over half of our oxygen comes from phyto-plankton in the ocean and the rest coming from land based vegetation. That is particularly bad news as we may have killed nearly half the ocean’s phytoplankton. British astrophysicists Sir Martin Reese gives the human race a 50/50 chance of survival over the next 100 years. There are some scientists that believe that is optimistic.

Now, here is the issue. The failure of the Democratic Party to be able to seriously even breach the surface of the above issues is a clear indication that there is no third way possible between neo-liberal policies and a radical anti-capitalist alternative. As both parties have moved so far to the right, you have Republicans acting as fascists and Democrats acting as capitalism apologists. The Marxists are proving that they were right all along as we face barbarism unless we move to a socialist alternative. The very fate of the human race hangs in the balance of whether we can actually change the underlying nature of our economic and political systems. So the question remains, can social mobilization break the resistance of the dominant rich elite class and seriously contest the neo-liberal order? As past experience tells us, it certainly will not come from dependence on the electoral system. (full long text).

Link: The Tipping Point.

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