Saturday, December 22, 2007

Everything Is Blowback - Our Problems, Part 2

(Not quite eveything, but the major problems which tormented us in the last century and plague us today.)

Following from the artificial nature of our problems, we can then understand that these situations are blowback from previous decisions that were unwise or of a criminal nature.

* WWII was blowback from WWI. In part, due to the revengeful Versailles Treaty, but also the support the ruling classes of Europe and America gave to Mussolini and Hitler and the tacit support for Franco, as he destroyed Spanish democracy. (WWI is the best example of how one incredibly stupid decision can have a long-lasting and devastating effect upon the future.)

* Islamic Fundamentalism is largely blowback for US hostility toward Arab and other Muslim secular nationalist regimes, the carte blanche given to Israel, support for reactionaries like the Wahabist Saudi kingdom, and for overthrowing the progressive nationalist Mossedegh in Iran.

* Al Qaeda is blowback for supporting Islamist guerrillas against the Russian-backed secular Afghani government.

* Organized crime was blowback for Prohibition.

* Drug crime was blowback for treating addiction as a crime and not a social/medical problem, thus creating a lucrative black market into which the aforementioned blowback- created organized crime could step into.

* The crack cocaine epidemic was blowback from US terrorism against Nicaragua, as the CIA imported tons of cocaine into the US to pay for Contra arms.

* Massive "illegal immigration" is blowback from the wrecking of "Third World" economies by IMF- World Bank debt servitude and the destruction of peasant farms by government subsidized "First World" crops.

*Workplace massacres (Goin' postal) are blowback for 30 years of declining working conditions and the destruction of trade unions.

And you can add your own examples of blowback...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Our Problems are Artificial

Many, if not most people treat the problems we face as though they were a force of nature. Something inevitable, inexplicable, something that "just happens" or "has always been." Think of how poverty in the "Third World" is dealt with – when it is considered at all – "Here is $20 for Oxfam, poor devils, can't do much else." But Third World poverty did not fall out of the skies, it is the result of avoidable practices such as an the imposition of large-scale crop exportation rather than emphasizing local food crops, unwillingness to support the institution of land reform, the education of women and birth control. And the solutions to overcoming the worst of this poverty – providing everyone with potable water, decent living quarters, education and basic medicine, would cost only a fraction of the wealth squandered on military nonsense.

Homelessness did not exist back when rents were cheap and such housing plentiful. Nor is the solution to it any great mystery waiting for some povertycrat Einstein to reveal its resolution. Take basic housing out of the corporate "market." Use a fraction of the wealth wasted on idiocies like the Olympics or other forms of corporate welfare and apply it to building housing coops. Eliminate by-laws that restrict the building of basement suites and back-yard cottages. Drug addiction? Only a crime-causing problem in a system that is so criminal and/or stupid to treat addiction as a crime instead of a medical/social problem. Unemployment? Only a curse in a system that refuses to guarantee employment or income to its work force and is criminal enough to treat a problem of political economy as an individual problem. (As though it was the workers fault the plant closed and moved to China!)

I could go on and on but I think you get the point. Virtually every major problem humanity faces is artificial and solvable. These problems and the failures to resolve them are the result of deliberate choices made by the minority that holds political and economic power over us.

That our problems are artificial in nature is something very positive. It means the possibility exists for overcoming them if we have the intelligence and will to do so. Were our problems rigidly determined, like a force of nature, our situation would be hopeless. That they are the result of choices on the part of the powerful means they could be overcome and permanently resolved if we can eliminate the authoritarian and undemocratic structure that allows a small parasitic minority to dictate how we should live.

One of the ways the minority dominates us is to convince us that our problems are natural and irresolvable. Part of our struggle must be to break the hold upon the populace of this mentality.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Robert Hawkins And The Perils Of the Shopping Mall

The old fashioned "Main Street" was an open-ended public space. People did not congregate in any number, but spread out along the sidewalks, or were inside the multitude of small shops that comprised the commercial area. In part a desire for totalitarian control, the corporations that promoted and developed shopping malls eliminated public space and herded the onetime citizens, now consumers, under one roof. By corporatizing what was once public space, the developers sought complete control - no more undesirables - like buskers, pan handlers, street sellers, propagandists for this and that cause, or even people whose attire (protest tee shirts) was offensive to the authoritarian mentality. (1) A happy-face little white bread world now coming apart through the actions of a single deranged young man.

What surprises me, is not that someone went berserk with a gun in a mall, but that it didn't happen sooner. Herd masses of people together under one roof and they become sitting ducks for anyone with a real or imagined grievance against the world. The authoritarian need to centralize everything into vast agglomerations, instead of maintaining natural, human-scale, decentralized units, not only destroys community, but is also physically dangerous. Time to abandon the malls and go back to Main Street!

1. Not to mention that all business are now rent slaves and no one lives in/above their shop in a mall. The corporations have thus ratcheted up their control of small, independent business through the invention of the shopping mall.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hugo Chavez and the Failure of Social Democracy

The failure of the Chavez government of Venezuela to gain a majority approval of its constitutional reforms - empowering the people, reducing the work week and giving legitmacy to collective property – shows the limitation of social democracy. Once again, it is impossible to introduce revolutionary change via the capitalist form of democracy. Chavez, a typical social democrat, had given the class enemies of working people the right to vote on issues that concerned those same working people. As though the oligarchy, its middle class toadies and wannabees, would ever support such changes, let alone that they should have any right to make decisions for the exploited and oppressed. That the bully should have a vote on whether to cease abusing his victim! Working people have to act on their own and TAKE the power they need to make those revolutionary changes. If the oligarchy, its butt-kissers and the CIA haven't begun a process in Venezuela that ends up turning Chavez into Allende Version # 2, maybe the working population will do precisely that. For if the right-wing gets back in power, they will be its chief victims.

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