Sunday, May 1, 2022

The New Abolitionism

Long before films like The Matrix or The Terminator audiences have been presented with stories of dystopian futures, from novels like 1984 and Brave New World all the way back to ancient times in the story of Plato’s cave. What all of these tales have in common is that they are extended metaphors, allegories that conceal a sobering truth, and that is the fact that whatever enslavement mankind finds itself suffering in the future, it will be because mankind has created that suffering for itself. At that point man will be the only one to blame for the forfeiture of his own freedom. It’s tempting—and comforting—to believe that what is happening in the United States today is a recent phenomenon. But history tells a different story. The attempt to enslave the population in America has been going on since European settlers first arrived on these shores. Things took a detour for a while when the people’s attention was distracted during the rise and fall of chattel slavery, but since the mid-nineteenth century the capitalist forces at work in our country, both North and South, have turned their to wage slavery as their objective and have gradually used their considerable wealth and influence toward achieving the goal of taking over the country and turning all of its citizens into wage-slave zombies who have neither the intellect to recognize, nor the will to fight against, the tide of complete corporate dominance that seeks to control every aspect of their lives in pursuit of the single-minded accumulation of wealth.

There are several avenues by which the corporate oligarchy in this country has been able to wrest control of the government away from the citizens so that it works only toward the goals of the oligarchy and against the interests of the people. The most fundamental of these is education. Over the last hundred years—and perhaps even further back—public education in the United States has had as its primary objective to indoctrinate children into accepting ideas and philosophies that will make it easier for corporations to control them in the future. Myths like the superiority of individual freedom over cooperative effort, capitalism over socialism, that anyone can become anything they want if they just work hard enough, the value of working and saving for the future, the more insidious ideas of social Darwinism that manifest themselves through sports and competition, and the most destructive of all, the normalization of religious mythology, have all served to weaken the intellect of the U.S. population over the last century, to the point where the working poor in this country have willingly surrendered their freedom to the very people and corporate entities that are enslaving them. They can’t tell the difference anymore between a lie and the truth. And in the most tremendous of ironies, they seem determined to give away their freedom to those who display the very power that will one day enslave them.

Once the appropriate educational programming has taken hold over a significant portion of the population and disarmed them mentally, the next step is to isolate the individual from a society that has the potential—when people work together—to diminish and ultimately defeat the power of the oligarchy. In the beginning the only avenue available to achieve this was the church. Subservience to an imaginary god and his self-chosen disciples on earth has been unimaginably successful. Brainwashing people into believing that they are inherently sinful, and therefore dependent upon an ideology that denigrates life itself in favor of a fictional heaven has trained people to endure otherwise unacceptable hardships without complaint in exchange for a reward that doesn’t exist. In that kind of environment rampant hypocrisy and suspicion take hold quite easily and serve as a successful tool with which to isolate individuals from one another. But that still leaves out the non-gullible in the population who reject religious mythology, and the way to enslave them is to develope ever more individualized forms of entertainment. The motion picture in the first half of the twentieth century served to further inculcate the masses with the ideas that are promoted in public education and the church, the myths that further the aims of the corporate elite: competition, individuality, the other as enemy, the intellect as enemy, the unquestioned good of capitalism and the evil of socialism, and above all a zero-sum game mentality. Television in the second half of the twentieth century went a step further and was able to isolate family members within their own homes. Finally, the twenty-first century has seen this technique perfected through social media, smart phones and Internet streaming of content in order to completely isolate individuals from one another and render their potential political power inert.

But atomization and indoctrination still aren’t enough. The population also must be enervated to a significant degree by channeling their energies into manufactured conflicts in order to drain them of the ability to resist what is happening to them every moment of the day. The goal, from the perspective of the oligarchy, is to antagonize people, to get them to fight and argue with each other so that they will focus their energies and frustrations in combat with other individuals rather than against the true enemy: a capitalist system that keeps them enslaved to subsistence wages. From the very beginning of this country’s founding, the most effective method of doing this has been hatred for the “other.” Among whites themselves this was—and still is—accomplished through religious division, hatred for those who do not follow the same Protestant doctrine, primarily Catholics and Muslims. Once it became clear to the working poor, however, that it was the rich who were the enemy, the oligarchy changed tactics by promoting white solidarity against those of other races, Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, and all immigrants, from Black slaves initially, to the Catholic Irish and Italians and Hispanics, the “exotic” Asians, and finally the religious fanatics from the Middle East. This has been an extremely successful tactic, and while it has been transformed and refined over the centuries it is still a potent avenue of control. Anyone who looks different, who behaves differently, or thinks differently, is pointed to as an enemy of the people, responsible in whole or in part for all of society’s ills to distract people’s ire from those who are truly responsible. Most recently, this hatred of the other has been expertly inculcated into those with liberal leanings and has infected the left through the culture wars in a way that is now indistinguishable from the overt racism that has always infected the political right.

But perhaps the most effective method to control the masses has been through political theater—a redundant phrase if ever there was one. As I have stated before on this site, politics is a lie. There is no such thing as politics. The capitalist oligarchy has worked hand in hand with the government of the United States since the colonial period. Because the economy of the United States has become so conflated over the years with the government, the myth of capitalism has been able to argue that the government—and therefore the existence of the United States itself—is dependent upon capitalism for its very survival. Without capitalism, so the myth goes, America would cease to exist. Because of that, nothing—absolutely NOTHING—that happens in Washington D.C. is going to change the fact of corporate control of the government and by extension its citizens. Politicians, Senators and Representatives, Supreme Court justices, and even the President, are all employees of the oligarchy and therefore are only there to serve the constituents who pay them—not the citizens who vote for them. What we are seeing today is just the end game of a very long process, cultivated over centuries, and reaching its final, critical phase: either the citizens of the United States are going to wake up to the danger facing them, band together and resist, or they are going find themselves having capitulated without their knowledge to overt corporate control of the government and, by extension, every aspect of their lives.

The goal of the capitalist oligarchy is incredibly simple, and has only one tenet: to appropriate as much wealth as possible by stealing the energy and production of the masses. I realize that this probably sounds Marxist, but that’s only because it is. And, of course, Marxism has been branded as a godless evil in this country precisely because it flies in the face of everything the corporate elite are attempting to accomplish. The demonization of socialist philosophies has been incredibly easy to achieve, far easier than discrediting science has been, because economics has no laws, no process by which to demonstrate its truth. Therefore, capitalists have been able to take the facts and twist them to mean exactly what they want them to prove. This technique has worked so well that it is used in nearly every aspect of right-wing propaganda now, and the easiest way to describe it is projection. Capitalists argue that a free and unregulated economy is necessary in order to promote healthy economic competition. This is a lie, and in fact the opposite is true. What the lack of regulation allows corporations to do is to collude with one another, enabling them to fix prices and hold down wages. But by convincing an uneducated and isolated population with their noses pressed to their phones that any kind of cooperative economics is evil, the people inadvertently have colluded with their captors to reject the only way of life that promises them true economic stability and security. And now, because this technique has worked so well in the past, the right-wing uses the same tactic with everything. If you really want to know what the oligarchy is up to now, all you have to do is listen to what they say about the left. EVERYTHING they accuse the left of doing is a practice they are already engaged in today.

It’s not just about maximizing profit, either. Corporations pay almost no taxes, but that’s still too much. What they really want is to pay nothing. That is why taking over the government is so important to them. Wealthy individuals pay far less in taxes on a percentage basis than the working class, and yet what they really want is to pay no taxes at all. As such, right-wing propaganda would have us believe that taxes are a government plot to steal your money. Once again, projection. The tax cuts enacted by Republicans are aimed exclusively at the rich, and they do absolutely nothing to keep the working classes from paying a far greater share of their income in taxes than the wealthy. The capitalist oligarchy knows they need taxes from the rest of us to pay for their roads and bridges, airports and sea ports and everything from garbage men to the CDC. It’s just that they don’t want to pay for any of it themselves, and want you to pay for it instead. Republican senator Ron Johnson is a perfect case in point. When the seditious traitor who occupied the White House during the last administration led the call for a huge tax cut for the wealthy and corporations, Johnson made it clear to the Criminal in Chief and his Republican colleagues that he could not support such a measure . . . unless corporations that he was invested in personally were allowed even greater economic relief. Republicans gave in to his demands, and Johnson made millions, money that was siphoned off from the rightful coffers of the government and into the pockets of capitalist oligarchs and their corporate arms in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of the electorate. But this is nothing new, as it has been going on for centuries. The only difference today is that Democratic DINO’s like Manchin and Sinema have been allowed to infiltrate the left and openly flaunt the system in order to use the same destructive policies from the other side of the aisle.

The brutal reality is, the myths that corporations and the wealthy elite have created around socialism are all lies. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING that critics on the right warn about would ever, or will ever, happen under socialism. In the first place, the very idea that capitalism and socialism are mutually exclusive is another of the big lies that have been forced down the throat of the populace. In point of fact, there is nothing wrong with capitalism in the vast majority of cases. There’s no one who feels that shoe stores, or restaurants, or nail salons, or the corner coffee shop need to be government owned. The fact is, ninety-nine percent of existing businesses would—and should—continue to be privately owned and operated. There are others, however, the one percent, that absolutely need to be taken out of private hands and turned over to state control. Those industries are the ones that directly affect the personal health and wellbeing of the citizens of this country: healthcare, insurance, housing and, most importantly, energy, all of which need to be in the hands of the federal government rather than for-profit entities. The reason why is simple. These are the primary areas in human life, and corporations should not be incentivized to withhold these basic human needs in order to make money. Period.

The political right continually rails against government regulation, for the simple reason that anything that prevents them from making money is seen as evil. The corporate oligarchy wants to be free to collude together to give employees as little as possible in order to make as much money as possible for themselves. As such, it only makes sense that in order to make people’s lives better, MORE government control is necessary, primarily when it comes to employment. While Bernie Sanders and others on the progressive left laud the miniscule movements made by labor unions, the reality is that unions are fragile and ineffective at best, and completely impotent at worst. The goal of all working citizens of the United States needs to be the abolition of wage slavery. There needs to be direct government oversight and control over every aspect of employment of this country. That means that wages—across every single industry and business in the entire country—need to be set by the government at levels that allow for a COMFORTABLE living wage for all. Benefits also need to be standardized and regulated. Business needs to be out of the business of health care. Period. Employers need to be told what wages they have to pay their workers, and relieved off all responsibility for healthcare and other insurance.

Housing needs to be controlled by the government, too. No longer should anyone be at the mercy of landlords who can raise rents at their discretion, evict people without cause, and gouge renters through a multitude of fees and penalties that they are helpless to refuse. With energy regulated, people will have set energy costs that do no fluctuate during the year. Prices of consumer goods will also be fixed by the government so that the exact same produce will cost exactly the same no matter what state or community it is purchased in. Taxes will also be regulated so that EVERYONE in the country, rich and poor, large corporations or small businesses, will pay the same percentage of their GROSS income or GROSS revenue as every other. No loopholes and no exceptions. With the wealthy and corporations paying at the exact same rate as everyone else, the percentage for all will be relatively small. Every aspect of a worker’s life will be supported and sustained by a government that suddenly has absolutely no use for lobbyists, because the vast majority of laws passed by Congress will have nothing to do with economics. Republicans will scream at this idea—as will those who have been indoctrinated to believe the propaganda they are fed. They will say that the government’s track record is horrible. And they are right—but for the wrong reason.

The reason that the Federal Government appears so inept is because it has been designed that way. Those in control of the government WANT it to seem as if it can’t function effectively so that people will naturally be suspicious of any government control. It must be remembered, however, that it is those people working directly for the corporate oligarchy—the employees of capitalism—who are purposely making the government inefficient. At this very moment, the political right is also hard at work attempting to overtly subvert the will of the people at the ballot box so that they can stay in power and do the bidding of their capitalist employers. And while there is some pushback from states and individuals, it is a systematic campaign that must be defeated before it’s too late to do anything about it. The vast majority of those who vote for right-wing politicians do not benefit AT ALL from the policies they enact, and yet because they have been so thoroughly indoctrinated by the right, they willingly vote against their own personal self-interest every time they go to the ballot box. At this point in time, it is arguably true that nearly anyone who votes for a Republican politician is voting for their own slavery.

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” That is the place we have come to in America today. As long as the corporate oligarchy continues to wield nearly absolute power in our federal and state governments, there will be no progress made for humanity. This country has the potential to become the most beneficent state in the entire world, one that takes care of its population, gives them a living wage, a secure future, and the FREEDOM from the wage slavery that has so infected our society that the people don’t even realize that’s what’s going on. Socialism is the only way out. If your response to the word “socialism” is negative, it’s for only one of two reasons. Either you are part of the problem, a cog in the wheel of the corporate oligarchy, someone who benefits from keeping wages low and employee insecurity high . . . or you have been so brainwashed by capitalism that you can’t see how much capitalism has destroyed our society and how much it wants to continue to do so. Freedom from government is not freedom at all, but instead is the opposite, because under our current system the only entities that are free are the capitalist ones. The rest of us have become slaves to an ideology that is completely false. And the only way to combat that control is to ban together and insist that the government, “of THE PEOPLE, by THE PEOPLE, and FOR THE PEOPLE,” begin working for us instead of against us. And the only way that will happen is if we demand, en masse, to get rid of wage slavery for all time and make all of our lives worth living in the process.

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