The Marginalized

By: Edward-Yemil Rosario

It is said that when the slaves in America and the serfs in Russia were “freed,” the chains were laid out before them and the doors to the plantation were opened wide. Most slaves and serfs, however, chose to stay on, not because they preferred it but because they had been conditioned to believe that their very survival depended on their servitude. It is the same with individuals who have experienced long periods of incarceration: they have become conditioned (institutionalized) to being told what to do and when. Even seemingly simple acts such as eating, shitting, sleeping, showering becomes difficult when you have been forced to accept servitude.

Today the average working stiff accepts more hours at a lower wage, or fewer hours, which usually means the loss of health care and other benefits (how do you think Wal-Mart makes all that money?). All this in the name of profit. You can be assured that when a slave is freed it is because he or she will make Boss Hawg more money as a free agent. When a worker is praised, you can be sure he or she is more than likely sweating gold.

Today we measure progress by increments in the margin of profit: how much you make off the sweat of others (whether the labor of your employee or the slave labor of some child in some far off country). Your success is measured how much you make off your money in the bank, off the exchange of international currency — and how much you stand to lose.

We are all governed by this margin. It is like a river we have come to depend for our subsistence; a life-giving river that brings us sustenance and news from upstream. It has been the major artery of human interaction for centuries, and most of us believe it is the only way a nation can achieve greatness. If we fail at education and our children cannot add or read, we can always import mathematicians from Russia or China, or engineers from India.

We can buy almost anything we want because almost everyone seems to want to live where he or she can be a millionaire from hard work or pure luck. Not even real profit, but merely the illusion or dream of a profit holds millions of Americans and American wanna-bes, in thrall. It’s like an obsessive/ compulsive disorder — or gambling or addiction. But this over-preoccupation with profit is far more harmful than any drug. The obsession with the margin of profit grinds everything that is good and human about us into an unnameable glob of meat by-product squeezed into synthetic cases that are sold by the pound and then forgotten. Our values are turd-like products pounded out with assembly line-like efficiency and sealed in plastic.

This is our identity.

Truth here has no value. The cure for cancer is far less important than the commodified ideal of profit over people.

For profit we will overlook the needless deaths of tens of thousands of fellow human beings, we will ignore rape and genocide. In the name of profit, we will accept and rationalize apartheid, slavery, and even lawlessness in isolated cases (unless it interferes with short-term profit). For the margin of profit, we will enslave our own people. For even the hope of a profit, a worker will mangle mind, soul, and body doing the work of two or three.

And here we are… all of us. Profit is made on a grand scale in America, but not all of us share in it. Most of us work for currencies that fluctuate in value, workplaces that dehumanize and destroy our hearts. We — all of us — we live in the margin of profit. The money gleaned from our labor is used to buy political power that does not represent us. Our taxes pay for federally licensed airwaves that we no longer control, and for economic bailouts that are thinly disguised welfare handouts for the rich. The fruits of our sweat was used for the millions it took to  explore Clinton’s cock, and for a criminal justice system that cannot keep heroin out our children’s hands but incarcerates them in numbers unprecedented in the history of humankind.

Broken roads and schools, children who can’t read, and prisons that are traded on the Dow Jones — these are also the margins of profit. The verb, then, is to marginalize. We are all marginalized by the dogma of Capitalism. We are mere entries in the ledgers of Citibank, Halliburton, AIG, and the rest. We are the skin that defines the monster that tells us He is the only way. God, this monster tells us, can only be defined by the margin of profit. We pray to it and even sacrifice our children to it.

Let me be clear: the world of profit is a world of plunder. Progress is defined by this margin but it says nothing of the quality of life and of goodness. Fair, as defined by this margin, is what you can get away with.

If profit is the only way, then we have truly never left the inner plantation of our collective psychological enslavement. Like the poor souls whose minds have been broken, we can no longer envision a world without a master…

Eddie

6 Comments on “The Marginalized”

  1. It is extremely difficult to find clothing made in the USA, let alone by union workers. What did our grandparents fight for – the textile bosses have moved overseas and now brown-skinned children do the work that we are freed from. When people try to form unions in other countries they are called terrorist. I don’t buy clothes anymore.

  2. This is what I attempted to explain to my own family – that the present economic system reduces all activity to a matter of profit margin. I am presently in the process of weening myself off the system (learning to hunt and garden for my foodstuffs, saving my money towards the purchase of rural land to support myself on, etc…) and I attempted to communicate that vision with the family but they just don’t get it: they still think that I should be placing my money in a 401K account and preparing for a lifetime of employment followed by eventual retirement – as if U.S. currency will have any value in the next 20 years and the concept of “retirement” will even be around by then!

    It frustrates me to see how people have grown so accustomed to the present conditions that they can’t imagine anything different…

  3. It’s such a poor plan at this point to work your asses off and plug money into your 401K. 401K’s are investment savings and they have been losing money along with all the other investments. What I feel people would be better off doing is enjoying the ride as they go and stuffing money in mattresses now and then, it’s a safer stragegie all together, and why wait to have the experiences you want in your life?

  4. You make succinct point, Eddie as always. unregulated Greed has Destroyed the Capitalist System.What deregulation did was to permit Wall Street to push the deregulated industries phone service, airlines, trucking, and later Wall Street itself to focus on profits and not on service. Profits were increased by curtailing service, by pushing up prices and by Wall Street creating fraudulent financial instruments, which the banksters used America’s reputation to market to the gullible at home and abroad. After the fall of the Soviet Union, during the Reagan years India was socialist and would not allow foreign corporations, had they been interested, to touch their labor force. China was communist and no foreign capital could enter the country.However, once the Soviet Union was gone from the earth, the remaining socialist and communist regimes decided to go with the winners. They opened to Western corporations and sucked jobs out of the developed West. Of course corporations were all to eager to leap at the cheaper labor and americans excited over cheap prices from the likes of walmart help speed exports of manufacturing sectors.it deprived Americans of middle class incomes and wrecked the balance of trade. The US income distribution and the trade deficit worsened.
    Conservatives and especially libertarians romanticize “free market unregulated capitalism.” They regard it as the best of all economic orders. However, with deregulated capitalism, every decision is a bottom-line decision that screws everyone except the shareholders and management.

    In America today there is no longer a connection between profits and the welfare of the people. Greed has destroyed the capitalist system, which now distributes excessive rewards to the few at the expense of the many. It unfortunate this brutal reality has been implemented in marginalizing americans with their eye wide open and consent

    If Marx and Lenin were alive today, the extraordinary greed with which Wall Street has infected capitalism would provide Marx and Lenin with a better case than they had in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  5. True that, and it doesn’t really matter whether you’re Democratic and Republican. It’s all about U.S. profit, not politics.

  6. There are a number of companies here that hire at a good wage, but offer no benefits, no vacation time, no insurance, no guarantee of days off. Somehow, they’ve gotten it into their heads that it’s cheaper to hire a few workers, give them seventy hours a week, than it is to have a full crew. It has resulted in a constant turn-over of employees who become exhausted after a few months and quit. The quality of their work drops as they are trying to do the same job that is normally given to two people or even three.

    I find it incredible that America has a corroding infra-structure; rusting sewage pipes, polluted water sources, poor agriculture, an energy crisis, and yet the concentration is on military power instead of creating a public works force. One of the first things FDR did to improve the economy after twenty depression years, was to create a civilian work force that built and mended bridges, did road construction, engineered dams, etc. and so on. The construction needed now is in reparation of our badly damaged environment. I suppose we will have to suffer at least one more special interest term before we begin to see real leaders come to the surface.

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