The Ties That Bind Us

By Edward-Yemil Rosario

… And whoever controls the debt, controls everything. This is the essence of the banking industry to make us all slaves to the debt.

The International

I have lived long enough to witness the fabrication of the greatest lie ever sold: “Reality TV.” What’s his name, Orwell, is doing a triple Salchow as I write.

Of all the shackles we willingly wear, two of the most powerful are those of spectacle and illusion. The chains we wear today are expensive; they bear names like Coach, Hilfiger, and Chanel. That our ancestors fought to rid themselves of the brands we so readily accept (and pay huge sums for), has to be one of the greatest and tragic of ironies. What difference does it make whether your chains are made of iron or gold?

Chains are expensive, as are surveillance tools and armed guards. A less expensive, more efficient strategy is to keep the slave entertained. Sublimation is the best cure for rebellion. Give them something inconsequential to think about or a dream that leads to a dead end.

I love sports, but I also know that sports as spectacle are perfect for these ends. More people will watch the Superbowl than an election. Shit, Ferdinand Marcos distracted a whole revolutionary movement in the Philippines by hosting the Thrilla in Manila, the epic battle between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.

And while even the Romans understood sports as good distractions, we all know sex is better. Movies, celebrations, mud-slinging elections, or even a grisly string of murders are excellent distractions that work to pacify the masses.

All the while, you’re paying for gaudy trinkets embedded with the names of your masters, and for the most part they are nothing but the modern equivalent of shackles.

There are currently at least 30 wars and armed conflicts raging in the world… over 80% of the casualties of war are civilians… disproportionately women and children.

As we lurch toward the end of the first decade of the new millennium, I can’t help but reflect in amazement how we’ve been at it for all these thousands of years and we’re still here in spite of ourselves. Through the cruel elements, the countless plagues and wars, the madmen, and perhaps human nature itself, we are still here, defiant, striving, still trying to make sense of it all. We’re still alive…

But we’re still suffering and killing and hating each other. Diplomacy has risen to an art form because we have become masters of the art of war. I wake up today with the realization that we have defeated the democratic process and in its place we have put an economic system that depraves our efforts in order to create riches based on a subculture of poverty and crime, a system any other creature would rightfully see as barbaric.

We believe ourselves to be the most advanced species but we demonstrate very little understanding or respect for our bodies or the world we inhabit.

For over a hundred years, the practice of slavery has been outlawed here in El Norte, but people still slave. Technology has taken us to outer space, but not before we managed to eradicate millions in search of genetic purity; not before one of our greatest technological projects, harnessing the power of the atom, incinerated tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children to shadows.

We wear the restraints of capitalism, the corruption of ideals, and our hatred, prejudice, and ignorance like gaudy shackles.

Our capacity for moral reasoning hasn’t caught up with our technological advances. On the richest nation on the planet, we have the power to end starvation, but children still go hungry. We celebrate our medical advances, but the medicines that slow the progress of AIDS are nowhere to be found as that very plague decimates the entire African continent. Our thinking gets the better of our actions. But before you begin to lay blame, please know that our actions are not truly ours to command. At least not any longer…

Today decisions are made by governments and the corporations that own them and are designed to increase profit, not to advance humanitarian ends. Children are starving because it has nothing to do with the bottom line. People are dying everywhere, but how can you try an international cartel for murder?

I awaken and I am appalled at the lack of moral responsibility and leadership. We all know something’s wrong, but we can’t seem to change because we’ve been hoodwinked — we’ve all been chained and made into property.

Reality TV is our pacifier and money is our drug of choice — the one habit we can’t kick without dying in the process. Money also forms the links that create our shackles. Our labor binds us to systems that see us only as units of value or expense.

And in this way we careen toward a future like a runaway train whose conductor and engineer have slain one another, its passengers blissfully unaware. Our lives are designed to maintain the values of our economy. A pound of coffee, an ounce of lead, a human life — all these things express value in our world. Not human values but the values of the system that rules us. We drag along these values subserviently accepting their consequences: wars, the laws that maintain order (and their prisons), the weapons of mass destruction, and the perceived need for world dominance.

Through all this, we are told that there awaits a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But we know deep down inside that we’ll have to pay in sweat, blood, and sacrifice — our sacrifice alone — for such a future. Yes, dear friends, the future may be bright, but we will be the beasts of burden hauling around the necessities to maintain that brilliance.

I wake up today and I am overcome by an overwhelming sense that nothing will save the masses from this tragic fate.

Unless we free ourselves from the archaic chains of ignorance of the past two-hundred years or more. In order to free ourselves we must stop fooling ourselves into continuing to believe that our chains are jewelry. We must begin to consider the nature of our chains. Understanding something about how we became enslaved (again) might allow us the ability break free of those chains. Once freed, we might bring on a new consciousness that will help us realize that the dreams we had for a bright future pale in comparison to the reality that lies quiescent within each and every one of us.

I had hoped that the latest economic devastation would have forced white working-class Americans to stop heeding the demagoguery of right-wing talk show hosts; that they will come to realize that they too are pawns of the insanity of mass oppression for mass production. This current economic mess, brought upon by decades of conservative ideology, will not just go away. This is not an economic hiccup.

I had dreamed that maybe this reiteration of the economic spiral would have made it harder to separate people of color from whites, as we all endure the hardships. I reasoned that even if people refused to see (or admit) the fact that we’re all in the same boat, they would have realized that a hard reality has come knocking. I thought that maybe, finally, as we all suffer from the economic shit storm, people would be less prone to heed the propaganda of racial superiority. I have to resign myself to the fact that this hasn’t happened. The class nut will be hardest to break, but we’ll never get anywhere near that bridge until we address the racial nut.

Poor or nonexistent medical care, job security, lack of education — these issues affect every cultural group, creed, and race to differing degrees.

While the runaway juggernaut of capitalism may not extract its pound of flesh in an equal opportunity manner, it does extract it from all of us. It is the nature of capitalism to apply its value system to everything. Within this system, all values are interchangeable. Not only are these values interchangeable, but they also rise and fall according to market forces. Your whole sense of identity and belonging can come tumbling down the moment the cost of a barrel of crude oil, for example, skyrockets. Price competition could well affect the cost of production and one of the major production costs is labor — your labor. In this way, the value of life itself rises and falls according to the cost of production.

Contrary to what the well-fed and groomed media lap dogs tell you, the economic system that rules so much of our lives cannot value human labor above any other commodity or resource. Under the crushing weight of this system, your humanity is no more valuable than its equivalent cost of a sack of potatoes. Capitalism has no humanity, something even the talking heads admit even while they tell you it’s the ultimate solution to all social ills. All that exists in the capitalist bible is the margin of profit, the market share. We are all part of the machine, and those elements — those idiosyncrasies of individualism — must be dealt with in the same way any mechanic deals with a “faulty” part: removal or replacement.

We are all part of an economic machine. Some of us are cogs, others ghosts, but it is a machine, not our differences, that drive us.

Whites are now beginning to experience what people of color have been experiencing for centuries and my hope was that, as they experienced alienation and isolation from the full participation of the democratic process, they would begin to learn what it feels to be marginalized and in that way, we can all somehow create a coalition founded on our common experiences. Unfortunately, those that control the debt have managed to turn this opportunity to come together as never before into yet another strategy for hate.

As whites, you might feel identification with groups or power, but what does that identification mean on the unemployment line or when an HMO refuses you the luxury of life-saving technology?

In our current reality, we are all a unit of labor. Sure, each individual may use his or her labor as he or she wishes, but in most cases, this power is extremely limited. Make no mistake: the advantage of supply and demand is in the favor of the haves, not the have-nots. While this is indeed depressing, I took heart in the hopes that the experience that could have marshaled a new era — a new consciousness — in our shared history.

The history of African Americans and other people of color is an integral and important part of the history of the United States. Rebellion, it is said, is the essential movement of understanding. Violence and oppression rob us of the ability to understand. Without understanding, there can be no growth, no appreciation of truth, and no tomorrow — only a never-ending repetition of the daily act of humiliation that has become definition of our existence.

You may deem my words depressing, but I say that there can be no healing until recognition of the disease has advanced. With that, we are well on our way. I also realize that some of you despair that there aren’t enough of us, that the machine will chew us like so much grist for the mill. My first response is almost theoretical: allow me to point you to the power of karma properly contextualized. Your actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, fan out, creating psychic ripples of consequences and reactions. My second response is pragmatic. For those who would despair, I leave you with the following knowledge passed down to us by the great anthropologist Margaret Meade:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Eddie

16 Comments on “The Ties That Bind Us”

  1. Eddie, job disparity is never going to erase racial discrimination, especially among those whose rationale is, if there aren’t enough jobs to go around, hire white people first. Hardship is not going to unite them with their equally unfortunate brothers of color. The reason why so much of today’s society slavishly attaches itself to the wealthy, regardless of treatment, is because they are still looking for a king, a queen and a royal court to serve. It’s not equality they want, but a pedigree. It’s not democratic government they want, but favoritism.

    People who have never experienced poverty before behave much differently from people who have been actively poor. They are more desperate. They’ll do things they would have felt was morally wrong while they had plenty, but justify their actions when they see it as necessary in order to maintain their life styles. They take refuge from reality; i.e, alcohol, drugs or media entertainment. America doesn’t wear poverty well because it’s been a long time since it’s been desperate.

    It’s hard to say what great event would finally create a unifying factor. Maybe we’ll have to witness terrible years first, years of suffering and depression, years of sending our youth off to war while society crumbles around us. We can put up the warning signs, but it’s up to each person, individually, to read them.

  2. Hi! Yes, well said, Eddie. And you too, Karlsie… a wise and well-worded followup.

    I really don’t have much to say about this specific article or approach vector, but I’ve been doing a one-person anti-capitalism campaign for about 15 years now, and I thought I’d share one of my favorite anticap campaign post(er)s… seeing the mentality seen so far here at this blog… matches mine so accurately. Ed… I love the way you said that whites, and maybe more specifically, middle-class whites… are now getting a taste of the hell that others have been living for generations. Oh so true! I come from lower-middle-class white land, and chose to fall to reasonably minimalist policies after I had a taste of capitalism and realized it was a disgusting unfairness and discrimination festival. i also did some time in the USA military (Air Force) and realize that ITS communalist supply/survival system… DOESN’T discriminate, or at least not so severely. I found the same to be true of the USA public library system. Anyhoo, below is my favorite rant… my “let’s repair America rant… and its been posted and printed over 1000 times so far. The pen is mightier than the sword. There’s lovers and there’s fighters, and lovers… don’t even NEED mighty… because we have love and wisdom. We (communalists) can convince fighters to become lovers… just by raising a mirror. 😉

    ——————
    We ALL see the pyramid scheme symbol on the back of the USA one dollar bill. We ALL see the servitude infestation in capitalism. We ALL see the “pay up or lose your wellbeing” Chicago mob-like felony extortion widespread within capitalism. We ALL see the “join or starve” felony extortion done to the 18 year olds… by this ugly competer’s church called capitalism. We ALL see how forcing competer’s religions onto 18 year olds, and/or LURING them into it with bling-dangling and promises of empowerments… kills membership in the cooperator’s church (Christianity/socialism). We ALL understand that AmWay (American Way) (New World Order) got “the exclusive” (legal tender) on the TYPE of survival coupons (money) accepted in supply depots (stores) and leverages 18 year olds into the organization via that felony activity. (It puts AmWay-coupon slaving requirements called price tags… on all the survival goods). We ALL understand how sure-to-collapse farmyard pyramids work… from our childhoods. Upper 1/3 are “heads in the clouds” while the kids on the bottom ALWAYS GET HURT from the weight of the world’s knees in their backs. And, we ALL see how such systems are illegal, immoral, and just plain sick.

    We American Christian socialists are patiently awaiting the natural fall of the pyramid-o-servitude, or the busting of the free marketeers felony… by the USA Dept of Justice. We Christians are VERY CLOSE to issuing a cease and desist order until the servitude and inequality goes away… which means it turns into a commune. Commune is a word we LOVE when used in the word “community”… but its one the caps HATE when used in the word “commune-ism”. Go fig. PROGRAMMED!!

    Do a Google IMAGE SEARCH for ‘pyramid of capitalist’ to see a full color picture made way back in 1911, when capitalism was first discovered to be a con/sham instigated by the Free Masons/Illuminati. Folks sure bought into the thing… hook, line, and sinker just the same. The caps didn’t even check if a string was attached! Now THAT’S easy fishing, eh?

    Time to level the felony pyramid scheme called capitalism. Abolish economies and ownershipism worldwide, and hurry. Economies just cause rat-racing, and rat-racing causes felony pyramiding. BUST IT, America! Look to the USA military supply/survival system… (and the USA public library system) for socialism and morals done right. Equal, owner-less, money-less, bill-less, timecard-less, and concerned with growth of value-criteria OTHER THAN money-value. Quit doing monetary discrimination immediately, and make it illegal. There are MANY measurement criteria of “value”… not just dollars. Try morals, efficiency, discrimination-levels, repairability, etc etc. Economies are cancerous tumors, and to cheer for their growth… is just insane. Profiting causes inflation, so if caps LIKE inflation, and if they LIKE a terrible time in afterlife when they meet the planet’s ORIGINAL OWNER before caps tried to squat it all with ownershipism, then keep it up with the felony pyramiding. I dare you. While us Christians are finally bulldozing that pyramid scheme back to level, lets make servitude and “join or starve” (get a job or die) illegal in the USA, and lets level the architecture seen in USA courtrooms, too. Right now, USA courtrooms are church simulators or “fear chambers”, by special design. Sick.

    Isn’t that back-of-the-dollar pyramid… a Columbian freemason symbol? And WHERE is the USA gov located? District of Columbia? (Not even part of the USA!) How much more blatant can ya get? The “Fed” runs a pyramid scheme called the free marketeers. If you’re using the “federal reserve note” certificates, or using no-other-living-thing-on-the-planet entitles of ownership, you’re bought into a servitude/slavery con/sham… called capitalism. Pyramiding 101.

    ————————

    There we have it… my poorly-composed but proudly-held-high diatribe… trying to abolish economies and ownership. Along with the death of ownership, comes the death of borders… ALL of them. Although I primarily target the abolishing of economies and the resulting pyramids, SOMETIMES I rattle-on about “what to replace it with”, as well. You can find some of that… at… http://www.chancelitton.com/?p=131 (ad free). Don’t forget to come back here, though, readers, because… as far as I can tell so far… there’s some serious wisdom and heart happening here. I think I’ll hang around here for awhile. If nothing else, this seems like a warm dry place with wise minds… where I can pick up some fresh ammo and bandage the wounds I’ve collected from the trench fighting. (I blast my rants into capitalist areas and take lots of return fire because of it. They call me every name I the book.) Just do a Google search for “abolish economies”… you’ll see my tank tracks in the dirt. 🙂 Don’t be alarmed… that’s only a hot mustard cannon on the front, there. It doesn’t really hurt the capitalists, but it sure induces vomiting well. Its not the blame of the volunteer or force-in joiners of the free marketeers pyramid scheme… they are only playing roles for the most part. Its the system. Capitalism and economy usage is a “systemic” problem… but it forces 18 year olds to join or starve. That’s called felony extortion and forced religion, in my book. Generally, I can’t even LOOK at the extortion and mistreatment done to so-called minorities, and ESPECIALLY to the teens and women in THOSE groups. I can’t stop crying and/or raging long enough to think straight… on those subjects. I need to keep SOME wits about me… while I pull the rug out from under the disgusting discrimination festival called capitalism.

    Again, excellent writes, well done! Thanks!

    Larry “Wingnut” Wendlandt
    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right
    (anti-capitalism-ists)
    Bessemer MI USA

  3. Humans, apparently, are easily distracted from the pain of their bondage. They are easily distracted as they set out (if they do) to discover the masters of their bondage. During the Reagan recession, a favorite show was “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. Maybe if we worship Mommy and Daddy enough they will lift us up from our misery. Tell them the whole system is broken and they will tell you we live on the greatest nation on earth and we just need to get back to our heritage/core values/and the REAL America.

  4. “What difference does it make whether your chains are made of iron or gold?” Gold is a much softer metal, and therefore easier to cut or break. Also, once you get them off, they are worth something to melt down.

  5. [Quote=AuntB93]Gold is a much softer metal, and therefore easier to cut or break. Also, once you get them off, they are worth something to melt down.[/quote]

    My thoughts exactly – and precisely why a guerilla war is the most effective means of combating this establishment: break the proverbial “chains” of capital that the social order uses to bind you, than salvage them and repurpose that capital to suit your own interests via an alternative economy (sometimes refered to as “underground” or “black” markets).

  6. You’re preachin’ to the choir, brotha’man.

    These “crises” are cyclical.

    Another generation, with their own adventures, will reminisce on our time and shrug their shoulders.

    Yes, they may look a little browner and talk a little funnier than we do today, but (as you alluded to at the top of your essay) the human being (and, by extension, society) will survive this drama, too.

    I suspect the only remaining impediment to realizing a brighter future for our planet is our very own generation.

    We are the problem.

    Once our generation has passed on, our children’s children won’t be bound by the bigotry and superstitions that stifled our own progress.

    Even a cursory study of history suggests the concept really is as simple to understand as the ebb and flow of the evening tides.

    Crises are just that routine (although never “easy” to live through).

    —TROY—

  7. I think chains of gold are much harder to break, because they are chains we only wear if our minds are also chained. We know that slaves in this country did not willingly remain slaves, but now, their descendants and the descendants of their masters wear our chains with pride, striving to be able to buy yet more crap with designer labels.
    In Texas, people who are not part of the ruling class voted for politicians who are now considering whether to pull out of Medicaid. And yet, even if they do, many of the same people will vote for them again.

    We are slaves in part because we are lazy and fearful; it is hard, painful work to turn away from the distractions, learn to think after having spent years in school learning not to think (or at least not learning to think), and look unwaveringly at reality, especially when reality is so harsh. With society, as in individual psyches, the demons we do not confront and wrestle with are the demons that control us. And we are raised to prefer distraction from our demons. We are even raised to channel our efforts into fighting false demons, which is where the war on drugs, the race-baiting, the anti-Islamic fervor, the phantom of evil socialists in the government, the narrative that our president might be a foreign national, the fiction of a gay agenda to corrupt our youth, the controversy over the teaching of evolution, the attempts to take all the “socialism” out of the Bible, the fantasies about death panels and hordes of illegal welfare-supported immigrants who vote and people who want to marry their dogs and poor criminals hopping on the freeway to loot middle-class neighborhoods and the Amero and the Bilderbergs and the 9/11-inside-job conspiracy and FEMA camps and fluoridated water myths and, yes, even the focus on teacher accountability through standardized tests that measure everything but whether kids are learning to think all come from. They distract us from the reality that foreign interests DO control our elections, and more than that, from the fact that the problem is not that those interests are foreign but that they are corporate, that the interests of the poor and marginalized and enslaved in other countries ARE our interests, just as the interests of poor Americans, LGBT Americans, Americans of color, white Americans, straight Americans, Christian Americans, atheist Americans, and pagan Americans are OUR interests, whoever we are, so long as we are not corporate America or corporate foreign interests.

    They not only blind us to our own golden chains but make us callous toward the literal slaves in our midst, the people lured here by false job offers and forced into domestic work or sex work as slaves. And to so much else, because we literally see these things turn up in our entertainment, not to move us to act but to titillate us–and how, once we have accepted something as titillating entertainment, do we fight them? How do we admit there is a real problem–and we have been entertained by it, whiled away a couple of hours enjoying the depiction of someone else’s very real hell? Even if the “good guys” win in the end, it is the violence, especially the sexual violence, that titillates and draws us in. How do consumers of pornography, whether it is actual porn or the metaphorical pornography of excessive violence and obscene hatred, stand with the people living the horrible realities portrayed or enslaved to produce this form of entertainment? How do people, including cops, fight for the rights of sexual slaves when they are also the people who create the demand for sexual slaves? How do we fight to end sweat shops while carrying designer bags? Our distractions don’t just keep our minds off the problems, they make us callous. They make us complicit, and our complicity is the demon we most desperately want not to face and fight.

    I think we will be free only when we can look at what is and say “I will no longer be complicit” instead of fearing that the weight of the guilt of complicity will destroy us. White guilt is often sublimated, but what about consumer guilt, the guilt of johns who pay for sex with teenagers and addicts and literal slaves, the guilt of people who say, so casually, “If you can’t afford a contractor, just hire a Julio,” the guilt of Gucci wearers and SUV drivers and science teachers who avoid evolution? There is no knowledge, somehow, that the way to freedom from guilt is to do differently. And as you say, there is no knowledge that the complicit individuals are also slaves. Or that the way forward is to face the truth, not avoid it, and come together, even if we have hurt each other while we have been apart. This current model of slave against slave is destroying us all.

    I won’t apologize for the dissertation, because it says that you made me think, and I suspect that you won’t see that as a bad thing.

  8. Excellent Article and call to arms. Though what arms you chose is going to be different for everyone. The one thing that is clear is that we have a choice, we simply are not excercising it, in fact our choice muscles are atrophied. That does not mean they cannot be built up.

  9. Wow… there’s a lot to ponder here with all these thoughtful responses (which gives me HOPE! LOL).

    first: for all those thinking literal gold will save you, think again. To paraphrase a corporate democrat: it’s the debt, stupid. Besides, the gold you wear will not readily sell once it’s “melted.”

    But that’s not my point, my point is more about our “choice muscles” as Grainne put it. We think this is the only way. In fact, as Karen pointed out, we will fight to keep the status quo even when it harms us because we don’t know any other way. We believe the Monster even as it chews us all up.

    I do disagree somewhat that experiencing any form of slavery doesn’t create a common bond. I think it’s human nature to come close together once we throw off the blinders and understand we all may have come on different ships, but that we’re all in the same boat now. It’s the PERCEPTION that matters, and too many of us have fallen for the line that this is the only way, or that the “others” are not like us. It’s the time-worn strategy of disunity.

    I will say this much: at the heart of unfettered capitalism (and I am not an anti-capitalist) is violence. the very essence of capitalism is violence, whether psychological or physical. the “golden chains” we wear are forged with that violence, whether it’s the toil of a nine-year-old in Saipan that creates a $600 pair denim jeans or a $200 pair of sneakers, the very essence of capitalism is exploitation, war, and violence. Violence is the absence of understanding and if we believe that only violence will create this understanding, then we are doomed for real.

    Finally, I appreciate that some might view history as cyclical, but I see it as a spiral. There’s an important, if subtle difference. History doesn’t repeat itself, not in a technical sense. history spirals and everytime it is confronted by our blindness, it has to do a step — a progression of sorts. IF history repeats itself, then it does first as tragedy, then as farce.

  10. [Quote=Eddie] will say this much: at the heart of unfettered capitalism (and I am not an anti-capitalist) is violence. the very essence of capitalism is violence, whether psychological or physical. the “golden chains” we wear are forged with that violence, whether it’s the toil of a nine-year-old in Saipan that creates a $600 pair denim jeans or a $200 pair of sneakers, the very essence of capitalism is exploitation, war, and violence. [/quote]

    Seriously – $600 for a pair of jeans? I never spent more than $20 on a single article of clothing: for $600 bucks I got have bought a brand new AK47 as well as a few custom parts (75 round drum clip, custom barrel, scope, etc…)! Just who the hell spends that kind of money on clothing?

    But to make a point here, elploitation and violence are part of *any* economic system (just look at fuedalism or Soviet-style communism) – regardless of the system’s driving ideology, some one is eventually going to get fucked over somewhere. So ending violence and exploitation are lfty, inachievable goals: I find self-empowerment to be a more realistic goal – this way, you have a much better chance of avoiding the position of being the poor sap getting fucked…

  11. Christopher: there’s never a perfect or ideal system. That’s a useless exercise. However, it doesn;’t follow that rampant abuse or never-ending exploiting is a predetermined fact of life. That’s like saying that since rape has existed in all cultures, that it’s unaviodable or a part of human nature. It isn’t.

    I believe in a mixed economy myself. Also, there are PLENTY examples of socialist states with little if any violence. Propping up the former soviet empire as an example of communism is a mistake. it wasn’t communist, nor Marxist. and no, I am not a communist, per se. I’m not looking to create utopias, I’m trying to explore alternatives to the current mess HERE in the US.

  12. I agree with you that recognizing our slavery can, will, even does bring us together. That’s what I meant about being able to say “I will no longer be complicit” being what will free us. When we say that, we’re saying that we won’t keep others enslaved–and admitting the possibility that we, too, are enslaved and that part of our enslavement has been that false division, that sense of Us and Them that makes it possible for us to become complicit in the first place.

    I don’t think I made that last part very clear. Don’t tell my students I indulged in writer-based prose, please.

  13. “We are all part of an economic machine. Some of us are cogs, others ghosts, but it is a machine, not our differences, that drive us.”

    “As whites, you might feel identification with groups or power, but what does that identification mean on the unemployment line or when an HMO refuses you the luxury of life-saving technology?”

    I read this the day you posted it…I just garnered the strength to comment. The two quotes that struck me I posted above.

    The first reminded me of the song from Sting: “We Work the Black Seam”. Even though your post did depress me so, I still know that man has it within him to step outside of his or her shackles. I do admit being on this earth for over 40 years, the faith is becoming harder to hold on to. I am still hopeful. The machine eventually will hold too much pain and suffering…the cogs will stop its own counter-productive production.

    The second quote has always confused me. Even in the times of American chattel slavery, whites were slaves to the very system that they participated in and perpetuated. Poison that you hold to inject in someone has to get on and in you. Damn if we all aren’t in need of a cure.

    Great post sir.

  14. [Quote=Eddie]Christopher: there’s never a perfect or ideal system. That’s a useless exercise. However, it doesn;’t follow that rampant abuse or never-ending exploiting is a predetermined fact of life. That’s like saying that since rape has existed in all cultures, that it’s unaviodable or a part of human nature. It isn’t. [/quote]

    First of all, things like rape *are* an inescapable reality – not everyone will end up facing a rapist or some other voilent maniac, but the danger is always there. Thus the reason I prefer to be armed at all times: you never do quite know when a weapon will prove rather useful.

    Secondly, every economic system ever created abuses those under it eventually – the question isn’t one of “will it happen?” so much as “am I ready to fight back when it does happen?” Wherever there is a power monopoly (let’s not kid ourselves – wherever there are large amounts of cash and influence some one eventually corners the market on them, thus all economies will have power monopolies) there will be corruption in significant quantities: the only logical solution to this quandry is for individuals and small groups to form their own power bases outside the system that the power monopoly seeks to dominate (hence “black markets”).

    [Quote=Eddie]I believe in a mixed economy myself. Also, there are PLENTY examples of socialist states with little if any violence.[/quote]

    So far – keep in mind that modern day socailism is still a pretty new concept. And keep your eyes on Greece over the next couple of years: what happens there will have some serious impact on the (mainly socailist) nations of the EU – we’ll see just how corrupt socialist nations can really get…

    [Quote=Eddie]Propping up the former soviet empire as an example of communism is a mistake. it wasn’t communist, nor Marxist. and no, I am not a communist, per se.[/quote]

    I understand that it wasn’t Marxist-style communism – I’ve read both “Das Kapital” and “The Communist Manifesto” before, so I know exactly how Marx envisioned a Communist society. However, when his ideology is taken up by a political movement it becomes twisted to serve the ends of political class (similar to what Right-wing politicians have done with Randian notions of Capitalism).

    To be honest with you, I’m neither a Capitalist or a Communist – I’m very much the political Nihilist (but I suppose labels like “Stirnite Anarchist” or “Egoist” also fit pretty well). I find all mainstream economies to be fundamentally flawed regardless of how “free” or “regulated” they are: what the mainstream economy needs is competition from outside economies – at least this way the individual has an alternative to turn to when the establishment’s market system tries to fuck him over.

    [Quote=Eddie]I’m not looking to create utopias, I’m trying to explore alternatives to the current mess HERE in the US.[/quote]

    I’m not saying “black markets” are utopian (utopia is just another word for “no place” anyway), but at least you can get the tools you need to resist the establishment’s system there…

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