One brief but powerful essay you should read today:
“Capitalism is not a system of morality. It’s a system of economics based on wealth extraction, from the land and from people. Our minds are being formed to be dependent upon and addicted to corporate interfaces and systems. This is ‘for profit’ technology. There is nothing free. When a corporation offers you something for free it’s because they are harvesting something from you more valuable than your money.
I think of things like the subjugation of women, drone warfare, neoliberal capitalism, Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, massive wealth disparity, corporate sovereignty, the weapons industry, the fossil fuel industry, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, population explosion, factory farming, and the destruction of wilderness as opportunist infections.
The climax of all this is global warming, collapse of biodiversity, and the final breakdown of the body of the earth itself, at least as far as we have ever known it. But in America, we don’t connect the dots. We hate connecting the dots.
People fantasize that the destruction of the American Dream is the fault of the poor, rather than the explicit and long term intention of the corporate class. Instead it’s China, it’s Mexican immigrants, it’s lawlessness, it’s that black boy on the street. Let’s blame him.
We can have these conversations about discrimination and the persecution of minorities in this country just as long as we don’t connect the dots back to 35 years of trickle down economics. As long as we don’t connect it back to the economic structures that were designed to systematically undermine most working people, or to the Occupy movement that Obama shut down one day in a single federal sweep.
For a moment, the Occupy movement really threatened to draw back the curtain and reveal America to itself, and that posed a most powerful threat. Where would we be now if the Occupy conversation had been allowed to flourish in the media and in society for the last four years?
The government and the media have made sure that Americans don’t understand their relationship as American citizens with the rest of the world. We don’t comprehend the terrible death that our country and its corporations have wreaked upon the Middle East, or the ways that the consequences of our wars for oil have provoked a refugee crisis and waves of nationalism that are now threatening to destabilize Europe.
We have not seen the images of the death that we paid for. We haven’t seen the dead bodies. The government forbid the media from showing us what they were doing.
Obama’s administration imprisoned Chelsea Manning for 35 years for being the only one with the moral courage to expose images of our country’s war crimes. She is the only one in jail. Not the politicians or military officers who actually committed those crimes.
Most American families are preoccupied with the fact that they now need both parents working full time in order to pay the mortgage and they still have no money for holidays. They have lost their retirement plans because they were fired from their union jobs and rehired as temps. Mining industries came in and offered them the world, raped their land, and then abandoned them after all the wealth was extracted from their towns. Just sucked them dry of all their oil and then left. Perhaps they are 10 years out of college and still trying to pay off a mountain of student debt. Perhaps they are buried under debts from out-of-pocket medical expenses. Why does life seem to be getting harder?”