Category Archives: outsiders

@chunkymark made a movie: This is Not a Recession, It’s a Robbery [Repost from 3/10/14 (My & his analysis still stands)]

In the past few years, capitalists (corporations, the filthy rich, finance, insurance, oil, big pharma, big ag, and war mongers, to name a few) have significantly stepped-up their buying of governments worldwide. They have been busy putting the money they’ve stolen from us to use, purchasing politicians and imposing neoliberal policies on us all.

At the core of those policies is privatization. Privatization involves transferring the ownership of public wealth from the people to private for-profit corporations. That, along with the 2007-08 crisis, has resulted in a massive transfer and consolidation of wealth that literally kills, criminalizes, impoverishes, and controls, whilst making the rich, much, much richer.

Another tenet of neoliberal ideology (or tactic if you prefer) is the imposition of austerity. Essentially, austerity takes away critical resources from citizens – especially the most vulnerable. This goes hand in hand with a perennial corporate favorite: deregulation. Deregulation weakens regulatory agencies and gets rid of laws that protect citizens by either weakening them or replacing them wholesale.

The all-out assault on the UK by neoliberal corporate power has been extreme.  It has killed thousands and impoverished many more.  It is remaking the entire society before people’s eyes.   It is difficult to overstate the rapidity and viciousness with which this is taking place.  And if you are an average citizen outside of the British Isles, you probably have no idea it’s happening at all.

Mark McGowan, AKA The artist taxi driver, AKA Chunky Mark, is a working class bloke in London. He has been watching it all happen with shock, horror, and disbelief and is just trying to make sense of it all. He shoots videos in his cab before he starts work in the morning and posts them on youtube. Over the years, he has also managed to interview people from almost every walk of life. This movie is a collection of those commentaries and interviews.

From what I’ve been able to glean, Mark is a concerned citizen, father, artist, activist – and has a pretty good sense of humor to boot. He’s smart, sincere, frightened, concerned, and wants justice. What comes through again and again is his empathy, his humanity. He wonders aloud what many of us think every day: why are the people in power so sadistic and why aren’t the rest of us doing something about it?  He screams and rants and rages quite loudly, and a bit more than occasionally. I’ll leave out any discussion of how much might be performance because I think it is his genuine immediate reaction to what is happening – and because I think it’s appropriate. It seems a much more human response than what I see from most people. He may or may not realize it, but his pauses and sighs have an even bigger impact than the yelling. But I digress…

Though you may not be familiar with UK politics, much of what Mark is covering should sound very familiar. It should be obvious by now that this corporate neoliberal agenda is not unique to the UK. In fact, neoliberalism as we know it was born in the u.s.a. (at the University of Chicago to be exact). While the u.s. doesn’t have an NHS to dismantle, it’s healthcare was given over to corporations long ago.  Schools are another matter.  The neoliberals have been busy here demonizing teachers, attacking unions, and attempting to privatize public schools.  State pensions (which most americans don’t even possess) have been raided (through fees, budget cuts, legislation, and fraud) and everyone who has a pension is funding speculation. That money is at risk of being lost. (For those of you reading this in the future: Yes, the derivatives your pension fund helped inflate into a massive toxic bubble that burst are the reason they’re giving for cutting your pension.)  The corporate neoliberal model is being imposed all over the world: India, Turkey, Brazil – most of Europe…the list is long.  Just look for bought-off politicians selling off the state to corporate “interests” and media imitating the u.s. and the picture should become very clear.

Of course this film and Mark’s youtube videos aren’t the be all end all source for information, but I like Mark’s DIY spirit, his frustration, his sense of urgency, his passion and humanity.  Things sorely lacking from most people I see.

Caveats: For those with delicate sensibilities, there is a lot of swearing in this film. If you’re still living in another century it may be time to travel to the present. As I said in the beginning, Mark is just a guy trying to understand what’s going on. I think he has done a damn good job of zeroing in on root causes, but – as with most people – he is just as susceptible as the next guy to occasionally trodding down the wrong path. For example, Alex Jones makes a very brief appearance in the cab. He is an american “shock jock” who mixes wacky conspiracy theories with facts and dangerous ideas; so, in the end, it’s best to dismiss him totally. There are so many people with sane analyses, there is really no reason to pay him any attention except as comic relief.

Max Keiser also makes an appearance. While Max does offer some good analysis of financial criminal behavior, he is a capitalist and he shares the libertarian utopian idea that if we only had “true free markets” we could have good capitalism (but in the meantime, he is a regular old capitalist). If one knows enough to see through that and can suss out the useful bits of his analysis, have at it – but really, there are hundreds of other more reputable sources out there who aren’t selling their own bitcoins, etc…

So, with those caveats, watch the film to be entertained, see a slice of life, and hopefully get a sense of what’s happening, because whether you know it or not, some version of everything detailed in it is probably happening where you live.

~ Cheers


@DrJillStein @ the Oxford Union Society – Full Talk


Looking for a stellar political podcast and news site? Check out Black Agenda Report

BlackAgendaRadio_AlbumArt

Click image above to go to site.

 

BAReport
Click above to go to site

In the fall of 2006, Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon, Margaret Kimberley and Leutisha Stills of CBC Monitor left Black Commentator, which Ford had co-founded and edited since 2002, and launched Black Agenda Report.
Check it out. Well worth your while…

 


Chris Hedges – Concordia University Speech (12/9/2015) [Video]


The Boots Riley interview on DN! you probably didn’t see

Click here to watch Boots Riley’s extended interview on Democracy Now! I’m glad he was interviewed and given time on DN!, but it’s a shame most people will miss seeing this second part, because it wasn’t aired. It’s only available on the DN! website as an extended interview.

The first part was important because it got the story out about his cousin and introduced Boots to people who had had never heard of him. Unfortunately, it was rushed and it didn’t give people a chance to fully see what he has to offer politically or musically. He didn’t choose one of his best rhymes (which, even more unfortunately, he flubbed) and the interview just didn’t communicate enough about Riley’s knowledge and experience.

In this extended piece, he has time to relax and tell his story – and surprisingly, he ends-up giving a great analysis of the left that many on the left don’t want to hear. It’s not a total analysis, but it gets to crux of the problem. He also gives a much better performance of a much better song. And there’s even more good stuff in there. So, as they say, watch and learn…


Earthships. Think outside the box. Positive futures. [video]

In many ways, the idea and reality of earthships is the ultimate object lesson.  Earthships were developed to answer key problems we face as a species in a consumer capitalist society and now they exist as a model for dealing with some of its waste in a sustainable, life affirming way.  Mike faced serious opposition in bringing his vision into reality.  Some of that struggle is detailed in the documentary Garbage Warrior. It gives a glimpse into how reactionary and punishing the establishment can be in the form of city and state forces when they are faced with anything outside the status quo.

Though he has made amazing progress in New Mexico and all over the world, the fact remains that poor people and many working people in the so-called developed world still lack the resources to do it for themselves.  It seems that lesson is becoming more and more clear to him, especially after the last manufactured crisis and his experiences in Haiti.  He has developed a much lower cost alternative, but the barriers to achieving even a low cost earthship remain too high for most people and there is still overwhelming state resistance to these ideas.

It’s important to understand the connection between the state and corporations.  As our lives become more corporatized and privatized every day, corporate control over states increases, and vice versa.  That guarantees resistance to projects like earthships will grow because the corporation – and increasingly the state – will see them as a direct threat to corporate profit and taxes.

That understanding and knowledge has to go hand-in-hand for anyone involved or interested in alternatives to consumer capitalism.  You cannot simply withdraw into alternative communities because there is no escape in the long term from the totalizing logic of capitalism.  In fact, regardless of what you’re interested in, if you’re interested in you and your children and their children continuing to live, you will have to confront those forces.

The logic of capitalism commodifies everything.  Increasingly, we can see the absurd and horrific endpoint of that logic in corporations buying up and controlling the thing we cannot live without: water.  They have been taking over utilities, and then selling the water we should own collectively back to us.  Bechtel tried it in Bolivia with pure neoliberal tactics.  Detroit, ravaged by neoliberal high-finance, is shutting off water to its most vulnerable populations.  And now water is under attack in Ireland, again through corporate led neoliberal tactics.   The other side of this coin is the poisoning of our water by corporations involved in fracking and other heavy industrial projects.

Corporate capital is the most powerful force that has ever existed in history and we have to fight it if we hope to sustain any practices that inherently challenge its domination.  This is a system that will not hesitate to cut off your source of life if it deems you a non-productive consumer.  It is a system that is actively working to make citizens into helpless consumers and eliminate humans from the production process or move location and employ de facto slave labor to increase profit.  They did it through states using legal mechanisms like NAFTA, and now the TPP/TTIP is the next stage in that process.  We can see how this decimated whole cities like Flint and Detroit, and now that same logic will work to eliminate the low paying service jobs it left in its wake.

Brilliant ideas like the earthship are beautiful and practical, but they are doomed to reservations and individual projects for people with wealth and education if we don’t organize to fight the domination of corporate capital in all aspects of our lives.


Chris Hedges breaks it down again. [Video]


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