Chris Hedges and Bob Scheer discuss Scheer’s latest book “They Know Everything About You” [Video]

Chris Hedges and Bob Scheer discuss Scheer’s latest book “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy” and end up interrogating some of the fundamental assumptions underlying their respective political beliefs.

Tariq Ali in conversation with David Harvey on the State of the World [Video]

I don’t agree with everything said here (The Wire cynical? I don’t think so), but it’s worth listening to. Both of these authors are worth reading as well. Harvey knows as much about Marx and neoliberalism as anyone alive. If you want to understand your world and your future, you have to understand neoliberalism – and it wouldn’t hurt to learn a bit of Marx either. Contrary to what most people think, Marx spent his entire life trying to understand capitalism.

As far as the state of the world goes, the evidence of almost total systemic corruption mounts by the day. Still, most americans insist on remaining passive and ignorant. It seems many people are not going to even consider changing anything until the next financial crisis, which will be much worse than the great depression. Capitalists have off-shored much of our manufacturing base, but they continue to excel at manufacturing crises for the domestic and international “markets.”

Are we capable of making the change we need? The ideological constraints Harvey and Ali speak of may be the biggest hurdle we face. If people remain under the ideological veil of neoliberalism and american consumer capitalism, or what we might simply call, americanism (which involves ideas like exceptionalism and rugged individualism), they will continue to blame themselves and fail to understand their problems are not individual, but systemic. In other words, if they remain brainwashed (or propagandized, if you will) and afraid, they will never sufficiently organize and begin to formulate concrete plans and actions to challenge the neoliberal, corrupt, corporate state we live under today.

If people remain under that veil, an uglier reaction to worsening conditions is much more likely. It will just take one more step to the right, and that reaction will look something like a fully fascist, technocratic, corporate, police/surveillance state. We’re much more than halfway there already and we don’t have the benefit of a strong organized left. Historically, the left has been a check on power and an engine of progressive change. At the moment, radical organizations are small and atomized, and though I never thought of the liberal class as on the left, the traditional role of liberal institutions in society has been wiped out and people who identify as liberals cling to the idea that reform is possible and a kinder, gentler capitalism will flourish if we can “just get money out of politics,” or reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The logic of capitalism demands ceaseless accumulation and greater profit every quarter. We are well past the possibility for what people once called reform. The only good option is to replace capitalism with alternative ways to organize society. This means radical change, if for no other reason than the impact of climate change on the very species currently exacerbating it, though there are a thousand other reasons as well. That happens to be the essential argument of Naomi Klein’s new book. To boil it down to a phrase: climate change demands radical change. Radical change simply means change at the root. Systemic change. That system is capitalism and its logic of exploitation is the definition of unsustainable.

We’re not so much at a crossroads as at an edge of a cliff which makes up one side of a massive canyon. Behind us are the corporate profiteers and their mercenary armies, privatizing everything and bringing the entire world under their command. We are going to have to figure out how to fight them while building a bridge to the other side at the same time. Or simply be forced off the cliff.

Costs of War

Click here to go to the excellent Costs of War website

The costs have been overwhelming, demoralizing, devastating. Is this what we want to continue? Further enriching bloated military contractors and the politicians they buy? We are an empire that is wreaking havoc and destruction at home and abroad. And not just with guns. We are exacerbating climate change, and that means the destruction is extended to the entire world. Most americans are fine with this. Many are ignorant, many are willfully ignorant. Many shrug their shoulders and say, what can I do? There are a relative few of us who know what’s happening and do what we can, but the disconnect is deep. We have now had a few generations since the end of WWII. In that time a propaganda effort has been unleashed on the u.s. unlike any that has ever existed in history. Around the election of reagan, a class war was waged and then eventually won by the right. The left – and all working people – lost, and today the right continues to fight harder than ever. A scourge of corporate led neoliberalism has infected the world, corrupting and privatizing everything public – and making the public pay for the privilege of getting ripped off and impoverished. More people are more insecure in every aspect of their lives, but many are doing just fine and they do not want to hear it. What is “it”? Any facts that threaten to intrude on their lives. If they are not comfortable, they are filled with stress and anxiety. They are demoralized and feel helpless, powerless. And they don’t want to hear “it” either. That being said, millions of people marched all over the country to “raise awareness” about climate change. And there are still a lot of well-meaning americans. But what does that really mean? We haven’t seen anti-war protests that big since before the start of the last Iraq war. Will we see any anti-war protests this time around? Do people realize “we” are at war, again. Or more accurately, “we” are starting another war while “we” are at war…

Historians like to say this is a young country. They also like to say this is a great experiment. Well, it is time to grow up and it’s time to admit the experiment failed. It should have been obvious when they began the experiment with genocide and slavery, but ideology and greed pushed any real thoughts of humanity to the side. Now it ends with record inequality, a de facto aparthied system, de facto slaves making our goods in horrific conditions out of our sight, endless war, militarized police forces beating and killing the people they’re supposed to serve and protect, unregulated corporations killing and robbing people in every way imaginable, a venal political system, venal institutions, and an average american who is overworked, ignorant, drugged, propagandized, alienated, unhappy, depressed, anxious, and losing more of their humanity by the day. I officially call the experiment a failure. While I’m at it, I officially call capitalism a failure too. Time to start again. Of course the powers that be won’t let us quit the experiment. They think it’s such a success the whole world should follow in their footsteps.

Sorry, no words of hope this evening. Time to grow up america.

Boston College professor Ed Kane says: “This is really a crime wave. [Wall St.] is really stealing from the taxpayers…”

Almost every sentence should make you quake in fear. What can one say anymore…It’s pretty clear we the people have to stop these fuckers. Those words fall flat, don’t they? They sound ironic and trite. And they are just words, because the “I” has triumphed. The “we” seems to be a rapidly receding memory. The class war was waged and won, and now the victors are raping and pillaging the conquered, squeezing every last drop of blood. We are ignorant, overwhelmed, atomized, disconnected from history, we are scared, rushed, fatigued, numb, despondent, in denial – or worse, we are happy and comfortable and blissfully unaware.
More words floating in cyberspace…

This entire tableau is responsible for the stream of zombie, vampire, apocalypse, and dystopic images that now seem to make up a great deal of our “entertainment.”

We are projecting our lived and psychic experience
onto screens
– and we are filling the world with them.
Ubiquitous and addictive,
they are creating a pathological feedback loop in our brains
and what’s left of our souls.
We are hypnotized by images of our own demise.
Twisted fantastic things from the unconscious,
realities preemptively pushed out of consciousness
bubbling up and pouring out in our creations.
We stare zombie-like
into the screens
as everything is stolen
and a kind of corporate feudalism is imposed on us
by the thieves
who are robbing us blind.

Grass Roots Grow Against Greed [Bill Moyers broadcast]

One idea that has become clearer and clearer to me over the years is that organizers need to organize themselves while they organize others. This piece is one (very small) indication that it may actually be happening. Eventually, it needs to happen on a grand scale, encompassing all organizations that work for human rights and justice (and I mean that in the broadest sense) as well individuals. As capitalism progresses and corporations increase their global control using the same neoliberal tactics everywhere, people around the world are experiencing the same kinds of oppression, oftentimes by the same corporations. The only true chance of challenging corporate power and reversing it is for people to organize world-wide. The organizing efforts detailed in this piece only hint at that, but it should be the goal and we should be developing visions of the future that offer a successful movement more than a kinder, gentler capitalism.

“…more & more individuals & groups are now considered excess, consigned to zones of abandonment, surveillance & incarceration.” – Giroux

“What has emerged in this new historical conjuncture is an intensification of the practice of disposability in which more and more individuals and groups are now considered excess, consigned to zones of abandonment, surveillance and incarceration.”
– Henry A. Giroux