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Fanning the Flames of Dissent

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   4 comments
Message Charles Sullivan
Let no man claim that the United States is not a representative government. There is no greater representative government on earth. The trouble is that the U.S. represents the interests of wealthy Plutocrats and multinational corporations, rather than the people. The vast majority of the citizens are essentially without representation. The government has fallen so completely under the spell of the corporations that it is virtually indistinguishable from them. The people have been shut out of the process and are left to fend for themselves, much like the victims of Hurricane Katrina last year.

The government was once the only power capable of reining in the corporations and holding them accountable to the people. That is why the corporations have invested such enormous capital in taking over the government. Now there are few servants of the people but many who are willing to prostitute themselves and the constitution to the will of capital.

Capital knows neither loyalty nor nationality. Its sole motivation is to maximize profits while minimizing costs by any means necessary. Thus capital seeks the cheapest labor with the least restrictions anywhere in the world. Capital has no qualms about outsourcing jobs and leaving economically devastated communities in its wake. It pits worker against worker to increase production while simultaneously driving down wages worldwide. Although it was not widely reported in the American press, during World War Two General Motors and the Ford Motor Company simultaneously built armored vehicles for both the U.S. and the Nazis. Alcoa supplied aluminum to both sides, with plants operating in both countries.

Not only did these companies realize enormous profits on the spoils of war, they received huge windfall takings from the U.S. taxpayer for reparations to their bombed out production facilities in Germany at the close of the war. In reality, there is no such entity as an 'American' company. Capital does not care where its wealth is produced or who produces it.

The above example, by no means out of the ordinary, demonstrates how corporations reap the profits of war without incurring risk. War is good for business, a win-win for the profiteers of capitalism. It is hell for everyone else. Virtually every military intervention undertaken by the U.S. throughout the world during the past sixty years was to protect corporate investments and to expand markets. None of these interventions were undertaken to spread democracy or to liberate oppressed people. They often did just the opposite. The U.S. has a long and brutal history of oppressing Democratic Republics""a list too extensive to site here (see William Blum's insightful book "Killing Hope"). Democracy is the enemy of capital, as witnessed by our own bloody labor and civil rights history.

Thus it should come as no surprise to anyone that a hundred and fifty U.S. based corporations are reaping obscene profits on the plunder and destruction of Iraq. The U.S. military is the iron fist of capitalism that oppresses workers at home, and kills millions of innocent people in other parts of the world. We have troops in 135 of the world's 192 recognized nations. And we are not sowing democracy. We leave devastated landscapes, misery, and abject poverty in our wake. We set up puppet regimes willing to sell out their own people in exchange for making the world safe for corporate plunder; and we call it democracy.

The saber rattling over Iran is another case and point, another opportunity to prop up the anemic U.S. dollar, extend U.S. hegemony in the region and to secure more stolen oil for affluent multinational corporations with familiar names. The specter of permanent war, as promised by the governing neocon cabal, guarantee obscene profits to the wealthiest corporations and the richest families on earth. Meanwhile, thousands more young women and men will needlessly die in the mistaken belief that they are defending America from foreign enemies. Millions of innocent Iranian citizens will also likely die as their peaceful nation is dismantled in a huge corporate fire sale like the one occurring in Iraq. It is easy money to be divided among the wealthiest one percent of the population. Capital does not care how its bread is buttered, so long as it is buttered.

A Plutocratic government that does not represent the interests of the people does not deserve the allegiance of the people. It is the moral duty of all citizens to resist unjust government, to overthrow it, and replace it with a form of government that serves them""a representative democracy in which all citizens are equal.

For the first time in history the highest political offices in the land are occupied by executives from the oil industry. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Rice, are all rolling in oil money. They represent Big Oil, not ordinary Americans. Their every policy provides more wealth to the rich and less for lower income families. Every government office, every cabinet level position is likewise stocked with former industry executives. Even the judiciary is peopled with pro business judges, leaving the people with few viable options within the bounds of the law.

Capital is responsible for the class warfare that has utterly destroyed America. There is only one super power capable of reigning in corporate power and emancipating the people""the rebellion of millions of ordinary but socially conscious working class Americans, regardless of party affiliation. America has suffered well over two centuries of capitalism. One or two percent of the population have benefited while the rest have toiled in virtual slavery. We need to go in another direction. Latin America provides a shinning example of governments that serve the public interest rather than private capital.

The government knows and understands that the people possess enormous power""a muscle they rarely choose to exercise. It is in the interest of capital to keep the power of the citizenry latent. Giving life to latent power requires arousal, an awakening to reality. Every institution of capital spends enormous sums of energy and capital keeping the masses dormant and disengaged from the public welfare. Much of their capital is necessarily invested in controlling the people and purveying propaganda. If ever the people become aroused, as has happened in the past, capital will again turn violent and brutal in its suppression of populist movements. Witness the lessons of history from the Chicago Haymarket riot of 1886 and numerous other incidents of social unrest (see James Green's book "Death in the Haymarket"). It is only when massive civil unrest occurs that the brutal and violent oppression of the people is openly revealed on the domestic front, even as it is continually enacted on foreign soils under the pretext of spreading democracy.

To the capitalists, democracy is nothing more than public relations hype for their hidden agenda of global domination. Their policies bear no more resemblance to democracy than war bears to peace or hate to love.

Social agitation is important and necessary to expose the lies fostered by capital in its ravenous lust for wealth and power. Dissent is about awakening the slumbering masses to how they are being exploited by capital and by a corrupt system that does not serve their interests. Without a great awakening and social conscience there is no power other than corrupt power. We need people who understand the issues, women and men willing to run the risk of ridicule and imprisonment, to fan the flames of dissent and to spark a revolution one person at a time (see my earlier essay "Revolutionary Movements and Leadership" published on this site).

Given that they own the media in its various incarnations and are financed by the wealthiest people and institutions in the world, it is a wonder that the neocons (radical capitalists) are not faring better than they are. Despite enjoying every advantage they are teetering on the brink of self annihilation. Insatiable greed is the Achilles heel of capital. For them, enough is never enough. They want it all and they yearn for absolute dictatorial power in the fashion of the slave holders of the pre civil war south who kept all the profits produced by slave labor to themselves, while building vast financial empires that drive southern politics and national policy to this day. Capital seeks free labor and an inexhaustible supply of cannon fodder to expand global markets for the rich to continue their long ride of privilege upon the backs of the working class. That is why the outsourcing of jobs is occurring in a mad race to drive down wages as close to zero as possible.

What hope is there for equality in a culture that values capital above the lives of striving human beings? That has always been the goal of capitalism""to subdue the will of the workers to serve those of privilege. That is why Bush and Rumsfeld and the others can go before the people and lie so easily. They have no respect for anyone but the elite. They disdain the privations and struggles of ordinary working people who play by the rules but have no chance in a corrupt system that is hopelessly arrayed against them. Our lives, our hopes and dreams, mean nothing to them. They have no qualms about sending us to places like Iraq to die for capital; they never have.

America will never fulfill its promise to the world until the issue of class inequity is finally resolved. It will go on festering beneath the exterior, an angry infection that will again boil to the surface as an open sore with every injustice. Revolution is the only medicine that can cleanse the wound and bring about healing. Revolution does not occur at the ballot box; it happens in the streets. What form the coming revolution will take is anyone's guess. But it will come as long as there is injustice and inequality. The recent May Day strikes were a sign of hope, a harbinger of things to come. Let us build upon that foundation. The strike is our greatest weapon. Let us use it to greater effect.
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Charles Sullivan is a photographer, social activist and free lance writer residing in the hinterland of West Virgina.
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