We Are Being Played

We are being played, you and I. Capitalism is global; it infects rich and poor nations alike. Its need for constant growth; its inability to cut the cost of resources as they become harder to extract and its difficulty finding new and untapped markets to fuel the easy growth we’ve seen these last 200 years together mean that the only way profit grows today is by cutting wages. This trend is clearly and repeatedly demonstrated in the US over the last 40 years, and with no inflation-adjusted real growth of incomes for the 99% in sight despite minimum wage increases.

Key to the growth of capital is the military industrial complex; and key to its growth and contribution to profit is endless war. Not the kind of war that is won, rather the kind of war that destroys lives and property; the kind that requires profit-making rebuilding of homes and bridges, businesses and power plants; the kind that allows arms manufacturers to sell to both sides. Thus we see ISIS shooting US-made ground-to-air missiles at US-made helicopters. Over the last 70 years since WWII, the US military-industrial complex has armed the world (the leading weapons exporter) and toppled regimes in over 50 nations (more than 25% of the world’s total), many that had been democratically elected while killing millions of innocents in the process. And the bulk of the regime-change agenda has occurred under Democratic administrations, not the allegedly more hawkish Republican ones. Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton and Obama.  You are American, or you are crushed or killed.

So here we are in 2016, facing another round of the charade called a Presidential election. Our media openly discusses how the super delegates of the Democratic party will decide the nominee, not voters. Our media openly discusses what rule changes may happen to enable the Republican convention to be *brokered*, again to prevent voters from effectively choosing the nominee they prefer over the one that is best suited to work within the status quo. A Clinton nomination, if you are to believe her own rhetoric, promises more of the same; just like the last eight years under Obama. Doesn’t it seem that capital might well be happy with the same policies that have brought us drone assassinations and missile strikes on every continent? More of the ramping up of expenditures to: safeguard our borders and deport undocumented human beings at all-time record rates; incarcerate citizens over petty, meaningless crimes in world-best numbers; supply even small-town police forces with military-grade weapons and training to abuse our own neighbors; build the next generation fighter (F-35) that can’t even fly 25 hours without an engine change, shoot real bullets, drop a single bomb, or avoid killing a pilot every few hundred hours of operation; ensure that the medical *industry* makes nearly as much profit as our financial *industry* does; revamp our nuclear weapon stockpile with the B61 Model 12, a drone/bomb that is so small *using it is more thinkable[1]*…

More of: cutting school budgets; limiting lifetime eligibility for food stamps or housing assistance; denying people access to life-saving drugs and even simple operations because of *expense*; allowing highly paid executives to regulate the industry they work in; closing homeless shelters because *it’s not cold enough outside*; calling unemployment *full* while 42% of working-age adults have no work at all; printing money in an attempt to cause inflation while your cost of normal living is rising at over 10% each year; insisting that Obamacare *fixed* our health care crisis…

So of course capital wants a Democrat in power. Clinton has repeatedly demonstrated that she will say everything; both sides of any discussion, yes and no or both-and, in order to appear to be your friend. She offers more (but better!) of the surveillance-drone-occupation and regime change she fostered as Secretary of State. More (but better!) of our broken health care system since she has wanted more and better since 1992. More (but better!) regulation of Wall Street. But with all of these promised incremental improvements, the details are nowhere to be discussed or debated…we must take her at her word that things will continue to improve. Sanders offers single-payer as a solution and is crushed with criticism; so tell me, what are Clinton’s actual proposals? We must believe, in Clinton’s view, that after a small tweak here and there, who could ask for more? And this is the crux of the matter: she cons you with the premise that the system is not broken, just scratched.

So here comes her opposition: the man who says *yes, the system is broken* and then points fingers at who he claims broke it. And for whites who have seen their privilege wither away, for men who have seen their privilege over women wither away, this rhetoric falls sweetly on ears that have longed for this message for many years. For the 1% who want the kinds of reform that can only be described as vulture capitalism, a man with four bankruptcies to his name is just the man for them! He’s experienced at making the tough calls, *you’re fired!*, that will facilitate the ongoing corporate takeover of governments around the globe. You don’t think the 1% actually want to pay for reforms that help the rest of us, do you? Trump’s knowledge of how to dodge responsibility for payment of debts is an asset, not a liability. He knows leverage and the wonders it can manifest; how to use other people’s money for personal gain. Of course he would make a good President at this point in capital’s global *growth* curve.

You may decry Trump’s stand on immigration; but he’s (not yet) the Great Deporter. Media silence on Obama’s highest-ever deportation rate is actually making war on who? America is a place where untrained toddlers sometimes shoot their mothers, and where trained police shoot unarmed citizens every single day. And the media would have us worry about foreign terrorists? Tuesday morning is when Obama approves the week’s kill list; note how many drone strikes that kill 150 *militants* at a wedding in Somalia happen just hours later (an occurrence so frequent that even the New York Times remarks on its curiosity). Told that Gadhafi had been publicly sodomized with a knife (think about that, but not too close to your mealtime) Mrs. Clinton gloated. Is that who you want as our next Commander-in-Chief? Is she *tough enough* for you? Count me as terrified. Remember, a chief supporter of HRC is Madeleine Albright – she who famously called the death of 500,000 children in Iraq *worth it*. Or are you planning to vote for her just because she’s a woman and you are not wanting to be thought of as a sexist troglodyte? These are not women in the usual sense of the word.

This is where you likely step up with the *lesser evil* argument; that neither is perfect, but this candidate is less evil than the other. For me to say don’t vote sounds at first like dodging responsibility, making just another to-do list, or even giving up. Actually it is advice: I tap into my longing for justice and security and having enough for a blissful life, and I quickly see that voting won’t get me to that world. Building a new system requires having new dreams. Less evil is more of the same; see above about how that will turn out. New government, new leadership, new compassion; all of these require work, not votes. You see, the great tradition of social change relies upon movements, solidarity among people, that is completely unfettered by any political party. Courage, creativity, compassion, and collective commitment are fundamental and foundational to a just and peaceful world; and antithetical to this capitalist system. What will shatter the status quo first: nuclear war or solar panels on every roof? Austerity, or walkable lives in manageable communities? Financial collapse, or food gardens in every front yard? The war for our future is ongoing and we all must soldier on. Whose side are you on? What will you do besides merely vote?


[1] General James Cartwright, former Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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