Democracy’s corpse lies vanquished across the ruined ramparts of Detroit, Michigan. A pillow placed over her face by bankers, suffocated the life out of her, as citizen patrols now replace police, (headline) Detroit Citizens Protect themselves After Police Force Decimated. A city of two million in the 1950s is now reduced to scant 700,000 stragglers today. Detroit isn’t behind the nation, she is the spear point, the same maladies found in Motown can be found in any city in the United States.
The elected Detroit Mayor and city council were superseded by state edict, appointing Kevyn Orr, as an emergency manager. Emergency is the right word, all right. Detroit’s police force was already down 25% since 2009, and now? So let’s scream and blame Unions or let’s scream and blame big business, but… no bucks, no Buck Rogers. Ford Motor Company, out of the goodness of its little civic heart donated $ 8,000,000 for new police cars and ambulances, after relocating most its domestic production to Mexico.
Very simply — every worker in the United States competes directly with third world production. Quite simply — it can’t be done. If a manufacturer can pay an industrial worker $5.00 per day, without health care or environmental costs and without a dime of penalty, our economy is doomed. Americans find themselves on the road, living as internal refugees, looking for anyplace better than here, but finding it’s the same all over. And our government pursues yet another Free Trade agreement, just to make sure there’s plenty of low wage competition, because when it comes to driving down wages, the more the merrier.
Free Trade should be categorized as a weapon of mass destruction, and those who use it, as war criminals. Free Trade is the nuclear option of Neoliberal Capitalism; it is using poverty as the driving force of government, the ole small enough to drown in a bathtub, is now here! And coming soon, to a town near you! So Detroit figures, it can put three George Zimmerman volunteers on the street, for the cost of one trained police officer. I had a buddy once who was a Baptist Minister; he used to say, “The Ministry and the Boy Scouts always seem to attract the wrong kind of people.” I would add the Police to this list; some people just want to help folks, some just want a tin badge and a whistle.
It is a horrific picture, an American city, crumbling, collapsing, like Rome, sheep grazing in the forum before us. A government economic philosophy which barely imagines itself as legitimate and a political philosophy which is no more than a hodgepodge; a gobbledy-goop of catch all phrases about democracy and faux boogey men named Mohamed. It’s funny, in a perverse sort of way, that Socialism, followed to the nth degree is pure Communism, but Capitalism, followed to its nth degree is our modern America. A careless, heedless, stumbling drunk, intoxicated on money liquor, stomping on momma’s flower bed, poisoning our water, pissing in our well.
Capitalism is an illness; the better you think you’re doing, the sicker you are. Torn as we are between the womb and the big box, between supporting and supplying ourselves by selling our talents in a not-so-open market owned, lock, stock, and two smoking barrels, by the money liquored up buffoons, who don’t care nothin’ ’bout nothin’, but money, Sonny. They think nothing of damaging or destroying aquifers for temporary profit and general amusement of international oil companies. Or to build oil pipelines, delivering a domestic product to world markets, for the benefit of individuals, rather than a nation. The Democratic President, in a time of falling revenue and economic distress, offers to buy the oil companies another round, suggesting a reduction in the rent paid on Federal lands, stealing money from Momma’s purse. Money which belongs to us all, he offers to give away, to the richest companies in the world. Screw Benghazi, screw the IRS, but if you owned a store and your employee was trying to give your stuff away?
Obviously, there has to be a motivation, either current or future. Obviously, corruption is hardly new, only it’s now reached the point where hitting the iceberg means you can rob the purser’s safe! Ignoring the suffering of millions upon millions of American men, women and children, Billions for defense, but not a penny for a decent jobs program…because? If your philosophy says private enterprise works better than government, you make sure that government fails! Besides, you can rake off profits from private enterprise; you try that as a government official and its corruption. Like junkies, they brag about who can get the best stuff and about who has the best connections.
There is no rescue for Detroit or for Michigan, Ohio, Illinois or Alabama. There is only salvation for the United States, as a whole; the same people who lobby to cut the school lunch budgets are the same people who place candy and soft drink vending machines inside the schools. Isn’t Capitalism wonderful, separate a child from his parents when you know they’ll have coins in their pocket. Then give ‘em a choice, a tasteless government lunch with vegetables and a salad or Reece’s Pieces, chips and a Diet Coke? I feel certain it wasn’t calculated that way, aren’t you? Only Capitalism is an endless series of the damndest coincidences. Congress changes the bankruptcy law, requiring a homeowner live in a home four years before earning protection from foreclosure and four years to the week later, the economy tanks! It sounds almost as if it were planned that way, doesn’t it? No, I’m sure you’re right; it’s all just a coincidence.
So I’ll ask, what is the best business climate for a nation which manufactures war materials? What is the energy policy of a government staffed with oil company executives? What is the economic policy of a government staffed with banking executives? What is the trade policy, when they’re fortunes to be made by those with the access to capital, using third world labor to replace an entire American factory payroll for the equivalent of ONE American paycheck? The fallout from Free Trade’s mass destruction, its radioactive sting is buried in the fine print, where it can’t be smelled. These are the codification of divine laws. Declaring, it shall be so…forever! Trade agreements chiseled in stone, no do-overs, bottle caps or ethical reconsideration in light of current circumstances.
Who in their right mind would propose making Main Street one way – forever, “as long as the grass grows and the river flows?” In the 19th century, city fathers provided hitching posts and horse watering troughs; indeed, we are fortunate our forefathers had the presence of mind to not make such laws in perpetuity. They understood well, that such laws are stealing democracy from the future. They are agreements which tell on themselves, as only a corrupt law needs such protection.
Someday, in the very near future, maybe two years, maybe less, there will be a demonstration in the streets of the United States. The demonstrators will be as peaceful as Buddhist monks in meditation and the police will open fire and kill some of them dead. “The medium is the message,” the event will be the frosting on the birthday cake of modern, corporate Fascism. Notice given, fair and true, government will shoot down dissidents, activists, malcontents and maybe even a few intellectuals, just to make it a nice round number.
With Pinochet’s Chile as their model, a neoliberalist police state is born with two distinct classes: inside and outside. Needless to explain that you and I and probably everyone you and I know, will be on the outside. Those inside will be the corporate state. Already we have seen the rise in police violence to a point where you fear police more than crime. The state must act and re-act with violence; they must, to illustrate its strength and resolve in an inverted projection of the frightened acting out of fear. Never forget, they fear you!
What’s more, they loath you, you’re contemptible in their eyes. Your old car, your fashionless manner of dress, your job or your lack of a job, as neoliberalism is nothing more than re-branded neo-feudalism, the lords of the manor and beta-minuses[i] in a Disney inspired, cruel new world. The end of Democrats and Republicans, merely factions now, play actors, as the octopus doesn’t need all those legs anyhow, a government phoned in. Already, there are two Americas, divided no differently than Yankees and Confederates. You see, to the fish swimming near the surface, everything is groovy, but to all us other little fishes, we’re swimming in the mud, just trying to stay alive as the watery fluid of money is drained away.
Twenty million home foreclosures since 2006, four Americans per home, that’s 80 million Americans debased. That’s one in four Americans made homeless in the last six years. The churn of unemployed and under-employed remains at near record highs, as the system just regurgitates the numbers, grinding American families into sausage. Record numbers seeking SSI disability, desperate Americans pushed to the edge and beyond the edge, as the rate of suicide for the middle-aged is up 28% from 1999 to 2010. We now live in a country where more people kill themselves than die in auto accidents. “Death was a friend, and sleep was Death’s brother.” ~ John Steinbeck
Up in the attic there is this portrait; one group of Americans has already seen this specter. The other has not; they still believe we still look the same as we once did. They live as Eloi[ii] children isolated and pampered, sated by the full emersion brain erosion of mass media. It is mass media, as a dedicated distraction, a robber shooting into the ceiling, just to keep your eyes off the culprits and to keep you good and scared in the process. Dividing up the public with imaginary clown parties, funded by the money liquored-up buffoons, for those Eloi still unable to understand the con. In a dark room you can’t tell Barack Obama from George W. Bush, they’re interchangeable, one and the same, soon to be replaced by the next one, generic, but just the same.
How long before the land is exhausted, the water polluted and the oceans depleted? How long before our environment stumbles, before Capitalism destroys the land, the air and the seas, taking all of us, innocent or guilty, with them? Anyone seen a bee lately?
We’re living in an economy of mass destruction, the intentional dismantling of a national economy for the explicit purpose of political reformation. To make war upon the people with the weapon of money, by driving the economy into the ground. Detroit is a symbol of their victory, representative democracy has fled, gone are social services, as the stragglers must now defend themselves. This generation of ours must be remembered as great or it might not be remembered at all.
[i] From Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World. A lower ranking or second-class human or intelligence.
[ii] From H.G.Well’s The Time Machine. Diminutive, naive, child-like adults bred as food for the Morlocks.
About the Author: David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, “The Servants of Pilate”.