Capitalism is a system where you sell your soul for a heaven — promised by the devil. A promise which never reaches fulfillment, claiming responsibilities for all and glories for some, if you are competitive. If you are competitive enough, because that is what life is supposed to be all about, isn’t it? Or to paraphrase Eugene Debs, you have a wheelbarrow and Rockefeller has a railroad, so perhaps if you just work harder, you too, can be competitive. Capitalism claims it creates wealth, jobs and prosperity; yes, cry that message from the rubble heaps in Detroit, Youngstown or Toledo.
These are the monuments of capitalism, glittering office towers with million dollar apartments. Doormen and security systems to protect them from the real fruits of capitalism: crime, ghettos and poverty. This is capitalism — a belief that any child can be president, if they don’t move the plant to Beijing or Shanghai first. During the last Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt rescued capitalism, believing you could bell the cat and tame the bull. History has since taught that you cannot maintain a cancer. You cannot wall off greed; greed is eternal and capitalism is the system of eternal greed.
Capitalism claims all the glories, while eschewing all the blame. It poisons our air, our water and soil and when the bull in the china shop is finally corralled, it claims regulation as the evil. Pick any problem in this country, scratch through the veneer and you will find the bare metal of capitalism. Take for example the drug dealer on any American street corner; because of poverty there is crime, because of the crime there is violence. Because there is violence, there are street gangs for protection. There are no jobs available, so the drug dealer becomes the Capitalist, the entrepreneur, willing to risk life and limb for enough money to raise his self-esteem.
We live in a media environment which repeatedly insists you must have $200 shoes manufactured by slaves far, far away. You must have a smart phone and clothes emblazoned with corporate logos, just like the media celebrities and athletes. Celebrities and athletes culled from one one-millionth of the culture, held up as carrots on the stick to convince adolescents the system really works. The drug dealer and the street gang member in the ghetto are no different from the CEO or the Wall Street stock trader. One might kill you for your wallet; the other might kill an entire city. One is lauded the other defamed; both getting their pictures in the media. One receiving citizenship awards the other to be executed.
In 2006, Jeffery Skilling, the former CEO of Enron, was convicted on multiple federal felony charges of making false statements to auditors, insider trading, conspiracy and securities fraud. Skilling spent 40 million dollars on his legal defense before being convicted and sentenced to 24 years in a minimum security prison. His legal team still hard at work, managed his appeal on to the docket of the Supreme Court in three years. The Court seeing the injustice nullified his fraud conviction. Skilling’s attorneys later swung a deal to knock ten years off his sentence and Skilling will pay a fine of $ 45 million, just a skosh more than his legal defense budget.
Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old Bronx high school sophomore arrested while walking home from a party, on a tip that he’d robbed someone three weeks earlier. Unable to post the $10,000 bond, Browder was incarcerated at the notorious Riker’s Island jail. A single witness, repeated court hearings, but never brought to trial. The teenager spent 33 months in prison and 400 days in solitary confinement, beaten by guards and inmates alike. He was finally released, having spent more time in hell without a trial than it took for a convicted millionaire’s case to reach the Supreme Court. This is the true face of capitalism.
Fascism is merely capitalism on steroids, turbocharged; neoliberalism is fascism with a smiling face and reassuring smile, exchanging jack boots and goose stepping for a three-piece suit and a Rolex. Fascism is capitalism under the legal protection of crime, where corporations are people and the people are assumed guilty without charge.
“Any institution which does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil.” ~ Maximilien Robespierre
“A lot of people are saying ‘Hey, it’s about time. Why do we keep giving money to people who are going to go use it on drugs instead of their families?’”
— Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
“Right now, a bipartisan group in Congress is working on a three-month extension of unemployment insurance — and if they pass it, I will sign it. For decades, Republicans and Democrats put partisanship and ideology aside to offer some security for job-seekers, even when the unemployment rate was lower than it is today.” ~ Barack Obama
America: a capitalist two-party septic system, one side willing to let the people starve, the other saying, let them starve in ninety days. Can society’s problems ever be fixed by such a system, by applying a coat of red or blue spray paint to self-inflicted wounds? Capitalism is primitive — a winner take all belief system. How can such a system believe that after taking all, it should give back out of benevolence? It can’t and it won’t, not now, not ever.
With what moral authority can they speak of human rights — the rulers of a nation in which the millionaire and beggar coexist; the Indian is exterminated; the black man is discriminated against; the woman is prostituted; and the great masses of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and Latin Americans are scorned, exploited, and humiliated? How can they do this — the bosses of an empire where the mafia, gambling, and child prostitution are imposed; where the CIA organizes plans of global subversion and espionage, and the Pentagon creates neutron bombs capable of preserving material assets and wiping out human beings; an empire that supports reaction and counter-revolution all over the world; that protects and promotes the exploitation by monopolies of the wealth and the human resources of whole continents, unequal exchange, a protectionist policy, an incredible waste of natural resources, and a system of hunger for the world? ~ Fidel Castro
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.”