Browsing Posts in Class Antagonism

Alex Knight, a writer, teacher and social activist based in Philadelphia, recently asked me to republish the first two parts of an interview he did with Michael Carriere regarding his construct of what he calls The End of Capitalism. While it is not my desire to re-publish other works of original content by writers other than myself, I made an exception in this case as Alex Knight’s writings on the subject are not only articulate, concise and well-constructed, they are also of grave concern to me (and hopefully everyone) as the Imperialist and exploitative system of Capitalism/Corporatism has been plundering the natural and human resources of the earth for far too long. Mr. Knight’s words are needed more than ever right now, and so is our call to action to stand up to the moneyed interests that control our democratic process and alienate us from our own interests and each other. I re-published the first part of Alex’s interview on my other site, The Pigeon Post, which you can find here. So here is part two (a) of Alex Knight on The End of Capitalism:

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The following exchange between Michael Carriere and Alex Knight occurred via email, July 2010. Alex Knight was questioned about the End of Capitalism Theory, which states that the global capitalist system is breaking down due to ecological and social limits to growth and that a paradigm shift toward a non-capitalist future is underway. This is the second part of a four-part interview.

Part 2A. Capitalism and Ecological Limits

MC: Capitalism has faced many moments of crisis over time. Is there something different about the present crisis? What makes the end of capitalism a possibility now?

AK: This is such an important question, and it’s vital to think and talk about the crisis in this way, with a view toward history. It’s not immediately obvious why this crisis began and why, two years later, it’s not getting better. Making sense of this is challenging. Especially since knowledge of economics has become so enclosed within academic and professional channels where it’s off-limits to the majority of the population. Even progressive intellectuals, who aim to translate and explain the crisis to regular folks, too often fall into the trap of accepting elite explanations as the starting point and then injecting their politics around the edges. This is why there is such an abundance of essays and videos analyzing “credit default swaps”, “collateralized debt obligations,” etc., as if this crisis is about nothing more than greedy speculators overstepping their bounds. continue reading…

What is Lady Liberty to do? Stuck in the middle of two parties that represent the same corporate interests while giving her platitudes about our rights and our liberties. No wonder she is covering her face.

When Alexis de Tocqueville published Democracy in America in 1835, little did he know how the quintessential concept of American Democracy — with all of the good and all of the bad — would shape the course of global events for the next 175 years. But de Tocqueville did however, predict that Democracy can quite easily turn into despotism under the guise of liberty and freedom.

Alexis de Tocqueville had quite a quaint and romantic notion — though wholly realistic — of the potential of the Democracy he saw in America for the greater good of the human condition, though he framed it within the greater context of historical notions of freedom and liberty, determining that American Democracy does not have a patent on freedom, but rather was one of many systems of rule where freedom prospered.

Freedom has appeared in the world at different times and under various forms; it has not been exclusively bound to any social condition, and it is not confined to democracies. Freedom cannot, therefore, form the distinguishing characteristic of democratic ages. The peculiar and preponderant fact that marks those ages as its own is the equality of condition; the ruling passion of men in those periods is the love of this equality. Do not ask what singular charm the men of democratic ages find in being equal, or what special reasons they may have for clinging so tenaciously to equality rather than to the other advantages that society holds out to them: equality is the distinguishing characteristic of the age they live in; that of itself is enough to explain that they prefer it to all the rest…

Democratic nations are at all times fond of equality, but there are certain epochs at which the passion they entertain for it swells to the height of fury. This occurs at the moment when the old social system, long menaced, is overthrown after a severe internal struggle, and the barriers of rank are at length thrown down. At such times men pounce upon equality as their booty, and they cling to it as to some precious treasure which they fear to lose. [1] continue reading…

The downfall of the American Farmer is quite a unique example of modern corporatism manifested through what is the equivalency of serfdom for those across the nation who try to survive as independent farmers. As the large and powerful forces of Agri-Business consolidate their stranglehold on the American Farmer (as well as global consolidation of agricultural production), we the people continue to subsidize a system which is: eliminating the diversity of food sources; perpetuating devastation to the environment; poisoning our food with harmful pesticides that have been proven to be linked to numerous diseases; and furthering the profit-driven motives of corporations who view the American Farmer as merely a commodity to be exploited, duped, used and manipulated for their continuing attempt at controlling the world’s food supply.

This issue is quite personal as I come from a very long line of farmers. Going back hundreds of years in Ireland, parts of my family have existed through toiling in the fields to provide sustenance for their own survival and the survival of those who are nourished by the fruits of their labor. I still have family in Ireland that sustains a living from farming and those in my family that came to the United States over a hundred years ago, migrated to the midwest and continue to farm to this day, though they are most assuredly the last of four generations to sustain a living through farming as the collusion of Agri-Business and Banking have put them and all farmers in massive debt and left them with only one option: grow what they tell them to grow with only the genetically limited seeds they allow them to grow with and make sure that those crops are saturated with the dangerous chemicals that they require them to use. continue reading…

I am reclaiming two articles of mine that were written for another website which I am no longer affiliated with. I thought I would share them with any readers of mine who might not have read them.

From Clinton to Obama

Reconciling Hope with Reality

Having spent my entire adult life living through the Clinton, W., and now Obama administrations, not only do I have the intellectual and academic tools to put these political years in proper historical context, I have the sometimes rare blessing of actual real-time critique and analysis—rare to Historians such as myself at least. Around the time Clinton took office, we saw an explosion of cable news and right-wing talk radio, and a little later, the internet became a widely available source for the propagation of information from all corridors of political debate.

By and large, this wealth of information would ultimately serve to further divide what is largely a politically moderate population. Rather than thoughtful debate on real issues, the prevailing apparatus of political discussion was merely more than a screaming match between two sides, “Liberal” and “Conservative,” that produced little actual meaningful dialogue, but further divided an electorate that in reality is not too far apart on most issues. continue reading…

United for Corporatism

To say there is no more left and no more right might be a bit of an over simplification of a complex dynamic of political economy, but nonetheless is an accurate one given the utter and total takeover of government by moneyed, corporate interests. This modern corporatism has created a democratic system that serves only to divide and conquer. Rather than taking constructive and historically realistic views of the state of the two party system, the two camps, Liberal and Conservative (Democrat & Republican), are engaged in a constant reactionary state, disregarding material reality in order to claim the rightness of their actions. When W. Bush was blindly supported and cheered by the “right” for the dismantling of democracy for corporate interests, the so-called “left” spent a great deal of energy reacting to Bush’s actions and using charged hyperbole that did little, if anything to change perceptions of his administration’s actions. Likewise, as those on “the left,” or the Liberals, blindly cheer Obama as he dismantles our democracy for corporate interests, the “right” uses their energy to react by claiming “socialism”among other loaded terms that perpetuate the same divisiveness.

In Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985), the concept of big brother is described through an analysis of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 classic Brave New World rather than the cliched totalitarianism of Orwell’s 1984. There is one particular passage that is quite profound in regard to the current climate of political, cultural and social discourse — or the lack thereof — that pervades every aspect of our current ability to disregard history for the immediate reactionary propagation of disinformation intended to keep us divided. When the term Big Brother is used and thrown around, its meaning is relegated to a very simplified notion of Government and/or corporate control of our lives. In this particular case, Big Brother is the Government and Corporate interests all in one package: a symbiotic assimilation of capitalist/corporate interests that control our democracy through our elected officials. continue reading…

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