Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why I consider capitalism war

[NOTE: The following article is full of my personal opinions and unsubstantiated claims. For the sake of efficiency I have not provided any sources. For now I leave it in your hands to either prove or disprove the opinions expressed in the following article. At a later date I may expand on these thoughts and touch up the grammar, but I hope the article is of some value to you as it is now.]

       Is capitalism war? Capitalism and war are both competitive; sometimes the competition is to the death. It takes a similar mentality to succeed in both capitalism and war; one must use people as resources to reach an objective, and the more ruthless you are the better you fare in both endeavors. Wars are often inflamed because of capitalistic greed and the winner proceeds in exploiting the looser through the market. The rhetoric of both capitalism and war encourages the idea that one’s prosperity must come at another’s expense. Even if capitalism isn’t war, they both need each other to survive and flourish. Both institutions are deadly competitions that objectify human beings and reward ruthlessness, while justifying pitting one person or group against another. I believe that capitalism is a kind of war, one fought after the guns are silenced.
       And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there…

       It’s not very hard to explain war. A bunch of guys get together and try to kill another bunch of guys. If not kill them then conquer them, overpower them, or take what the other group has. Give me exclusive access to this area and its resources or I’ll kill you; that‘s at least one side of it. Sometimes one finds them self in the midst of war and their choice is either to fight till they die, or just die. With those options most people choose to fight. Unfortunately those circumstances don’t give anyone a chance to realize who their real enemies are, and they often end up fighting the wrong people. It stinks to be in the middle sometimes. The other side of the issue is liberation, Leave us alone or I’ll kill you. Wars don’t start at this end but they may finish here. So, fighting a war isn’t necessarily wrong because sometimes you have no choice other than to take part in it. Sometimes peace, freedom, and dignity are the goals of war; but it is what it is, and it is war. So what about capitalism?

       “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime,” or more accurately "The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed."

       Capitalism isolates people from each other and only encourages cooperation when the objective is to crush an opponent, or when people are manipulated or coerced into furthering one person’s wealth. Capitalism is the state of being in a perpetual conflict with your neighbors and community. We learn to criticize the indigent for their failure, without considering the factors of their life. Such cruel thinking is normal in American society. It’s terrible that we have learned to hate our fellow human beings so much. And it is hate, because one must learn to hate a person to ignore their plight or concoct a justification for their pain.

       "Veni, vidi, vici" for those of us who speak English “I came, I saw, I conquered."

       In the first world it may seem like a hyperbolic statement to say that people die of capitalism, but they do. Capitalism does, in fact, kill in the first world, but it mostly kills in the third world. This is the cost of first world wealth. Many areas with valuable natural resources are populated with poor people. These people did not give up their resources willingly, and I’ll bet, if given the choice they would prefer to benefit from the wealth these local resources bring. More times than not though, third-worlders don’t benefit from or have access to the valuable resources in their area. Resources are stolen by violence and intimidation, and similar methods are used to keep people away from these stolen resources.
       Perhaps to some people depriving the needy of the essential resource of food and basic shelter through violence or intimidation doesn’t seem like war. Maybe it’s necessary for some resource hoarders to trick themselves into thinking that way. What if violence were used to take someone’s excess or deprive them of another essential resource- like oxygen; would it be war then? If the latter were done on the same scale as the former it surely would be thought of as a war. To some people even talking in such terms is seen as a potential threat. Curiously, the strangle hold on resources by the rich through violence doesn’t seem to threaten people the same way as taking from people who have too much.
       If capitalism is war then is socialism peace? Perhaps in a way it is. But socialism is too often confused with state capitalism, fascism, or other forms of totalitarianism. Capitalism and war require violent conflict while socialism and peace require cooperation. Wars aren’t as easy to stop as they are to start or define, especially when the culture is indoctrinated to see war as peace.
       One might ask, if capitalism is war, and if wars can be fought for liberation, then can capitalism lead to liberation and peace? Most people do engage in the capitalist system with no ill intent, but many people in the middle of it all (the middle class) end up unwittingly or unwillingly fueling the system. War is a large scale violent conflict, and so is capitalism. But the two things do have differences. For instance capitalism is more than just a form of war; it’s also imperialism, slavery, and in some ways a religion. By definition, slavery and imperialism cannot lead to liberation.
       These other aspects of capitalism will be explored at a later time.
       As it is now we’re all at war. Some of us are doing better than others, but the fight continues. Now is the time for voices to advocate for peace from the most prevalent form of war.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It’s Time to get up and do something!

               As the saying goes “A roaring lion kills no game”. What a true statement that is.
I could sit here and paraphrase the views of more intelligent and prominent thinkers. But by now anyone who knows me knows I’m not going to do that. What good would that do anyway?
                It baffles me that so many people demand change of the world, but are unwilling to change their own lives and living situations. I’m talking about some of my fellow leftists here. Are we all not part of the world? How can the world then change so drastically if we don’t drastically change our day to day activities? I do believe that socialism starts in the mind but I don’t think it should end there.
               Ideas of cooperative living and working are seen as ‘crazy’ or ‘unrealistic’ to many of the leftists I’ve met.  The main criticism I’ve heard for both communes and work co-ops is that: you can’t have a pocket of socialism in a world of capitalism. Technically this is true of course, but not only that, it’s also quite convenient. So if I have it right, no changes matter until the entire world changes.  It’s all or nothing, so let’s do nothing until everyone on the planet agrees with us- What a useless philosophy.
That’s not to say that cooperative situations don’t have their share of problems. From what I’ve heard power struggles can arise or certain people within the group may try to take over. So it turns out communes aren’t little utopias; who’d have thought? Another issue with communes and Co-ops is that they don’t directly fight social or economic injustice, by virtue of their existence alone. This is curious because mainstream living is, in some ways, counterproductive to leftist’s social justice and liberation goals. So if mainstream living doesn’t get in the way of activism or resistance, then why would cooperative living?
               Needless to say I don’t think some people want the world they advocate for, or at least some are afraid of taking that step away from the familiar world they currently live in. I understand that fear, I share that fear. What I fear more is being old and poor, or sick and poor. It would be foolish to jump into a situation without thinking it through. Unfortunately this common sense is often used as an excuse for people to remain where they are.
               It’s said that we need a culture of resistance; well then Why not resist the current culture. As it is now, we still have the freedom to cooperate financially. We are allowed to share resources. We can resist capitalist culture by living as socialistically as we can with what we can. No, it won’t be complete, and it won’t be global, but it will be a start. I personally think it would be a far better start than chanting empty slogans.
               It’s time to try and build something, even if it isn’t perfect at first. Even if yuppies or hipsters don’t find it trendy it’s about time someone got their hands dirty.
It’s time for me to get up and do something, how about you?

My failure

They say free-writing can sometimes be therapeutic, well here I go.

So, I have this idea for a project. Many people think it’s kind of a far out idea, while others would claim that it doesn’t go far enough. As it is now, not many people take the ideals of my project seriously.

I think the main problem with getting people to consider these ideas is me. I’m not fishing for sympathy or feeling sorry for myself, I’m looking at the situation honestly. People too often cannot separate the person from the idea. This particular idea though, has little to do with me, but that isn’t enough to keep people from dismissing it outright because of my involvement.

That’s not to say that I don’t have some friends, nor am I saying that there is no one who finds me somewhat intelligent. I am grateful for those who are fond of me, but my agenda remains stagnant.

My unpopularity isn’t the only thing holding people away from these ideas of course.

First of all I haven’t had the courage to outright explain my agenda in full. My own cowardice, shyness or whatever you want to call it is a major hindrance. Perhaps it started out as a healthy fear, but I’m wasting my time if I don’t conquer it.

Another failing is my inability to properly explain my views to the few people willing to listen to me. My own social awkwardness is one of my greatest enemies.

In my opinion some people just don’t want to do anything. The project I’m alluding to here would require the people involved to work; not just pontificate. But honestly, I think that most of the people who’ve rejected the project outright have other reasons for doing so. I have little doubt, if people believed in the merits of the project they’d be more than willing to take ownership of it.

The merits of what I attempt to promote aren’t for everyone, and of course there are flaws in those merits. These flaws could be remedied or fixed over time by other minds. And herein lies the paradox. What a hilarious irony. This ludicrous dynamic plays out in so many ways, on so many levels, for so many issues. The person presenting the ideals of this project is its most repelling factor.

Perhaps it’s time I let loose. If people don’t like what I have to say they don’t have to listen.

We’ll see what I do from here. My old tactics obviously don’t work; it’s time for something new. It’s time for me to get real.