The Coastal Post - March 2000

The Merchant of Menace

By Frank Scott

Commerce has been a major force in the material progress of humankind. It has helped us evolve from a race facing unimaginable struggle for survival, to a developed state in which a major portion of humanity is still struggling, while another lives in material excess. Our commercial process has helped develop a life of privilege for many, but it still consigns others to deprivation and misery.

Why have we advanced so far, and yet left so many in poverty and despair? While the privileged classes often achieve material affluence only at the cost of mental misery?

The answer is that both the progress and the deprivation are direct results of a particular process of commerce known, though rarely understood, as capitalism.

People communicating and trading in markets has motivated much of what is good about humanity. But the anti-democratic and anti-social process of capitalism that has dominated commerce for hundreds of years is the cause of maddening inconsistencies in production, distribution and consumption. And just as important, it is threatening the air, land and water that are the foundations of life.

A worldwide movement calling for democratic power to be exercised over global trade, really amounts to an argument for radical change in the system of commerce. But the longer it takes to agree on that point, the more threatening the problem becomes. We are seriously menaced by the continued merchandising of pollution, waste, and human suffering, all in pursuit of a private profit that creates devastating social loss.

The mercantile force is currently putting on its election show, spending incredible amounts of money to imply a democratic system where none exists. Two major candidates, Bradley and McCain, offer some change from the front runners, but neither are about anything different when it comes to commerce . Both believe that our present system is wonderful. We merely need to make some personal adjustments and re-introduce honesty to the practice of politics-if it ever was there-and everything will be fine. Sure.

While this election performance has been occupying the minds of a minority, the majority has witnessed other spectacles that tell more about our problems than any of the empty vessels presently being hyped as our next president. Among these are two major cases of international child abuse. Some political figures are belatedly speaking out against these situations, though very carefully, in obedience to the dollar power of their employers in commerce.

More than a million people have been killed in Iraq as a result of our wicked sanctions. There is some sign that the barbarians may be tiring of the bad publicity it generates internationally, if not here in the states. Due to that publicity, we may soon end the depraved policy that is murdering an entire nation, especially its innocent children. A less bloody but equally notorious case here in the USA, is the fiasco of the Cuban child, Elian Gonzalez. Months have passed in which nothing but propaganda and evil have triumphed, while a child and a family are defiled, all in political pursuit of money and power.

The rich and fanatic Cuban-American minority in Miami may be blamed for this sordid episode, but they could not act without the complicity of those in power. And the performance of that second group has been disgraceful . Whining platitudes about the good of the child and the evils of Castro have been the blatherings of most politicians, who cannot speak any truth without including rhetorical sops to the Gusano Gestapo, hopefully assuring future financial contributions.

And this cowardly performance by the political establishment occurs while brave Cuban-Americans who are not part of the fanatic cult have been moved to speak up, at risk to their own physical safety. Nothing has helped, except to recently move the story off the front pages.

We have been witness to every form of exploitation of this child, with the exception of his being sexually molested on national TV. The total disregard for Elianís well being is an example of how we treat tens of thousands, perhaps millions of children in America, and millions more across the globe.

We profess love for some kids, but we murder them in places like Iraq , and we consign them to miserable lives of poverty and even jail them as adults in our own nation. Then we select a trophy child like this abused Cuban, and in so doing make a mockery of ourselves and the warped double standards that motivate our society.

It is not a demonic individual , but commercial capitalism that is responsible for the murders in Iraq and the child abuse in Miami Beach. Just as it is that system which defoliates forests, pollutes air and degrades morality, all in pursuit of profit. Iraq is made a bloody example, not because of its dictator, but because it disobeyed the culture of the great white gas guzzler. And we carry out a vindictive policy towards Cuba, not because of Fidel, but because that tiny nation dares to practice a commerce that puts people before profits.

The fanatic, if sincere cult in Miami would be gone in a nano-second without the support of a fanatic but insincere cult in Washington, USA. And that Washington cult, and the economy which it serves, will maintain control as long as the election process continues in its present form.

The national democratic structure is built on a foundation of the commercial forces that are the root cause of our problems. The marketing of politics perpetuates the molesting of the public mind and the abuse of the public body. This perverse process will continue until democracy stops the capitalist merchant of menace which dominates our commercial life.

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