The Coastal Post - April 2000

The first part of our multi-million dollar democracy charade is over-26 million spent on media ads alone-and now we move , endlessly , into the final phase of the spectacle. It will waste even more dollars and energy, but that's the way it goes in an unworkable situation, if viewed from the perspective of humanity .

But seen from the narrower standpoint of globalism-the current euphemism for the rule of capital-everything is going according to plan.

The gambling casino financial market, with little relation to the actual production and distribution of goods and services, continues to reward The House and some of its crap-shooters with riches. This, as it bankrupts the source of its wealth; people and other aspects of nature, which it uses to enrich minorities, while impoverishing everyone else. Charles Ponzi was years ahead of his time.

Ponzi, arrested back in the 1920s as a criminal, merely created a small sample of the idiocy now working on a global level. He got people to invest in properties that were nothing more than their own investments, which he used to pay them at ridiculous interest rates. Once he ran out of gullible people who believed the lie, his scam came to an end. Upper class swindlers resented an immigrant upstart encroaching on their territory, and dubbed his efforts at imitating them a "ponzi scheme."

If Ponzi were alive now, he'd be one of our new millionaires . In an environment filled with investors who rush to finance companies that show nothing but losses, the ponz would be happier than a pig in deep do-do. Which is the substance market groupies-the smaller ones-are likely to be buried in, if this financial balloon bursts.

But the insane spectacle goes on. And while a minority cleans up on the casino's glorified ponzi scheme, society continues to be torn apart by even greater institutional and social horrors. Among the most recent:

An innocent, unarmed black man in New York was killed by white policemen, and in a search for individual vengeance, people sought their punishment. Disappointment at their exoneration found little focus given to the system of racism and poverty that creates ghettos and violence.

Then a six year old child shot and killed a classmate. Again, vengeful thoughts directed at parents who could let a child have a gun, with little concern for the miserable circumstances of the gun-toting child's life, and the tens of thousands of children who live like him.

The police, like the army, have the jobs of maintaining law and order, frequently under conditions that defy law and prevent order. Whether slaughtering foreigners who made the mistake of being born in the wrong country, or killing citizens whose mistake was living in the wrong neighborhood and having the wrong skin color, they do the dirtiest work that maintains the status quo.

When they act out society's worst realities, they are often identified as the source of the problem. Meanwhile, the real villains enjoy lives of leisure class luxury, and scam the great mass of unarmed servants into seeking retribution from the terrible armed servants who would commit such atrocities.

The young black man in New York was among the 25% of workers in the U.S. who earn less than eight dollars an hour in this booming economy. He was an African national, a street peddler, and he lived in a neighborhood of Latinos and blacks, described as a "combat zone" by some authorities. Major urban areas of this nation look much like the third world these days, though most white critics of police violence don't know this. The only white people familiar with these parts of America are the police.

The young African man's life here was similar to what it would be in the third world , where people often sell goods in the street to survive. But his death was all too distinctly American, even to the conditions of his murder. Only the number of bullets used made it newsworthy. Unarmed black men are regularly shot by the police , but just the most notorious cases reach public awareness.

The young child who killed his classmate lived in appalling domestic conditions which are all too common for children like him, even in this exciting economy of cyber profits. His father was in jail, where tens of thousands of young black men languish. These men are not among the privileged few who receive upper-class tokens from affirmative action; they are the under-privileged majority who only get the lower-class slugs of negative action. The child's mother was living with another man, labeled a "career criminal" by authorities who create conditions for evil language more readily than for decent lives.

What future had that child, and the countless others like him, left fatherless in a nation that now has more than 2 million people in its prisons and jails? What are their mothers to do, without education, without child care, without welfare , without a father around? Who considers them? Certainly not the establishment gas bags who run for president. Nor the citizens who see a bad police officer, but are blind to a rotten police state.

If he were alive, Charles Ponzi might not know or care about such things. He'd simply become a entrepreneur and exploit his share of the greed and immorality that continues, in part because we seek individual scapegoats instead of confronting social horror.

This ponzi scheme of an economy is at the root of the injustice financed by its profits. When citizens confront this sham and create a real democracy, that economic scheme may finally come to an end. Until then, racism, environmental destruction and casino profits will continue flowing, like so much polluted water and poisoned air.

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