Deck the Malls With Bloody Folly
By Frank Scott
We arrive at the season of over-consumption earlier each year. Where Thanksgiving was once the signal to begin the advertising orgy for the holy spending days, we now start at Halloween. Both those holidays are merely preludes to the festival of excess, as the nation's businesses pray for relief in a suffering economy.
Consumers are the only economic hope, as they have been for years, bravely brandishing plastic, increasing their debt and keeping the economy from drowning in its own productive excess. This, while the country approaches another slaughter in the middle east, still allegedly fighting the fabled "war on terrorism," mostly where it does not exist.
Washington admits to having merely dispersed and not defeated al Qaida, and has recently discovered that Osama is alive, at least on audio tape. What is to be done about this setback? Create another demon, Saddam, and use him as an excuse to further inflict suffering on poor souls who have done nothing but fall victim to a demented presidential lynching party, and their cohorts from what used to be the opposition.
Iraq's alleged threat to the USA make as much sense as believing that Bush is jealous of Saddam's better command of the English language. But new announcements of terror threats, issued regularly about targets ranging from child care centers to massage parlors, have made many Americans very nervous. And those who see through the propaganda are more nervous, at their civil liberties being stolen by a fanatic regime operating relatively unopposed anywhere but outside the establishment.
The government continues to assault the public sector, threatening to privatize hundreds of thousands of jobs. That means less worker protection, less pay, and less consumption. This contradictory, ignorant and schizophrenic action is not simply a manifestation of the empty-headed president. It is the neoliberal economic policy that has long driven the empire and the world under its control . And the policy gets worse just as the holy days approach , and the commercial world desperately awaits a binge of credit spending from the already debt laden and confidence lacking consumers. Great economic planning.
Across the world, as people are reduced to poverty, hunger or increasingly stressful lives of middle class debt bondage, crimes of violence have reached epidemic proportions. People savaging one another is a direct result of capital savaging government programs, transforming the social into the antisocial by placing ever more reliance on the god of commerce; the market. This, to further enrich a minority of financial fanatics in the developed world, who serve the empire of USrael.
The patriarchal rulers of this empire, compelled by fundamentalist economics and ancient religion, move the world closer to catastrophe through endless assault on the environment and continuous bloody war making, all the while claiming they are a civilizing, democratizing influence on global life. Still, in the face of this madness, a new sense of hope is manifest, as murderous imperial ignorance and individualism meet a global counter force of humanitarian intelligence and cooperation .
While imperial democracy produces low voter turnouts in the one party politics of corporate capital, victories for electoral and participatory democracy are achieved all over the world. Millions demonstrate against the policies of corporate capital , and in places like Venezuela and Brazil, elected populists strike fear into the hearts of minority finance, promising to raise the living standard of their nation's poor majorities. Chavez of Venezuela is under constant assault and Lula of Brazil may have to be less outspoken and more careful. But these two voices of real majorities, so far able to resist the empire's interference, are signs that another world is indeed possible.
But it is in the imperial center, not the periphery, where change is most necessary. And it is here that we are now expected to begin our consumption orgy, to empty our wallets and fill the coffers of capital. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors have seemingly evolved into modern murderer-consumers, killing as we shop. Whatever the lies of our warhead regime, there is no material or moral reason to slaughter people in Iraq, or anywhere else. And calling what may be happening a "war" is another assault on language.
A man who beats his wife is not at war; he is a physical brute, perhaps emotionally or psychologically impaired, but certainly not physically threatened. Nor are we threatened by Iraq. While that nation could present a threat to Israel, it is that settler state's abuse of Palestinians and the Arab world that is the source of the problem . But there is no threat to the USA, except for an attempt at self-defense; Iraq "threatens" our planes by firing at them as they drop their bombs.
As our thoughts are invaded by pornographic images of holiday waste, and our brains contaminated by lessons of fear and hate, we are supposed to joyously shop in celebration of love and family, while simultaneously preparing for mass murder in Iraq. The legend of a Jewish activist transformed into a Christian god is mythological cover for jump-starting the failing economy, so dependent on our willingness to escape reality in search of peace, which millions of us can only find through alcohol, religion , drugs... or shopping?
Tolerating more ecological destruction and further sacrifice of humanity at the altars of the empire is no way to celebrate a holiday season. But gaining faith from the material signs that another world is possible, necessary, and that there is a global call for such a world, is hopeful. A nightmare can only end when we wake up, and there seems to be a global awakening to a reality which must be changed before it brings on total chaos. Disobey propaganda, disregard disrespect, think with a sense of humanity, act with a sense of optimism, shop only with a sense of love, and have a happy holiday.
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