As I have said many times before on Twitter, those who are concerned with the direction this country has taken as a result of Hillary Clinton and the democratic parties losing an election that couldn’t have possibly been lost (unless a party and its candidate were so centered upon themselves that they ignored a reality they had helped to create through their insensitivity to the real pain others were experiencing), need to, among other things, open themselves to giving sound and honest analysis to the mistakes made so that the causes of so great a loss can be understood, and build a real movement that has at its center a truly humanistic ideology. Every day I receive numerous requests for money to pay for responses to the consequences rather than the causes.
Today, for example, Paul Ryan announced that the congress that the democrats lost so badly will immediately take up the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood and, understandably, I will be asked by Planned Parenthood and organizations and individuals who support their good work to contribute money to help fight against the ridiculous project that is the republican attempt to destroy an organization that has done incredible good over the past 100 years for millions of women and, of course, in the course of doing so, for men too who benefit by from the family planning services Planned Parenthood provides and by the help it lends the women they know, respect, and love.
I cannot give again, though, because I have, during the course of the election cycle, given what I can to several of the causes in which I wholeheartedly believe and have, with both money and the use of my voice, supported vigorously over the course of my lifetime, amongst these, Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way, the American Civil Liberties Union, and, yes, the democratic party. If I could, I would give more to all but the democratic party, not to the latter because it is not truly a party of and for the people anymore.
But even if I could give more, I do not think that my contributions would do much good because, over time, particularly with the results of this election and the profound effect it will have on the America for which I have spent my life fighting—as an involved citizen and teacher of citizens—the victories—and there have been eminently important ones—spawn detractors who manage regularly most that is good that those victories have won, detractors who, like those who will be the majority in the new Congress and those who will be part of the new team in the White House, will have enough power to do serious damage to the cause of a sane and humane society.
So, again, I put forth this plea, that those who care about the better society, the kinder society organize for the sake of promoting a unifying ideology that serves well all groups and individuals who care about the building of a society that promotes the cause of humanity, of a fair and just society that supports governance that serves well the goal of a good life for all human beings.
I suggest that somehow all of the groups that exist to serve the goal of a more humane society, and I know that ultimately this is the ultimate goal of all of the good organizations I support, form an umbrella organization, an organization that coordinates and amalgamates so that while the specific issues are address, the broader underlying issues that affect the work of each and everyone of the organizations are address so that the causes represented by the organizations are dealt with in the context of a broader and truly coherent movement. The activities of the individual organization can easily carried out with mindfulness of the societal and global sources of the inhumanity that, for instance, prevents all from having access to decent health care and good education, that allow good numbers of people suffer injustice and poor treatment governments under which they live, that suffer from lack of the basic commodities—water and food amongst the most critical—they need to live even the most basic of lives.
The “saving” of the planet is, too, a humane cause because the condition of the planet has rather important ramifications for the quality of life human beings can live. I do not know of a good cause that is not in some critically important way related to the project of humanization for humanization is not only about behavior but about how human beings think in regard to the ways in which they decide to behave. Humanization is as selfish as it is magnanimous, magnanimity a result of understanding the importance of self and, thus the importance of others because they are too human beings, individual selves. A movement built on humanization, on thinking about what we do in terms of how it affects human beings, others, will produce empathy and empathy is a key to getting along so well as to not destroy one another or even allow ourselves to act in ways that may harm others.
So, yes, the humane push of all good minded people at once pushing for and toward greater humanization, is as much about creating a peaceful world as anything else and, for those who see corporatization as a global problem have a profoundly sensible, humanely speaking, ideology to hang their complaints on, the corporatization as—obvious, isn’t it—a dehumanizing force and, too, the competitive marketplace that is what capitalism is touted to be, inhumane by virtue of its key element, competitiveness. Those who are think humanely and who think critically, should have no problem answering those who argue that competition pushes people to good things, to better themselves.
And, indeed it can, if the competition is related to humane goals within the context of a humane society in which those who “lose” are not harmed, not deprived of those things that allow them to live decent lives. One can lose an argument and benefit and by the intellectual growth that occurs when one comes to see why another’s, others’ views win out, even if still convinced that one’s own were better. In the humane society, argument exists to make things better for human beings, for the sake of getting things right, getting answers that allow for the best decisions. Argument in the context of the humane society is what serves as the basis for the dialectic that is at the heart of democratic process.
I propose that we find a way to focus on humanization and force the agenda gently through a process of truth making, involvement in discussions that lead to propositions that can be argued to be humane in nature, right for the goodness of the people of the world and the planet on which we the people live.
Such discussion, open and brutally honest, brutal because settling for something less than the best answer, the answer that is shown to be, beyond most degrees of doubt, the best, the most sensible, the most sensibly humane, are what everyone desires, for the reason that they are humane, aware of their own humanity and the humanity that defines every one of their fellow beings.
Umbrella organization that is guided by an ideology of humanization! Anyone game to help organize the necessary meet ups?
3 replies on “Humanity, Humanization Umbrella”
I believe that most people never think about humanization as you have written or liberation as I think of it, nor that the system we have is driven by a de-humanizing ideology (profits, consumerism, Wall Street use and abuse). What we need is the people coming to consciousness of what humanization is and how de-humanizing the world is all around us. The people are so indoctrinated and sold on the present ideology driving the system, they do not realize that much of the suffering around us and the world is the result of such ideology. I agree that liberation is part of humanization, but the liberation I’m thinking of is “not” primarily freedom from outward oppression but includes that, but is liberation from mind-sets, dead ideas, dead ideologies, idolatry, abstract faiths, which oppress psychologically. People buy into certain ideologies, ideas or faiths and somehow think that that makes them okay. Being human or accepting one’s self and others, to many, is about buying into the same ideology, the same values, same beliefs or faith; others who do not buy into this or that set of abstract beliefs are outsiders. I do not think things are going to change for the better until people come to consciousness—conscious that all the shit that is in their heads means nothing except that as long as they keep believing the shit the ideology which drives the system will go unchallenged.
“It may be that to liberate one has to engage in the practice of studying what it means to be human and then consider how it is impossible for one to achieve one’s full humanity if not free to do so.” – Lafer
But how do people come to realize—come to consciousness—that what they have been looking to is not the measure of what it means to be human. Many think they are studying humanization (finding the meaning of being human) by looking to their faith. To the masculine man, a man is one who simply can stand up for himself. Others, “I provide for my family. What else is there?” Others are simply indoctrinated by the main stream media about what it means to be a normal human being; they are what they are told to be. And to others, it’s just about surviving and getting by. Humanization according to who? It seems to me that most people are under the illusion that they are free and, further, under the illusion of participating in a process of humanization—although they think in different terms.
“The first problem to be overcome is of attitude, attitude shaped by an educational process that is all about limitations on what can be and those limitations, taught as immutable aspects of reality, if not challenged, make meaningful change impossible. The good news is that attitudes are very mutable and it does not take a whole hell of a lot to show people both the paths available for liberation and the effect of pushing for possibilities made to seem impossible on growth as an individual, on the individual moving toward discovery of his or her full humanity.” – Lafer
I think this is a good point. Like I wrote earlier, I am reading Morgan’s Book, “What Really Happened in the 60s?” One of the points he makes is how students who got involved in different kinds of protests matured intellectually and compassionately much more so than others. Many students said that they never felt more alive than when they participated in a group fighting for meaningful change. I think there is a vacuum of opportunities for young and old alike because the system does not allow for authentic participation willingly. We’ve just witnessed that in the Democratic caucuses.
“shaped by an educational process” When we talk about the educational process we have to talk about much more than the school system. Like I wrote: It is the whole governing ideology which all of us are bombarded with everyday which our minds must be liberated from. Our schools and way of life are not about humanization at all. Most people’s lives are about getting in debt and spending their lives getting out of debt!
It may be that to liberate one has to engage in the practice of studying what it means to be human and then consider how it is impossible for one to achieve one’s full humanity if not free to do so. So the idea of humanization as a central ideological tenant of any kind of meaningful attempt to better the world covers, strengthens, in fact, and it covers liberation because to realize one’s humanity one has to be free to do so. As it pertains to liberation of all, the humane person, the thinker who is humane, understands the necessity of others being as free as oneself, a proper degree of empathy–a quality of the humane–essential to honest consideration of how to live life and participate in the humane society.
Certainly the specifics discussed in the note above are of critical importance, issues that humane individuals would have to think about with eyes open. That there are homeless, people are being killed in droves around the world by war and hunger and for lack of medical care and so on and so forth, these, for the truly humane are intolerable aspects of the world in which we live and, one knowing the value of one’s own human life and being an empathetic being, is constantly under distress. Distress is a consequence of being humanely aware and that distress, a burden on freedom, a preventative for happiness, oddly enough, can act as a powerful liberating force as one realizes that there are conditions that are not acceptable, must be remedied, no matter how impossible it may seem to over come them. Liberation here is a product of an awareness that what is currently accepted as what can be is not at all allowable, the current “all that is possible” what needs to be overcome by doing what is “impossible,” impossible no longer a limitation on what WILL be.
There is a lot to be discussed to get at ways that say fuck that to the seemingly impossible obstacles that seem to stand in the way of the project of humanization. The first problem to be overcome is of attitude, attitude shaped by an educational process that is all about limitations on what can be and those limitations, taught as immutable aspects of reality, if not challenged, make meaningful change impossible. The good news is that attitudes are very mutable and it does not take a whole hell of a lot to show people both the paths available for liberation and the effect of pushing for possibilities made to seem impossible on growth as an individual, on the individual moving toward discovery of his or her full humanity.
And such discovery is the cure for the capitalistic trap that has the many accepting as fact the conditions of life that make them, if not miserable, dissatisfied enough to engage in the kinds of destructive behavior that fouls what could most certainly be a very lovely world in which to live.
It is time for a new deal but this new deal needs to be even more firmly rooted in humanization than the last one, the primary focus on individuals discovering their true worth through their getting in touch with the most valuable thing any human possesses, his or her humanity, that is, his or her capacity to make sense of the world and to become a force on the world that help it to become a better place for human beings to lead decent human lives.
Since Dr. Lafer posted a call for an ideology of humanization, I have been thinking a long the lines of an ideology of liberation. Once we are liberated from the oppressive ideology then we can start realizing the need for a better ideology of humanization. I think many do not see the failures of our present system. What follows is my attempt at pointing this out. Much more can be written. Perhaps this can stir some minds to add or debate? I hope so!
Towards an Ideology of Liberation and Humanization
Ideology: a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.
A few people, after reading this paper, will accuse me of hating my country—not so! I think by looking at the painful failures of our nation we can make it better for all. The first truth which I think we need to face is that our nation has had its ups and downs—a history of evolving into a more egalitarian and just society. If we can accept that fact, then we can accept critiques which point out failures in order that we can learn from them and become better. It is my hope that as we can face the facts, we can make a better nation for all. It seems to me that the first step is to realize and acknowledge that the ideological superstructure which guides our nation has left us misinformed and uninformed.
99% of all Americans own a television set, and the average household has 2.24 television sets, and the average American watches television five hours a day! Now,
The main stream media is a poor source of critique for determining the viability of our governing ideology because it is sponsored and controlled by those who embrace our governing ideology. There are two reasons which make the main stream media nothing more than a source of indoctrination which serves the capitalistic ideology: 1) At the very least, with good intentions, the media can never present the whole truth; the media must edit every news story because a communication is always an abstraction of the reality itself, and for this reason the news is always slanted in favor of the editor. 2) With that in mind, the news will always be slanted in favor of those who have something to gain—for those who control it—whose ideology is to gain as much profit as efficiently as possible. Because profit is all that matters to those who control the media, the media will seek to indoctrinate all who watch and listen in order to persuade those who watch and listen to buy their products and to believe in the system which controls them.
With the above in mind we should consider and question the governing ideology and see if we can come to some conclusions. Because for the indoctrinated, it seems there is no problem at all; except to them, the problem is that all do not buy into the governing ideology more seriously. So if we are to work towards an ideology of liberation it must start by liberating the people from the indoctrination of lies. Most of this paper is about “why” we need a new ideology.
First of all I will look at everyday occurrences which should cause us to question the ideology which governs us. Second of all, I will question a few myths which we have been indoctrinated with. Thirdly, I will apply those questions to the ideological superstructure of our nation. And lastly, I will make a few suggestions concerning a new ideology in reflection.
I.There are everyday occurrences that should lead us to question the governing ideology of our nation.
Homelessness is something I notice almost every time I drive through town. Just the other day, driving back from Verdi to Sparks, my wife and I could not help but notice all of the tents along I-80 East bound—near down town. My wife was astonished, and exclaimed, “Something needs to be done to help these people. It is wet and cold out there.” “How do people get in that position?” I did a little research on the internet and found that a lot of the homeless people are vets!
“In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all homelessness – extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care – a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment.”
Also, a lot of non-vet homeless people are homeless because of no fault of their own. The cost of living juxtaposed to common low wages forces many people and families to live paycheck to paycheck, so, if one paycheck is missed for some reason or another, they are many times forced out into the street. https://invisiblepeople.tv/2017/01/johnny-homeless-los-angeles/?autoplay=1
The homelessness in Reno and around our nation should cause us to question the ideology governing our nation.
Violence Among the Young
Violence among the young is something which I see frequently on the news—almost weekly. There was a story today about the kidnapping and torture of a mentally handicapped white teenager by four other teenagers. The black teenagers expressed their contempt for the newly elected president on him. The story was horrible. Often, as Edward Morgan points out, “The media focuses on the people and the act and not the cause.” http://wblk.com/four-black-teens-beat-torture-mentally-disabled-white-teen-video/
[The] following list and its order is based on interviews with youth in the nation’s most violent neighborhoods, conducted by the National Campaign to Stop Violence, run by Washington, D.C. attorney Dan Callister, with support from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jack Anderson and financial support from the Kuwait-America Foundation.
Top 10 Causes of Violence in the Order that Children Cited Them
1. The Media
2. Substance Abuse
7. Peer Pressure
8. Broken Homes
9. Poor Family Environment / Bad Neighborhoods
10. Intolerance / Ignorance
All of the sources influencing violent behavior in the list can be directly and indirectly attributed to the bad influences of an unregulated capitalistic economy out of control. The media is given over to consumerism; advertizing products which are suppose to make those who buy them happy; however, many poverty stricken youth cannot afford them. Drugs offer a pseudo way out of the hopeless, painful situation. Gangs provide a sense of belonging but, at the same time, often, lead the members into violent turf wars and other crimes. Unemployment speaks for itself. Weapons are easily obtained on the black market or from gun shows not required to register the buyers. Poverty related to unemployment is getting worse—not better in our nation. Broken homes, poor family environment, intolerance and ignorance are all a by-product of a poor economy which does not work for millions of Americans.
What Edward Morgan says about urban life in the sixties can be said even more so about city life today: There are “huge ghetto tracks isolated from . . . opportunities. . . .Poverty [is] rampant, spawning growing criminal activity and illicit drug trafficking. Residents [have] to battle against the psychological effects of powerlessness and hopelessness. Perhaps more important, the subjective dimensions of these living conditions. . . .remain[ed] largely beyond the comprehension of most Americans” (Morgan, “What Really Happened to the 1960s”).
Why does it seem like our government is unconcerned and disinterested with the hopelessness of the youth experience? The answer: Could it be so that the only hope for them would be to join the armed service and provide our government with more bodies for the war effort? And what is the war effort? It is to snatch resources from other weaker countries while the price for the war is paid for by the common working families with taxes and their children’s lives? Young men and women sent to war is also “youth violence” perpetuated by our leadership.
Youth violence in our nation should cause us to question the ideology governing our nation.
It is amazing how often the news does “not” mention the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—neither the use of killer drones gets much attention either. Why? Is it because the powers that be want the thought of these wars as far from the American consciousness as possible?
Several years ago I was substitute teaching in an eighth grade English class, when I noticed one of the young girls in a trance-like state. She was totally uninvolved with the lesson—aloof from the rest of the class. When I asked her what was wrong, she replied with one of the saddest faces I have ever witnessed and said that her older brother had been lost in action in Afghanistan. Thousands of miles from where these wars take place, the war is still felt right here in our homes and in our classrooms in a cruel way.
Our decision to enter, continued participation in and escalation of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the delivering of drone strikes around the Arab world is the most disturbing and questionable act of our nation’s foreign policies. Some reports calculate that there has been up to a 500,000 innocent people who have died because of these wars. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/iraq-death-toll_n_4102855.html
424-966 innocent people have died from drone strikes: https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/drones-graphs/
These atrocities have accomplished nothing good. They have completely ruined and devastated the lives of many in Iraq, Afghanistan and here at home. Also, the wars have probably been the single greatest factor to encourage terrorist attacks on our own innocent people.
The original reason for going to war in Afghanistan was retaliation for the 9/11 terrorist attack, but it was never revealed on any main stream news stations that none of the attackers were from Afghanistan! Why bomb innocent people? Iraq was a lie as well; no weapons of mass destruction were ever found. The capitalistic eye was on oil and natural gas and making a few weapon producers rich while the rest of us have to pay for it through taxes for the largest war debt in human history.
It was also amazing to me, how little the wars were brought up in the Presidential debates. The greatest cause of misery and debt in the last several decades was not worth mentioning! What about the causes and lies that led us into these wars? Are they not worth addressing as we consider our leaders?
So, what leads me to question our governing ideology as it relates to the wars? It is the absence of any proper coverage of the wars in the main stream media; that is, they never tell the truth about the wars. These wars are the most damning witness to our present system.
The unjustified wars and drone strikes, killing and wounding innocent people, should cause us to question the ideology governing our nation.
Other issues can be mentioned as they relate to the present unregulated capitalistic situation: low wages for working class people juxtaposed with enormous overpaid CEOs; large corporations being able to monopolize certain markets driving smaller businesses out of business by using sweat shops in places like the orient and Latin America; greed for greater profits pushing factories to leave the US for cheaper more exploitable labor elsewhere; etc.
Such everyday experiences should cause us to question the way things are and the governing ideology which is responsible.
II.The truth about such ideology should lead us to question the prevailing myths of our nation which have been a source of indoctrination and justification for the ideological superstructure.
I call it flag worship. It fosters the notion that whatever our nation calls us to make sacrifices for must be noble.
Flag Worship Lie #1 – Wars are about Our Freedom
The common justification for war is that freedom has a price. This is a lie. More accurately, stealing oil and other natural resources from the Middle East has a price—which is paid for by the working-class with higher taxes and the lives of their children.
Star Spangled Banner
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The flag and its worship creates a symbol or vision of a noble and just nation. To question such a vision is equal to a religious kind of heresy. Honoring the flag is most often equated with honoring our veterans. Many think that to dishonor it is to dishonor those who have served our country so-to-speak. For this reason many protestors are misunderstood. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” When Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” at Forty-Niner games in order to identify with the Black Lives Matter movement (a group protesting police racism, for those innocent blacks who have been shot by police) many accused him of dishonoring vets.
The 49ers issued a statement about Kaepernick’s decision: “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
It almost seems to me like a juxtaposition started by a government conspiracy; that is, the juxtaposition is set up to insure the myth remains for the sake of generating a patriotism willing to die for freedom—when in reality the military is used to secure natural resources for corporate interests like oil and natural gas. Think about this: Honoring the flag is about honoring vets which serve in reality the interests of the nation which is interested in profits for a few. It is thought, the celebration of the flag is honoring our vets who have sacrificed. There is juxtaposition both honorable and cruel: honorable for our vets we love, but cruel in the way it psychologically creates an impetus for a collective repression of anything which challenges a cruel foreign policy which would make the participation in such cruelty much less honorable even wrong, so it works like this: we want to honor and love our vets, so it would be wrong to discredit the wars by questioning the motives or the terrible results of the wars: the killing of innocents. While we honor those we love, we repress the cruelties and true motives of the wars.
The cruel ways our nation have supported cruel dictatorships and thwarted more socialist democracies never enter into the American consciousness because, for those of us who have loved ones who have served and sacrificed in the armed services, it is just too painful to suggest that their sacrifice was without honor or meaning. This is the genius of flag worship at our sporting events.
Flag Worship Lie #2 – Our Nation’s Policies are Noble
And this is the genius of flag worship in the classroom:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The pledge has a bit of history. Written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy the pledge did not have a reference to God or the United states in Bellamy’s original version, and, later after Bellamy’s death, his daughter was opposed to the addition of God in the pledge. The pledge was originally intended for people of every nation. http://www.ushistory.org/documents/pledge.htm
The problem, it seems to me, with the pledge is that it creates a contradiction in the minds of students—who say it for at least every day of the school year for at least twelve years. The contradictions are simple enough to understand. Pledging allegiance to an entity which cannot be fully understood by the student—claiming that it is one nation under God is a bit of a stretch for children of agnostic or atheist parents. Too, there are many children in the United Sates who cannot see the blessing of God in their lives as they live day to day in the United States of America. What does that mean: “One nation under God?” Is there only “one” nation under God, or is there other nations under God as well? Or does it mean that we are all united under one nation and God? And when the pledge declares liberty and justice for all, what does that mean? Is there liberty and justice for all, and does our nation really stand for liberty and justice for all, or is it just a dream or vision we believe in that we have not yet realized? The discussion above would seem to point to the fact that the nation is not under the God we usually think of when we speak about God; that is, we usually think of God as the benevolent Father of Jesus—Who gave dire warnings to people and leaders who do not care for the poor or abuse their powers (Ezekiel 16:49; Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 12:16-21). It seems from the above discussions that there are many who are under the umbrella of the United Sates of America who do not enjoy liberty and justice or the care which God demands from those with the means to provide.
The pledge is a means of fostering a myth which is simply not true for a lot of people–creating a contradiction of promising hope when there is little.
I have only briefly explored a few myths associated with what I call flag worship, which in religious terms would be called idolatry. But there are other myths.
If you work hard, you will be a success (not a guarantee by any means). We are free ( we are no more free than anyone in any other nation). You can be what ever you want (within reason and luck and common sense). Our leaders always try to to do the noble and honorable thing (not always). Our government will always try to do the right thing (to a degree, this is true, and to a degree, it is not).
The prevailing myths of our nation which have been a source of indoctrination and justification for the ideological superstructure are, at the very least, questionable.
III.We can apply our questions to the ideological superstructure of our nation (competitive, predatory capitalism).
Racism and Capitalism
Historic Racist Injustice Concerning Capitalism in the US
It is amazing that this point can be made in two short paragraphs! Historically, our capitalistic nation does not have a good record concerning economic justice. The genocide against the Native Americans is an example. The main way our nation generated wealth, for the first 150 years or so, was through land speculation; that is, Native American land was cheaply acquired (through genocide) and sold to land speculators who in turn sold it to plantation owners and others. The enslavement of Africans is another example. Thousands of Africans were captured and enslaved for plantation owners. Our nation was deeply racist for the first two hundred years—mostly for economic reasons.
I will go further and say that the non-discussion of racism in pro-capitalistic, pro-US exceptionalism circles is a sign of psychological repression. The obvious historic failure of capitalism for millions of murdered Native Americans and enslaved Africans is so plain that it is a source of amazing noticeable repression and unbearable anxiety for those who accept the economic system as the best we can do. It is the amount of pain, which millions have suffered, which makes the denial of these facts, by those who repress them, from being laughable; otherwise, to deny such obvious truths would seem comically idiotic—like a violent cartoon.
Present Racist Injustice Concerning Capitalism in the US
After the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties, it seemed like there was some hope for a more equal and just society, but some research shows that our nation is more racist and segregated than it was just after the civil rights movement—if you look at prison statistics, hate crimes and school segregation reports, you will see that racism is still alive and well, and my point is that it is the result of economic policies.
Native Americans are still targeted for hate crimes as much or more than other races, and, right here in Nevada, it is one of the worst places for such hate crimes. Is it because the land we live on was stolen, and the existence of Native Americans is a painful reminder of how unjust our nation is—challenging the repression?
Schools are as segregated as they ever were according to race and poverty. Discussing the years following the Brown versus Board of Education ruling a US News report quotes a Government Accountability Office report: “While much has changed in public education in the decades following this landmark decision and subsequent legislative action, research has shown that some of the most vexing issues affecting children and their access to educational excellence and opportunity today are inextricably linked to race and poverty,”
Racism and poverty are linked to the economic system. The crimes of the past are linked to the crimes of the present. The very existence and presence of Native American and African descendents are a witness to the historic cruelty of white capitalism! It seems like our leadership is about control, but control is the opposite of freedom, and one’s prosperity is often at the expense of another’s welfare.
Capitalism an Enemy of Labor and the Poor
Those businesses which do better usually are in a position to take advantage of cheaper labor; in consequence, they tend to put other competitors out of business which do not have the same resource of cheaper labor, so a downward spiral of the labor wage is the result. Such unregulated capitalism pushes the economy in favor of monopolies which in turn make greater riches for fewer at the top and lower wages for the mass of working-class. Another result is that the poorer the working-class the less political clout they have.
An example is Walmart. They buy from places like Cambodia, Sierra Leone and Bangladesh where children are paid like a hundred dollars a month, and then sell the stuff to people like us looking for a deal. They hire a lot of people part time so they do not have to pay for health benefits. They pay low wages, but because an unregulated capitalism provides a lot of desperate poverty stricken people, they have no problem finding workers to exploit.
“The problem is that Walmart systematically depends on the poverty of communities. Indeed, Walmart would not exist without poor people. First, Walmart needs them to work in its stores. Walmart needs people so desperate for employment that they will be willing to go 10 hours without a break, accept wages below the poverty line (causing a drain on public benefits) and never have a forum to address their grievances. Second, Walmart needs people to buy their products, and a good portion of those customers are poor. These forces combine to make Walmart a significant player in creating and sustaining poverty in towns across America.”
Many a wealthy person through the shrewd use of contracts has made their fortunes. Just because something is legal does not mean that it can not be used to exploit. Many an unwitting person has signed a contract not understanding the fine print. It is the same with the wage contract between employer and employee. Many desperate people are taken advantage of. It is interesting that there is a thing called community property when couples file for divorce, but in the corporate world there is no such thing. Employees can be taken advantage of for years making their employers wealthy and happy, but then, when they are let go, they are left with nothing.
“What Constitutes ‘Community Property’?
Generally, property acquired during a marriage belongs to both spouses. This is especially true in states that have community property laws on the books. While not every state has such laws, property acquired during the duration of a marriage is distributed equally upon dissolution of the marriage. . . .One spouse may receive more of the marital property if fault grounds for divorce were present (such as adultery, cruelty, etc.)” http://family.findlaw.com/divorce/community-property-overview.html
Should not the same laws be applied to the agreements between labor and employer? If one is at fault by exploiting the other, should compensation be in order? The corporate world needs to learn that labor is not something to abuse and throw away. There is community property which must be taken into account which both have rights to!
Why can’t the rich accept the fact that they can be a little less rich? Why not share? Many economists would argue that a lot, if not most, famine and poverty in the world is caused by unregulated capitalism—greed and free market practices.
IV.We have a new impetus for forming a new ideology.
What I would suggest is a fairly regulated capitalistic society which provides the socialistic programs which are needed to aid such as the homeless, the young people without any economic hope, put an end to unjustified wars, and there must be some kind of plan to address the racist nature of our justice system, and the hate crimes which still plague our society, etc.
It seems to me that it is barely worth mentioning the few examples of cruel communistic dictators; we know that an authoritarian or totalitarian communism is not the answer as well. The right to free speech, free press and freedom of expression and protest must be part of a free and happy society. There has to be some middle ground between communist authoritarianism and predator capitalism—some kind of regulated capitalism with the “social” welfare of all the people in mind. I think we can learn from countries like Sweden which has more millionaires’ per-capita than any other country and whose European neighbors are far more socialistic in their governing than the US: Germany, Poland, France and even Great Britain. Britain is usually considered primarily capitalistic but it still has universal health care for all.
It is time for a new New Deal. Wall Street must see the working-class as partners and fellow share holders rather than the enemy.
What do you think? Anybody?