Category Archives: global inequality

It’s What the Babies Eat: Inflammatory Capitalism in Mush

Again, you can’t shuttle through the headlines, the so-called news, without having spasms and fits. You will not get journalists doing shit to really go after the capitalists, uh? Baby food. And these transnational Wall Street thieves, these stockholding companies, not even a slap on the wrist. So, if I as an unjabbed person goes into a public place, and then the rabid fascists find out, they then can call the cops, do a citizen’s arrest, and take my ass down, zip ties and all. But, do these billionaires and multimillionaires get hog-tied or frog-marched into court, and have their ill-gotten profits used for a reparations fund for all those babies? Dream on:

Baby Food Makers Kept Selling Products with Arsenic Levels Exceeding FDA-Approved Limits

HEADLINESEP 30, 2021

 

Baby food manufacturers allowed products contaminated with heavy metals to remain on store shelves — even after dangerous levels of the toxic chemicals were detected in their products. That’s according to a new congressional report released Wednesday, which found baby food makers Gerber and Beech-Nut failed to recall infant rice cereals tested to have arsenic levels above FDA limits.

This is how these felons roll, these dirty rotten propagandists, the smoke and mirrors crowd, the polluters, all those elites and money grubbers:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-14.png

Going from baby food to land, forests, indigenous rights, we can see more putridity of the White Savior Civilizations (sic) facilitating the land rapists and the water polluters. This is not outrageous in Can/Klan/Ada?

In Canada, a judge has ended an injunction granted to logging company Teal-Jones, which the court says was used to crack down on activists at the Fairy Creek watershed blockade in a way that violated their civil liberties and infringed on press freedom. Police have arrested over 1,000 land defenders, often violently, as they fight to protect the remaining trees in Vancouver Island’s ancient forests. The First Nations-led protest is Canada’s largest act of civil disobedience. Click here to see our coverage of this issue

It’s a simple formula, a simple illustration of how syphilitics the ruling class is, and here, “David Graeber’s bestselling book Debt: The First 5000 Years revolutionised our understanding of the origins of money and the role of debt in human societies. But intellectual revolutions take time, and David’s sudden and untimely death left this revolution unfinished. David’s widow Nika Dubrovsky has established ‘The Fight Club’ to keep David’s unique way of challenging conventional wisdoms alive. Each ‘Fight’ will pit leading advocates of different visions of how society functions against each other. The inaugural fight, to mark the first anniversary of David’s death, is a debate between the renowned economists Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and Michael Hudson, author of And Forgive Them Their Debts. Thomas Piketty wrote the preface to the tenth anniversary edition of Debt: the First 5000 Years. Michael Hudson’s anthropological research into the origins of money and debt in ancient Sumeria was the basis of much of David’s analysis in that book. Join us for an unmissable encounter between two celebrated and highly influential economic thinkers as they debate: what is money and what is debt? What are the most serious problems of today’s finance-capital economies? And what are the best remedies?”

Finally, the new brisk and slick predators, those capitalists, those impact bond folk, the algorithms, the mining of our minds, bodies, dreams, aspirations. Wrench in the Gears, a long one, with lots of sources to click on to enhance Alison’s work:

This past week someone sent me a paper on augmented cognition. As I read it, a number of pieces clicked for me about earlier research I’d done into executive function. I wanted to preserve the thread, so I captured it in the screen shots below. Follow along to see how grit and resiliency intersect with Metaverse navigation and soul theft.

Also, this week Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite briefed the Federal Reserve. Listen carefully to hear him setting up human capital bond markets in ed-tech, social emotional learning (SEL), nutrition, and tele-health via public-private partnerships with “philanthropic” predators.

This is accepted behavior, accepted “follow the science” bullshit; accepted state paid for university research; accepted elite school work and disgust? This is what Americans cannot handle:

So, how can lead in Flint’s water be a big deal? Arsenic in baby food? Arresting protestors in Canada? Think about how polluted media are, how broken universities are, and how confused and full of Collective Stockholm Syndrome the public is. This last comment is pretty telling:

The post It’s What the Babies Eat: Inflammatory Capitalism in Mush first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Masters of Illusion: Sociopathy from the Very Rich on Down

Nothing Changes With the Rich!

You just can’t make this stuff up as a fiction writer (also, see below, at the end of this piece**). Demonic, but sturdy. Boring actuarial folk, or in this guy’s case, making loot illegally in the legal channel that is Illegal Wall Street:

Thomas Peterffy became one of the world’s richest people by mastering risk on Wall Street. Building his Mediterranean-style mansion seven years ago on a vulnerable stretch of Florida’s Palm Beach Island was a matter of seeing the odds clearly once again. The consequences of climate change will play out over decades, and Peterffy is 76 years old.

“I don’t have a care about it at all,” he said over lunch at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, just down the street from his home. “If something needs to be done to save it,” he added, “it’s not going to be my problem.” The founder of Interactive Brokers Group has a fortune of more than $21 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Thomas Peterffy with Lynne Wheat in Palm Beach in 2017 (Nick Mele/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images)

Glaser is building a new waterfront mansion designed by architect Kobi Karp, replacing a now-demolished estate owned by Jeffrey Epstein.
Seawall installation at property on the intracoastal in Palm Beach.

Nice guy, uh? And even younger ones, in the billionaire class, they whisper that, though they do have bullshit smoke and mirrors philanthropies and foundations to, well, shelter taxes and corrupt the world more with their sociopathy. In the old days, it would have been, “Eat the Rich,” “Kill the Rich,” “Banish the Rich.” Now, though, since they have created a vampire class of millionaires and media mental midgets with millions stashed away, the Rich Are a Protected Class. Until we get daily reminders of the collective insanity of Western culture, Western capitalism, Western cults. This is the rich, giving a damn about the future, or, spending millions and billions on their vaults and prison garden homes. Then, there are 10,000 in Del Rio, Texass:

a group of people in a forest: Large Migration Surge Crosses Rio Grande Into Del Rio, Texas

The temporary camp has grown six-fold since Monday and more migrants are expected in the coming days. Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano made a disaster declaration Friday. “I had thought that the alarm was sent on Monday. This is setting the nuclear bomb alarm that this is no longer sustainable or acceptable,” he said. Congressman Tony Gonzales, a Texas Republican, is calling on the Biden administration to come up with a solution for the chaos. “Please get engaged, get involved, do something. This is unsustainable. This is not America. This is not the way things should be,” he said. “Folks are coming over and across as if there is no border.” Also Friday, CBP closed the Del Rio Port of Entry and re-routed traffic.

Elevating a property in Palm Beach.

Elevating a property in Palm Beach.

I have years of writing about and researching urban planning, regional planning, all the gold, silver, platinum of LEED/Sustainability/New Urbanism building. It is a mighty thing to have a few degrees from elite schools (my schools, they are not elite), and then getting placed into the star chambers of planning, architecture and design. To the point of, the Eichmanns are deep into this lie, and there is really, the way they want smart cities and internet of bodies for the future, no global warming, no global climate chaos, no collapsing systems, water shortages, deaths in the millions annually just from air pollutants. No deaths in the hundreds of thousands because of higher and higher bulb temperatures. No reality about water shortages, failing sewage treatment, endless fires, pests-poisons-pestilence vis-a-vis profits at any cost, at costs to anyone or anything, albeit, not against the elite and star chamber folk. The reality is if you believe in capitalism, in all for one, or that technology is going to get us out of the muck, then, you are a denier. The worse kind!

If this doesn’t tell it all, here we are, the great profession (sic) of planners (misshapers, building and real estate protection racketeers) having yet another fake event, virtually. Imagine that, so planners are supposed to be on the land, in the muck, in neighborhoods, looking at systems, ecosystems, people, communities, towns and mega-cities, and, here the gutless wonders are, well, hiding again, in underwear and Snoopy slippers. This was a group I was sort of a member of when I was getting my graduate degree in , well, urban and regional planning:

Save the Date: 2021 OAPA/APA WA Virtual Joint Planning Conference

The 2021 conference continues with the theme of Growing Together Virtually, recognizing the importance and challenges of planning for evolving communities, large and small, in these challenging and polarizing times. The conference will offer more sessions than last year, allowing for greater variety in session content.

Oh, in polite company, we can’t call this a bunch of fucking shit, no? All the communities now within communities, the so-called subcommunities, struggling with forced jabs, forced passports, forced scrutiny, forced surveillance, facial recognition just to enter a football game or concert. Work, sure, servicing those maskless wonders with masks on, but not enough cash to pay the rent, or, all the cash for the rent. No health care, nothing of those safety nets that the RICH have, and do not get goofy on me to profess that the rich do not have entire lobbies upon lobbies in their sophisticated protection racket. The planners — many of them looking for sustainability and gardens and walkability and healthy small downsized living — in the end buckle under the weight of bureaucracy and the rich and powerful controlling the narrative and their own money stream. Look, I understand that every arena I have entered into since, oh, age 13, those places are sacred to liberals, lights, conservative, lights, and that I would also be an outlier or outcast anywhere, or the enemy in some regard, but now, it is way beyond “enemy” or “persona non grata” I represent. It is a matter of outcasting, men, an untouchable, while the APA-WA branch, peddles more lies, meaningless doublespeak:

“What is Planning? Planning is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities. Professional planners make great communities happen by working with civic leaders, businesses, and citizens to envision new possibilities and solutions to community problems.”

I wonder what the planners might do around those Haitians, all those cities that are in disrepair, all the rough sleepers, the homeless-in-vehicles, the sheltered-in-basements/garages/hotels. How to plan, man, those smart cities, those hipster places, those virtual venues, the Zoom Rooms, the isolation chambers, the places of mediocrity sold as cutting edge Musk-Apple joints. Imagine, maybe in a year, the Planners can hook into the Bezos Ejaculatory Space Suit Freaks, and have a live feed with Bezos and ask him what’s next in planning cities around his Gestapo-Gulag-Retail-Surveillance-Cloud world. In so many ways, I found the planning profession to be vapid, dead of creativity, and certainly no rabble rousers or deep thinkers in the bunch. They talk a good talk, but in the end, their jobs are the work of the real estate, developer, building and construction lobbies, and the planners I know would never speak up at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. They are the epitome of Eichmann, updated and retrofitted for Cancel Culture and Oh So Hip Stylists.

How about his Salem group, Salem for Refugees? You think planners would want to create grants for people like me to study the dynamics of community building-engagement-employment around these newest immigrants?


With the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, thousands of people are fleeing their home and looking for protection in the US. We have been preparing for refugees and SIV cases. Now we are preparing to also provide resettlement services for individuals who have been identified as special risk (journalists, NGO workers, humanitarian workers, political activists, etc.). Due to the rapid nature of the situation, this group of individuals will have a special Parolee status which will allow for immediate work authorization but limited access to State social services or Medicaid benefits. We need your help in bridging this gap and providing for the needs of these people. In an effort to bring Afghan Evacuees to Salem, the State Department has given us an early approval as an affiliate of World Relief and we are now an official Resettlement Agency! We will begin receiving cases through the Afghanistan Placement Assistance Program and in January for all other refugees through the Reception and Placement program!

The good old days when we truly hated the rich:

In 1920, Wall Street reporter Edwin Lefèvre derided “some wretchedly rich people” in a Post article called “The Annoyances of Being Rich Today.” Without naming names, Lefèvre detailed conversations with bankers and heirs about their gripes with imperfect service and ungrateful butlers. One rich man told the author that he feared a revolution was afoot after he asked a waiter for bread and — instead of silent obedience — the response came: “Sure thing!” Others complained about accusations of vanity or the prospect of their service staff seeking higher wages.

Lefèvre sums up the groans of the plutocrats by casting wealth as a sort of illness:

I am convinced that there is a definite social disease which we may call gold poisoning. When a man has too much gold, some of it gets into the system; through the pores, it almost seems. It causes deafness and affects the sight. These ailments, gold deafness and gold blindness, are responsible for most of the annoyances of which the stricken rich so bitterly complain today. Instead of seeing or hearing, they are merely aware of a rumbling sound—the tread of their fellow men marching toward them, armed with bombs, bitterness, and taxes.

Newspaper article

John Stuart Mill called the rich, “the unearned excrement.” Oh, what a day it would be to see that again, lifted up high, daily, in the media, but this is a world of valorizing the rich, listening to the liars and grifters — the thespians — and all the handlers, the hangers-on the rich-super rich employ to massage their messages.

Larry Glickman, a professor of history at Cornell University, says he has used this clip in one of his classes to illustrate the criticism of so-called robber barons of the late nineteenth century: “In the Gilded Age, ‘capitalist’ was really a term given by its enemies to people who had earned wealth in an unfair, immoral way, so a lot of small business men said something similar to what Hickenlooper said.” Glickman says the distrust of robber barons (or capitalists) comes back to the question of hard work. “There was this idea that you had labor producing things, and that accumulating wealth through honest production was a good thing,” he says, “but there was a new class of people called capitalists getting their wealth through unproductive, exploitative ways.” (Saturday Evening Post).

** So, Bloomberg the Billionaire with Billionaire Bloomberg News, has the answer for inequities, which in any other language is, well, wage theft, tax fraud, tax evasion, thievery of a general nature, war profiteering, penury, slave/sweatshop economy. The news just continues with these abhorrent items:

Amazon’s massive new distribution centers, soon to be surrounded by infrastructure built to serve workers, are being compared to Gilded Age company towns. While many are aghast at the idea, fellow billionaires are praising it.

The e-commerce empire founded by Jeff Bezos will offer the American working class a better option than scraping to get by in increasingly expensive cities, investment adviser Conor Sen wrote in a Friday oped for Bloomberg, the financial news outlet whose namesake is billionaire former New York mayor and failed presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg.

“Let’s call them ‘factory towns,’” Sen suggests, apparently in an effort to avoid the baggage that accompanies the concept of “company towns.” Popular in the late 19th century among the new breed of mega-corporations – railroads, steel mills, and the like – many of these dormitory communities held workers as veritable prisoners, paying them in scrip that was only redeemable at the company-run store and retaining groups of thuggish Pinkerton “detectives” to stamp out any attempts to unionize. (source)

Yet, Bezos is a joke with the power of deflection, the power of the rich to believe his own dirty secrets of domination. No number of jokes piled on by the millionaire comedian class or insightful (sic) commentaries by the millionaire presstitutes can buckle the Amazon formula. Here, the sweatshops of Amazon, providing slaves with, well, boxes of time out:

Amazon offers 'wellness chamber' for stressed staff - BBC News

 

The post Masters of Illusion: Sociopathy from the Very Rich on Down first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Beast of a Nation: Banality of Evil and Peppy Propagandists

 

I like to get down to brass tacks, into the muck, since I have been in on all aspects of academia and journalism, environmental activism, literary arts, and social work. I’m not pulling some trump card here, but in my more than six decades of confronting these amazingly dead-from-the-head-up members of the 80 percent, and those of the 20 percent, I have seen the complete shut down of discourse, critical thinking and shame.

They really do not care about their people. They really do not care about their patients. They really do not care about their troopers. They really do not care about their students. They really do not care about the homeless, the women in Afghanistan, the Blacks Lives, and all the other BIPOC folk. Crocodile tears and thespian performances do not equate to caring for people. This country, and the West in general, is one giant stage of actors and actresses.

It doesn’t matter if it is Kamala Harris, Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, Macron-Johnson-Trudeau, no matter who is in the acting part, they do not care about the homeless, the disabused, the marginalized.

It could be Howard Stern one moment giving nationwide bits of perverted advice, or it could be the head of the teachers’ union, Randi Weingarten, or it could be the head of the CDC, Microsoft, Apple, FDA, CIA, ICE, ATF, FBI, NAACP, ACLU, no matter, but they all have their limits toward basic freedoms and rights. One day a hero, but the next day scum.

I am talking about the mandates, the hard rule of outcasting, caste creation, and new stitched-on scarlet letters (a la digital dashboards). What is going on while the divide and conquer chatter and discord unfolds on corporate media and in the boardrooms of major and minor companies, in schools, universities, state, county, city agencies, and with the feds, while we watch sports, await Broadway opening up, line up for cruise ships, and eat-drink-&-be-merry in La-La Land.

The reality is clear — there are so many ways to disenfranchise the lot of us: Those who want to stop the mandated experimental jabs, the mandates for useless masks, the absurdity of social distancing and quarantines. Those of us who want robust discourse. Those of us who want to look at the evidence. Those of us who want to uncover the subterfuge. There are great pieces of journalism and deep and passionate opinion pieces on all of this — DARPA, WEF, Fauci, gain of function, Event 201, Dark Winter, and Fourth Industrial Revolution. More. However, when you get into the day to day weeds, with our jobs, our workplaces, with those administrators, things are not looking great.

I had the sickly unhealthy luxury of getting in on a huge national web call/Zoom with a major Human Resources management service, talking about what the thousands of companies they represent can do to force employees to go under the knife, err, jab. These people — your bloody neighbors, the soccer moms, the camping dads, the aunts who take the kids to museums, the grandfathers who have backyard gardens — are none other than the complete embodiment of Eichmann. The Eichmann Syndrome.

These are the $400,000 a year professional managerial class (sic) people running the HR departments, looking at the three major airlines (swooning over them) for the jab mandates — everything from weekly testing AND a $200 a month additional premium to health insurance, to allowing for a religious exemption for a vaccine (sic) but with unpaid forced leave. Whirlpool, man, bribing a $1000 for each employee now to go under the jab.

These HR people are looking at distinguishing jabbed from unjabbed, and they are utilizing all those HR tools in their toolboxes, thankful of the monopolies and big corporations for blazing the trail to take away the right to a livelihood, to informed consent, to travel, to basic human interchanges. They are writing the rules now as I write this around those of us who “get Covid and have to leave work,” but they are sly Eichmanns, as they are nuancing of the new normal of FMLA (family and medical leave act) laws, paid time off for recovery or hospitalization around Covid. They want to make it impossible to live on planet earth without subjugating oneself to the jab . . . and I mean, JABS, since booster x has a human biophysical life of three months, so bring on the Covid 18-pack. The bottom line is, today, September 14 will be harkening in a very different world in a month.

The lawyers are working long and hard to force the jab, to force employees to bend and falter, in order to kick out as many miscreants as possible. This is what your large HR groups are talking about as we debate Saudi Arabia, or 9/11, and as we look at the Continuous Wars, and as we look at cops down under pounding grannies’ heads for coming out to protest.

Typical HR booklets: Case Study: Protecting & Defending Intellectual Property; 5 Measures to Battle Construction Site Theft; Cybertheft & Participant Accounts: A Fiduciary Responsibility?; 6 Best Practices for Fraud Prevention; From Seed to Sale On-Demand Webinar Series: COVID-19 and Cannabis Operations. You get the picture: all about protecting the company, the rich folk, the administrators, stockholders, et al.

Yet the partisan pattern persists throughout, with Democratic majorities favoring vaccine passports in nearly every situation (from 53 percent for indoor drinking and dining to 77 percent for international travel) and at least a plurality of Republicans opposing them (from 48 percent for international travel to 65 percent for indoor drinking and dining). Stores are the only venue where more Democrats oppose vaccine passports (40 percent) than favor them (37 percent).

Sensing a political minefield, the Biden administration has so far deflected the issue of vaccine passports, vowing only to provide guidance for nongovernment initiatives in the days ahead.

“The government is not now nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Yet the Yahoo News/YouGov poll suggests the White House could, in theory, play some role in the process. Asked whether “the U.S. government” — as opposed to U.S. businesses — should require “Americans to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination before participating in certain higher risk activities (travel, concerts, sports games, etc.),” more Americans say yes (46 percent) than no (37 percent).

It’s as if people somehow thought the neoliberals, the democrats, the polite ones, the freaks of nanny statism, would somehow just stick to LGBTQA and transgender bathrooms issues (not). It is the tyranny of stupidity, and I have mentioned this in many pieces here and elsewhere, when you deny authority, when you question the paradigms, when you go up against administrators, college presidents, social services nonprofit CEO poverty pimps, well, the price is more than ostracizing and triangulating. It is the social isolation of the castes these people have set out, in their professional managerial class power.

You don’t need to lecture someone like me on the dirty dirt of republicans, at the governor level, on down. They are despicable. Yes, I am with groups who are against mandates, forced medical experiments on people that contain right wing religious freaks, and cops and fire fighters. These — right wing religious zealots, cops/pigs and overpaid firefighters — they are contrary to almost everything I have fought for, and they have been the despicable ones, too.

This is not a provocative image, pre-Covid:

Vaccine Mandate

But it is now. Imagine this image: But, of course, the dude on the right, well, he has zero concept of communism, but alas, these are strange times — leftists fighting the Draconian measures aligning with, well, cops and dudes like that — “the final variant is called communism.” Funny stuff, since the variants are all about capitalism, and the final conclusion to all this is about the point zero zero one percent riding roughshod over us, with the help of their elites and the Eichmanns. Those communist countries like Cuba and China have, well, non-mRNA true vaccines. But, little do they know, these AmeriKKKans.

Vaccine Mandate Protestors

This person below, well, both, are really part and parcel of the fascism that has been unleashed in USA in several iterations, and following US Patriot Act and the forced shoe donning at airports, we as a country are insipidly inane and accepting of all the wrong kinds of authority. Now, with the dementia democrats in office, the blue bloods, we are now forced to fall under their thumbs, and follow the science religion of a very suspect, dead-end route.

Dr. Walensky addresses press conference

HR So, this meeting I snuck into, with HR fantastics swooning over Walmart’s vaccine policies and the “joints for vaccination” schemes, they are the people I have been warning my students and homeless clients and veterans and others about in order to learn from and defeat. This Rochelle is a monster in so many ways, and Fauci is too. We can’t even get one day of a Lancet article by two former FDA heads without Saint Fauci chiming in —

The current evidence on COVID-19 vaccines does not appear to support a need for booster shots in the general public right now, according to an international group of vaccine scientists, including some from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

The current evidence on COVID-19 vaccines does not appear to support a need for booster shots in the general public right now, according to an international group of vaccine scientists, including some from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

“Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high,” the scientists write in a new opinion piece, published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The authors of the paper include two senior FDA vaccine leaders, Dr. Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, who will be stepping down in October and November, the FDA announced late last month. No further details were released about their retirements, although they sparked questions about whether the departures would affect the agency’s work.

United Airlines has mandated that all U.S. employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. Those granted exemptions will be put on unpaid leave.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Two senior leaders in the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine review office are stepping down, even as the agency works toward high-profile decisions around Covid-19 vaccine approvals, authorizations for younger children and booster shots.

But Fauci is now attacking these two who wrote in the Lancet their concerns, and they are not anti-vaccination folk. Speaking of the Lancet: 

A shocking admission by the editor of the world’s most respected medical journal, The Lancet, is saying that medical research is UNRELIABLE AT BEST IF NOT COMPLETELY BOGUS! Lancet editor, Richard Horton “… states bluntly that major pharmaceutical companies falsify or manipulate tests on the health, safety and effectiveness of their various drugs by taking samples too small to be statistically meaningful or hiring test labs or scientists where the lab or scientist has blatant conflicts of interest such as pleasing the drug company to get further grants.”

 

This statement ties in perfectly with the article we have had on our website and been recommending for almost five years now from the World’s Leading Expert on Medical Research, Dr. John Ioanidis from Greece. Dr. Ioannidis told the Atlantic Monthly in an article titled “Lies, Damn Lies, and Medical Science” that 90% of medical research is tainted if not outright bogus due to influence from the industry. (source)

But the HR consultants who charge millions for their services (sic) to companies on what to do with employees, with all the vagaries of those darned dirty and messy real people, now under the Covid Stain of Fascism, they all got their jabs because they are compliant, and they make individually amazing amounts of money for their, well, services. These are the dream hoarders, the true believers in taking as many rights away from people vis-à-vis workplace rules, regulations, laws, steps, credos, trainings, and more, to the point of creating entire legions of, well, the untouchables, the unhireables, terminated for noncompliance. These are mean folk, Hillary and Obama and Biden loving folk:

Obama, the dance man, 60th b-day party, during Covid Maskless Madness?

Performers At Barak Obama's 60th Birthday Share Photos Before Being Told To Delete Them
No mask for AOC, the capitalist entertainer, but all the servants? You betcha!
Notice these freaks, while the press crew, well, has to mask up.

This is it for the great masses, as the screws get screwed down tighter and harder each minute. The news is vapid, and the depth of coverage on almost anything is boiler plate or pre-ordained by the commercial media honchos. And this is the final nail in the coffin for teachers,

To all of my American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union brothers and sisters across America I call upon you RIGHT NOW to immediately LEAVE THE AFT in protest as a moral obligation.

Randi Weingarten HAS FIRED ALL UNVACCINATED STAFF IN ALL AFT FACILITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

So that’s not teachers, that’s secretaries, accountants, lawyers, custodians, doormen, etc…

I personally can and will NEVER return to the AFT as long as Randi is president and as long as this segregationist policy is in place.

The issue of AFT membership is no longer about what AFT does and doesn’t do FOR US as educators, it is now much bigger than that. IF you continue to pay dues to the AFT you are financially supporting a blatantly discriminatory and corrupt multi-million dollar organization.

Please stop supporting them right now. Vote with your money AND LEAVE THE AFT NOW! This is bigger than whether or not YOU still have a PCR testing option at your job or not. This is about choosing your side — do you stand with rank-&-file workers who choose to make their own medical decisions? OR do you stand with the biosecurity state?

Giving even one DIME to the AFT is supporting the biosecurity state. End that support right now!

Please spread this far and wide to all AFT members. We will post at our webaite very soon.

All the best;

www.TeachersForChoice.org

Viewpoint: AFT's Refusal to Challenge Democratic Establishment Leaves Every Teacher Behind | Labor Notes
Biden and Randi — Team USA.
Now She Tells Us | Jay P. Greene's Blog

I don’t know what else to say, since so much of what is behind the biosecurity state, the mandates, all of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is tied to high tech and surveillance capitalism, much of which comes from the bowels of military, Israel, the chosen few.

In the final act of the 2011 film “Contagion,” people wore bar-coded wristbands to prove they had been inoculated against the deadly, pandemic virus. But in 2021, of course, the vaccinated will be able to use a blockchain-powered smartphone app, according to IBM and Salesforce.

The two tech giants are partnering up to help businesses and public spaces smoothly reopen as newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines become more available by integrating IBM’s Digital Health Pass with Salesforce’s web-based employee management platform.

“At the start of the pandemic, many organizations deployed simple COVID-19 screenings, such as self-reported health surveys, to support re-entry to workplaces and other institutions,” said Paul Roma, general manager of IBM Watson Health.

And this is not about health safety, about a shot passport. This is about moving everything into those HR digital libraries, containing background checks, drug screenings, mortgage records, all addresses lived at, court records, education records, criminal records, defaults on loans, credit reports, and, no, not too far fetched, an entire digital library of things written-snapped-photographer-tweeted-downloaded on the World Wide Web. And yet, again, just one little hour listening to the HR wonks talk about all the great things companies can do to coerce, cajole, conspire, contain, and co-opt their employees into doing anything: first the jab, and next some cool nanoparticle atomized air product, to calm the masses, to get more productivity, to erase emotions, what have you.

The post Beast of a Nation: Banality of Evil and Peppy Propagandists first appeared on Dissident Voice.

France Neoliberal Macron: Vanguard of a Covid Global Corporate Dictatorship?

Citoyen Chouette Archive

Liberte-Egalite-Fraternite: under Macron’s pass sanitaire guillotine?

For the few of us who are students of history, and its aficionado travelers, meaning those who muse and wonder at times about how significant figures of the past would view our often dire predicament, it is rather obvious that, for example, the founding fathers of the French Revolution such as Danton, Mirabeau, St Just, and Robespierre would be shocked and angry by what has recently happened to their Republic. Even France’s last great statesman General de Gaulle, if alive today, would have likely been deeply enraged by the state of affairs in a country he loved and fought for with his heart and soul.

In the era of President Emmanuel Macron, who is merely a cynical actor, figurehead, and France’s public relation person-in-chief passing for a statesman, but who truly is a loyal servant of global corporatism, our revolution’s founders, as well as the subsequent republics’ principles, like the one of the Fifth Republic of de Gaulle, have been insulted, slapped in the face, and assaulted by some sort of insidious and limp dictatorship, under the cover of a health crisis. A complex authoritarian strategy using the pretense of shielding French citizens, often against their will, in this new lucrative conceptual war.

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This war on a virus is even more advantageous than the previous conceptual one: the war on terror. In General Macron’s war, syringes are the weapons delivery system of choice, needles like billions of little worker bees at the ready to jab you for an invitation to control freedom, and a moderate slice of happiness: the joy once you have obtained the French COVID pass Sanitaire to go to museums, movie theaters, inside restaurants, and avoid wearing masks outdoors.

French citizens should be aware that the very motto of our dear Republic, Liberte-Egalite-Fraternite is under the assault of king Ubu Macron and could, without a strong popular resistance, be decapitated by the cold blade of Macron’s virtual guillotine. In a form of dictatorial grab of power for the benefit of big biotech and big pharmaceutical companies. Macron’s pernicious pass sanitaire, just approved by France Assemblee Nationale, is a power grab by global corporate imperialism. Of course, all of it done with a wink, a tan and a smile! All of it done for the greater good of ungrateful “Gaullois refractaire” French citizens, in the continuity of the pesky Gilets Jaunes. Science lover poseur Macron, an enlightened modern day Julius Caesar, is bent on defeating obscurantism armed only with syringes to deliver his brand of salvation through vaccines. Those who have been in the forefront of the street protest in France to resist this hybrid neoliberal dictatorship personified by Macron are the still active Gilets Jaunes.

Photo Credit by Marco Verch

From war on terror to war on virus: maximum profit for big tech and pharma

Forget about the good old so-called war-on-terror, fading slightly since its start in September 2001 but still a nice little threat in the background, big enough to keep the military-industrial complex flush with cash. A new conceptual global war was needed: the global war on COVID virus came at the right time. This one is even more promising, as it potentially concern the entire world population or 7.5 billion people. The COVID war has also been an easy sell for the general population, as it can be viewed as a war of necessity with humans “all in it together.” It can also provide an astronomical stream of revenue by making vaccination mandatory. In terms of profit from pandemics, vaccine companies have not been the only beneficiaries of this COVID gold rush.

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Big tech companies have racked up billions of dollars at a furious pace since March 2020 and the various restrictive measures of lock-downs and curfews. The likes of Amazon, Zoom and streaming media have handsomely benefited from the imposed partial move to a virtual world. As matter of fact, worldwide stock markets have become junkies to this trend: addicted to the war on COVID benefits.

Needless to say, this vast stream of income is also potentially endless because of the virus mutation into different variants. One loses track of this Greek alphabet catalogue. It was Alpha first or the English variant, then Beta or the Brazilian one, more contagious than the rhythm of Samba, and now it is the Delta variant originally called Indian mutation. As the virus mutates, as they all do, it could potentially take us all the way to Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet. The side effect of the Delta variant’s rapid spread has been to allow Macron, and soon many others, head-of-states or figureheads, to tighten back the screw on fundamental liberties.

Rule by decree, states of emergency, arbitrary measures, absurd,or not, are a form of abuse of power that neoliberals like Macron are really enjoying. It is an insidious form of dictatorship under a benevolent disguise of the enlightened rulers forcing their citizenry’s behavior. In France a law is about to pass, in parliament, to make vaccine for healthcare workers across board mandatory. If they do not comply by September 15, 2021, they will be fired. In the case of France, this should be viewed as a prelude to mandatory vaccination for the entire population.

Photo Credit by Roger Jones.

Killing personal freedom and liberties

In France, government controlled mainstream media critiques rightly calling the Macron administration’s sweeping COVID policies a “dictature sanitaire” or healthcare dictatorship have been labeled conspiracy theorists. This is pure disinformation, as what defines a dictatorship, semantically speaking, is a government, elected or not, forcing policies on its citizens. It is done under the premise that it is an action for the benefit of the common good, but nonetheless it is the exercise of authoritarian power on a population.

Through the COVID-19 pandemics, governments have learned that, if fear and paranoia were prevalent enough, and they run a lot of polls in their respective population, any dictatorial measures could be implemented without risking much social turmoil. A great majority of people did, and would likely comply again to other lock-downs, wearing masks outdoors, curfews, but without much protest. Now the final frontier is mandatory vaccination from 12 years-old on, which will give you some sort of health passport. If approved. this pass would give people the right to live almost free. This new type of passport, given to you as a reward to your obedience, will give you access to a mythical promised land often called by Macron “the return of the happy days!”

Photo Credit by Marco Verch

COVID fear mongering: subterfuge to hide climate collapse threat

There is no doubt, for any rational minds, that contesting the reality of the COVID pandemic is pure conspiracy theory. More than that, it is full blown lunacy! There are two radical anti-vaxers thought processes here: firstly, deny the existence of the pandemic entirely; secondly, which might be even more disturbing, an unshakable belief that the virus was man made, and released on purpose by the like of Fauci, Bill Gates, and a hand full of mad scientists. And, of course, here’s the icing on the cake: they’re all acting on behalf of a cabal of globalist pedophiles. These are the kinds of conspiracy theories that currently get you banned on social media.

As much as they are colorfully insane, this type of COVID-19 conspiracy theory denials are not, in essence, any worse than climate change crisis denial. The difference being that your average run of the mill climate change denier won’t get banned on social media. The nature of the capitalist global corporatism system, where neoliberals like Macron are leading figures, is not to create a crisis from scratch, which is either an impossible or very challenging task, but instead to take advantage of crisis either to further general policy goals, or in most cases benefit punctually from them like an opportunistic predator. This predatory aspect is after all the very nature of capitalism.

Photo Credit by Jeanne Menjoulet

Besides the numerous advantages that Macron, his political colleagues and their patrons from the billionaire class have found in the COVID crisis, as explained above, not only huge financial gains for pharmaceutical companies, but also for tech companies involved in this sort of forced quantum leap to the virtual world. In brief, this has been a chance to brutally shock the global economy. Not to make it more equal or sustainable, but quite exactly the opposite: COVID has been an opportunity to concentrate wealth even more in fewer hands with a net result of more social inequality.

Because in today’s press one story is always used to hide another, the pandemic has been also a blessed opportunity to hide, not the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the room, but instead the 10,000-ton Godzilla wrecking the planet: Godzilla, in this case, being the growing certainty of an upcoming global climate collapse.

Photo Credit by Jeanne Menjoulet

Of the “Liberte-Egalite-Fraternite motto of the French revolution, all the great values have been trampled and gutted. With lock-downs, curfews, mandatory masks and vaccine, Liberte is now gone. In the era of Macron, a former investment banker, nobody can talk about Egalite in a country which is on its way to become almost as unequal as the United States; and last but not least, how could anyone see any Fraternite left? The community sense of brotherhood died quite some time ago in France. There is no brotherhood left, no deep sense of connection within the nation, we are not “all in this together”.

In reality, there is only all of us, common men and women worldwide, against the billionaire class that controls the levers of the global corporate imperialist machines, with their political servant facilitators acting as heads of state. The specific names within the political class are of little significance since they represent the identical interests. It’s a bit like the names given to the COVID variants. The Delta variant, portrayed as the top threat right now, started more modestly as India’s mutation. Who knows, perhaps in some billionaire class circles, Emmanuel Macron is just called factor X, LV or MANU.

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How America Went From Mom-and-Pop Capitalism to Techno-Feudalism

The crisis of 2020 has created the greatest wealth gap in history. The middle class, capitalism and democracy are all under threat. What went wrong and what can be done?

In a matter of decades, the United States has gone from a largely benign form of capitalism to a neo-feudal form that has created an ever-widening gap in wealth and power. In his 2013 bestseller Capital in the 21st Century, French economist Thomas Piketty declared that “the level of inequality in the US is probably higher than in any other society at any time in the past anywhere in the world.” In a 2014 podcast about the book, Bill Moyers commented:

Here’s one of its extraordinary insights: We are now really all headed into a future dominated by inherited wealth, as capital is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, giving the very rich ever greater power over politics, government and society. Patrimonial capitalism is the name for it, and it has potentially terrifying consequences for democracy.

Paul Krugman maintained in the same podcast that the United States is becoming an oligarchy, a society of inherited wealth, “the very system our founders revolted against.” While things have only gotten worse since then thanks to the economic crisis of 2020, it’s worth retracing the history that brought us to this volatile moment.

Not the Vision of Our Founders

The sort of capitalism on which the United States was originally built has been called mom-and-pop capitalism. Families owned their own farms and small shops and competed with each other on a more or less level playing field. It was a form of capitalism that broke free of the feudalistic model and reflected the groundbreaking values set forth in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights: that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including the rights to free speech, a free press, to worship and assemble; and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process.

It was good in theory, but there were glaring, inhumane exceptions to this idealized template, including the confiscation of the lands of indigenous populations and the slavery that then prevailed. The slaves were emancipated by the US Civil War; but while they were freed in their persons, they were not economically free. They remained entrapped in economic serfdom. Although Black and Indigenous communities have been disproportionately oppressed, poor people were all trapped in “indentured servitude” of sorts — the obligation to serve in order to pay off debts; e.g., the debts of Irish workers to pay for passage to the United States, and the debts of “sharecroppers” (two-thirds of whom were white), who had to borrow from landlords at interest for land and equipment. Today’s U.S. prison system has also been called a form of slavery, in which free or cheap labor is extracted from poor people of color.

To the creditors, economic captivity actually had certain advantages over “chattel” slavery (ownership of humans as a property right). According to an infamous document called The Hazard Circular, circulated by British banking interests among their American banking counterparts during the American Civil War:

Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power and chattel slavery destroyed. This, I and my European friends are glad of, for slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of the laborers, while the European plan, led by England, is that capital shall control labor by controlling wages.

Slaves had to be housed, fed and cared for. “Free” men housed and fed themselves.  Free men could be kept enslaved by debt by paying them wages that were insufficient to meet their costs of living.

From ‘Industrial Capitalism’ to ‘Finance Capitalism

The economy crashed in the Great Depression, when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s government revived it and rebuilt the country through a public financial institution called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. After World War II, the US middle class thrived. Small businesses competed on a relatively level playing field similar to the mom-and-pop capitalism of the early pioneers. Meanwhile, larger corporations engaged in “industrial capitalism,” in which the goal was to produce real goods and services.

But the middle class, considered the backbone of the economy, has been progressively eroded since the 1970s. The one-two punch of the Great Recession and what the IMF has called the “Great Lockdown” has again reduced much of the population to indentured servitude; while industrial capitalism has largely been displaced by “finance capitalism,” in which money makes money for those who have it, “in their sleep.” As economist Michael Hudson explains, unearned income, not productivity, is the goal. Corporations take out cheap 1% loans, not to invest in machinery and production, but to buy their own stock earning 8% or 9%; or to buy out smaller corporations, eliminating competition and creating monopolies. Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis explains that “capital” has been decoupled from productivity: businesses can make money without making profits on their products.  As Kevin Cahill described the plight of people today in a book titled Who Owns the World?:

These latter day pharaohs, the planet owners, the richest 5% – allow the rest of us to pay day after day for the right to live on their planet. And as we make them richer, they buy yet more of the planet for themselves, and use their wealth and power to fight amongst themselves over what each possesses – though of course it’s actually us who have to fight and die in their wars.

The 2020 Knockout Punch 

The final blow to the middle class came in 2020. Nick Hudson, co-founder of a data analytics firm called PANDA (Pandemics, Data and Analysis),  argued in an interview following his keynote address at a March 2021 investment conference:

Lockdowns are the most regressive strategy that has ever been invented. The wealthy have become much wealthier. Trillions of dollars of wealth have been transferred to wealthy people. … Not a single country did a cost/benefit analysis before imposing these measures.

Policymakers followed the recommendations of the World Health Organization, based on predictive modeling by the Imperial College London that subsequently proved to be wildly inaccurate. Later studies have now been done, at least some of which have concluded that lockdowns have no significant effects on case numbers and that the costs of lockdowns substantially outweigh the benefits, in terms not just of economic costs but of lives.

On the economic front,  global lockdowns eliminated competition from small and medium-sized businesses, allowing monopolies and oligopolies to grow. “The biggest loser from all this is the middle class,” wrote Logan Kane on Seeking Alpha. By May 2020, about one in four Americans had filed for unemployment, with over 40 million Americans filing jobless claims; and 200,000 more businesses closed in 2020 than the historical annual average. Meanwhile, US billionaires collectively increased their total net worth by $1.1 trillion during the last 10 months of 2020; and 46 people joined the billionaire class.

The number of “centi-billionaires”– individuals with a net worth of $100 billion or more – also grew. In the US they included:

  • Jeff Bezos, soon-to-be former CEO of Amazon, whose net worth increased from $113 billion in March 2020 to $182 billion in March 2021, up by $70 billion for the year;
  • Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, whose net worth increased from $25 billion in March 2020 to $164 billion in March 2021, up by $139 billion for the year; and
  • Bill Gates, formerly CEO of Microsoft and currently considered the “global vaccine czar,” whose net worth increased to $124 billion in March 2021, up by $26 billion for the year.

Two others are almost centi-billionaires:

  • The net worth of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, grew from $55 billion in March 2020 to $95 billion in March 2021, up by $40 billion for the year; and
  • The net worth of Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway grew from $68 billion in March 2020 to $95 billion in March 2021, up by $27.6 billion for the year.

These five individuals collectively added $300 billion to their net worth just in 2020. For perspective, that’s enough to create 300,000 millionaires, or to give $100,000 to 3 million people.

Philanthrocapitalism

The need to shield the multibillionaire class from taxes and to change their predatory corporate image has given rise to another form of capitalism, called philanthrocapitalism. Wealth is transferred to foundations or limited liability corporations that are designated as having charitable purposes but remain under the ownership and control of the donors, who can invest the funds in ways that serve their corporate interests. As noted in The Reporter Magazine of the Rochester Institute of Technology:

Essentially, what we are witnessing is the transfer of responsibility for public goods and services from democratic institutions to the wealthy, to be administered by an executive class. In the CEO society, the exercise of social responsibilities is no longer debated in terms of whether corporations should or shouldn’t be responsible for more than their own business interests. Instead, it is about how philanthropy can be used to reinforce a politico-economic system that enables such a small number of people to accumulate obscene amounts of wealth.

With $100 billion, nearly anything can be bought – not just land and resources but media and journalists, political influence and legislation, regulators, university research departments and laboratories. Jeff Bezos now owns The Washington Post. Bill Gates is not only the largest funder of the World Health Organization and the Imperial College London but the largest owner of agricultural land in the US.

And Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturer SpaceX has effectively privatized the sky. Astronomers and stargazers complain that the thousands of satellites it has already launched, with many more in the works, are blocking their ability to see the stars.

Astronomy professor Samantha Lawler writes in a piece for The Conversation:

SpaceX has already received approval for 12,000 Starlink satellites and is seeking approval for 30,000 more. Other companies are not far behind […]

The point of the Starlink mega-constellation is to provide global internet access. It is often stated by Starlink supporters that this will provide internet access to places on the globe not currently served by other communication technologies. But currently available information shows the cost of access will be too high in nearly every location that needs internet access. Thus, Starlink will likely only provide an alternate for residents of wealthy countries who already have other ways of accessing the internet

[…] With tens of thousands of new satellites approved for launch, and no laws about orbit crowding, right-of-way or space cleanup, the stage is set for the disastrous possibility of Kessler Syndrome, a runaway cascade of debris that could destroy most satellites in orbit and prevent launches for decades…. Large corporations like SpaceX and Amazon will only respond to legislation — which is slow, especially for international legislation — and consumer pressure […] Our species has been stargazing for thousands of years, do we really want to lose access now for the profit of a few large corporations?

Public advocacy groups, such as the Cellular Phone Task Force,  have also objected due to health concerns over increased electromagnetic radiation. But the people have little say over public policy these days. So concluded a study summarized in a January 2021 article in Foreign Affairs. Princeton professor and study co-author Martin Gilens wrote:

[O]rdinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States. … Government policy-making over the last few decades reflects the preferences … of economic elites and of organized interests.

Varoufakis calls our current economic scheme “postcapitalism” and “techno-feudalism.” As in the medieval feudal model, assets are owned by the few. He notes that the stock market and the businesses in it are essentially owned by three companies – the giant exchange-traded funds BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street. Under the highly controversial “Great Reset” envisioned by the World Economic Forum, “you will own nothing and be happy.” By implication, everything will be owned by the techno-feudal lords.

Getting Back on Track

The capitalist model has clearly gone off the rails. How to get it back on track? One obvious option is to tax the uber-rich. As Chuck Collins, author of The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions (2021), writes in a March 2021 article:

A wealth tax would reverse more than a half-​century of tax cuts for the wealthiest households. Billionaires have seen their taxes decline roughly 79 percent as a percentage of their wealth since 1980. The “effective rate” on the billionaire class—the actual percentage paid—was 23 percent in 2018, lower than for most middle-​income taxpayers.

He notes that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-​Mass.) and co-authors recently introduced legislation to levy a 2 percent annual tax on wealth starting at $50 million, rising to 3 percent on fortunes of more than $1 billion:

The tax, which would apply to fewer than 100,000 U.S. residents, would raise an estimated $3 trillion over the next decade. It would be paid entirely by multi-​millionaires and billionaires who have reaped the lion’s share of wealth gains over the last four decades, including during the pandemic.

Varoufakis contends, however, that taxing wealth won’t be enough. The corporate model itself needs an overhaul. To create a “humanist” capitalism, he says, democracy needs to be brought to the marketplace.

Politically, one adult gets one vote. But in corporate elections, votes are weighted according to financial investment: the largest investors hold the largest number of voting shares. Varoufakis argues that the proper principle for reconfiguring the ownership of corporations for a market-based society would be one employee, one share (not tradeable), one vote. On that basis, he says, we can imagine as an alternative to our post-capitalist model a market-based democratic society without capitalism.

Another proposed solution is a land value tax, restoring at least a portion of the land to the “commons.” As Michael Hudson has observed:

There is one Achilles heel in the globalists’ strategy, an option that remains open to governments. This option is a tax on the rental income – the “unearned income” – of land, natural resources and monopoly takings.

Reforming the banking system is another critical tool. Banks operated as a public utility could allocate credit for productive purposes serving the public interest. Other possibilities include enforcement of anti-monopoly legislation and patent law reform.Perhaps, however, the flaw is in the competitive capitalist model itself. The winners will inevitably capture and exploit the losers, creating an ever-growing gap in wealth and power. Studies of natural systems have shown that cooperative models are more efficient than competitive schemes. That does not mean the sort of “cooperation” coerced through iron-fisted totalitarian control at the top. We need a set of rules that actually levels the playing field, rewards productivity, and maximizes benefit to society as a whole, while preserving the individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

• This article was first posted on ScheerPost.

The post How America Went From Mom-and-Pop Capitalism to Techno-Feudalism first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Great Divider: Covid-19 Reflects Global Racism, Not Equality

The notion that the COVID-19 pandemic was ‘the great equalizer’ should be dead and buried by now. If anything, the lethal disease is another terrible reminder of the deep divisions and inequalities in our societies. That said, the treatment of the disease should not be a repeat of the same shameful scenario.

For an entire year, wealthy celebrities and government officials have been reminding us that “we are in this together”, that “we are on the same boat”, with the likes of US singer, Madonna, speaking from her mansion while submerged in a “milky bath sprinkled with rose petals,” telling us that the pandemic has proved to be the “great equalizer”.

“Like I used to say at the end of ‘Human Nature’ every night, we are all in the same boat,” she said. “And if the ship goes down, we’re all going down together,” CNN reported at the time.

Such statements, like that of Madonna, and Ellen DeGeneres as well, have generated much media attention not just because they are both famous people with a massive social media following but also because of the obvious hypocrisy in their empty rhetoric. In truth, however, they were only repeating the standard procedure followed by governments, celebrities and wealthy ‘influencers’ worldwide.

But are we, really, “all in this together”? With unemployment rates skyrocketing across the globe, hundreds of millions scraping by to feed their children, multitudes of nameless and hapless families chugging along without access to proper healthcare, subsisting on hope and a prayer so that they may survive the scourges of poverty – let alone the pandemic – one cannot, with a clear conscience, make such outrageous claims.

Not only are we not “on the same boat” but, certainly, we have never been. According to World Bank data, nearly half of the world lives on less than $5.5 a day. This dismal statistic is part of a remarkable trajectory of inequality that has afflicted humanity for a long time.

The plight of many of the world’s poor is compounded in the case of war refugees, the double victims of state terrorism and violence and the unwillingness of those with the resources to step forward and pay back some of their largely undeserved wealth.

The boat metaphor is particularly interesting in the case of refugees; millions of them have desperately tried to escape the infernos of war and poverty in rickety boats and dinghies, hoping to get across from their stricken regions to safer places. This sight has sadly grown familiar in recent years not only throughout the Mediterranean Sea but also in other bodies of water around the world, especially in Burma, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have tried to escape their ongoing genocide. Thousands of them have drowned in the Bay of Bengal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated and, in fact, accelerated the sharp inequalities that exist in every society individually, and the world at large. According to a June 2020 study conducted in the United States by the Brookings Institute, the number of deaths as a result of the disease reflects a clear racial logic. Many indicators included in the study leave no doubt that racism is a central factor in the life cycle of COVID.

For example, among those aged between 45 and 54 years, “Black and Hispanic/Latino death rates are at least six times higher than for whites”. Although whites make up 62 percent of the US population of that specific age group, only 22 percent of the total deaths were white. Black and Latino communities were the most devastated.

According to this and other studies, the main assumption behind the discrepancy of infection and death rates resulting from COVID among various racial groups in the US is poverty which is, itself, an expression of racial inequality. The poor have no, or limited, access to proper healthcare. For the rich, this factor is of little relevance.

Moreover, poor communities tend to work in low-paying jobs in the service sector, where social distancing is nearly impossible. With little government support to help them survive the lockdowns, they do everything within their power to provide for their children, only to be infected by the virus or, worse, die.

This iniquity is expected to continue even in the way that the vaccines are made available. While several Western nations have either launched or scheduled their vaccination campaigns, the poorest nations on earth are expected to wait for a long time before life-saving vaccines are made available.

In 67 poor or developing countries located mostly in Africa and the Southern hemisphere, only one out of ten individuals will likely receive the vaccine by the end of 2020, the Fortune Magazine website reported.

The disturbing report cited a study conducted by a humanitarian and rights coalition, the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA), which includes Oxfam and Amnesty International.

If there is such a thing as a strategy at this point, it is the deplorable “hoarding” of the vaccine by rich nations. Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni of the PVA put this realization into perspective when she said that “rich countries have enough doses to vaccinate everyone nearly three times over, whilst poor countries don’t even have enough to reach health workers and people at risk”. So much for the numerous conferences touting the need for a ‘global response’ to the disease.

But it does not have to be this way.

While it is likely that class, race and gender inequalities will continue to ravage human societies after the pandemic, as they did before, it is also possible for governments to use this collective tragedy as an opportunity to bridge the inequality gap, even if just a little, as a starting point to imagine a more equitable future for all of us.

Poor, dark-skinned people should not be made to die when their lives can be saved by a simple vaccine, which is available in abundance.

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Ways You Can Help Eliminate Global Poverty

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The planet may feel like a smaller place, thanks to the ease of travel and the internet, but the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that “approximately 1.2 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty” and earn less than a single dollar per day.

Poverty affects the health and livelihood of a large number of people worldwide. Thankfully, there are a number of human rights organizations working to end global poverty, some of which the most recognizable include The World Bank, Oxfam International, CARE, and OPAD. Though these four organizations are just a small representation of the many charities and foundations all working towards tackling the global poverty problem, how will ending poverty actually happen? There is no simple answer to the question, although there are some main factors that are a major focus.

Global Water Crisis

Global poverty isn’t only about money. In fact, for many poverty-stricken areas, there’s an overall shortage of resources. Water is one of the most critical. Specifically, “844 million people — approximately 10% of the global population — lack access to basic drinking water.” Water is critical to more than drinking, too — it’s needed for sanitation and to grow food. Companies should invest in developing new water conservation technologies that make it easier and more accessible to reduce the amount of water people and businesses use.

On a smaller scale, being more conscious about environmental issues and our personal water usage around the home could preserve freshwater levels and shift the global collective mindset about how precious water is. Some ways to preserve water include:

  • Replacing water-heavy landscaping such as lawns with drought-tolerant or low-water versions.
  • Installing low-flow valves in household sinks and toilets.
  • Irrigate plants and gardens early in the morning.
  • Recycle grey (used) water by using it to irrigate plants, for example.

Global Food Supply

A bleak statistic highlights how global hunger could be avoided with more efficient food supply and distribution systems. In an article about how to transform global food production, Marlen, a food equipment manufacturer, reports that “30% to 40% of food produced is thrown away as waste.”

While strides were being made in the global food supply chain, the coronavirus dealt the world with a setback. The World Bank highlights how the current food supply is at risk at a national level, as production and distribution in countries across the globe are disrupted due to the shelter in place orders intended to keep citizens safe.

According to the World Bank’s analysis on COVID-19-related food insecurity, the current issue has long-reaching consequences:

Food producers also face large losses on perishable and nutritious food as buyers have become limited and consumption patterns shift. Though food insecurity is by and large not driven by food shortages, disruptions to the supply of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, or labor shortages could diminish next season’s crop.

The population most in danger are the 820 million global poor who were already struggling with food shortages before the coronavirus appeared and negatively impacted incomes and food availability.

You can help fight food insecurity that threatens the lives of the most vulnerable by donating to organizations working to provide access to food and agricultural processes. Some organizations working tirelessly to fight against global hunger include:

Many US organizations on a mission to end hunger focus on foreign countries. However, poverty and hunger are also present in the United States. Feeding America reports that “more than 37 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including more than 11 million children.” Volunteering and donating to local charitable foundations is the best way to help against hunger in your community.

Energy Sustainability

The poorest locations in the world also struggle with the unavailability of energy sources. The World Bank found that roughly 1.1 billion people don’t have access to electricity. In addition, another three billion people cook with highly-polluting fuels, such as dung, wood, kerosene, or charcoal.

In other poverty areas, energy infrastructure is present, but some people may not be able to afford the cost of the utilities. Developed countries such as the U.S. have programs that help low-income individuals pay their utility bills. In addition, public awareness programs promote the importance of energy conservation in the home, such as using insulation and buying energy-efficient appliances.

Supporting clean energy initiatives, such as wind or solar power, not only benefit your bottom dollar in the form of reduced utility bills but helps companies develop more affordable clean-energy technology. As green energy technology becomes more efficient and affordable, it could be used in other areas around the world lacking basic energy infrastructure.

Eliminating Global Poverty

Ending poverty is a big challenge. It requires cooperation from nations, corporations, communities, and individuals. You can take small steps to help in the fight to end poverty by donating to charitable organizations that resonate with you. Turning to a more sustainable lifestyle can also help by easing the load on the world’s natural resources, so others more in need can access them as well.

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Societal Gaps Revealed by COVID-19

Image Source: Pixabay

It sometimes feels incredible that this time last year, many of us had never even heard of coronavirus. There had been no lockdowns. No lives lost. No economic collapse.

And for many of us, the threat of a pandemic felt like a relic of the last century, something about as menacing as hat pins, phonograph needles, or corsets laced too tightly.

But now the pandemic has come and the danger has shown itself to be very real. COVID-19 hasn’t just revealed to us the limits of modern medical science, however, or our continued vulnerability nearly as old as humanity itself.

No, the coronavirus has shown us much more. Above all, it has shown us the profound inequities that so many in our society face.

The gaps might have been papered over in the rush and distractions of ordinary life, but when the ordinary became extraordinary, they can no longer be ignored.

Economic Disparities

Studies show that it’s not only the elderly and the immuno-compromised who are at greatest risk from COVID-19. Minority populations are far more likely than the general population both to contract the virus and to die from it.

Disproportionate rates of poverty, combined with a pervasive lack of access to quality healthcare are allowing the virus to race through some minority communities like fire through a dry forest. Perhaps most frightening, these disparities aren’t the result of some residual anachronism, the lingering effects of centuries of racial injustice.

Instead, as the world retreated into lockdown and those who could transitioned to telecommuting, countless workers were left behind. And what this reveals, above all, is the casualties of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

While technological innovation is boosting the standard of living the world over, the pandemic has thrown into stark relief the reality that not everyone is a beneficiary of modern progress. According to a recent study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 40% of American workers were able to transition to fully remote work.

And the disparities fall strongly along racial lines. While nearly 30% of Caucasians are employed in jobs that allow them to work from home, that percentage drops to less than 20% for Blacks and just over 16% for Latinos.

The Majority Minority

The profound opportunity gaps suffered by racial and ethnic minorities are coming to the fore through the disproportionate infection and mortality rates of COVID in these communities. But coronavirus is also casting a spotlight on the inequities people with disabilities face.

Among the most pernicious forms this marginalization takes is in the lack of employment opportunities for people who have a disability. Research shows that companies that hire employees with disabilities generate 30% more revenue on average than those that don’t.

Nevertheless, the unemployment rate in the disabled community is significantly higher than that of the general population. It would seem, then, that the nationwide shift to telework would be particularly good news for persons with disabilities, particularly those with mobility issues or those who have health conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus.

The reality, however, is that substantial barriers to today’s technologies, including teleworking technologies, persist for many of those who have a disability. And this only serves to underscore the broader lack of accessibility in the physicial world beyond the internet.

People with disabilities may have limited opportunities to work a standard 40-hour job in a traditional office environment. This could be due either to health constraints or to physical or institutional and ideological barriers within the company itself.

In the age of telework, however, such barriers are often translated to challenges in accessing the technologies that would enable people with disabilities to use the internet and fully engage in virtual work.  This might include mobility challenges that make the use of a computer keyboard difficult; vision impairments that might make researching the internet an impossibility, or learning disabilities that make working with text-based documents a formidable challenge.

Rural Populations

It is not only minorities and persons with disabilities who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Those who live in rural areas are also particularly vulnerable. The coronavirus pandemic has also revealed profound inequities endured by those living in the most underserved areas of the nation and the globe.

Rural communities, for example, are characterized by a lack of consistent, quality healthcare. However, robust supportive care, such as that provided by family nurse practitioners (FNP) is being dispatched to bridge that gap.

As significant as the dearth of rural medical care, though, is the impact of the disruption in the global food supply caused by the pandemic. More than 250 million people worldwide are expected to face acute hunger as a result of the global lockdowns. As food shortages spread, the lack of social protections for the world’s most vulnerable populations threatens to teach a devastating lesson on just how many of us live each day balanced on the razor’s edge.

The Takeaway

COVID-19 has not just changed our world. It has taught us to see it for what it really is. And in far too many cases, that has meant uncovering the gross inequities and profound injustices that we would rather close our eyes to. It has cast into the light of day realities our “normal” lives had for far too long kept shrouded in darkness.

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Global Issues Require United Action and a Reinvigorated UN

Whatever corner of the world one happens to live in, the most pressing issues of the day affect everyone. Pandemics/epidemics and the environmental emergency; war and terrorism; poverty and food insecurity; overpopulation and the displacement of persons. Such crises cannot be limited by borders or controlled by nation states; no government or corporate power can manage them. They are interconnected global issues and they require a coordinated global response.

Drawn together by economic interest or shared geo-political concerns various allied groupings and regional alliances exist in the world. While such assemblies present the possibility of nations unifying, self-interest, ideology and partisanship dominate the approach of many governments to global problems: achieving consensus is rare, and consistent implementation of agreements even more so. And with the rise of tribal nationalism in recent years, led by major nations like America, Russia and China, the space for cooperation and unity has been further eroded, the major issues of the times ignored, or in many cases enflamed.

The United Nations: What now?

In addition to highlighting a range of social inequalities the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for nations to work cooperatively in response to global issues, under the coordinated stewardship of an international body. One that is free from political ideology is non-partisan and works to build the broadest level of consensus.

Established in 1945 at the end of World War II, The United Nations (UN), with its range of 15 specialized agencies is the obvious body to take on such an expanded, essential role. Not by adopting powers of governance over member states but by being invested with a new status based on the recognition that certain issues demand unified strategic action and the understanding that the future of individual countries rests upon the health and stability of the whole.

Like all global organizations the UN is imperfect and reforms are needed, but it represents a high point in human achievement and the world is a richer place for its existence. Since its inception million of people have been fed, educated and cared for by UN agencies. Its overall aim is, “the maintenance of international peace and security.” However, with member states pursuing their own ideologically fuelled agendas and with limited or no influence to tackle the underlying causes of conflict, this has proven impossible. One of the most significant accomplishments in the history of the UN is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed in 1948. It includes the right to not be enslaved, the right to free expression, the right to food and shelter and the right to seek asylum from persecution.

Despite the fact that many of the rights expressed remain unrealized the existence of the UDHR is crucially important, establishing a clear set of rights for every human being in the world. And, as we move into a new time, the UDHR could serve as a guiding template for systemic change, in particular the rights outlined in article 25, which states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

Within the UN there are a range of relevant departments concerned with the global issues outlined, agencies that are overflowing with expertise and people of goodwill. But whether it’s the UNHCR (working with refugees), the WHO or the UN Environment agency, all too often their efforts to act for the benefit of those they serve are inhibited by the power exerted by the 15-member Security Council, in particular the permanent five (P5), by the self-centered short -term approach of member states, lack of funding and a somewhat ambiguous world role.

Agents of Change

At the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic, the WHO works to bring about “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health… physical, mental and social well-being.” And much has been achieved in the 70 years since it was set up. But in developing regions (where nations cannot fund health care adequately) access to medical support is extremely limited and, as in countries where health care is not (freely) provided by the state, the quality of treatment received by patients is conditioned by their economic status. The agency has been criticized by some, most notably President Trump (who has now withdrawn US funding), for failing to act quickly enough over Covid-19. Certainly mistakes were made. The worldwide response to the virus, however, should have been coordinated by the WHO; consistent methodologies followed – while being adapted to specific populations – with clear messages and detailed scientific information. Instead, nations turned within and formulated their own approach.

Together with the IPCC, UN Environment has potentially the most important role of any UN agency. But their aim to encourage partnership in “caring for the environment” is frustrated by the forces of commercialization and the consumer obsessed way of life relentlessly promoted by corporate governments and followed by the mass of humanity. Governments are fixated on ‘growth’, and ‘caring for the environment’ is a secondary consideration, if considered at all. “Reducing food insecurity and rural poverty” is the concern of the UN food agency (UNFAO). Around 2 billion people in the world are estimated to be ‘food insecure’, of which, just under a billion ‘don’t have enough to eat’. The world is vastly overpopulated; common estimates suggest that the planet can comfortably support 3.5 – 4 billion people, but currently the global population stands at 7.8 billion. There is, however, food enough for everyone; starvation and malnourishment are fundamentally problems of poverty and distribution, not over-population, although this is a significant issue which is having a devastating impact on the natural environment.

Peace, hunger, displacement, environment, health care, every issue is interconnected, one impacting on the other. All arise from, and are intensified by, the all-pervasive unjust socio-economic system. Everything and all areas of life have become commodified and commercialized, including the natural environment, food, health care and education. No money no food, no cash no health care, no income poor or non-existent education and sub-standard housing. As a means of organizing the socio-economic life of humanity, promoting human wellbeing and environmental health it is utterly deficient, detrimental, in fact. And whatever bailouts and stimulus programs are concocted to mop up the Covid economic spillage it is a system in decay; a vessel running on empty, propelled only by the momentum of the past.

Renewed UN

Key to overcoming the global issues here outlined and bringing about socio-economic change is the introduction of sharing, together with a reinvigorated expanded United Nations. Most people and many nations are poor, or poorly off, but the world is rich, overflowing; it is an abundant world and everyone is entitled to benefit from its collective riches.

Sharing as a principle of living needs to be planted in all areas of life, a unifying seed of goodness infusing all systems and modes of living. This will require the establishment of a new UN agency (‘The United Nations Office for Sharing (UNOS)’ perhaps) and eventually the dissolution of the Security Council, which is currently the most powerful arm of the UN.

The new agency would design systems of sharing and oversee the equitable distribution, firstly of food and water, then, through a massive volunteer program, of other resources that are held collectively, including knowledge, skills, creativity. Sharing is an extraordinarily potent quality, both an action and an attitude of mind. It is an expression of trust and an acknowledgment of our oneness, it encourages cooperation and cultivates trust, and when there is trust much can be achieved between individuals and groups. It a vibrant force for good and its time has come.

All countries are deficient in some areas, but as humanity begins to function as a World community, the needs of everyone can be met; all that is required is that we acknowledge the needs of all and learn to share. And although the current systems work against such commonsensical ways, through the application of creative thinking and goodwill, coordinated by a revitalized unifying UN, much can be achieved.

As US Protests Show, the Challenge is How to Rise Above the Violence Inherent in State Power

Here is one thing I can write with an unusual degree of certainty and confidence: Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin would not have been charged with the (third-degree) murder of George Floyd had the United States not been teetering on a knife edge of open revolt.

Had demonstrators not turned out in massive numbers on the streets and refused to be corralled back home by the threat of police violence, the US legal system would have simply turned a blind eye to Chauvin’s act of extreme brutality, as it has done before over countless similar acts.

Without the mass protests, it would have made no difference that Floyd’s murder was caught on camera, that it was predicted by Floyd himself in his cries of “I can’t breathe” as Chauvin spent nearly nine minutes pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck, or that the outcome was obvious to spectators who expressed their growing alarm as Floyd lost consciousness. At most, Chauvin would have had to face, as he had many times before, an ineffectual disciplinary investigation over “misconduct”.

Without the current ferocious mood of anger directed at the police and sweeping much of the nation, Chauvin would have found himself as immune from accountability and prosecution as so many police officers before him who gunned down or lynched black citizens.

Instead he is the first white police officer in the state of Minnesota ever to be criminally charged over the death of a black man. After initially arguing that there were mitigating factors to be considered, prosecutors hurriedly changed course to declare Chauvin’s indictment the fastest they had ever initiated. Yesterday Minneapolis’s police chief was forced to call the other three officers who stood by as Floyd was murdered in front of them “complicit”.

Confrontation, not contrition

If the authorities’ placatory indictment of Chauvin – on the least serious charge they could impose, based on incontrovertible evidence they could not afford to deny – amounts to success, then it is only a little less depressing than failure.

Worse still, though most protesters are trying to keep their demonstrations non-violent, many of the police officers dealing with the protests look far readier for confrontation than contrition. The violent attacks by police on protesters, including the use of vehicles for rammings, suggest that it is Chauvin’s murder charge – not the slow, barbaric murder of Floyd by one of their number – that has incensed fellow officers. They expect continuing impunity for their violence.

Similarly, the flagrant mistreatment by police of corporate media outlets simply for reporting developments, from the arrest of a CNN crew to physical assaults on BBC staff, underlines the sense of grievance harboured by many police officers when their culture of violence is exposed for all the world to see. They are not reeling it in, they are widening the circle of “enemies”.

Nonetheless, it is entirely wrong to suggest, as a New York Times editorial did yesterday, that police impunity can be largely ascribed to “powerful unions” shielding officers from investigation and punishment. The editorial board needs to go back to school. The issues currently being exposed to the harsh glare of daylight get to the heart of what modern states are there to do – matters rarely discussed outside of political theory classes.

Right to bear arms

The success of the modern state, like the monarchies of old, rests on the public’s consent, explicit or otherwise, to its monopoly of violence. As citizens, we give up what was once deemed an inherent or “natural” right to commit violence ourselves and replace it with a social contract in which our representatives legislate supposedly neutral, just laws on our behalf. The state invests the power to enforce those laws in a supposedly disciplined, benevolent police force – there to “protect and serve” – while a dispassionate court system judges suspected violators of those laws.

That is the theory, anyway.

In the case of the United States, the state’s monopoly on violence has been muddied by a constitutional “right to bear arms”, although, of course, the historic purpose of that right was to ensure that the owners of land and slaves could protect their “property”. Only white men were supposed to have the right to bear arms.

Today, little has changed substantively, as should be obvious the moment we consider what would have happened had it been black militia men that recently protested the Covid-19 lockdown by storming the Michigan state capitol, venting their indignation in the faces of white policemen.

(In fact, the US authorities’ reaction to the Black Panthers movement through the late 1960s and 1970s is salutary enough for anyone who wishes to understand how dangerous it is for a black man to bear arms in his own defence against the violence of white men.)

Brutish violence

The monopoly of violence by the state is justified because most of us have supposedly consented to it in an attempt to avoid a Hobbesian world of brutish violence where individuals, families and tribes enforce their own, less disinterested versions of justice.

But, of course, the state system is not as neutral or dispassionate as it professes, or as most of us assume. Until the struggle for universal suffrage succeeded – a practice that in all western states can be measured in decades, not centuries – the state was explicitly there to uphold the interests of a wealthy elite, a class of landed gentry and newly emerging industrialists, as well as a professional class that made society run smoothly for the benefit of that elite.

What was conceded to the working class was the bare minimum to prevent them from rising up against the privileges enjoyed by the rest of society.

That was why, for example, Britain did not have universal health care – the National Health Service – until after the Second World War, 30 years after men received the vote and 20 years after women won the same right. Only after the war did the British establishment start to fear that a newly empowered working class – of returning soldiers who knew how to bear arms, backed by women who had been released from the home to work on the land or in munitions factories to replace the departed men – might no longer be willing to accept a lack of basic health care for themselves and their loved ones.

It was in this atmosphere of an increasingly organised and empowered labour movement – reinforced by the need to engineer more consumerist societies to benefit newly emerging corporations – that European social democracy was born. (Paradoxically, the post-war US Marshall Plan helped subsidise the emergence of Europe’s major social democracies, including their public health care systems, even as similar benefits were denied domestically to Americans.)

Creative legal interpretations

To maintain legitimacy for the state’s monopoly on violence, the legal establishment has had to follow the same minimalist balancing act as the political establishment.

The courts cannot simply rationalise and justify the implicit and sometimes explicit use of violence in law enforcement without regard to public sentiment. Laws are amended, but equally significantly they are creatively interpreted by judges so that they fit the ideological and moral fashions and prejudices of the day, to ensure the public feels justice is being done.

In the main, however, we the public have a very conservative understanding of right and wrong, of justice and injustice, which has been shaped for us by a corporate media that both creates and responds to those fashions and trends to ensure that the current system continues undisturbed, allowing for the ever-greater accumulation of wealth by an elite.

That is why so many of us are viscerally appalled by looting on the streets by poor people, but reluctantly accept as a fact of life the much larger intermittent looting of our taxes, of our banks, of our homes by the state to bail out a corporate elite that cannot manage the economy it created.

Again, the public’s deference to the system is nurtured to ensure it does not rise up.

Muscle on the street

But the legal system doesn’t just have a mind; it has muscle too. Its front-line enforcers, out on the street, get to decide who is a criminal suspect, who is dangerous or subversive, who needs to be deprived of their liberty, and who is going to have violence inflicted upon them. It is the police that initially determine who spends time in a jail cell and who comes before a court. And in some cases, as in George Floyd’s, it is the police that decide who is going to be summarily executed without a trial or a jury.

The state would prefer, of course, that police officers don’t kill unarmed citizens in the street – and even more so that they don’t carry out such acts in full view of witnesses and on camera, as Chauvin did. The state’s objections are not primarily ethical. State bureaucracies are not overly invested in matters beyond the need to maintain external and internal security: defending the borders from outside threats, and ensuring internal legitimacy through the cultivation of citizens’ consent.

But the issue of for whom and for what the state keeps its territory safe has become harder to conceal over time. Nowadays, the state’s political processes and its structures have been almost completely captured by corporations. As a result, the maintenance of internal and external security is less about ensuring an orderly and safe existence for citizens than about creating a stable territorial platform for globalised businesses to plunder local resources, exploit local labour forces and generate greater profits by transforming workers into consumers.

Increasingly, the state has become a hollowed-out vessel through which corporations order their business agendas. States function primarily now to compete with each other in a battle to minimise the obstacles facing global corporations as they seek to maximise their wealth and profits in each state’s territory. The state’s role is to avoid getting in the way of corporations as they extract resources (deregulation), or, when this capitalist model regularly collapses, come to the aid of the corporations with more generous bailouts than rival states.

Murder could prove a spark

This is the political context for understanding why Chauvin is that very rare example of a white policeman facing a murder charge for killing a black man.

Chauvin’s gratuitous and incendiary murder of Floyd – watched by any American with a screen, and with echoes of so many other recent cases of unjustifiable police brutality against black men, women and children – is the latest spark that risks lighting a conflagration.

In the heartless, amoral calculations of the state, the timing of Chauvin’s very public act of barbarity could not have been worse. There were already rumblings of discontent over federal and state authorities’ handling of the new virus; fears over the catastrophic consequences for the US economy; outrage at the inequity – yet again – of massive bailouts for the biggest corporations but paltry help for ordinary workers; and the social and personal frustrations caused by lockdown.

There is also a growing sense that the political class, Republican and Democrat alike, has grown sclerotic and unresponsive to the plight of ordinary Americans – an impression only underscored by the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

For all these reasons, and many others, people were ready to take to the streets. Floyd’s murder gave them the push.

The need for loyal police

In these circumstances, Chauvin had to be charged, even if only in the hope of assuaging that anger, of providing a safety valve releasing some of the discontent.

But charging Chauvin is no simple matter either. To ensure its survival, the state needs to monopolise violence and internal security, to maintain its exclusive definition of what constitutes order, and to keep the state as a safe territorial platform for business. The alternative is the erosion of the nation-state’s authority, and the possibility of its demise.

This was the rationale behind Donald Trump’s notorious tweet last week – censored by Twitter for “glorifying violence” – that warned: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Not surprisingly, he invoked the words of a racist Miami police chief, Walter Headley, who threatened violence against the African-American community in the late 1960s. At the time Headley additionally stated: “There’s no communication with them except force.”

Trump may be harking back to an ugly era of what was once called “race relations”, but the sentiment lies at the heart of the state’s mission.

The state needs its police forces loyal and ready to use violence. It cannot afford discontent in the ranks, or that sections of the police corps no longer identify their own interests with the state’s. The state dares not alienate police officers for fear that, when they are needed most, during times of extreme dissent like now, they will not be there – or worse still, that they will have joined the dissenters.

As noted, elements in the police are already demonstrating their disenchantment over Chauvin’s indictment as well as their sense of grievance against the media – bolstered by Donald Trump’s regular verbal assaults on journalists. That sentiment helps to explain the unprecedented attacks by the police on reliably compliant major media outlets covering the protests.

Ideological twins

The need to keep the security forces loyal is why the state fosters a sense of separateness between the police and those sections of the populace that it defines as potentially threatening order, thereby uniting more privileged segments of society in fear and hostility.

The state cultivates in the police and sections of the public a sense that police violence is legitimate by definition when it targets individuals or groups it portrays as threatening or subversive. It also encourages the view that the police enjoy impunity a priori in such cases because they alone can decide what constitutes a menace to society (shaped, of course, by popular discourses promoted by the state and the corporate media).

“Threat” is defined as any dissent against the existing order, whether it is a black man answering back and demonstrating “attitude”, or mass protests against the system, including against police violence. In this way, the police and the state are ideological twins. The state approves whatever the police do; while the police repress whatever the state defines as a threat. If it is working effectively, state-police violence becomes a circular, self-rationalising system.

Throwing the protests a bone

Charging Chauvin risks disrupting that system, creating a fault line between the state and the police, one of the state’s most essential agencies. Which is why the charging of a police officer in these circumstances is such an exceptional event, and has been dictated by the current exceptional outpouring of anger.

Prosecutors are trying to find a delicate compromise between two conflicting demands: between the need to reassure the police that their violence is always legitimate (carried out “in the line of duty”) and the need to stop the popular wave of anger escalating to a point where the existing order might break down. In these circumstances, Chauvin needs to be charged but with the least serious indictment possible – given the irrefutable evidence presented in the video – in the hope that, once the current wave of anger has subsided, he can be found not guilty; or if found guilty, given a lenient sentence; or if sentenced more harshly, pardoned.

Chauvin’s indictment is like throwing a chewed-dry bone to a hungry dog, from the point of view of the state authorities. It is an act of parsimonious appeasement, designed to curb non-state violence or the threat of such violence.

The indictment is not meant to change a police culture – or an establishment one – that presents black men as an inherent threat to order. It will not disrupt regulatory and legal systems that are wedded to the view that (white, conservative) police officers are on the front line defending civilisational values from (black or leftwing) “lawbreakers”. And it will not curtail the state’s commitment to ensuring that the police enjoy impunity over their use of violence.

Change is inevitable

A healthy state – committed to the social contract – would be capable of finding ways to accommodate discontent before it reaches the level of popular violence and revolt. The scenes playing out across the US are evidence that state institutions, captured by corporate money, are increasingly incapable of responding to demands for change. The hollowed-out state represents not its citizens, who are capable of compromise, but the interests of global forces of capital that care little what takes place on the streets of Minneapolis or New York so long as the corporations can continue to accumulate wealth and power.

Why would we expect these global forces to be sensitive to popular unrest in the US when they have proved entirely insensitive to the growing signals of distress from the planet, as its life-support systems recalibrate for our pillage and plunder in ways we will struggle to survive as a species?

Why would the state not block the path to peaceful change, knowing it excels in the use of violence, when it blocks the path to reform that might curb the corporate assault on the environment?

These captured politicians and officials – on the “left” and right – will continue fanning the flames, stoking the fires, as Barack Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice did this week. She denied the evidence of police violence shown on Youtube and the very real distress of an underclass abandoned by the political class when she suggested that the protests were being directed from the Kremlin.

This kind of bipartisan denial of reality only underscores how quickly we are entering a period of crisis and revolt. From the G8 protests, to the Occupy movement, to Extinction Rebellion, to the schools’ protests, to the Yellow Vests, to the current fury on US streets, there is evidence all around that the centre is struggling to maintain its hold. The US imperial project is overstretched, the global corporate elite is over-extended, living on credit, resources are depleting, the planet is recalibrating. Something will have to give.

The challenge to the protesters – either those on the streets now or those who follow in their wake – is how to surmount the state’s violence and how to offer a vision of a different, more hopeful future that restores the social contract.

Lessons will be learnt through protest, defiance and disobedience, not in a courtroom where a police officer stands trial as an entire political and economic system is allowed to carry on with its crimes.