Who runs America today? The rich and the multinational corporations. Who runs the White House? David Plouffe, whose job it is to make sure that ever word, every action of the president is calculated for electoral gain rather than the country’s needs. Who runs the Congress, on both sides of the aisle? The lobbyists, who win in every negotiation. And who loses? The American people, who have said repeatedly that they want a budget that sharply cuts the military, ends the wars, raises taxes on the rich, protects the poor and the middle class, and invests in America’s future not just in Obama’s speeches but in fact.
America needs a third-party movement to break the hammerlock of the financial elites. Until that happens, the political class and the media conglomerates will continue to spew lies, American militarism will continue to destabilize a growing swath of the world, and the country will continue its economic decline.
“Today’s gap between North and South—the rich developed societies and the rest of the world—was largely created by the global conquest.
Scholarship and science are beginning to recognize a record that had been concealed by imperial arrogance. They are discovering that at the time of the arrival of the Europeans, and long before, the Western hemisphere was home to some of the world’s most advanced civilizations. In the poorest country of South America, archaeologists are coming to believe that eastern Bolivia was the site of a wealthy, sophisticated, and complex society of perhaps a million people. In their words, it was the site of “one of the largest, strangest, and most ecologically rich artificial environments on the face of the planet, with causeways and canals, spacious and formal towns and considerable wealth,” creating a landscape that was “one of humankind’s greatest works of art, a masterpiece.” In the Peruvian Andes, by 1491 the Inka had created the greatest empire in the world, greater in scale than the Chinese, Russian, Ottoman, or other empires, far greater than any European state, and with remarkable artistic, agricultural, and other achievements.”—Hopes and Prospects, Noam Chomsky (via socialuprooting)
In case you’ve had a hard time following what’s been going on in Egypt (emphasis mine):
When Egyptians rose up last year, it was not only against tyranny and political repression, but also against the neoliberal economic order - designed by the United States - that has generated hunger, poverty and inequality in Egypt since the 1980s. For most people, these latter concerns were at least as pressing as the former, though they have been completely obscured in the prevailing media discourse. Now the tragedy is that, when it comes to economic policy, Egypt’s new rulers seem set to reproduce more of the same.
Khairat el-Shater - multimillionaire businessman, deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, and likely candidate for prime minister of the coalition government - has been forthright about his economic ideology. He promotes a version of Islam that explicitly valourises free-market capitalism. He has clamped down on dissent among those within the Brotherhood who hold different ideas about how the economy should be run.
The Brotherhood’s new position on economic policy has delighted the United States. US lawmakers have pushed hard since the beginning of the uprising to foster a form of political Islam compatible with US economic interests and the ideology of the Washington Consensus.
Haven’t you heard? Neoliberalism is the way to go. If America is doing it, so should everyone else!
“A bull contents himself with one meadow, and one forest is enough for a thousand elephants; but the little body of a man devours more than all other living creatures.”—
Seneca the Younger
Context: How long shall we covet and oppress, enlarge our possessions, and account that too little for one man which was formerly enough for a nation? And our luxury is as insatiable as our avarice. Where is that lake, that sea, that forest, that spot of land; that is not ransacked to gratify our palate? The very earth is burdened with our buildings; not a river, not a mountain, escapes us. Oh, that there should be such boundless desires in our little bodies! Would not fewer lodgings serve us? We lie but in one, and where we are not, that is not properly ours. What with our hooks, snares, nets, dogs, etc., we are at war with all living creatures; and nothing comes amiss but that which is either too cheap, or too common; and all this is to gratify a fantastical palate. Our avarice, our ambition, our lusts, are insatiable; we enlarge our possession, swell our families, we rifle sea and land for matter of ornament and luxury. A bull contents himself with one meadow, and one forest is enough for a thousand elephants; but the little body of a man devours more than all other living creatures.
“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is EMPATHY, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”—Bill Bullard (via erosboros)