Monday, April 25, 2011

A Dying Civilization

"A civiliation that proves incapable of solving the problems it creates is a decadent civilization. A civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization. A civilization that uses its principles for trickery and deceit is a dying civilization."-Aime Cesaire Discourse on Colonialism (1955)

When these words were written Cesaire was furious with the concept of Western colonialism. The French had brought "civilization" to Algeria and brought with them barbarity and oppression. In 1955, the United States did not differ from the French occupation of Algeria and Vietnam too much. Blacks in America faced similar harshness. Under constant threat of violence and injustice, Blacks in America should have sympathized with their African brothers in this regard. In the 1960's Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) in his book with Charles Hamilton entitled "Black Power", asked the question that are Blacks in America a colonized people. It is hard to answer that they weren't. Much like all colonized peoples Blacks in America were being forced into integrating with a culutre, which considered even if he was successful, inferior and all their ideas and thoughts to be of no consquence to the majority of society.

This idea of inferiority and of colonialization has expanded greatly since the question Carmichael and Hamilton asked 40 years ago. The colony expanded from Africans, to Black Americans, to now its just the poor. The poor of every race are now the most inconsquential people on Earth. It could be argued that it has always been that way from the days of this country's genesis to today and that would be true but it is at its most visible in today's America. Much like in Algeria, where the Black population greatly outnumbered the French, yet in the department of power and the ability to push and promote their social, economic and political ideals the French stood far and beyond. The small French population was able to trick the masses into thinking that what was in the French interest was ultimately in the interest of the Algeria. This idea lead to the Algerians wanting to follow in the footsteps of the French. So as Frantz Fanon stated there were Algerians who sought to speak better French than the Frenchmen, they were determined to prove their worth to the Frenchmen and it perpetuated a feeling of inferiority. Looking for approval is a sign of inferiority and this is what the Algerian attempted to do constantly but it is also what the poor attempt to do to the rich in America today.

The poor and the middle class in America are the majority yet they are constantly bombarded with literature, shows and ideas that make them feel inadequate. They allow themselves to be scapegoated when the rich make mistakes (see the 2008 economic crash) and they fully believe the concept that what is good for the rich is good for us all. This mentality leads to corporatism and what Dr. Cornel West calls "free-market fundamentalism". Free-market fundamentalism is one of the ideas West feels is a direct threat to America's democracy and is highlighted in his book "Democracy Matters". "Free-market fundamentalism posits the unregulated and unfettered free market...where business leaders with wealth and power are worshipped" (3). Deregulation of private sector mediums has yet to produce anything more than constriction of consumer choice and fat wallets for corporations. Business leaders such as Donald Trump believe that because they made a couple dollars at one point that they now have the ability to lead a nation. And believe me there are people who think that being a CEO makes one a top contender to be President. We see the deification of people like Trump on television all the time and it has gotten to the point where we almost accept the concept of people like him being better than the rest of us, despite people like him making mistakes that cost us jobs, homes and general well being. I will end the topic of free-market fundamentalism with a few quotes before going forward:

"The oppressive effect of the prevailing market moralities leads to a form of sleepwalking from womb to tomb, with the majority of citizens content to focus on private careers and be distracted with stimulating amusements."-Cornel West

"Capitalist society, at its present stage, is incapable of establishing a concept of rights of all men, just as it has proved incapable of establishing a system of individual ethics."-Aime Cesaire

"You can't operate a capitalistic system unless you are vulturistic..you show me a capitalist and I'll show you a bloodsucker."-Malcolm X

Despite the quotes and the overall feel of the post so far I am not attempting to make an argument for socialism or communism. What I am making an argument for is in the opening quote: "A civiliation that proves incapable of solving the problems it creates is a decadent civilization." America has become a decadent society. A society that creates problems by favoring the ideas of a few over the rights of the many and then refusing to acknowledge that those concepts are the very issue with society. Going back to the economic collapse of 2008, one who did some research could see that deregulation of the investment and commercial banks lead to the collapse, yet we are told that it was the poor folks who failed to pay their mortgages and some accepted that, mainly because it's what the corporate media and it's bosses has accepted as the truth.

"A civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization." America is stricken. We are taught not to see the amount of unemployed people in this nation today. We are told by the corporate media that unemployment is dropping, well that may be true but there are ways of manipulating those figures, such as people no longer able to collect unemployment being dumped from the unemployment rolls and no longer counting towards the unemployment rate (they are no longer in the labor force after a certain time). We don't see that people cannot afford healthcare, instead we are taught that we have "the best healthcare in the world" and that it's the best because it's for-profit.

"A civilization that uses its principles for trickery and deceit is a dying civilization." America was founded as a "democracy" or so we are told. America is not and never was a democratic nation, it is a republican nation similar to Rome. In a republican government the people vote for a representative who then argues and makes decisions on behalf of his electorate. This deception is spread everyday, how can we force democracy on Iraq when we don't have one? Free-markets and capitalism a.k.a "rugged individualism" where a person makes his wealth from the sweat of his own brow and should be entitled to keep all that he earns, sounds great. Except for the fact that this country was built upon slavery, which is forced servitude, and capitalism works best when it has a significantly weaker class whether its slaves or sweatshops (which American corporations use). The concept of citizenship and voting have been so warped that corporations have "rights" that were only intended for actual human beings. Money is speech creates a concept of bribery (they call it lobbying) that the common man cannot compete with. How can a farmer or regular working man lobby his government official when his interests could directly clash with the interests of a huge corporation? America is a dying nation and it is because people have become effectively second-class citizens and have been colonized by huge multinational corporations that now have rights greater than the average citizen and government in their pockets.

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