Thoughts at Perhaps the Most Perilous Time in World History
Thoughts at Perhaps the Most Perilous Time in World History
by Stephen Lendman
Daily events should scare everyone. Consider the times. Wars rage without end. More threaten. One conflict follows others. So-called democracies wage them.
Popular needs go begging. Conquest, occupation, colonization, and exploitation are prioritized. Ordinary people are on their own sink or swim.
Rich societies plead poverty. Nothing’s available for social needs, they claim. Warmaking priorities matter most. So do policies favoring bankers, other corporate favorites, and super-rich elites.
Today’s upside down reality endangers everyone. Protracted global Depression deepens. Policies adopted make things worse, not better.
Criminality is rewarded, not punished. What better explains than Friday’s headline announcement. Imagine Nobel Committee members granting NATO their most coveted award.
Warmakers won their Peace Prize. Perhaps they’ll be encouraged to keep ravaging countries globally. Why not when war is considered peace.
Leaders who wage them reap huge rewards. Peacemakers are vilified. So are social democrats. Hugo Chavez stands out. Most Venezuelans love him for good reason.
He cares and shows it. He keeps promises he makes. He shares Venezuela’s oil wealth with everyone. Voters rewarded him with six more years. He thanked them responsibly.
He’ll deepen Bolivarian principles. He called 21st century socialism a work in progress. He wants it advanced and improved, saying:
“We are obliged as a government and as the state to speed up the administration of efficient responses and solutions to the thousands and thousands of problems that the Venezuelan people still suffer from. We are obliged to be more efficient, precisely so we can continue every day with greater force.”
He’ll launch “Mission Mercosur.” It’s the Common Market of the South. He wants it used to advance Venezuelan development. He has railways, deep-water ports, and other projects in mind. He wants more jobs created and exports increased.
It’s “extremely important….to convert La Ceiba, Trujillo state and the Lake of Maracaibo into international ports. Further, we should start at once to begin the construction of the railway line between the Orinoco and the Caribbean,” he said.
He also wants social programs expanded. He’ll implement what he calls “micro missions.” He wants local communities given more control. Let them prioritize needs.
“We are drafting up ideas, revising notes and the specific and fundamental objectives of the micro-missions, as there will be many. They will be applied in towns, regions, factories, schools and the different places where they are needed.”
“We must keep giving power to the people, that is the solution, it’s not the power of the bureaucracy and elites that is going to solve the problems of the people.”
He also announced a new social missions ministry. It’ll work cooperatively with local communities. At issue is helping all Venezuelans. Under Chavez, those most in need come first.
In America, other Western societies and Israel, austerity is policy. So is warmaking. People needs be damned. They never mattered much. Now they’re entirely off the table.
It’s been that way for decades. Today it’s worse than ever. Imagine denying them during hard times when help is urgently needed. It’s not forthcoming.
US policymakers promise deep social cuts ahead. They made plenty so far. Republicans and Democrats are in lockstep. Rhetoric alone differs.
Conquest, corporate favoritism, and benefitting super-rich elites matter. Ordinary people are left high and dry. Resources go increasingly for war and other ways to reward America’s privileged.
Warmakers may go global. Perhaps they plan destroying all societies to save them. Body counts don’t matter and never did. Only wealth, power, and privilege count. That’s what makes their world go round. Wage enough wars and they won’t have one. Today’s isn’t safe to live in.
At age 93, Doug Dowd’s commitment for equity, justice, and peace remains strong. His academic career spanned six decades. He’s still writing cutting-edge books and articles.
He’s a radical economist in the best sense. He wants upside down societies right-sided. By email, he sent this writer and others his latest thoughts. He covered much ground. He headlined “We Must Stop Today’s Lurch Toward Disaster and Clear the Path Toward a Decent Society.”
Who can disagree! With America’s elections three weeks away, he’s justifiably concerned. However it turns out, ordinary people lose. At the same time, Republicans scare him most. Democrats also are up to no good. He urges third party activism.
Another way entirely is essential. In 2008, Dowd hoped Obama might change things if only modestly. Now he’s one of his sharpest critics. At the same time, Romney is menacing. He and likeminded uber-hawks may “take us toward self-destruction.”
It’s time “We the People” used “our brains, energies, and values” responsibly. Given the alternatives, Obama’s the best of two bad choices. He’s woefully short of good enough. Once past November 6, working for “a strong, truly democratic” society is vital.
It won’t happen by accident. Wishing won’t make it so. Nor will voting Republican or Democrat. Something entirely different is needed. What passes for normal in America includes wars without end, eroding social services en route to eliminating them, and police state harshness for non-believers.
Wars threaten to go global. Dowd is justifiably scared. “Today’s weaponry is insanely more destructive both quantitatively and qualitatively than” decades earlier.
“Future wars are almost certain to bring life on the earth to an end.” At the same time, it’s “unlikely that anyone will do what is necessary to bring government to sanity and decency regarding war.”
Bipartisan “enthusiasm” urges more. Syria and Iran are prioritized. Romney seems especially eager. What kind of leaders think blowing up countries makes sense. What kind of people support them. Real change is urgent, and not just on foreign policy.
Dowd discussed domestic needs. “Militarism is bad enough,” he said. What about making matters worse by homeland social depravation. Vital services are being destroyed in plain sight, in real time. They include healthcare, education, housing, and much more. Devastating consequences are certain unless stopped and reversed.
Ordinary people must act on their own behalf. No other way works. Witnessing what’s ongoing “makes for screams,” said Dowd. Elites benefit while millions most in need go begging.
Politicians are in bed with corporate crooks. They don’t give a damn about life, liberty, equity, justice, and human need. Policies they support show it.
Growing inequality is institutionalized. America’s heading for oblivion. People needs are ignored. Depression conditions threaten to become catastrophic. Policymakers able to act don’t notice or care. Self-interest defines them. They infest Washington like a metastasizing cancer.
The longer injustices persist, the worse they get. A race to the bottom assures disaster. It’s happening in America, across Europe, and in Israel. Who wants to live this way?
Millions are unemployed. Poverty’s expanding exponentially. So are homelessness, hunger, and overall depravation. Environment dangers are ignored. Dowd quoted a frightening analysis, saying:
“It is clear that unless we make substantial changes in how and what we produce and consume the world will sink into irreversible and increasing dangers to air and water and much else upon which our very existence relies.”
“There has always been destruction and waste, of course, but in the past century their qualitative and quantitative explosion are on or over the edge of becoming lethal.”
“Modern ways of what, how, and the ways in which we produce and consume have increasingly poisoned what we depend upon for life.”
“The products we consumers depend upon for life, industry and agriculture depend upon for their profits. Pushed by their needs and desires, all too many producers - most, immorally, and successfully the giants among them - have through endless product changes and advertising brought out the foolish in consumers, and dangerous levels of waste of our natural resources.”
“We must awaken ourselves from such enhancement, now, for time is running out in our resources. Life was difficult for most before the age of consumerism. Because of our increasingly frail environment we have made it dangerously so.”
“It is no secret that today we are facing a planetary environmental emergency, endangering most species of the planet including our own, and that this impending catastrophe has its roots in the capitalist economic system.”
Try finding media scoundrels explaining what everyone needs to know. Western ones turn a blind eye. Most people have no idea what’s going on or how it harms them. Bread and circuses matter more than their own welfare.
Worsening crisis conditions aren’t understood. Nor is knowing the urgency to act. Change depends on grassroots activism. Nothing else works and never did. It’s not a left, right, or centrist issue. Survival’s at stake. Everyone who cares must cooperate together or suffer.
Independent activism is key. America’s two-party duopoly is too corrupt and dysfunctional to fix. Another way is essential.
In the 1960s, Dowd was one of 18 anti-war activists. Together they created “The Mobe: Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam.” Diverse interests were represented.
Included were “socialists, communists, women, unionists, priests, Blacks, academics,” and other ordinary people who cared. He and two others were invited to North Vietnam to observe things firsthand.
They met Pham Van Dong. He was prime minister from 1955 - 1976. He served unified Vietnam in the same capacity until 1987.
“He told us that as long as our movement kept up its demonstrations, the US. would have to hold back from using its atomic bombs, and could not win the war without them.”
Anti-war efforts are always needed. It’s important they become part of “wider political activism.” Today it’s essential. “Mobe” and similar efforts helped end the Vietnam War. Something similar today can work again.
It’s never easy, quick, or without dangers. Unless people try, conditions are sure worsen. Inaction guarantees “more misery” for most people. It also assures eventual “war (to) end all.” If that’s not motivation enough to act, what is?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.