Topic: red and green politics
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A Red-Green Manifesto
By Carlos Dews
We live beneath the heel of an unjust and inhumane economic system that is rapidly destroying our world under the pretext of making it better. Few are fooled by the rhetoric of the owners of the planet we all share, and yet we, the masses of people on the planet, let them have their disastrous way. This is a call to a mass revolution that will right the wrongs perpetrated and perpetuated by capitalism and its rapist ideology. This is a call to stand up and resist. It is a call to restore our humanity.
Why do we need a revolution?
The vast majority of humans on Earth must work for someone else in order to survive. If they don't work for someone else, they either starve surrounded by their own blank-eyed, pot-bellied children, or they work for free, an indentured servant known as a wife, for someone who does. Humans are forced to sacrifice their time, their energy, their families, their self-esteem, their very lives for money--on rare occasions a great deal of money, but in the vast majority of cases only a pittance--always and ultimately at the whim of the oligarchs. Many of the jobs people are employed to do are dull, dangerous, painful, meaningless, and serve for nothing other than the further enrichment of people who are already rich.
Most people even in the so-called first world exist mainly to serve the rich; they build their palatial homes, teach in their lousy schools, grow their vegetables, manage their money or their businesses, toss their burgers, write books in praise of them, read the news that is important to them on TV, decorate their houses, cut their lucrative deals, hide their filthy money, protect them from lawsuits, entertain them lavishly, send other people's children off to fight their wars over resources, and make sure they never really lose anything.
A few individuals and their families control the vast majority of the wealth on the planet; fewer and fewer supranational companies, owned ultimately by the planet's oligarchs--control ever larger chunks of the planetary economy and rule despotically over her people. As the oligarchs have arranged it so that the Earth's economy is based on their concept of money, only a tiny fraction of one percent of the whole human population effectively controls the destiny of all the rest. In order for these wealthy few to continue accumulating and hoarding more and more money to satisfy their insane desire for power over people, there must be growth. Growth is the foundation, the life blood, as well as the Achilles heel of capitalism. Growth propels empires to the ends of the Earth. Manufacturing things that get used up rapidly--missiles, tanks, automobiles, Big Macs, throw-away cameras, plastic bags, and ultimately the planet itself--has been identified by the rich as a brilliant way to make ever more money for themselves and their greedy progeny. They make still more money, however, by charging larcenous rates of interest on loans, which poor people or entire countries are forced or coaxed to make in order to have what the oligarchs and their lapdog media insists is needed to make one sexier or younger or richer looking or safer or more powerful or more highly developed. All of the media are owned by the rich and only serve their masters; not truth, not justice, not freedom, certainly not the people. The rich, with the loyal help of their various media, control the thoughts of billions of humans who have forgotten how to think for themselves or never learned how to in the first place.
Virtually all national governments and especially the US government exist to help oligarchs get even richer and to protect their property wherever it may lie. All declarations of independence and constitutions to date were written by and for the rich at different stages of their development as a class. Even leftist revolutions have, more often than not, been from the top down, or at least ended up that way. The rich have pitted interests within the working class against each other so that doctors look down upon garbage men and make outrageously higher salaries though their jobs are no more important. Lawyers and cops and secretaries have been deluded into thinking they might actually get rich one day themselves.
The second and third worlds suffer immeasurably more than the first, for a number of reasons: even if they are rich in resources, either natural or human, they are powerless to resist the oligarchs from the first world, who own their natural resources, their industries, their governments, and their national bourgeoisie, and suck away the profits and poor people's food into Swiss bank accounts and stock portfolios. If people in the first world are numbers--reluctant taxpayers and mindless, but reliable consumers--and that's about all they are to the oligarchs--then people in the second and third worlds are expendable resources, like legal pads or paper clips, of no value other than as lackluster consumers, so first-world businesses and their government lackies must convince power hungry and corrupt third-world national governments to buy armaments with which to dominate their citizens.
This whole insane economic system floats on a dwindling lake of oil. The system inhales oil. It punctures the very planet herself and sucks the ageless energy of her ancient forests like a mosquito sucking blood. It despoils the planet with oil wastes, its own special malaria, only second in toxicity to another product of our oligarchical system, the nuclear ("Too cheap to meter") industry in all its many manifestations. Oil suffocates the planet, killing off life, like it kills off hapless, innocent seabirds by the black-oozing millions. The processing of oil into its many disguises fills the air with reeking poisons that wrack the bodies of humans and animals alike. The oligarchs want to sell their petroleum sucking cars to everyone on the planet--one for every Chinese, every Indian, every Brazilian. Nearly every US American has at least one already, and some of them are huge and costly. Imagine how much the oligarchs can get for gas when there is only a little left. And first world people blithely drive themselves to work and back everyday or to the supermarket or the kid's soccer practice, miles and kilometers, thanking their lucky stars they don't have to ride the bus with "them." The poor are and always have been a suitable scapegoat for all the misery the not so poor face in their daily lives. If they were smart, or at least clean, they wouldn't be poor. Or if they were holy....
Churches, all of them, and mosques and synagogues and temples of every sort serve the rich. They keep their ignorant minions in line and humble. They train them in the bizarre notion that there is a hierarchy with some daddy spirit or the "ultimate" prophet on top of the heap. Piss off him or his earthly representative and you're dead. By extension, go against your rulers and you're dead. Nonviolence is the way, say the churchly--for you, not the government. Religions make people think they should accept things the way they are; not try to change anything for the better, for that is not the religious way. Suffering is the way. Acceptance. Submission. Some people have broken away from this particular stupidity and substituted another for it. New Age religions with their gurus and their sweat lodges and their doe-eyed extraterrestrials serve the rich by perpetuating unscientific stupidity and calling it wholeness. Religions keep people prey to their own mortal fears; national governments educate them badly in schools that resemble factories. What could be a better arrangement for controlling humans and maintaining their ignorant loyalty?
Oligarchs fear democracy more than they ever feared the specter of Soviet-style pseudo communism or actual blood-and-guts Nazism. The rich do not want you to vote ever, and they make sure you are not real interested in voting by giving you only two, usually bland, usually dumb choices if you are in the US. No wonder you'd rather watch the King of Queens or Survivor. Money, often from the US, has subverted practically every government in the world so that voting usually does not matter. There are few notable exceptions of nations unafraid of US power and influence, i.e., Chile's Allende, Venezuela's Chavez, the Sandinistas, the Castroists at times; still, today more often than not, whomever the US supports, wins. This may be somewhat less true in Arab countries, where some of the populace have seen behind the ruse and know who their real enemies are. Muslims, and especially Arabs, have been the target of a deliberate and unrelenting campaign of racial hatred by the western media and its rich white owners. It's almost as if they had decided decades ago to begin more and more to demonize those who own the most oil in hopes of someday justifying stealing it outright like has happened recently in Iraq.
The rich throughout time, but especially since the beginning of the industrial revolution, have plundered the planet with the madness of a rapist. The climate, the planetary complexion itself, has changed because of our addiction to oil and its derivatives. Planetary systems are unstable and already requiring giant energy releases like super hurricanes and massive tornados and flooding rains to restore balance, and the ice caps are said to be melting. Holes annually develop in the ozonosphere allowing the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays to wreak havoc on human and animal skin, and the planet itself, because the rich refuse to stop the production of pollutants that destroy it. Likewise huge dead zones appear in the oceans because of polluted runoff. Glaciers all over the planet have retreated if not gone completely. What this all means may not be accurately foretold yet, but we can see a problem worsening by the passing of every season. Last summer it was thousands of deaths from heat in Europe; this summer it's floods in Asia. Greed has brought our home planet to this pass, and you'd think that same greed would solve the problem, but it hasn't. It won't. The rich have an endless appetite for more money and more stuff. They do not mind fouling the nest for filthy lucre, wherever people are poor enough and uneducated enough to allow it, but "not in my backyard." Not in River Oaks. Not in Manhattan or Pedregal. Forget about Georgetown or Orange County.
What is to be done?
Democracy in the internet era is just possible. I am not talking about the sham democracy wherein the ruling class picks a couple of its own to run for office, submits them to a tedious undemocratic process called the primaries, pits them against each other as if it really mattered enough to commit thievery and violence, and then calls in an "electoral" college (and in some cases the fascist Supreme Court) to decide which faction has won. That is not democracy, no matter how you stretch it. Democracy is every single man and woman and maybe even some children, all voting for what they think is best for them. One person, one vote. This does not require an expensive television ad campaign. It requires people knowing how to educate themselves in their own real interests. In a democracy it should be possible for anyone at all to run for office regardless of how little money she or he has to mount a campaign. Campaign money should go to each equally. Politicians should shun fake publicity stunts and gaudy conventions, and go for as much one on one as possible supplemented with plenty of internet activity. Use the internet to reach out to voters, to educate them in hopes of convincing them to vote for you, like pioneer internet politician Howard Dean. Television spots do not educate; they lie, sometimes outright and sometimes by telling only a part of the story, and everyone knows it. Politicians are servants of the people, not the reverse. A really free election would make that clear, because self-servers and toadies to the rich would lose. Presidents, or whatever the leaders of the future may be called, should ride the subway or the bus to work everyday, just like everyone else, but they should not get the idea they own their particular means of production, the government.
Private property must be done away with. I do not mean that people can't own their homes and fill them with cloisonn? tchotchkes and wall-mounted television sets, if that's what they want, although I doubt seriously that anyone really needs six homes, Mr. Kerry. I mean that bourgeois property must be done away with, and that is property that makes money off someone else's work. All those sorts of enterprises should be owned by the people who do the work, not by investors or the economic elite, by the workers themselves. The people who do the work must own the means of production, as Marx said. This includes design firms and hospitals, theaters and movie and television studios, steelworks, microchip manufacturers, fancy restaurants and holes in the wall, taxicab firms and universities. Once private property has been eliminated, all rents of land should go to public purposes.
Interest on loans must end. This is the root cause for the capitalist's need to grow like cancer. Growth that involves the extraction of more finite resources is unhealthy, unsustainable, and ultimately suicidal. Products and services should reflect their real costs, not inflated for stockholders and bailing out ceos, and if there is a cost to the environment, as in the case of oil or timber or agribusiness, it should be reflected in the price. All treaties, economic or otherwise, should be off. Wherever there are barriers to trade, there are wars. All trade arrangements should be handled by a world assembly elected by the people and not run like the present-day UN by a few powerful nation states with death-dealing vetoes.
Standing armies must be abandoned immediately and the countless billions of dollars they formerly consumed put to peaceful use, like improving the schools, creating and maintaining parks, supporting daycare centers that really care, affording free health care for every person, feeding the world's hungry. Protection of people's rights and property should be accomplished by a small international armed force under the auspices of the world assembly. Existing stockpiles of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons must be destroyed. An heroic and all-encompassing effort to figure out how to isolate these deadly residues from harming earthly life must be mounted by the best scientific minds on the planet sparing no expense.
Churches, synagogues, mosques, and every other sort of religious establishment should be taxed on their incomes and their property, just like any other citizen. Their fluffy-haired, empty-headed ministers and priests should no more be allowed access to the media than, say, someone who advocates murder or slavery (both of which the churches have happily supported in the past, and in the case of state sponsored murder, clear up until the present).
Gasoline and private cars should be heavily taxed, and the taxes should go to improving the mass transit system within and between cities and towns so that rapid transit should be free, comfortable, universal, and truly rapid. Bicycles should become de rigueur and walking fashionable.
Cigarettes and alcohol should be heavily taxed, and rehabilitation centers should be free and effective at ridding society of these twin evils. All drugs should be legalized and their use and abuse explained to all realistically. Rehab for drug users should be readily available and free. Drugs and needles should be free to whoever wants or needs them. Prostitution should be legalized, as well as all private, consensual sex among people over twelve. Condoms must be free and universally available; and their use should be actively, vehemently promoted.
Gay and lesbian people, as well as all other sexual minorities should be afforded the exact same rights as straight people, including the right to formalize their relationships in some form of marriage that is no different from that enjoyed by straights. I am for a society that does not discriminate against anyone or any group. Diversity among humans should be as highly regarded as diversity of species.
Housing and food should also be free. Massive, single-crop farming using oil-derived chemical pesticides and fertilizers should be broken up in favor of organic truck farms and small family plots that should be available to everyone. Let the land come from ripping up Walmart parking lots, if necessary. Living space should be provided to every person according to his or her need, as well as pure water, and electricity, and anything else required for safe and comfortable living.
There should be a heavy progressive or graduated income tax so that huge fortunes may not be accumulated. There should be a maximum amount of personal wealth beyond which everything is diverted to the common good. Inheritance rights should be abolished. Paying work should be available to everyone who wants it. People, male or female, who stay at home and take care of children should be paid on the same scale as teachers or doctors or any other profession, and maybe even more, as their jobs influence the well-being of society perhaps more than any other.
The new world assembly should create a world bank with state resources that should be an exclusive monopoly with loans available to the people to start new businesses and repair their homes at no interest. The world assembly should govern affairs that are planetary in scope; local governments should govern that which is local.
The means of communication and transport should be in the hands of the new state, not in private hands. If any inefficiency or graft creeps into the system, it should be rooted out. Systems should be created that prevent any sort of counterrevolutionary activity. Counterrevolutionaries should be treated humanely, but not allowed any influence on the new society.
Every means possible should be employed to restore the land raped by capitalist farmers and factory farming techniques. Raising animals for food on a large scale should be prohibited as something grossly un-ecological, and education about how to live far-healthier vegetarian lifestyles should be widespread. Use of animals in medical "studies" and in testing products destined for human use should be banned. Experimenting on animals has resulted in much bad medicine and even more added cost to healthcare and life-saving medicines and procedures. Animals have feelings and intelligence and should be given every right to live free of fear or pain to pursue their own interests. If their interests conflict with human interests, the animals must always win. They were here first. If you don't like coyotes or black bears in your backyard, don't move into their territories.
There are many different ways of accomplishing the end of creating a civilized and ecologically attuned communist society--and that is the ultimate goal--even from within the murderous system we now suffer. Violent revolution is one way, but it is an antiquated method, and anyway the governments most in need of being overthrown own most, if not all, of the guns and missiles. Nonviolence only works when the ruling class and their governments are moral. Most of the governments extant are not. Can you name one you'd put your trust in? Nonviolence is a tool of the ruling class, promoted by their apologists, the religionists. Even if one abhors violence, as is completely proper, the ruling class must not be allowed to feel safe until the very moment of their demise as a class.
Probably the most effective way of bringing about the beginning stages of the changes delineated above is by boycotting the products that further enrich the already rich. Many millions of people around the planet are already on this truly conservative program. Millions more need to take up the cause. A new ethic of conservation should be promulgated worldwide; real conservatism, not the sham variety the fascist Bush cabal tout. People should simply refuse to buy gas sucking cars and baby foods with no nutritional value. To accomplish this people must have available information based on science, not profit, that will help them understand what their true needs are and how to fill them.
Our new society should be a community of people governed by reasonable and humane laws, not one governed by lawyers. Capital punishment must be immediately abolished and replaced by a system that fosters rehabilitation.
There can't be freedom as long as the few have the right of life or death over the many. There can't be freedom as long as there are industries that promote war, i.e., Halliburton, the CIA, the US government, Bell Helicopter, Westinghouse, GE, etc.
No one person should rule ever; we will have no Stalins or Maos. Government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. An elected committee of respected elders within the world assembly should have ultimate adjudicating authority based upon the people's democratic will. Once people are able and used to making their own decisions, even that should wither away.
Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend should be the policy for promoting the progress of the arts and sciences and a flourishing communist culture. Different forms and styles in art should develop freely and contend freely. It is harmful to the growth of art and science if administrative measures are used to impose one particular style of art or school of thought and to ban another. It stifles creativity, something our beleaguered planet is going to need more and more as resources dwindle and planetary systems inevitably destabilize further. Questions of right and wrong in the arts and sciences should be settled through free discussion in artistic and scientific circles and through practical work in these fields. They should not be settled in summary fashion, not even by the vote.
We live in a world in which language has been hijacked by the oligarchs and their propagandists. "Freedom" in our world is a buzzword that generally means freedom of the wealthy few to exploit the poor masses of humanity and the planet that is their sole legacy. "Democracy" has come to mean "our way of doing business." "Strength," far from an old-fashioned virtue, has morphed into the ability of one class to freely and viciously expropriate the energy and creativity of another class and set it to violent domination over the masses of people on the planet. Trust in the meaning of language must be reinstituted and all propaganda declaimed for the disservice to truth that it is. The word revolution, itself, now fraught with bugaboo notions, must be understood to mean something that is forever ongoing; not a thing to be accomplished once and then allowed to fossilize into needless, mindless bureaucracy. The red-green revolution I envision will go on forever, ensuring that as fast as our world changes, and it is changing exponentially, we are able to ride the wave and still maintain true freedom for all humankind and health for our planet. What else can a planetary citizen hope for?
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