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THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
Toward a World of Compassion and Harmony

Let the Revolution Begin

by GARRY LEECH

What are we waiting for? How long are we going to sit idly by and watch the political warmongers deploy their drones, their warships, their stealth bombers, their missiles, our sons and daughters, and ultimately, their nuclear weapons against the most impoverished peoples of the world? How long are we going to ignore the corporate warmongers as they wield their magic profit wands that fill their wallets and bellies to overflowing while millions of children perish from hunger and preventable diseases? How long are we going to accept the unjust inequality of the 1% pocketing a grossly disproportionate amount of the wealth generated by the toil of the 99%? How long are we going to passively accept the suicidal insanity of raping and plundering our planet’s finite resources to the point that none of us will be able to survive? Let the Revolution begin!

And what about our irrational fear of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists, which keeps us paralyzed and distracted from the injustices perpetrated daily in our name? The most deadly weapons of mass destruction being used in the world today are not chemical or biological, they are the rules established by the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and all the so-called free trade agreements that only escalate the levels of global inequality, human suffering and death. Corporate elites and their political lackeys wield these weapons with little concern for human well-being or the environment. Wall Street investment bankers gamble in a global casino where the odds are rigged in favor of the house; and the house just happens to be owned by the 1%. Meanwhile, the biggest losers in this capitalist casino lose more than money; they lose their homes, their health, their education, their means of subsistence, their dignity, even their lives. They are the millions who die needlessly every year from hunger and preventable diseases. These are the ultimate victims of capitalism’s structural genocide. Let the revolution begin!

This genocide is not simply an unfortunate consequence of capitalism; it constitutes the very foundation of the system. And we are standing on that foundation today! Everything we build is erected on that blood-soaked foundation! Was it not the genocide of the indigenous peoples throughout the Americas and the theft of their lands that created the wealth that funded the Industrial Revolution? Was it not the Enclosure Acts that forced people off the land and robbed them of their means of subsistence so that they could be “free” to toil in the miserable conditions of the factories of industrial England? Was it not the forced kidnapping of millions of Africans and their enslavement in the Americas that fuelled “development” in the United States and Canada? The same violent practices have continued to this day through the structural genocide responsible for the ongoing forced displacement of peasants from their lands throughout the global South so capitalist robber barons can continue to exploit the planet’s natural resources in order to line their own fancy pockets. Let the Revolution begin!

No social system in human history has ever proven to be so genocidal; not communism, not even fascism. And no amount of tinkering with a system that is inherently genocidal will end the genocide. In the first decade of the 21st century more than 120 million people died because the structures of the capitalist system prevented them from meeting their basic needs. Meanwhile, Europeans spend more money annually on ice cream than the amount required to provide clean drinking water and basic
Leech_Capitalism_Cover-191x300sanitation to everyone in the Global South. And Americans and Europeans together spend more on pet food each year than the amount needed to provide basic healthcare to the world’s poor. Only in a genocidal system does it make more sense to produce ice cream and pet food for the wealthy than clean water and healthcare for billions of people who do not constitute a viable market because their labor is not required and they are too poor to be consumers. Only a genocidal system can render half of humanity disposable! But the flip side of this equation is that the world’s poor have nothing left to lose. Let the Revolution begin!

But what happens when the poor dare to resist and fight back? Are they not then the lucky recipients of “democracy” and “freedom” delivered, not only at the end of the barrel of a gun, but through laser-guided bombs and missiles that destroy their homes and tear their limbs apart? Do they not benefit from economic sanctions that result in hunger and sickness due to shortages of food and medicines withheld in the name of humanitarian intervention? Are they not deemed to be terrorists? We used to kill them because they were communists. Regardless of the label that we pin on them, do THEY really constitute a threat to OUR security? And do we really believe that killing and maiming them through bombing, starvation and disease will make them see the world as we do? Or will it make them truly hate us? Let the Revolution begin!

And what about you and me, who live in the belly of the imperialist beast? WE are not innocent in all of this! The majority of us in the wealthy nations of the world are both slaves to the 1% and accomplices in the exploitation and genocide of the world’s poor. We are told that our lifestyles are a product of our own individual hard work and that nobody has a right to take this away from us. But what about those in the global South who toil for 12, 14 or 16 hours a day in a desperate struggle for survival? Do they not also work hard? And yet, no matter how hard they work they will never come close to attaining a lifestyle like ours. In fact, they will be lucky to preserve their lives, never mind achieve a comfortable lifestyle. OUR consumption habits and lifestyles are dependent on the exploitation of THEIR labor and THEIR natural resources. WE do not enjoy our lifestyle because we are somehow inherently smarter or superior or whiter or harder working, but because we have the good fortune to live in the land of the imperialist exploiters, whether it is the United States, Canada, Britain, Continental Europe, Australia or New Zealand. WE live the way we do by consuming other peoples’ share of the planet’s resources. This is why the wealth gap ratio between rich nations and poor nations has increased from 3:1 in 1820 to 35:1 in 1950 to 106:1 today. And this is precisely why we would need five planet Earths for the entire world’s population of seven billion people to live like we do. In reality, the “American Dream” is a nightmare for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Have we no conscience? Let the Revolution begin!

But WE DO have a conscience! It has just been temporarily subsumed under the weight of the propaganda that the capitalist elites and their political lackeys bombard us with daily. This propaganda hides from us the connections between our relatively comfortable lifestyles and the massive suffering endured by millions in order to ensure that lifestyle. WE benefit from the great wealth generated under capitalism while half of the world’s population endures misery and hardship. But even our comfortable lifestyles are being eroded with nary a peep from us as we are forced to work longer hours and to accumulate ever-higher levels of debt while the wealth generated from our work is increasingly centralized in the hands of the 1%. There exists a propaganda machine that convinces us to accept this unjust reality. Our education system demands order and obedience within hierarchical authoritarian structures that grade us and categorize us according to the needs of a society whose values are dictated by capitalist elites. Why else would we be forced to sit obediently in rows, to memorize the ridiculous myths about “democracy” and “freedom” and “justice” that are spoon fed to us from “white” washed textbooks? Not only does education bury our conscience, it also crushes our spirit. The only thing that we are good for upon graduation is to enter an equally rigid workplace that demands the same order and obedience. We have not been educated; we’ve been indoctrinated! Let the Revolution begin.

And do the media enlighten us to this reality? No! They further indoctrinate us through sensationalized stories that serve to reinforce the beliefs and myths instilled in us by the education system and to distract us from the real issues that impact our lives and the world in which we live. It is more important that we shop, watch television and tweet celebrities than face the harsh realities that result from our lifestyle choices. But no amount of shopping and television and celebrity worship can sufficiently numb our conscience; this is why so many of us are so dependent on painkillers in the form of alcohol, illegal drugs and anti-depressants. Is it not time to rekindle both our conscience and our spirit? Let the Revolution begin!

To those who cowardly bomb the poorest peoples of the world with remote-controlled monsters in the sky; to those who believe they have an inalienable right to perpetrate structural genocide through their brutal exploitation of people and nature; to those who use the wealth generated by OUR labor to build THEIR mansions and privileged lifestyles; to those who defend their privilege with hi-tech tools of surveillance that spy on our every action and word in the name of national security; and to those who use their power and influence to develop mechanisms of propaganda and mind control to keep us compliant, I issue a warning: Beware, for these weapons will soon be turned against you! After all, if the political palaces known as the White House, 24 Sussex Drive and 10 Downing Street, and the corporate suites of Wall Street, Bay Street and The City, and the war ministries located in the Pentagon, the Pearkes Building and Whitehall were to all vanish into oblivion, wouldn’t the billions of oppressed and impoverished people around the world be better off? These establishments and what they represent are not sources of freedom and life; they are the perpetrators of suffering and death. Let the Revolution begin!

Should it not be the corporate elites who are forced to cower in fear, terrified at the prospect of hunger and disease ravaging them and their families to the point that they are forced to beg for food stamps and other handouts? Should it not be the homes of the fat cat investment bankers that are foreclosed on so that they find themselves and their families, not safely ensconced in their luxurious gated communities, but living on the street in constant fear of the violent threat posed by the angry hordes whose dignity they have been destroying for centuries? Should it not be the politicians and generals who wield the modern hi-tech swords of death who are forced to live in constant fear of being blown to pieces or made to endure torture at the hands of the poor and dispossessed victims of their ongoing genocide? Would this not constitute justice? Let the Revolution begin!

And what kind of world could be gained through such a Revolution? Imagine a world in which all resources were evenly distributed so that no child ever went hungry. Imagine a world in which we cared about our neighbor more than we care about a contestant on a reality TV show or a character in a soap opera. Imagine a world in which nurturing Mother Earth was more fulfilling than shopping for a new pair of shoes or the latest electronic gadget. Imagine a world in which we co-operate rather than compete with each other. Imagine a world where that cooperation extends to the workplace and we are empowered as co-bosses by a collective decision-making process rather than being mere appendages of the production system forced to obediently follow the dictates of others. Imagine a world where authoritarianism does not exist in the political realm, in our workplaces or in our homes. Imagine a world in which ALL of us have a meaningful voice in ALL of the major decisions that impact our lives. Imagine a world where ALL blacks, whites, browns, males, females and queers are seen as equal human beings. In short, imagine a world of harmony and compassion. Some might say that such a world is nothing more than a utopian dream, but I say it is the belief that we can continue as we are that is utopian.

So let the Revolution begin, NOW!

Garry Leech is an independent journalist and author of numerous books including Capitalism: A Structural Genocide (Zed Books, 2012); Beyond Bogota: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia (Beacon Press, 2009); and Crude Interventions: The United States Oil and the New World Disorder (Zed Books, 2006).