The Adventures of Negativo Man

A couple of years ago, I dressed in black.

Put on a black cape.

Stuck a big silver letter N on my chest.

And went out to a Halloween party as Negativo Man.

Why Negativo Man?

Because people often asked me –

“Hey Russell, why are you so negative?”

“What do you mean?” I would ask. “Just because the name of my publication is Corporate Crime Reporter?”

“What would you have me call it — Business Ethics?”

“Confronting reality is a negative process,” writes John Ralston Saul in his book The Unconscious Civilization (Free Press, 1995).

The corporatism that has overtaken our democracy is an ideology that “insists on relentless positivism — that’s why it opposes criticism and encourages passivity.”

In the book, Saul argues that we live in a corporatist society with soft pretension to democracy.

We live in a society of corporatist groups — some are public, some are private, some are well intentioned, some not well intentioned.

The primary loyalty of the individual is not to the society but to the corporatist group.

“Real expressions of individualism are not only discouraged but punished,” Saul writes. “The active, outspoken citizen is unlikely to have a successful professional career.”

“The human is thus reduced to a measurable value, like a machine or a piece of property. We can choose to achieve a high value and live comfortably, or be dumped unceremoniously onto a heap of marginality.”

Saul is a big fan of Socrates — for always doubting.

And a not so big fan of Plato — for being so sure of himself.

“Socrates — oral, questioner, obsessed by ethics, searching for truth without expecting to find it, democrat, believer in the qualities of citizens.”

“Plato — written, answerer of questions, obsessed by power, in possession of the truth, anti-democratic, contemptuous of the citizen.”

Socrates — the father of humanism.

Plato — the father of ideology.

Corporatism versus democracy — that’s the battle.

And Saul lays the blame for the drift into corporatism on you — and me.

“If democracy fails, it is ultimately the citizen who has failed, not the politician.”

Saul reassures us that “nothing in our current crisis is untouchable because of great mystic forces of inevitability.”

We must choose doubt over certainty.

Consciousness over the comfort of remaining unconscious.

Responsibility over passivity.

Delight in the human condition over self-loathing and cynicism.

“The very essence of corporatism is minding your own business,” Saul writes.

“The very essence of individualism is refusal to mind your own business.”

“This is not a particularly pleasant or easy style of life.”

Our civilization is locked in the grip of an ideology — corporatism.

It is an ideology that “denies and undermines the legitimacy of the individual as the citizen in a democracy.”

It’s an ideology that results in the worship of self-interest and a denial of the public good.

“The practical effects on the individual are passivity and conformism in the areas that matter and non-conformism in the areas that don’t.”

What’s a citizen to do?

“Citizen based democracy is built upon participation, which is the very expression of public discomfort,” he says.

And the corporate system depends upon the “citizen’s desire for inner comfort.”

We must confront the reality in front of us.

That is — we must accept a state of “permanent psychic discomfort.”

“The acceptance of psychic discomfort is the acceptance of consciousness.”

We are doing this now, every month in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

Our first meeting, in January, drew more than 70 people.

Our February meeting drew more than 100.

We hope to continue to build throughout the year.

To stand up to the corporatist state.

As conscious citizens of a democracy.

Rejecting passivity and cynicism.




Until we topple the two party corporate dictatorship.

RUSSELL MOKHIBER edits SinglePayer Action.

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It