In June of 1918, as the horror of World War I, the supposed war to end all wars, was still ongoing, former Indiana state congressman Eugene V. Debs made a speech in Canton Ohio in which he sought to rally the hopes of workers and socialists as he spoke out against the workings of capitalism’s predatory “Junkers,” the democrat and republican parties who work for them, and their connections to the carnage of the war and to the suffering of some of the most notable defenders of the working class. By 1920, Debs would find himself imprisoned by the Wilson administration as they portrayed him and his Canton speech as a dangerously seditious threat to their beloved religion of capitalist salvation. His great crime seems to have been his belief that war was a repugnant economic technique which had consistently been employed by the powerful at the expense of the most vulnerable. It is no mere coincidence that in the presidential election of 1912, Debs had received almost 6% of the votes and it is also noteworthy that, even while imprisoned in 1920, Debs received over 3% of the votes for president.
Within the speech, Debs echoed Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” with the words, “Yours not to reason why; Yours but to do and die,” as the singular most pronounced attitude of the arrogant leaders of capitalism toward those they see as their lessers. The willful abuse and slaughter of their own misguided soldiers which was the result of the arrogance of the hegemonic
British militarists in the Crimean war of Tennyson’s time was being amplified and expanded in the eyes of Debs in 1918’s version of the same type of capitalist plutocratic scheming.
The vision presented by Debs was full of the promise of a socialist future which was bolstered by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia of the previous year. Reading it today, it appears as also seemingly too optimistic because of its lack of awareness regarding the negative environmental effects of the carbonization of the atmosphere which would increase with his desire for easier access to coal, but these misreadings of the future were quite typical in 1918.
The main point here is that Eugene V. Debs and the passionate opposition to the continuous plundering and violence upon which the plutocracy of capitalism depends have today’s world proving them to be, in numerous ways, however inadvertently unrecognized, prophetic.
Moving forward fifty years to 1968, it may well be that the last chance for getting control over the unfettered predatory consumption of the planet by capitalism was crushed and gutted at the Democrat’s national convention in Chicago. The capitalists’ war of aggression in Vietnam, like the ever-growing number of programmed capitalist hostilities, was a primary focus of the Democrats and the republicans alike that year. In the lead up to the convention, after President Johnson dropped out of the running, the largest numbers of democrat delegates were anti-war supporters of Eugene McCarthy or Robert F. Kennedy. When Kennedy was murdered, the divided anti-war delegates were split between McCarthy and George McGovern going into the convention, but the
Democrat controllers had no intention of allowing the party to run an anti-war-profits candidate.
The Democrat’s controllers had brought in Hubert Humphrey as their preferred warmonger candidate who would continue the onslaught in the name of capitalist superiority. The choice of Humphrey was made without his selection by voters in the primaries and the supporters of McCarthy and McGovern were pushed aside and silenced. Warmongering was triumphant over democracy, again, as it had been in the democrat convention of 1944 when the rank and file’s preferred vice-presidential democrat candidate Henry Wallace was corruptly replaced by Harry Truman through a series of votes pushed by the democrat establishment. It seems appropriate that both of these upheavals would take place in Chicago. Few places in the faking USA have been as dependent upon militaristic intolerance in forcing the religion of capitalistic greed on its victims.
In the fifty years since the corruption of the Democrat convention in Chicago of 1968 there have been numerous half-hearted patronizing murmurs from both corporate parties about the quality of life for workers and for the environment. These murmurs have increasingly been framed within the purported economic benefits of private capital’s unquestioned domination of both parties. The promotion of war as a necessity continues to eat away at the social fabric and environmental quality. The presidential election of 2016 saw the democrats and the republicans pushing one obfuscating smugly corporate warmonger against another and both of their candidates pretended to be looking out for the interests of the people they had spent their lives using for private gain.
The utter disingenuousness of these corporate owned charades was even supported by the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. He is a man who would have us believe that his candidacy has resurrected the priorities of Eugene Debs, but his stated priorities are made impotent by his history of support for toxic and bloated war machinery. Sanders joined the democrat corruption and continues to help promote the delusion that this is a form of pragmatism. His candidacy helped to circumvent the necessary repudiation of the democrats by many people who see themselves as left of center and his subservience to the democrat corruption ended up helping to elect the preening, piss-mouth, privatized presidency of Donald Trump – not that Trump is significantly different than his opposition corporate capitalist friend Clinton. He is mainly sadistically more blatant.
So, today we find ourselves farther removed from the possibilities envisioned by Debs. The percentages of votes for candidates who truly oppose the capitalist-only mindset are smaller in elections today than they were 100 years ago. The divide between the numbers of the richest, most wasteful people and the numbers of us who are losing wealth as a consequence of the corporate plutocracy is greatly expanding. The desire to promote a dread of Russia is flourishing. We have quicker access to more information, but so much of what people are told to swallow is nowhere near the truth and much, if not most, of that misinformation is deliberately manipulative for the benefit of that elite minority of the greediest. The negative environmental impacts are increasing. Religiosity, in every aspect of many societies around the planet, is continuing to dominate and encourage both ignorance and submission to predatory schemers. Scientific methodology is primarily supported when it has aspects which are advantageous to the continuation of the dominant predatory economic system.
All of the above indicators and the fact that so many people can talk about “our democracy” with a straight face in these times of increasing usage of a stamp of “classified” secrecy on the actions of the government in the name of “security” while that same obfuscating government is corruptly spying on anyone and everyone without public oversight and while corporate elites continue to control the vast majority of voters choices leads me to have less faith in the government and the voters than I imagine was possible 100 years ago. As for the environment, there is absolutely no prospect of improvement which will be coming until each of us, individually, move beyond the pablum of the deceitful agents of unfettered capitalism and find our connection to Eugene V. Debs’ sense of equal justice and integrity. At this point of debaucherous delusions, the greedy republicans don’t give a damn and the Democrats (like Sanders) insist that you can be in two places at once as long as you don’t really oppose the most avaricious predators and as long as you continue to swallow their pretenses and lies.
A good government would have little use for secrets and manipulating distractions.
A good government would not need secrecy because its truth would be magnetic to people.
We are nowhere near a good government and we are not going to turn in that direction by continuing to use either the democrat or republican vehicles. These are vehicles which are locked into the wrong direction because they run in the direction determined by money and not toward justice or environmental quality. They use manufactured smoke and noise and violent actions to distract people from the fact that they are robbing people’s futures in the name of privatized power.
Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden have shown that they are committed to good government.
Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and their supporters have shown that they are not.
As it is heading now, it is only a matter of time before all of the workings of this corrupt government will be “classified” and we will be told that our security depends upon our not asking any questions and proudly embracing our most cherished right of willful ignorance obediently.
The old TV series “Superman” used to state that the title character was dedicated to “Truth, Justice, and the American way.” You would need to be some kind of superman to try to support those three things simultaneously because “the American way” is a business model which has little tolerance for truth and justice. Another superman or superwoman is possibly the last thing we need.