Most rational Americans have correctly criticized and denounced the violent insurrection in the Capitol last week. Those moments of attack by a racist, disgusting mob have not lacked for condemnation and denunciation. They were violent. They were reprehensible. They called for the killing of lawmakers, demanded the hanging of Congress members. The liberal media and even most of Fox News have not held their tongues when it comes to excoriating the morally bankrupt people who took part. And I agree with those thoughts.
BUT – why don’t we see an equal amount of disgust and condemnation for the violence done by our ruling class, the courtesans of corporate destruction?
Is allowing people to die or fall ill due to lead pipes in Flint, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and hundreds of other cities not violence?
Is allowing citizens to lose their lives to cancer from Teflon™ chemicals dumped in their water or preventable oil spills not violence?
Is allowing tens of thousands to die of preventable illnesses from our garbage healthcare system not violence?
Is allowing 15 million to lose their healthcare during a pandemic and therefore fear going to the hospital when they get sick not violence?
Is imprisoning millions of people for years for non-violent crimes not violence?
Is dropping a bomb every 12 minutes on innocent people in countries thousands of miles away not violence??
Is allowing millions in this country to go hungry while we throw out 40% of all food not violence?
Is arresting people who try to feed those who are starving not violence?
Is allowing hundreds of thousands to go homeless, living under bridges or on benches or squatting in collapsing structures while this country has trillions of dollars and millions of empty houses —is that not violence?
Is causing the sixth great extinction, the mass death of half the world’s wildlife, in pursuit of corporate profit not violence?
Is causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Venezuelans via economic warfare not violence?
Is creating an opioid epidemic by pushing pills on desperate people, ultimately leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands not violence?
Of course it is.
It’s violence on a breathtaking scale, far greater than what was done at the Capitol and far greater than any of us will witness in person. And yet large scale corporate-endorsed violence, death and destruction is not only allowable, it’s celebrated, it’s furthered, and promoted. Oil company documents show that they tell cities that oil spills are good for the economy. Other documents show that fossil fuel companies have known about the harm climate change would do since the 1970’s, but they simply saw it as the price of doing business. Corporate sacrifice zones like “Cancer Alley” in Louisiana are well known to be deadly to those who live there, yet it doesn’t matter to the corporations because their money will be green nonetheless. It doesn’t matter to the politicians because the poor who live in these sacrifice zones have no political power. The 40% of food that’s thrown out is not a secret. The subsidies paid to factory farms encourage them to produce heaping mountains of food and dairy and meat even if they can’t sell it all in our market economy. So they throw it out or bury it. Giving it to those in need would take too much time and effort.
Should the racist violent insurrectionists at the Capitol be punished? Absolutely. But so too should the bought-off politicians who do the bidding of our morally bankrupt corporate America. These politicians and the CEOs they serve are purveyors of violence. They trade in, produce, and reap violence. They sit on hordes of money—the obscene profit from feeding American lives into the death cult of unfettered capitalism.
Our mainstream media are blanketing the airwaves with talk of how the violent insurrectionists must be punished, and while they are not wrong, the criminal behavior those same talking heads and “reporters” ignore speaks volumes. All violence is not equal. Some of it is profitable and protected. Some of it is the American way.