A GIGANTIC HOLOCAUST OF INJUSTICE
By Leen Karman at Oct 12, 2011
Some time ago I broke off a discussion with Michael Albert, rather abruptly. For two reasons. First, there was too much noise on our line, which I couldn't handle.
More important: I hold Michael Albert in high esteem because of what he has done and does with Z Communications. So, when he brings good tidings, not every word has to be criticized.
But now he made my day!
He spoke in Barcelona about Parecon and he started his speech with the evil of capitalism (to be followed by the good of Parecon) in a language for which, would it be used in the blog-o-bot sphere (Fisk) decent people no doubt reserve the word "abusive".
One of the things he said was Corporations bear the same resemblance to democracy that killing fields bear to peace. And, his final number, that ... capitalism is now a gigantic holocaust of injustice.
Without any argument. Okay, one who is familiar with the work of Albert knows his opinion of the western economic system.
Well, there was that argument, the bromide any wise guy, knowing that
Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding;
but that which is in the midst of fools is made known
is never short of, stating "everyone knows". He says I think by this second decade of the twenty first century only a relatively few people are made so callous by their advantages, or are made so profoundly ignorant by their advanced educations, or are so manipulated by media and their own naiveté, or so coerced by their positions that they fail to see ...
I, for one, who doesn't meet the four criteria, fail to associate capitalism with the killing fields or some kind of holocaust. I do not believe we have arguments for that.
And it makes me again feeling uneasy with Parecon. I don't believe in it. And I don't even like some of the method and the basics.
As I always say, I myself have ideals (and ideas about ideals) but the ideal world to me is a world without idealists. Michael's "coming out" makes me more sure about that!
It does remind me of a comment of Joseph Waters to a commentary of Paul Street, In Praise of Occupy Wall Street. The commenter reminded us that the working class has to liberate itself. I asked him some questions about his comment - especially because he was spitting on the middle class, a class which, according to me and to others, also suffers from inequality and recession - but the only answer I got was a reference to some lousy site on proletarian wisdom, alongside with the sigh that it might make some things more clear for you (or not, perhaps). As if he wanted to say "Don't bother, I don't bother either. If liberation is there we'll know where to find you!" (In his vision violence is not excluded from that process of liberation, as we can learn from his other comments.)
The above mentioned commentary of Paul Street was a fine one. I like to laude it here again - I voted it content of the week.
But, speaking of the "big sacrificer" of these killing fields, that gigantic holocaust, I like to recall another fine commentary of Paul Street:Ozzie's Icy Water. I loved it too! An evocation of broken dreams. I have my own "White Sox"-feelings.
But he said something I just didn't get.
He said: I’ve never understood greed. I never will.
A mishit. In two ways, I dare say.
First. There are some people in Europe who think Americans are greedy. There are a lot of people in the Muslim world who think so. And about all people in Africa and South America know for sure: Americans are greedy. And Paul Street is not excluded from that verdict! So, he must know something about it.
Second. As a scholar and activist in the political business it is his job to understand people. As far as I understand Paul Street wants also to work for a better world and as far as I understand him well: without violence! Now, if you want to change the world without violence you better make work of understanding people who do not share your ideas/ideals, because otherwise you can forget it.
Now, if Michael Albert made one thing very clear to me, it is that he doesn't understand greed either. He doesn't really understand it.
Greediness is of course a welcome companion to capitalism - as is manipulation. As it was to communism. As it will be to any ism. But greediness, or manipulation, is not a disfiguring mark of a specific economic system. It is a human trait, and not that rare in human kind. And there's nothing inherent in whatever the economic system to guarantee a full and complete abolition of greediness and manipulation. The greedy and the manipulative will find their way to satisfy their greediness and their hunger to seize power for their own advantage, as the various manifestations of society have proven!
Michael Albert's getting rid of the capitalistic system and putting Parecon in place is about the same project as Joseph Waters's liberation of the working class.
I wonder: does the working class know?
Now, any movement can use some good advice, and having read also the NYT editorial on Occupy Wall Street and the blog post of that "bitch" (sorry, not my word) Ann Coultner - I suggested to Joseph Waters, and I also like to suggest Michael Albert, to read these articles next to the commentary of Paul Street, and then to consider this question:
Who should be the spiritual guide of this liberation movement
- Paul Street, who knows / seems to understand, with Howard Zinn, that we need Washington to organize things
- the NYT editor who knows / seems to understand the suffering of the middle class
- Ann Coultner who knows / seems to understand that liberation of the working class always has been a pretense to start totalitarianism
Having read the text of that speech of Michael Albert, delivered in Barcelona, I think I know who they should prefer as a consultant.
Because, if the elephant in the room is ignored (actually I see at least three elephants) we better have the devil close at hand. He - uhh ... the she-devil - who has from the beginnings prior knowledge of all these things, and who never falters to signal such inconveniences.