Ol’ Blind Joe
Pilloried by piffle
By Stirling Hamilton
SOMEONE last month wrote another letter to the editor in a poorly executed attempt to pillory me with piffle.
Last year he spouted right-wing commentator Andrew Bolt’s climate change denial bunkum at me and insisted that I hate my country and the United States and should move to Iran.
Last month he suggested I should move to China or that “basket-case country Venezuela where the economy and society have been destroyed by socialism”.
I humbly submit to the court that some remedial historical education is in order.Read more
Since the United States initiated a coup attempt against Venezuela’s duly elected leftist government in January 2019, up to $24 billion worth of Venezuelan public assets have been seized by foreign countries, primarily by the United States, Britain and the European Union.
This wealth would have allowed Venezuela to pay back all its debts and get the country back on its feet despite the vicious sanctions still being endured that have cost that nation $200 billion in lost production and at least a hundred thousand lives.
US President Donald Trump’s administration used at least $601 million of that looted Venezuelan money to fund construction of its border wall with Mexico.
God thought, bugger that, and sent Hurricane Hanna over there last month and she huffed and she puffed and she blew miles of the wall over.
It was hilarious to watch while as far as the eye could see these huge segments were just dropping one after another like dominoes for a lazy billion dollars.
Nonetheless, what irked me the most in last month’s letter was the use of an innocuous quote by slain US civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr to chastise me over my assessment of capitalism.
Dr King described the biggest purveyor of violence in the world to be the USA, not just because of what it did to millions of native Americans (genocide) and Africans (slavery and racism) within its own ever-expanding territory.
But also from Vietnam to Latin America and installing genocidal puppet dictators from Chile’s murderous General Augusto Pinochet to the tyrannical Shah of Iran, and sponsoring other colonising and racist movements from South African apartheid to Zionist ethnic cleansing.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Dr King said.
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
More than 45 million people have filed for unemployment since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US.
Over the same period, the combined wealth of US billionaires increased by $584 billion
Amazon chief Jeff Bezo’s net worth is now $171.6 billion ‒ a new record ‒ and he’s gained another $57 billion in just the first six months of this year.
“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources,” Dr King said.
“With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level.
“That’s the way the system works, and since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”
Slavery creates a master-slave relationship, and in feudalism it’s lords and peasants.
Proponents of capitalism saw this inequality and promised to break from it with the French and American revolutions.
German philosopher Karl Marx saw that capitalism didn’t make the break from feudalism and slavery that it thought it did.
It’s now an employer-employee division of capital and labour, a relationship that could be reorganised into a community affair that need not have anything to do with the state.
Powerful men have at times usurped this original intent because power corrupts.
We also tend to mix up democracy and capitalism and forget that a socialist system can be democratic and capitalism can certainly be autocratic.
Or you can have a mixed system and, politically, perhaps there are many options between anarchy and dictatorship.
Communism forgets that life is individual while capitalism forgets that life is social.
The kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis.
Solidarity is an awareness of shared interests, objectives, standards and sympathies.
It creates a psychological sense of unity of groups or classes, and refers to the ties in a society that bind people together as one.
The term is generally employed in sociology and the other social sciences as well as in philosophy and bioethics.
Individualism is all about taking care of yourself; it is the belief and practice that every person is unique and self-reliant and implies that you believe that the government should butt out of your individual affairs.
There is a scenario where science may inform a new, enlightened culture of group creativity in which individualism and collectivism produce synergistic effects that maximise the problem-solving potential of groups as they seek to adapt to changing environmental conditions.
In particular, research suggests groups may perform at their creative best when members embrace their own individual identity and when they value the group as a collective.
No either/or answer is required, it’s actually so simple a child could understand it.
It is the socialist states that have confronted the virus pandemic with resolve and intelligence even though they face the brunt of US imperialism and an increasingly aggressive hybrid war (especially in the case of Cuba and Venezuela).
“Call it democracy or call it democratic socialism but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children” ‒ Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968).