Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/03/we-interrupt-pandemic-demands-justice-and-healing
I repeat. Why does Common Dreams continue to clutter its site with vacuous contributions that just spew platitudes and waste readers’ time?? You can’t be that desperate for submissions! Amster’s writing because he just moved to Georgetown U. and needs to churn out publications to fluff up his CV. What’s Common Dreams’s excuse?
Actually, “this” is the system that impedes and poorly sustains us, the system that exhausts our resources and has strolled us into what will sadly have to be recognized as the first stages of ecological catastrophe. Randall Amster is caught in half-truth.
Further–rulers do not attempt to reopen the world that we had, exactly, but a further centralized version of it, a refined cacquismo–not nationalist fascism as that existed in the 1930s, quite, but a more centralized kleptocracy uniting a spectrum from mafia through military under control of a matrix of international corporations and cross-invested families. Mussolini spoke of uniting population and manufacturing under the rigid control of national government; our rulers decline to speak of uniting violent force and extensive propaganda under the guidance of a nexus of corporations, a sort of internationale capitaliste exercising control by mythologies of legitimacy reinforced by lethal force.
Rather than reopening, rather than opening as the rulers wish, we need to open something else. The jobs that we lost will not return as they were. The manipulations of the dollar will be done not to serve but to contain us. The damage to heal is not the pandemic nor certainly a few riots, but the prior kleptocratic caciquismo, the kleptocracy as it exists, in its racist and sexist and age-ist, primarily and overwhelmingly classist and dollar-ist form.
The population are amateurs at resistance, resisting professionals of suppression–as always. And again Amster is somewhat on point with the half-truth: we must indeed “choose when to accommodate and when to resist.” He is correct that resistance cannot be pure, but he misses by implication that resistance must overwhelmingly become grander and greater and more frequent and more ubiquitous very shortly.
Not all the violence of the riots is in the specific justified. The population are amateurs at resistance. But the major trouble here is not the looting of stores or the breaking of windows but the far larger fact that popular response is underinformed and understaffed, though it involves more people than we have ever seen in such action within the United States. The population must be forgiven our debts that we may forgive our debtors. And we have quite a lot to forgive. There is nothing symmetrical about that.
At least arguably–given the violence of much of the police response, without recent domestic precedent, given also the self-serving movements of currency that have all too much precedent–the population is also underarmed. Historically, in the case of the smaller experiments in this sort of CIA and corporate puppet banana-republic government, a generation of peaceful protest has been beaten back by brute violence, and a second generation of more violent or more deviously resourceful population has finally prosecuted the aging monsters who had called themselves “the elite.” Woe unto all that this might be the path, but the government ought to wake up to the understanding that its decisions have some bearing on its future.
Wisdom in any sort of leadership position could avoid this cycle of violence; I do not by violence here principally refer to the riots or even to the police, but to all the range of American-related activities to which the word so wholesomely applies–military, mafia, black-ops, police, and personal. It is time for this government to “choose to go along and get along” and to find itself among the larger scheme that involves the society, the citizenry, and the planet.
Washington needs an intervention. It has to drop its bloody vices. Hopefully it can comport itself in some way that keeps this within the spectrum of “tough love,” but i do not see a lot of wisdom so far.
I’m going to interrupt this comment section with a freak out/query to fellow CD’ers regarding a graph related to the pandemic (that people are now ignoring) that I am having a hard time interpreting. It’s hard to fully process the gravity of the implications of this:
Are you aware of the General Agreement on Trade in Services? It’s atreaty which committed large areas of policy decades ago, making it a bit impossible that we could even have ever be discussed changing them at all, now, without ever having discussed the fact that we already had officially decided them, (decided for example, to privatize numerous public services, and commit to private for profit healthcare, and then try to use thse agreements to force other countries to give up their public services too. Also using their millions of jobs as a sort of bait, to accomplish goals like extending patents on drugs, and making generics less available, high margin areas) In exchange we’re willing to sacrifice a great many jobs, how many, possibly as many as half, eventually. Two papers estimated the loss as 26% and 41% but left out public sector and quasi public sector which would be the lions share, so the amount could be much higher than that.
(but the country never was told)
Please take a look at my web site policyspace dot xyz which presents some information which might explain various aspects of our current situation in the light of trade and investment agreements having already taken them off the table, also having committed large numbers of jobs to be outsourced/offshored.
These committments which put us in a very difficult situation should we back out and try to protect these jobs, despite our previous commitments, makes it almost hopeless that either of the candidates would do what it takes to free us - Nobody is discussing it because its so bad.
I am aware that extensive commitments exist, though I am far from knowing all of the specifics. I will have a look.
Meanwhile, acknowledging that transitions and their details are important and will tend to involve unforeseen consequences, I do think that some general observations can be made about odious agreements and debts.
What the larger populations need, in general, is not more status-trinkets, so big business will not and does not generally help. Therefore, the usual mantra of more jobs will not in itself help. This is a difficult transition, obviously, but work has to accomplish things rather than destroy things. The usual meters do not measure that, of course. Odious and secret agreements taken in favor of multinationals will have to be broken, and local economy set up–but, as much as possible, not in that order. The idea is certainly not to have or to exacerbate an economic crash, but avoiding a crash involves setting up an alternate economy while the existing one that fails us even as it ostensibly succeeds looks “healthy” by usual metrics. Few people are willing to do that, so there will be crashes and stumbling roughly corresponding to our unwillingness as an artificial economy that cannot continue fails.
This is all very general, of course and sadly, but I am stuck without a crystal ball, as usual. I could not tell you a decade with certainty, though things sure look like they have begun to move.
Along similar lines of reasoning, while I don’t think that we can altogether ignore our elected officials, they will take no large measures to help and will take very few small measures to help. A more pointed question might be how drastically they will move to hinder and damage people who move away from an economy run by their lobbyists.
Again, we will see all sorts of details in transitions, and I expect all sorts of surprises. But what remains far more clear, and clearer with every change, is one can be certain that it will not remain as it is. Old commitments that cannot serve will not, and they must be altered from outside the government, since officials will be reluctant to act against lobbyists.
Thank you for the link. I will have a look. Today, it seems, I have students to remove from a riot zone to a safer house–which itself got peppered with bird shot last night, though it was only falling shot from someone’s blast into the sky. “You cannot change the world,” Mama always said, between the dogs and dichondra lawns, the picket fences, and the traces of prior orange orchards left here and there among the suburbs.
Stay safe! Sounds like a beautiful area, So, when you check out my web site, I have a copy of an interesting document, the English version seems to be absent -stragenely, just as of a few days ago from the UN web site, its in my /documents/ directory and its UN document A-RES-44-232 - in it it references the meeting held 15-20 September 1986, in Punte Del Este, Uruguay. It seems to be referring to the Third World indebtedness to me. I’d be curious about what you think this deal is about, keeping in mund that that meeting set up the services deal that made services “tradable” in the form of the “Mode 4” of the GATS. On September 20, 1986 the meeting in Uruguay issued a Declaration that committed “services” broadly to the Unruguay Round GATT negotiations which were what was to become the WTO. I think that Declaration is also in that documents directory. I think its particularly interesting that the UN removed the English version but not the others, now more than 30 years after its been resolved (1989) There is also an obscure WTO dispute, #503 on their site, filed in 2016 which is still open, and likely will be decided next year, after the election. It basically could radically change the nature of work by vastly increasing subcontracting and lowering wages by putting workers all around the world in more direct competition with one another, for lower wages. Right now they argue that we in countries like the US are throwing trillions of dollars awayon over-high wages. Its reallypretty incredible that they are doing all this, under the radar. You can find a lot of stuff on my site, if you dig, I am sorry its so disorganized.
Very well put. Thank you.
English is best if I can get it. Disorganization is an area of expertise.
I think that we can assume that people who pay wages will look to lower them and pay governments to aid and abet that. Being able to move capital and (to an extent) goods while people and information are constrained favors that.
Actions against the popular interest will remain relatively secret. Things are often easier to distort than to hide, however, so this business of releasing simultaneous contradictory stories that appeal to different ideologies appears to be becoming more popular as damage control.
I will have a look.
The UN paper I was talking about seems to reveal a scheme to protect huge thieves of money from countries by using a guest worker scheme to have poor countries use the jobs of the frmer middlc class to pay off odious 3rd world debt, in order toprevent wages rising, start a race to the bottom, and prevent the creation of a precdent that forgives Third World Debt and then tries to recover the theft from the actual looters, the people who stole it.
Thats not all thats on my site… which I will warn you needs me to spend a lot of time adding more metadata, especially.
There are tons of links to great papers on my site policyspace dot xyz - perhaps too many because finding the real gems is getting difficult. There are lots of points of view, and my main goal is helping people realize some of the things that are being done by neoliberals and why.
Its like a world war by the rich against democracy, the concept of a middle class, decent pay, job stability, and workers…
the problem that I dont think people here in the US realize is, we dont live in a democracy now, and have not in a long time, and also a lot of the frames we’re fed are patently dishonest.
They now dont necessarily realize that trade deals trade jobs, including our own, especialy our own away, or why… and that giving jobs to (the richest people in ) poor countries is not helping the poor, its helping the people who oppress the poor. Many black people here in the US are doing better than they did in the past but that doesnt mean its time to deeem the problems solved, snatch their jobs away and start giving them to firms that pay barely minimum wage to people with skills that make their work worth a decent middle class income. Also, because poor countries rarely have public higher education in the kind we have, the chances of somebody from a poor country who has an advanced degree comes from a poor or midddle class background is poor, is basically zero. They all are the children of rich people.
But thats what GATS does. So basically, its a scheme to funnel decent public sector (first) and then an ever growing number of all kinds of jobs to whatever firm bids the cheapest. After having people train their replacements. This is why we cant expand public services, because as of 1995 they became soon to be privatized services, but we were never told. If you look at my section on medical tourism, you’ll discover thats likely what our plan for healthcare involves. Ellen Gould touches on this in her video, which I also link on my site. This is whats really happening. We’re being intentionally kept in the dark, so we wont speak up until its too late. The result of such shameless lying to the country will predictably be fascism as people lose faith with a “democracy” we have not had in decades. (what they really are losing faith in is already inverted totalitarianism or fascism, not democracy)