2007: Shock and Owe

A New Year is a time to plan changes for the immediate future. When these are simply personal they can mean a new job, a new school, a new wardrobe or a new face. But it is more critical than ever to look at the social environment in which we make these personal plans. The system that dominates and shapes global reality grows more threatening by the day and demands our attention; it could destroy many of our possibilities for that future.

Since 2006, our national debt has increased more than five hundred billion dollars and may soon reach a staggering total of nine trillion. That’s much higher than our GDP or our combined national income. The recent religious celebration of commerce may bring consumer debt close to three trillion dollars. These astronomical figures can be mind-boggling. A trillion is a thousand billion; a billion seconds equal 32 years; a trillion seconds equal 320 centuries. We owe tens of trillions of dollars. Can we ever pay this debt? How?

And this financial idiocy of mortgaging our future, seemingly for millennia, is primarily to make war and destroy nature in order to create profit. This systemic madness must be confronted, not only for what it does to us, but to the rest of the world as well.

Global capitalism functions with a major nation presiding over the system, and the USA has played that role since 1945. But with a regime even more arrogant, ignorant and incompetent than those of the past, it has pushed humanity closer to potential disaster. Without radical change in the political economy of its foundation, the future may see further crumbling of its social structure. Failure of a system can be positive or negative, depending on whether the glass is perceived half full or half empty. But when the glass contains poison, the problem is not metaphysics or relativity.

This system is mortally dangerous to humanity in the present, and will become even more so the longer it continues into the future.

Thought and taught to be exclusively based on superior technological and political development, western global preeminence often excludes the bloody massacres and colonial oppressions that were vital in its assumption and maintenance of control. But whether we accept established or revisionist historic views of the past, we need to see that capital’s present corporate commissars and their servant governments have brought humanity to a precarious state.

As the natural environment fairly cries out for change with storms, heat waves and droughts, the global majority who pay the heaviest price for the growth of minority wealth are raising an even louder voice. Their demands for social justice are more forceful than ever, but they cannot be achieved if the dominant system is maintained.

An empire in greater debt than can ever be repaid is nearing a financial crisis that endangers the foundation of its already morally bankrupt political structure. Another world may be coming, but this is no time for celebration among those who live in the world, which is going. Americans face a major responsibility in helping to create a New World. If we don’t, we could go down with the old one.

The near insanity of doctrines and policies emanating from the imperial centers in the USA and Israel should strike fear everywhere, but especially among citizens of these two countries. There is an incredible contradiction between their alleged ideals of democratic prosperity, only achievable to small minorities, and their social outcomes, which bring violent deprivation to vast majorities. Much of the world is in growing rebellion against this hypocrisy that claims to sow democracy and affluence, while it reaps oppression and poverty.

War and bigotry are founding principles of imperial power, and minority dominance is in the interest of its political economy. There can be no middle ground in a struggle against such power, just as there is no middle between hunger and starvation, except to those who regularly overeat. A new U.S. congress will perform for its employers and play to this fictional middle, which it finds somewhere between great naiveté and total ignorance. It will call for meager and often divisive reforms, while maintaining the imperial order. The radical change needed by the world is only being affected outside the center of imperial power, but it needs to happen inside as well.

Emerging democracies and militant uprisings against authority are hopeful signs for the future. But unless demand for peace and social justice finds greater support at the source of the problem, its solution may not be achieved without greater international tragedies.

A just treatment of the planet’s resources, beginning with its people, warrants a more democratic U. N., out from under western control. Unity among contesting nations and NGOs is always hard to achieve, but its necessity will become clearer as the world’s problems become greater. And the major problem is the control exercised by global corporate capital and its subordinates, over the production, distribution and general management of the earth’s resources.

The way to end the pillaging of social and natural environments is to begin transforming them into life support systems that acknowledge all humans as equal members of one race. That calls for an end to supremacist doctrines, whether they are national, political or religious. Many people are working to create a New World based on such a reality. It involves profound change that is being fiercely resisted by those who benefit most from the system of loss for the many, in pursuit of profit for the few. Hopefully, history will not be on their side. Realistically, the majority will have to make that history.

Happy New Year.