Volatility

April 14, 2017

Globalization’s Goal

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Globalization is the fully rationalized and systematic expansion worldwide of supply-driven productionism and the use of economic and military muscle (i.e. racketeering) to bolster it. It has little to do with legitimate demand-based trade. Via the WTO and the even more radical and aggressive ISDS pacts it enshrines the direct political rule of multinational corporations. It tries to maintain political stability among the main powers, like how Cosa Nostra was supposed to maintain peace among rival Mafia gangs. Like what the EU was set up to do, the same EU which enacted the CETA and which currently is trying to enact the TTIP. (The EU is a globalizing venture, and the fact that today’s “leftists” support it and oppose its breakup is one of the many perfect examples demonstrating that “the left” is offering no alternative to corporate-controlled productionism.)
 
This universal corporate capitalist economic alliance is designed to be a more effective totalitarian system than that of competitive and confrontational nation-state alliances under the old balance of powers concept. This original imperial set-up was blown up in 1914 and even more definitively in 1939.
 
The updated neoliberal globalization imperialism is designed to unify 100% of global power on one side, with no “other” side at all, just humanity and the Earth lying prone. That’s how this war is supposed to go. Therefore globalization is not a treaty system to prevent war, but an agreement among militarists on how to wage war. At first, and by preference, the war is waged economically and through environmental destruction (direct destruction as of the rain forests; poisonism; climate chaos) and through the sublimated chemical and biological warfare of poison-based agriculture. But the invaders and occupiers will escalate to de jure shooting wherever they deem necessary.
 
 
We see how corporate industrial agriculture is the linchpin of globalization, both as the most pivotal economic sector (i.e. the most potent vector of economic war) and as the main mode of physical aggression and destruction. Agriculture is the primary physical war going on today, worldwide.
 
Globalization’s primary imperative to maximize industrial agriculture is also the best example of how “comparative advantage” is a lie. If this was real, industrial agriculture wouldn’t exist at all since nowhere does it have any reality-based “advantage” comparative to food-based systems. On the contrary, industrial agriculture invariably requires massive government subsidies in order to exist at all. So it exists only as the ultimate case of powerful countries and corporations seeking absolute advantage, might makes right.
 
The fact that globalization’s forced-trade policy seeks aggrandizement of industrial agriculture as one of its primary goals is proof that:
 
1. Globalization is not efficient in any reality-based sense.
 
2. Globalization has nothing to do with efficiency.
 
3. Globalization is about nothing but power for a handful of kleptocrats and religious zealots, toward however they plan to use that power.
 
 
In spite of how grossly inefficient and destructive of actual food production it is, corporate industrial agriculture has attained domination over most agricultural land. It has been sustained only by temporarily plentiful and heavily subsidized fossil fuels, massive subsidies extracted from Western taxpayers, monopoly muscle, and where necessary direct political and military aggression. Corporate industrial agriculture could never have existed other than as this massive program of central planning and social engineering.
 
When we consider the proven failure, wastefulness, and destruction caused by poison-based agriculture; and we consider these in combination with the proven history of the eugenic religion and political totalitarianism; and we place these in the context of the radical aggression of today’s corporate globalization, we gain a clear picture of the trajectory and the goal of corporate/technocratic domination.
 
This is what humanity and the Earth must overcome.
 
 
 
 
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February 12, 2017

Ambivalence

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We see how Trump has made hay out of xenophobia. His appeal is only a more overt form of the standard bipartisan xenophobia. Obama/Clinton and the Democrats similarly comprise a xenophobic party. Trump has done nothing and proposes nothing qualitatively different from the status quo embraced by the Democrat Party and its voters.
 
Mass migration, of course, is driven by the corporate globalization forced upon the world by the US government. No other power would have been strong enough to force the World Bank, IMF, WTO upon the world. No other power could have forced NAFTA upon itself and its continent, none could have forced CAFTA upon its hemisphere, none could force the same pattern across both oceans in the form of the TPP and TTIP. Again, this is the policy of what’s objectively a one-party system, the Corporate One-Party. “Republicans” and “Democrats” are nothing but two identical gangs within this monolithic system, and they share consensus on always escalating corporate and technocratic domination, always destroying all they can of humanity and the Earth.
 
Forcing people off their lands, out of their home economies, rendering them homeless and stateless, forcing them into regional and global mass migrations, has always been a primary intent and goal of globalization. The corporations force this migration to drive down wages in some places and to clear others completely of human beings. This was a core purpose of NAFTA, to drive Mexican farmers off their land to clear it for industrial plantations, and to drive them into the US to drive down wages there.
 
The xenophobia of US conservatives and liberals reflects their ambivalence toward globalization and corporate rule. They want to believe the corporate system will continue to maintain them as a parasite class and for this reason they support the crimes of globalization. But at the same time they sense how they too are being liquidated, how the same bell tolls for them. If more gradually, nevertheless just as surely the shantytown and hunger are their ultimate destination as well. They struggle to relieve these fears through such expedients as xenophobia.
 
Similarly, they believe “Islamists” are aliens who are obstructing the full boons of globalization. The Middle East is the geopolitical center of global war, so Islamophobia and “war on terror” fantasies become proxies of ambivalence. The US middle class wants to continue to enjoy the parasitism afforded them by cheap oil, but they sense the fact that the cheap oil is just about spent, only the far more expensive (in every way) remains, the massive subsidies aren’t sustainable, and most fearful of all, the hype touting substitutes for cheap fossil fuels is nothing but a mirage, nothing but a scam.
 
This in turn is an example of the broadest ambivalence, the fantasies of technophilia and scientism bound up with the rising subconscious realism of skepticism about all this. The political parallel is the fantasy of total control over people and earth through technocracy, vs. the sure knowledge that this system is trying to destroy humanity and the earth once and for all.
 
We come full circle. The “civilized” hate the earth, hate the human body, hate that we’re physically forced to eat food which comes from the soil, hate every part of physical reality. The most perfect, most distilled example of this is the American combination of promiscuity and puritanism about sex. This extreme ambivalence is the perfect symbol of Americanism, and of the civilized mindset as such.
 
So it goes for all of reality. That’s the psychological basis of the scientism religion, the technocracy cult. They worship the idea of what they call “high-tech”. They worship only this idea, no matter how much high-tech really means nothing but high-maintenance, no matter how shoddy, inefficient, malfunctioning, wasteful, and destructive this technology really is in practice.
 
This religious ambivalence is how corporations have gained so much power. On a subconscious level the civilized literally worship this corporate person they created, as a kind of demon-worship. This is the objective character of the actions of the Western masses. (In the mass media this corporate worship often becomes nearly overt and self-aware.)
 
But at the same time they hate these fantasies. They know it’s all impossible, they know it’s all lies. They know there’s no way out – the Earth’s patience is at an end. They know the corporations mean to crush them once and for all. They know the STEM establishment is a collective Mengele viewing them literally as a mass of captive test subjects to be manipulated, tormented, controlled, and killed. They know technocracy exalts nothing but the most extreme anti-human, anti-ecological evil.
 
But like the monkey who stuck his arm into the jar to try to pull out the banana, they can’t bring themselves to let go, even though the ground around them is covered with fruit for the taking. That’s how deep the indoctrinated horror of physical life has gone. Today’s “civilized” Babylonian captives would rather starve to death than pack up and return to their Jerusalem, return to the Earth.
 
 
 
 

January 17, 2016

Religion is All Good and Well….

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….but sometimes they take it to extremes.
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What’s real? Human communities, the interactions among flesh and blood people, our individual and group networks among the earthly ecology. This is what Martin Buber called the “I and Thou.”
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But then people start reifying abstractions. Not just using terms as necessary conceptual placeholders, but believing in the reality of the terms they’re using. These include government, law, money as a unit of account, nation, sect, race, reason, science. In reality none of these are anything but superficial terminology for ecological interactions. But people religiously believe in their existence as if they were physical objects or ecological relations within physical reality. We can call these the first abstraction.
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So far we’ve mentioned the reifications almost everyone engages in, the ones which are part of human nature and may be necessary for human life to flourish. But things get malign when we reach a second abstraction. This is when we take the items of the first abstraction and use those to reify the next exponential level of reification. This is when we use government and law to “create” things like corporations, patents and copyrights, fiat money, and then convince ourselves that these are real. This second religious abstraction is abstraction squared, meta-abstraction.
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It gets worse. The third abstraction is where we so devoutly believe in the corporation that we allow it to create money, and allow it to own patents, and allow it to write the law in both a de facto (through lobbying) and de jure way, and allow it to dictate to the government through the kinds of regulatory agencies which see their duty as to obey and assist the corporate “client”. Those who originally created corporations were aware of the religious radicality of what they’d done in squaring the abstraction, and they were so leery of cubing it that they didn’t allow corporations to own patents or stock (another religious abstraction) in other companies. Those safeguards were eroded and abolished over time, as the religion became more fanatical. By now the religion is becoming extraordinarily self-referential, hermetic, alienated from reality because it’s so wrapped up in its own fictive reality. It’s become a cult.
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The fourth abstraction is where we reach such a fanatical extreme of wretched abasement in our self-loathing worship that we want effectively to abolish all the first abstractions as being still too close to human reality. To whatever extent we still maintain them it’s only as hollow shells to be filled out by the aggrandizement of the second abstractions, the corporation and its dogmatic weapons.
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At this fourth abstraction the corporation is the de jure author of the law, and even more powerfully it controls government by direct decree. This decree power is autocratic in the most unaccountably and capriciously divine sense.
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People clearly believe in these fictive things on a religious level, they have religious faith in their actual existence. This is exactly the same as believing in a god. Money is “real” because enough people believe it’s real and act as if it were, in the same way as with belief in a god and action on behalf of that belief. Belief in the existence (and beneficence) of corporations and intellectual property and corporate “science” is the same kind of religious belief, albeit vastly more destructive and self-destructive than any other religion.
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In abolishing the first abstractions such as nation, (any other) religion, government, law, science, reason, the real target of this evil god is real humanity and the real Earth. The extremist religious cult of the corporation is veritably a murder and suicide cult in the most physically literal sense. We the people need to discredit the idea of corporations and intellectual property, subvert belief in them, and wipe out this noxious cult.
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But to fight such an entrenched religious idea, no matter how wavering the faith in it may be among many of its adherents, requires a more potent spiritual and ecological idea. We must conjure the new idea out of the ecology. It must come from the Earth.
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January 8, 2016

GMO News Summary, January 8th 2016

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*Climate change deniers of all stripes like to believe that such extreme effects as lessened precipitation becoming the occasion of drought* will be a big problem for the global South but not so much for the West. The overt deniers and nihilists openly say that climate change would be a winner for Western agriculture. The COP20 types and pro-GMO activists also believe this.
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But a new study published in Nature confirms that weather-affected drought is more destructively plaguing the monoculture agriculture of the US, Australia, and other industrialized countries than it is the agriculture of the unindustrialized world. This is because commodity monocrops, especially GMOs, are very high-maintenance and require optimal growing conditions, while the more diversified food-based agriculture of the global South is more resilient. As has been the case for thousands of years, rational societies today still organize their agriculture to be redundant and resilient, so that if bad weather or a pest or disease outbreak decimates one part of the harvest, other parts are likely to come through. The modern science of agroecology is built upon this and other fundamental facts. But such reason and science are of course anathema to irrational, anti-scientific commodity-based agriculture. Therefore the societies which shackle themselves to monocultures will reap the worst of the climate change whirlwind, while those which either transform to agroecology or, still practicing rational diversified agriculture such as in Africa, resist the corporate onslaught and supplement and build upon their traditions by adapting agroecological science to their conditions and traditions, will survive and thrive. There’s no other way forward, for facing up to the climate crisis and to the companion crises of this climactic era.
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[*As John Widtsoe described, drought is properly defined not as lack of sufficient precipitation, but a predictable lack of precipitation sufficient to sustain the water needs of an unsustainably thirsty economy or economic sector. That is, it’s an artificial condition, not a natural one. Truly unpredictable dearths are rare. There is nothing unpredictable or unpredicted about how industrial agriculture will fare very poorly under the onset of climate change.]
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Providing a good example of the ideas and actions necessary to get this necessary and prosperous transformation going, agroecology practitioners and campaigners in Britain just concluded their annual Oxford Real Farming Conference. The Conference is dedicated to exchanging ideas on the practice and economics of agroecology and the modes of spreading the agroecology idea among the people. The creativity, ferment, and excitement sharply contrasted with the dolor and stagnation in evidence at the establishment’s Oxford Farming Conference, attended by corporate and government hacks along with bootlick contract “farmers”. The stale monoculture of the atmosphere reflected the stale monoculture of their words, which of course were about nothing but dead physical monoculture. As the Guardian writer put it, “The Oxford Real Farming Conference has rapidly outgrown its decades-old establishment counterpart and is calling for radical reforms to the industrialised intensive model they represent.”
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*Even as Africa (whose people have contributed very little to the emissions and destruction of sinks driving climate change) struggles to hang on to its relatively much better adapted agricultural position, the exact same world historical criminals driving climate change to the crisis point are also trying to destroy Africa’s resiliency and force self-destructive monoculture upon it.
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Monsanto, the US and UK governments, and the Gates Foundation continue to push their “New Alliance” plan for the renewed colonial subjugation of Africa under the rule of corporate agriculture. Kenya was supposed to be the most important adherent to the plan, which basically uses US and UK taxpayer money to bribe African governments to allow Western corporations to rampage unrestrained across the land and people. African countries are to make any necessary changes to seed, IP, and land law, dismantle anything that’s left of the old-style public agricultural programs (largely wiped out years ago by the IMF’s “structural adjustment” assaults), steal tribal land and facilitate corporate land-grabbing, help construct any necessary globalization infrastructure, and submit to Western dumping and profit expatriation. The goal is to eradicate African diversified agriculture, economically liquidate millions of farmers and wipe out thousands of communities, turn the entire landscape into one vast corporate plantation export zone, and slam the coffin shut on any hope of an agroecological transformation. In the long run the entire continent is to become an uninhabited desert. This is the conscious goal of Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton (of course any Republican in office would push it as well), David Cameron, as well as useful idiots like Bono, Bob Geldof, and many others.
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Although several countries such as Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Ghana have signed up, the prized adherent Kenya has so far disappointed the cabal. This is in large part because of intense grassroots opposition from the Kenyan people. The cartel and its allied governments are now making their strongest push yet to break through. The food sovereignty activists fighting in Kenya, Ghana, and everywhere else in Africa are fighting hard for all the people of Africa and the world, and richly deserve the full support of the world against this great crime.
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*Better news from Africa: What do you know, it actually is possible for a regulator to say No. It’s easy to forget that, given how the USDA, EPA, and FDA consistently claim that they have no choice but to approve everything put before them.
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In this case, South African regulators rejected the Agricultural Research Council’s application to market an insecticidal potato called SpuntaG2. The product concept is much like that of the GM potato variety Arpad Pusztai’s research found to be hazardous to mammal health. The regulator and appeals board cited biosafety, public health, and socioeconomic problems. One of the project’s own hired consultants concluded the GMO was “a solution in search of a problem”, thereby acknowledging that there’s never any need for any GMO. There’s always higher quality, far less expensive, safe, conventionally bred alternatives for whatever a particular GMO was supposed to do.
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So a regulator actually can say No. But according to the USDA, EPA, and FDA that word just doesn’t exist and is impossible to conceive.
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*In Pakistan and India Monsanto’s Bollgard II cotton continues to be decimated by the target pest, pink bollworm. This GMO contains two Bt toxins, the Cry1AC which generated resistance against itself and failed in the original Bollgard, and Cry2AB2, which is now failing as well. The GM cotton is also being ravaged by secondary pests like whitefly. Therefore all Bt cotton still requires massive and escalating insecticide use even during the period when it works against the target pest.
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Meanwhile according to the piece the Pakistan government is saying “Crop wiped out? Don’t worry, just feed it to livestock!” Needless to say that’s an insult to the farmers who have been economically wiped out by their destroyed crop. It also blithely overlooks the many dangers of deploying such livestock “feed”, dangers such as aflatoxin and the death of livestock which has often followed their feeding on Bt crop refuse. Most of all, there’s the ongoing fundamental idiocy of denying the proven fact that the product is a failure.
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*According to a Greenpeace report, Chinese farmers are “illegally” growing GM maize. A large proportion of samples taken from cornfields, markets, and processed food tested positive for GM contamination. The identifiable varieties include products from Monsanto, Syngenta, and DuPont. Of the six varieties identified, three are government-certified as conventional varieties, which if correct means they’ve been contaminated by illicit GM cultivation. The other three which tested positive are not certified. For a long time there have been rumors that seed from GM field trials was illicitly sold to farmers. That may be the source of the contamination. Probably these are all hybrid varieties. If so, commercial farmers would have a hard time saving seeds from them. In that case there’s either a constant influx of new GM seeds, or else the seed crop is becoming contaminated.
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The other day I briefly discussed the tumultuous and often inscrutable GMO situation in China. For more see here, here, here, here, and here. The GM corn phenomenon seems like a chaotic black market situation. Presumably the cartel is displeased with this black market trade.
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*The EPA continues living up to form. According to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), EPA has once again flouted its own deadlines to complete new “risk assessments” for glyphosate, atrazine, and imidacloprid. The glyphosate assessment was supposed to have been done last summer. (Meanwhile in Europe the EFSA moved its own already-belated glyphosate deadline from December 2015 to June 2016. This is a constant among these regulators, procrastination. This is because it becomes more and more difficult for them to come up with even pseudo-plausible lies to justify the clean bill of health they criminally bestow upon these deadly poisons.)
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Just last year in June the EPA settled in the CBD’s lawsuit over another dereliction, EPA’s breaking the law in refusing to analyze the effect of these poisons on endangered species. According to the settlement EPA grudgingly agreed to obey the Endangered Species Act. We’ll see – breaking the de jure law as well as committing crimes against humanity is the daily routine at these regulators.
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It’s not just for central governments. Here’s Hawaiian state and county officials engaging in the same procrastination.
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*Since I have an upcoming post on Monsanto’s ongoing financial travails and consolidation among the GMO/agrochemical cartel, I’ll save comment for there. Monsanto really is in some serious trouble, though. If people wanted to get together to focus on getting Roundup banned everywhere possible, it could become a permanently crippling blow. Of course the US government will do all it can for its favorite non-Wall Street corporation.
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*Vermont’s GMO labeling law will go into effect in June 2016. Looking ahead to this and perhaps other state laws to come, Campbell’s is becoming the first manufacturer to break ranks and add “made with genetically engineered ingredients” to its packaging. In other words they expect/hope what some of us think likely, that actual labels may help normalize GMOs, and even “get [Campbell’s] credit for transparency” as one analyst says in the piece. That’s one of several reasons I’m ambivalent about labels.
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I continue to note the proliferation of the Frank Luntz propaganda term “patchwork” (one of his favorite “Words That Work”), originally propagated among Republicans to oppose California’s CAFE standards. Today it’s most often used among opponents of GMO labeling, including the frauds who want sham FDA labeling which would preempt the states. In this NYT piece we see both the quoted CEO as well as the “journalist” using the loaded term.
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*A legal settlement in Jackson County upholds the 2014 law passed by a vote of the people and ends a SLAPP suit filed by two alfalfa contractors backed by the GMO cartel. The deal means Jackson farmers who already have Roundup Ready alfalfa in the ground can continue working it for the remaining years of its productive life, but they nor anyone else can plant more. (Alfalfa is a perennial generally harvested for hay for 4-8 years before replanting.)
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Making the world safe for organic and conventional alfalfa, one county at a time, has been one of the main goals of the local food system initiatives community rights campaigners are promulgating in Oregon such as the Jackson GMO ban. As a wind-pollinated perennial crop GM alfalfa has the highest rate of cross-pollination and contamination of non-GM varieties. Many GM-contaminated hay shipments have been rejected by China, a major buyer of US hay. This is the main reason Canadian farmers have put up enough resistance to forestall the approval of RR alfalfa there so far.
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An ulterior motive for the way Monsanto and the USDA have pushed this worthless product is to render organic meat and dairy untenable by making it impossible to source reliably non-GM hay. GMOs are forbidden under the USDA Organic certification, including the feed given to animals which are to be the source of organic meat or dairy. The corporations and government want either to apply more pressure to ease the organic standards to allow GMOs (this has always been a fond wish at USDA) or else wipe out the sector completely. That’s why Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and the industrial organic sector tried to put over their alfalfa “co-existence” compromise in 2011.
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*Even as the US government continues to lie about how the TTIP, TPP, and CETA would legally empower corporations directly to sue countries based on nothing but the most fairytale unmet profiteering expectations, TransCanada is now suing the US government based precisely on such a fish story. Of course these legal assaults via investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) have been ongoing under NAFTA, CAFTA, and many bilateral globalization deals for over twenty years now. We know for a fact that the TPP and TTIP would vastly escalate these stickups.
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Globalization and the compacts concluded under it have zero to do with legitimate demand-based trade. On the contrary, they drive a supply-based gangster economy where the corporate sectors use government subsidies and government muscle to force projects and products nobody wants upon supine populations.
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September 16, 2015

Maize in the Labyrinth

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Today is Mexican Independence Day. On this day in 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issued the famous Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”, named for the small town where the freedom fighters had assembled), setting off the rebellion which led to Mexico winning its independence from Spain eleven years later.
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Today Mexico faces a more formidable threat to its independence in the form of Western corporate domination. This war of aggression has been fought for decades and was significantly escalated with the US imposition of NAFTA in 1994.
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Independence is not the opposite of community, but a precondition of it, where it means the lack of dependency upon distant, unaccountable, alien entities. People who are dependent on centralized hierarchies whose interests and knowledge are alien to the community can never be free or secure within that community, but every day face centrifugal pressures driving them away from one another and into conflict with one another. These forces often physically destroy the community and drive the people literally off their land.
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But there’s another kind of depending, where we depend upon the land and its fruits which sustain us. The stability of this depending relationship is a precondition for the broader independence. Only where we control the land and the food it produces can we enjoy political and economic independence. At the opposite extreme, no dependency could be more productive of absolute helplessness than to lose our ability to control and rely upon the land, instead being forced into thralldom to a centralized agricultural and food system which has no knowledge of agriculture or food and cares nothing about them, which cares for nothing but its own power and profit. To be dependent upon such a system is verily a form of slavery.
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Mexico is reeling from the blows of corporate assaults in many sectors. US agribusiness has not been a laggard in its drive to commodify Mexican agriculture, seize control of the land, and drive the millions of small farmers who depend upon this land off of their land and into a vastly more profound dependency upon the pure whims and chance of a cruel, vicious globalization system.
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The core assault tactic is the forced colonization of GMOs around the world. These are meant to render land-grabbing and commodification quickly profitable. As the most exalted and idolized technology of governments today GMOs are the recipients of complete subsidy and policy protection. This complete subsidization by the taxpayers is the only thing which renders this otherwise unprofitable and worthless product viable at all.
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Mexico, ravaged by NAFTA, has been relatively resistant to GMO proliferation. In spite of the support of several government agencies, citizen campaigns have won public support and court victories which have so far staved off the commercialization of GM maize.
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Maize is a storied crop in Mexico, prominent in mythology and folklore and central to the Mexican national vision. A popular saying goes, “Sin Maiz, No Hay Maiz”: “Without Corn, There is No Country”. Maize is the core food and retail crop for millions of small farmers and their families who depend upon it for their food, livelihood, freedom, and community.
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Because maize is a wind-pollinated crop, it is one of the crops most easily cross-pollinated by other varieties. To maintain the genetic integrity of a landrace or variety requires strict precautions on the part of the farmer and a relative lack of cross-pollinating influences. Even though GM maize has not yet been legally approved in Mexico, transgenic contamination of indigenous varieties began quickly following NAFTA, probably from GM seed which became mixed among the maize shipments the US immediately began dumping in Mexico. This infiltrated seed was probably planted and its pollen then spread with the wind, contaminating ears of other varieties, whose seed was then planted, and so on in a gradually expanding process of contamination.
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If it happened this way (there’s no special evidence I’ve heard of that Monsanto intentionally infiltrated the seed into Mexico the way it did on a vast basis in Brazil; but of course we can’t put it past them), this demonstrates two truths. One, within a commodification framework it’s impossible to keep supply chains segregated. The recent debacle with Syngenta’s Viptera maize contaminating US maize shipments to China, resulting in the loss to US traders and farmers of billions in sales, is a more recent case. Two, once GM varieties of a crop like maize are released into the environment, it’s impossible to prevent their contaminating non-GM varieties. These are two proofs that “co-existence” is physically impossible. It’s also politically impossible, which is demonstrated here by the relentless struggle on the part of the cartel to force this product upon a society which does not want it.
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Ignacio Chapela and David Quist first documented this contamination in 2001. The Mexican government confirmed the contamination shortly afterward. In spite of this documentation, the corporate flacks and their fanboys have never stopped slandering Chapela and telling the direct lie that there’s no GM contamination of maize in Mexico. This is an excellent example of how all pro-GM activism is based on nothing but bald-faced lies, and more profoundly on an absolute contempt for the very idea of truth or falsehood, fact or fiction. This contempt for fact is rampant among engineers and even among scientists ever since the corporate science paradigm, which can be summed up as “science, and truth itself, are nothing but what the corporate marketing department says they are”, has become dominant over organized science and technology development.
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Subsequent studies have traced the spread of transgenic contamination across large swaths of the country (see p. 17 of the link). This gradual genetic corruption and depletion has been ongoing while no GM maize is being legally grown. This is thanks to the citizen campaign organized by Accion Colectiva (Collective Action), an alliance of farmers, scientists, doctors, lawyers, consumers, and civil society advocates, all acting cooperatively as public citizens. Their suit argues that the government allowed field trials and is rushing to approve commercialization without having conducted the safety and contamination tests and environmental reviews required by Mexican law and the constitution, Article 27 of which requires protection of genetic biodiversity as a common good.
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After the people won at trial and then won a series of government and corporate appeals, Monsanto finally found a judge corrupt enough to rule in its favor. As Accion Colectiva has commented, the ruling completely ignores the evidence, the law, and the constitution. The group has filed an appeal.
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Mexico is one of the world centers of maize origin and diversity. The future of the crop depends to a great extent on the genetic integrity of the maize landraces of Mexico and other parts of Latin America, as well as the integrity of teosinte, the wild relative from which maize evolved. The maize independence of humanity is dependent upon this genetic spring, while the corporate stanching of this spring would kill all food independence.
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Transgenic contamination is a major problem and is getting worse. But we must place it in the context of the bigger, longer arc of the genetic depletion of agriculture. The genetic diversity of maize has been steadily suffering constriction and depletion over the last century.
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The more narrow and depleted a crop’s genetic range becomes, the more vulnerable the crop is to pests, weed pressure, disease, drought, flooding, adverse soil conditions, weather, and climate. An early disaster was the 1970 Southern Leaf Corn Blight which wiped out as much as 50-100% of the crop in regions of the US. A subsequent National Research Council investigation pegged the precarity of the maize gene pool as the cause of the wide vulnerability of the crop. Specifically, a gene for male sterility (the T cytoplasm gene) bred extensively into most varieties of the crop (as a “labor-saving”, i.e. job-destroying, feature for the harvest of seed corn) had the collateral effect of rendering plants which carried the gene more vulnerable to the blight. In spite of this early warning shot over the bow, the genetic uniformity and depletion has only gotten worse since then.
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The 1970 episode also provides a stark demonstration of what can happen if a particular crop gene is bred into the bulk of the crop varieties and deployed very quickly over a vast geographic range without any precautionary assessment of possible harmful collateral effects. In fact by the late 1960s many agronomists were becoming uneasy about the ubiquity of the T cytoplasm gene, and some were predicting a pandemic like the one that hit in 1970. Here the gene was conventionally bred. But the same principles apply even more ominously in the case of GMOs, since the transgenic insertion process is far more likely than conventional breeding to generate harmful mutations. GMOs, combining the worst of both worlds – pivotal conditions of genetic uniformity along with uniquely chaotic genetic unpredictability – are recklessly being deployed as fast as possible over unprecedented geographic ranges.
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Like with most other evils of GMOs, transgenic contamination is an escalation of an existing malign trend in corporate agriculture, the depletion of agricultural germplasm. Corporate control of agriculture was endangering the future of humanity in this way prior to GMOs and would be doing so in their absence. GMOs are just making it worse.
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All this is just one refutation of the standard lies that GMOs are supposed to comprise a solution to pests, drought, and other crop afflictions. On the contrary, by accelerating the process of genetic narrowing and depletion GMOs render agriculture ever more vulnerable to every kind of affliction.
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The GMO biological assault on maize is part of a wider economic assault on small farmers and their communities. GMOs accelerate the corporate agricultural process of driving great masses of people off the land. The goal is corporate enclosure and control of the land in order to eradicate regionally based production of food for human beings and replace it with globalized commodity production for profit. GMOs are intended to aggravate and accelerate this great evil of corporate agriculture.
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In Mexico, the process of land-grabbing, dumping, and enclosure of the land in favor of vast commodity plantations is forcing the migration northward of effectively stateless economic refugees. This process too has been ongoing for decades and was escalated by NAFTA. The commercialization of GM maize would escalate it further. I’ve written extensively about how GMOs are an impossible technology for small farmers, which for them can never be anything but an assault and an often deadly trap.
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Whenever you see someone in America complaining about the northward migration of Mexicans, remind them that this is a forced migration driven by US globalization policy. The big corporations profit in two ways: The agribusiness corporations seize control of the land in Mexico, while by forcing this migration all corporate sectors benefit from how it further drives down wages in the US. As always and everywhere, the corporation is the enemy of humanity.
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I briefly traced here a few of the long arcs of the corporate threat to humanity’s future. The biological and genetic threats posed by GMOs and the broader genetic engineering project are among the most dire. Those fighting in Mexico, in the spirit of Mexican Independence Day, are fighting for the independence, freedom, and health of us all. Such grassroots groups, organizing people from every walk of life as public citizens to fight corporate power and thwart the attempt to impose corporate domination, are the only groups fighting today for freedom and community. On Mexican Independence Day, the bell tolling for the assassination attempt on Mexican community independence, via assault on the genetic basis of our food, is tolling for all of us, everywhere, as we face the same assault wherever we are, whatever we eat. We must abolish corporate agriculture.
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March 7, 2015

The TTIP and Corporate Rule

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1. The name “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” expresses what the globalization process sees as the only real sovereign group and political constituency – corporate “investors”. (Under the term “stakeholders”, these are explicitly considered to be the only legitimate citizens of the corporate-dominated society envisioned by the TTIP and similar pacts. These pacts comprise a new Corporate Constitution to effectively crush existing human constitutions and institutions.) Meanwhile the term “trade” is purely Orwellian, since globalization is not about legitimate demand-based trade, but the extreme opposite: Forcing supply upon markets which don’t demand it at all, or don’t demand it in the form corporatism wants to supply it.
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The system takes it for granted that the goal of the TTIP and of all globalization policy (and government policy as such) is “market liberalization”, i.e. a command economy based on overproduction, corporate welfare, dumping, coerced markets, and the total gutting of all public interest regulation. Note well that only public interest regulation and demand-side policy like local buying requirements are targeted for “equivalence” and “coordination”. Corporate welfare, such as Big Ag crop insurance, is not considered a “regulation” which needs to be “equalized” among the parties to the compact.
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We need rigorous discipline regarding the propaganda term “free trade”. We should never let this term pass unnoticed in our thoughts and words. We must reject in thought and words any concession to the Big Lie that globalization has anything to do with legitimate trade. Globalization is all about maximizing the imperatives and prerogatives of supply-driven corporate “markets”, toward the corporate concentration of all economic and political power. Real trade is demand-based and develops naturally and organically from human economies. Globalization, so-called “free trade”, is a top-down planned economy based on intentional overproduction and the subsequent forced creation of “markets” for this overproduction. To be anti-globalization is therefore to be pro-trade in the real economic sense, and vice versa.
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Europe proves that the supply-driven export dictatorship which globalization pacts seek to impose aren’t necessary for the general prosperity. For example, Europe’s overwhelmingly conventional agriculture is superior in every way, quantitatively and qualitatively, to the GMO-based agriculture dominant in the US and Canada. This proves at least that a fully modern Western society is better off without GMOs. But one of the core goals of the TTIP is to impose the US GMO model upon Europe, thus eradicating Europe’s great qualitative advantage, for the domestic economy and for trade.
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This leads us to the specific case of GMOs and their structural importance. Obviously the US government and the GMO cartel see Europe as a massive, relatively untapped market. But beyond this, they have a structural imperative to force all economies to come under GMO domination. They also loathe the current state of European agriculture as a real world alternative which has proven superior in every way to GMO domination. Europe proves every day that even given the parameters of industrial agriculture, GMOs are unnecessary and inferior. Europe proves every day that conventional agriculture performs better and less expensively without them. This is an ongoing embarrassment and affront to US corporatism. The US corporate system tries to deny this in the same way that during the Cold War the US and USSR would deny the very existence of ways in which one outperformed the other.
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They would have destroyed these embarrassing facts if they could. Today the US government is trying to use the TTIP to wipe out the embarrassing fact of Europe’s superior agriculture and its far healthier food system. The EC bureaucracy is coordinated with this goal, since by its nature it sees things in terms of corporate one-world government rather than as a power struggle with the US-corporatist bloc.
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2. The explicit goal of the TTIP is to coordinate all regulation which has anything to do with “any planned and existing trade”. That means all regulation, law, court decisions, etc. It’s the same principle as with the totalitarian expansion of the commerce clause in US constitutional jurisprudence, since it can encompass literally anything power wants it to. The coordination is also to be extended by whatever means necessary to EU member countries and US states. Sector-specific provisions will supersede “cross-cutting horizontal” coordination, which sets a floor. Corporate-dictated “commerce” assaults and supply-driven “trade” are already taken in the US to encompass all production/consumption activity including the informal economy, including production purely for personal use and including even pure inertness. That is, the imposition of corporate poll taxes is said by the system to be part of the Commerce power. The TTIP will enforce this for Europe as well, and far more intensely for both zones. Note well that as usual this only goes one way. Domestic economic activity, the informal economy, production for personal use, and any other kind of activity which doesn’t formally seek profit across national borders will not have access to the World Bank tribunals or to any court to litigate any harm arising out of this “trade” aggression. As always with this criminal system, it’s heads the elites win, tails the people lose.
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The process gives oligopoly corporations based in any country which is party to a compact special privileges over the rights of the people or of any legitimate business within any country which is also a party. It exalts the “right” to corporate profit and supply-driven “trade” as the supreme imperatives of society, lofting these far above all other values, rights, goals of policy and law. This includes the suppression of domestic economic activity, since the supply-driven export imperative favors the big corporations, the oligopoly sectors. NAFTA’s Chapter 11, upon which the TTIP and TPP ISDS provisions are modeled, lets corporations complain about any policy, law, regulation, court decision, which in any way allegedly infringes on any hypothetical profit the corporations can conceive. This has nothing to do with uneven treatment between foreign and domestic businesses. Even where the provision applies equally to all, it’s held to strict liability as far as how it impacts any corporation’s alleged ability to profit.
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This is proof that globalization compacts are not about trade, but about power. If they were about trade, then a law which applied to everyone equally wouldn’t be a problem.
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Profit, meanwhile, is purely a measure of power, indeed an artifice of the mysticism of power. Especially in the time of quantitative easing and mark-to-make believe accounting for the finance sector and “austerity” for humanity, corporate “profit” is self-evidently a reflection not of actual productivity and wealth but on the contrary of destruction and robbery.
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3. In being formally totalitarian, dedicated only to profit in principle, corporate bureaucracies are explicitly established as the direct exercise and rule of power (Might Makes Right), mediated only by government regulatory action. Strictly speaking, corporations are not supposed to be restrained directly by law. On the contrary, part of the purpose of the corporate form is to place legal barriers between the actions of corporate cadres and those actions’ having any actionable legal character, civil or criminal. The purpose is to legalize crimes when committed by representatives of “the corporation”.
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Government bureaucracy, meanwhile, is supposed to be restrained by law and by respect for democracy. But here too individuals are often formally absolved of personal responsibility for actions. This kind of absolution goes to the core of the evil of any such hierarchies, since nothing is so firmly proven as that if you give individuals power and freedom from consequences for their actions, they’ll take their actions to bad extremes. That’s why humans should never allow power to concentrate, and should never grant individuals a blank check, and most of all should never combine the two. Meanwhile it’s laughable to expect any bureaucrat to respect democracy. By its nature bureaucracy respects only administrative power and process, and despises law and democracy. (Meanwhile, the “Law and Economics” ideology and jurisprudence seeks to impose radical responsibility upon regular workers for their actions, even where coerced by bosses into dangerous or illegal actions. There’s the Heads I Win Tails You Lose again.)
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With this Gleichschaltung plan, a more complete formalization and rationalization of government bureaucracy’s subordination to corporate bureaucracy, the nominally “legal” bureaucracy is to be subsumed under the direct power bureaucracy. The government regulators are then to use their nominal fig leaf of legality, not as a restraint on power, but as propaganda on power’s behalf (and, where appropriate, as a weapon against rivals). This is the most institutionalized and rationalized form of the neoliberal scam.
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So EC bureaucrats and similar bureaucracies (e.g. the EPA, FDA, and USDA) exemplify the mindset and role of the bureaucrat, which is to carry out the dictates of power in an automated way. As corporate power increases, these government bureaucracies will naturally become more inherently pro-corporate. This is according to their basic inertia, what they inherently are, rather than “capture” or “corruption”. These latter do exist, but are epiphenomenal. To emphasize those is to reinforce the lie that corporations and regulators have any kind of inherently adversarial relationship. On the contrary, where corporations hold the power, bureaucrats naturally see them as their true constituency. All this is also naturally pleasing to the inherent elitism and anti-democratic tendencies of bureaucrat types.
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4. Where there’s any conflict between the corporate domination imperative and any other value, it’s taken for granted there can be no compromise. The non-corporate value must submit, if necessary to the point of its own extinction. As the historical record makes clear, this is true of all human values – health, happiness, prosperity, culture, tradition, religion, morality, simple human decency and fairness. None of these can coexist with corporations. In the long run these must all go extinct, if corporatism continues to exist.
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This is borne out by the analysis of globalization as an economic and anti-political offensive being carried out by corporatism toward the goal of total domination. By economic and anti-political I mean that the goal is total domination through total economic domination, while all real manifestations of politics are to be suppressed completely. The neoliberal phony semblance of “politics” – sham elections, nominal constitutional rights and so on – may continue for some time. Actual power will be exercised at the command of corporate oligopoly sectors, by executive government bureaucracies and extranational globalization tribunals, and increasingly, directly by the corporations themselves.
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5. This is not a new kind of corporate behavior. Privateering, the formal charter to commit crimes, goes back to the 16th century, the dawn of the corporate form. Corporations were envisioned in the first place to help enable “violent crime grafted onto trade”, as Ted Nace put it. The very term “free trade” originally referred directly to freedom from the law. Or as Hannah Arendt wrote in Origins of Totalitarianism, legalized gangsters sought to use politics to regulate their bloodshed. The British East India Company’s violent lawlessness is exactly mirrored today in the form every sort of corporate thuggery and the way corporate crimes are generally considered above and outside the law. Blackwater, explicitly declared above the law and granted a charter to literally perpetrate massacres, is merely the distillation of the way every large corporation is empowered to act, and the way they usually do act. Indeed, in principle this is the way they are required to act according to the core principle that profit-seeking is the only acceptable value. (What kind of sick society would ever have enshrined such a sociopathic form in the first place? The very existence of profit-seeking corporations reflects a self-loathing and self-destructiveness on the part of civilization itself.)
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Today’s “free trade” has exactly the same criminal nature, but the term has been sanitized to refer to an economic theory rather than a legal concept of chartered outlawry.
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Today it’s true in a precise sense that corporations are formally legalized criminal organizations. Take for example the repeal of the bucket laws, which used to recognize gambling as gambling whether done over dice in a back alley or stocks on an exchange. A bank couldn’t ask the state to enforce a wager any more than could a two-bit hood. But these sane laws started being repealed in the 1980s. The process culminated in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA; recognize a similarity to the “Food Safety Modernization Act” (FSMA)? the similarity isn’t just terminological). Now what was naturally unproductive antisocial gambling was legalized as a “contract”. The result was massively bloated bank profits and hideous distortions of the economy, climaxing in Wall Street’s intentional crash of the real economy in 2008. The crash was then used as the pretext for the Bailout and austerity. The Wall Street bailout was a massive payout on bets gone bust. This entire process was premeditated and had its origin in the legalization of what are naturally outlawed acts. Acts of reckless gambling by the banks, indistinguishable from a bunch of drunks at a bar betting on a football game, have come to comprise legal contracts. Of course, when a solitary bum bets his children’s lunch money at the track and loses, it’s terrible for that family. When the government lets the banksters do the same thing with trillions and then pays off these bets with taxpayer money, millions of children must go hungry.
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The massive collusion, dating back to the 1990s, to fraudulently induce mortgages was helped along by this original legalization. And the rest of the crimes were piggybacked on these, leading up to the finance sector’s intentional crash of the global economy in 2008. Today where ISDS is in force we see the most extreme form of this kind of government protection. Here the corporate gambler doesn’t even need to make the bet, but only to say it could exist in theory, in order to get paid.
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This is the most extremely destructive and the most typical of the legalized forms of organized crime which are bound up in the corporate form. While many of the subsequent crimes may still technically be illegal, they were enabled by the underlying legalization of gambling. And once the government has been corrupted enough, even existing laws are no longer enforced, as we see every day. This is simply the de facto legalization of corporate crime.
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6. Corporatism is the process by which the 1% seeks to shift decision-making power and control from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations. In US constitutional parlance, the system is transferring this power asset from the three branches of government enshrined in the written constitution to the extra-constitutional Fourth Branch, the corporations. In this way, power and control are shifted from nominally accountable “representative democracy” to power structures which are totally unaccountable even in principle. The nominal government remains as corporate welfare bagman and police thug, and to maintain the fraudulent facade of elections and other trappings of representative democracy. I call this the bagman-thug model of government. This process is also called neoliberalism, since it seeks to maintain the semblance of classical liberalism and pseudo-democracy even as it institutes most of the substance of fascism.
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This is part of the 1%’s general secession trend. The government abdicates its power to corporations at home, to globalization cadres abroad. It imports the alien power of the globalization cadres to domestic affairs. Throughout, government abdicates all public policy, privatizes all public property, but maximizes its absolute size, only now as corporate welfare bagman and thug.
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Accounting 101 for corporate rule: The entity is Government. Power is its asset. Democratic accountability and financial risk are among its liabilities. Government’s creation and support for corporations is an organizational shell game. The goal is to transfer the power asset to the “private” corporate entity while leaving all liabilities with the taxpayer-liable “public” entity.
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To sum up, here’s the basic tenets of corporate ideology:
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A. Governments should create corporations. (Corporations are in fact extensions of government. They’re meant to reorganize central government power, removing it from even the theoretical jurisdiction of “representative government”. It’s a kind of organizational shell game, transferring an asset from one entity to another. Meanwhile any liabilities remain with the original entity.)
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B. Corporations should be enshrined as entities that have infinite rights and zero responsibilities. They should have their profits guaranteed by the government, while all their risks are assumed by the government (i.e. the taxpayers, society) and the environment.
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C. The main purpose of government is to provide corporate welfare and thug services for corporations.
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D. Government should seek to liquidate all aspects of itself which are not directly toward B and C.
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E. Government (including in the form of globalization cadres like the WTO and IMF) should always get bigger and more aggressive, but only in ways that are directly toward B and C.
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F. The purpose of humanity and the earth are to serve as resource mines and waste dumps for corporations. Society, civilization, etc., are to be maintained only insofar as they help organize and pacify these slaves and victims. Otherwise these are to be liquidated.
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Of course I’m not saying there’s some secret master council while consciously deliberates all this. I’m describing the behavior and inertia of a socioeconomic and political force, in the same way I’d describe how the ocean organizes itself and moves.
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7. Today we confront the ultimate totalitarian manifestation of this ideology and the institutions based upon it, globalization. This reached a new level of aggressiveness in the post-war time, and especially since the end of the Cold War. The “free trade” treaties starting with NAFTA, “the law of the land” according to the Constitution, comprise a global anti-constitution. Their only content enshrines corporate license and prerogative at a level far above national governments and laws. Democracy and civil society have no place at all in this system. The “treaties”, written by multinational corporations, peddled by corrupted bagman/goon governments, and forced upon all other countries, are nothing but laundry lists of anti-sovereign usurpation and incitements to governments to set up administrative “free trade zones”, designed to obliterate all rule of law after the example of the Nazi General Government of Poland (as Richard Rubenstein pointed out, legalistically speaking no crimes were committed at Auschwitz), whose secession from law and civil society are then to be extended to encompass the entire “country”. At that point sovereignty would be completely obliterated and replaced by direct corporate rule.
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The provisions are set up to encourage corporations or their goon government proxies to file lawsuits against any manifestation of sovereignty or democracy anywhere which could hinder the profit-seeking imperative, which is the only one recognized by the globalization structure. (The same imperative which is the only one recognized by the “legal personality” regime.) The suits are heard by unelected, unaccountable secret tribunals staffed, as are the globalization cadres themselves, by corporate lawyers who come in through the revolving door. Suits have been filed against the US, Canada, Mexico, and many other governments. The very threat of such suits has a stifling effect on democracy and public health.
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While the WTO is relatively backward in having governments sue other governments on behalf of corporations, lateral agreements like NAFTA are more advanced in having the corporation directly sue the offending democracy. If it was deranged to allow domestic corporations to sue for rights against the government that created them, how anti-sovereign is it to allow alien corporations to sue a government? Perhaps the most telling fact is that under NAFTA and similar “treaties”, an alien corporation actually has more rights against a sovereign people than a purely domestic one not involved in global commerce and therefore not eligible for the powers of the Treaty.
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This perversion of sovereignty is the terminal manifestation of how so-called foreign policy has always been the mechanism by which anti-democracy and subversion has been innovated “elsewhere” and then brought home to impose domestic tyranny.
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8. The policies business wants encoded in the TTIP and TPP and enforced by governments and World Bank tribunals provide a clear picture of what these persons are. They’re nominally “businessmen” seeking “profit”. They’re really political and economic totalitarians seeking total power and control. They seek this under the rubric of business ideology, and using the corporation as their basic mode of organization. But any large corporation is not really trying to provide a good/service and make a profit, but is rather a power-seeking organization using its particular economic sector as its base of operations. It seeks to attain total power within that sector and use that economic base to assert political domination as extensively as possible.
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I was about to say, “just because it’s not overtly political, the way a de jure political party or political pressure group is, doesn’t make it any less the same kind of organization.” But in fact anyone who pays attention to corporate actions knows they’re every bit as openly political as any non-profit, de jure political group. Corporations and their trade groups describe and disseminate political principles, devise political strategies and carry them out, lobby nominal politicians and regulators. There’s really no such thing as a lobbyist-politician dichotomy, but only two political activists talking to one another. In every way corporations are organizations which seek political power. The only difference is that under representative democracy a de jure “party” is the kind of organization which runs someone called a “candidate” for a particular type of political office, while corporations are bureaucracies, identical in a de facto way to nominal government bureaucracies like the USDA or FDA.
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The twin bureaucratic structures, corporate and regulatory, understand their mission well. Today the TTIP and the TPP propose to expand the NAFTA model from North America across both oceans to encompass Europe and the Pacific Rim under a single corporate umbrella, turn the Atlantic and Pacific into ponds upon one big corporate park, use this power position to overawe Latin America and ruthlessly subjugate Africa, and to crush what’s left of the substance of democracy and economic self-determination in every country encompassed, including America and the EU. The corporations see total power within their grasp. Today they’re gearing up to reach for it. The coupled mechanisms of the globalization compacts through which they intend to attain the totalitarian goal are “investor-to-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) and “regulatory coherence”. The former is a direct assault on democracy, civil society, and politics as such, as well as being a massive corporate welfare conveyor. The latter is a formula for total bureaucratic Gleichschaltung (coordination). More specifically, it’s a plan to fully and formally institutionalize the subservience of government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy, and to fully rationalize the processes of this subservience.
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Take for example the European Commission. The existing EU system is not pleasing to it. The EC, like any bureaucracy, despises democracy and accountability, and politics as such, and seeks to maximize its own power as such without any necessary reference to what its nominal job is supposed to be.
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To its ongoing frustration, the EC hasn’t been able to persuade Europeans to relinquish political power, nor has economic coordination gone as far as the Commission wants, which is always the maximum conceivable. Although the EC has vast power to propose and decree “legislation” (what really are administrative decrees for the most part), it’s subject to some checks and balances from the European Council of national ministers and, to a lesser extent, the elected Parliament. Both of these latter bodies are subject to considerable bottom-up pressure from the people, and in turn put pressure on the EC. A good example of how the EC has been hamstrung is how relatively few GMO applications it has approved for cultivation, even though in theory it could have decreed the approval of far more. Of course a more practical obstacle is that few European countries want to cultivate them.
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So in the EU there’s mostly administrative rule in theory, but to its disgust the EC has to jump through lots of political hoops. It looks to the TTIP to solve this problem of residual democracy. That’s why the EC is so ardent to embrace a compact which will turn it into a flunkey of the US government and mostly US-based corporations. The EC would rather hold a lower position in a fully rationalized, coordinated hierarchy of administrative rule, than be at the top of what it sees as a mishmash.
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The TTIP is meant to override European democracy and European politics in general. Globalization is inherently anti-political. Corporatism sees politics as such to be an atavism. Globalization is meant to impose a bureaucratic, anti-political solution to this atavism.
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To sum up. Regulatory coordination as enshrined under the TTIP and TPP will seek to:
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*Formally coordinate all regulators under the goal of serving corporate power. It will formally subordinate government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy. Bureaucracy will go to war against democracy, politics and whatever’s left of law, while sham law will be enlisted to serve corporate power. All real government power (i.e. the power of violence) will be put under corporate control.
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*A race to the bottom among all governments in all regulatory sectors.
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*The direct access of corporations to regulators. Corporations shall directly write regulations.
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*Regulators shall always be proactive on behalf of the corporations and at their command.
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*Regulators shall always inform the corporations of any threat and help them to fight it.
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*Regulators are to be required to respond to any corporate demands.
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*All this is to be always in motion, always accelerating, always seeking the next way to further amplify corporate profit, power, control, domination.
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Real power is inertially in the hands of the bureaucracies, “public” and “private”. But of course bureaucracies don’t just passively receive and use the power which economic structures deliver to them. On the contrary, globalization is a planned economy. It’s been planned by those same bureaucrats toward the goal of permanently increasing and expanding their power. Going back to the rise of imperialist ideology and corporate lobbying in the 19th century, corporatism has relentlessly and with ever greater self-consciousness and intentional focus sought to build this command economy.
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The corporate manifesto I analyzed in my post on corporate-government bureaucratic coordination was issued by the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope. Its provisions are typical of the consensus among all corporate “trade” groups and the various sector and industry groups.
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The proposal is clearly not just any proposal. On both sides, many other cross-sector business groups explicitly support the proposal or suggest a similar approach in their contributions to the official consultations on TTIP, including BDI (German Industry Association), Confederation of British Industry, Coalitions of Services Industries, British American Business, National Foreign Trade Council, Roundtable on Trade and Competition, Transatlantic Business Council, National Association of Manufacturers, Eurometaux and the United States Council for International Business. Some, notably the Competitive Enterprise Institute, take a step further and demand that businesses are able to choose freely which set of standards and regulations they will apply.

On top of this, 30 business associations, including most of the aforementioned, have written a common letter to the US Trade Representative and to Commissioner de Gucht’s department to stress the importance of a system of “regulatory cooperation”. They include sectoral lobby groups from the chemicals industry, car industry, the financial sector, biotechnology, pharmaceutical industry and many more. They point to the existing structures on regulatory dialogue, the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, and assert that they “can be made much more effective and should include enhanced opportunities for dialogue with stakeholders”.

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This is explicit confirmation from the corporations themselves that their goal is total economic control and domination, to be leveraged into total political control and domination. This confirms everything I’ve written about corporate totalitarianism and that humanity’s great need is to completely abolish the de jure corporate mode of organization. We have to abolish the corporations completely.
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9. Today we’ve reached the terminal stage of this devolution. The neofeudal elites wish to undertake the final enclosure of all real assets – land, natural resources, physical space itself, buildings, infrastructure, and all the products of the mind. At the same time they want to cut all ties with human beings other than the ties of exploitation. They want to eradicate all semblance of government, law, and civil society, except insofar as these are weapons of domination or of pacification. They want to take totalitarian control of the Earth itself, enjoy a total license to do anything they wish and have this license enshrined as their “right”, while being absolved of literally ALL social or legal responsibility. These sociopaths, these willful outlaws, want to actually secede from civilization. They want to steal all the benefit of human interaction but incur zero reciprocal responsibility or obligation. They want to burn off all relationships between human and human, distilling them to the primal confrontation of master and slave in the dead of a wasteland. Since neither slaver nor slave can be human, these corporate fundamentalists wish to completely eradicate civilization and humanity itself. They are in fact post-civilizational barbarians.
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The TTIP (and TPP) as a whole is an assault on freedom, democracy, economic prosperity, and human happiness. It’s to be a major escalation of corporate tyranny, a major step toward corporate domination. As we should have abundant experience by now, all of its promises are lies, and none of its promised benefits will come true. It’ll only accelerate the corporate destruction of the real economy and what’s left of democratic politics, leaving behind only austerity, serfdom, hunger, disease, and an ever more severe police state.
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The rise of corporate rule has been a counterrevolution within the revolutionary age of fossil fuels, industrialism, capitalism, and democracy. Just as those, including the birth of the democratic consciousness, were features of the Oil Age, so was corporate rule a necessary countermeasure if the crypto-feudal parasites were to carry their prerogatives through the dangerous age.
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Now all of those except one must decline and perish. In prospect we perceive the feudal core now rising again in the form of post-capitalist corporate domination, and we experience whatever’s left of the democratic consciousness which is the one shining legacy of the fossil fuel age, the greatest lesson humanity has ever learned, the most marvelous gift we bestowed upon ourselves out of the seemingly endless and pointless travails of history. It’s now up to us to either embrace this democratic heritage and go forward boldly living it, or reject it and adhere to the noxious residue as eternal slaves in the darkness.
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Here’s my earlier TTIP posts. If you don’t read anything else, I strongly recommend reading at least part one about the coordination plan and the ISDS post.

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https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-ttip-and-the-right-to-profit-investor-to-state-dispute-settlement/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/the-ttip-and-globalizations-corporate-coordination-master-plan-1-of-3/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/the-ttip-and-the-corporate-coordination-master-plan-2-of-3-gmos/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-ttip-and-the-corporatist-coordination-plan-part-three/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/corporatism-and-globalization-the-context-of-the-ttip-and-tpp/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/the-ttip-corporatism-and-gmos/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/notes-toward-analysis-of-the-ttip-and-corporate-rule/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/the-current-state-of-the-ttip/

March 4, 2015

Notes Toward Analysis of the TTIP and Corporate Rule

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1. Government by bureaucracy is government directly by power. This contrasts with how constitutional government, a so-called government of laws, is supposed to function. As Hannah Arendt puts it in Origins of Totalitarianism, “Power, which in constitutional government only enforces the law, becomes the direct source of legislation.” In reality the “government by laws” never really existed except maybe for brief periods and only for certain groups. Far more commonly government dresses up its might makes right nature with sham facades of constitutionality, law, democracy. Neoliberalism represents the conscious, systematic application of this government-by-facade strategy. (Throughout these discussions I refer to modern states, the states of the fossil fuel age, the age of extreme, ahistorical energy consumption. I’m leaving aside pre-oil and possible post-oil forms.)
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Government at the directive of corporate bureaucracy is the most direct and brutal form of government by bureaucracy, government directly by power. Indeed, unlike with the lies the system tells about government bureaucracies and police, corporate bureaucracies are increasingly declared explicitly to be above the law. This is the main purpose of globalization pacts like the TTIP and TPP. Specific provisions of these pacts essentially override all law wherever this might interfere with an assumed pre-society, state-of-nature right of corporations to seek and collect plunder in the legalized form of “profit”. ISDS gives corporations a weapon of aggression to seek even the most speculative theoretical “profit”, not by running the risks of investment and actually having to produce a good or service, but by attacking the legal basis of society in a secret World Bank tribunal. Here a Mafia-style stickup is carried out. The corporation names the amount of profit it demands the taxpayers hand over, and the World Bank orders the society to cough it up.
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(“Profit” is nothing but a metric of corporate power and corporate looting, and has no special economic meaning beyond that. The government of course allows every kind of fraudulent accounting, from fictitious mark-to-market pricing of securities to the direct transfer of government handouts to the balance sheet, to the monumental level of negative externalities which are shrugged off as nonexistent. All corporate oligopoly sectors are completely dependent on corporate welfare and government “forbearance”, i.e. winking at massive crimes like pollution and accounting fraud. All big corporations would collapse tomorrow without these. No big corporation has “earned” a textbook profit in decades. They all hemorrhage wealth.
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As far as what capitalism really is, the corporations are way ahead of everyone else. They understand that every concept and tenet of “capitalism” is sheer bunk, and that the only thing real for them is control, domination, the never-ending expansion of power. Profit-seeking is only one form of this power accumulation, to be used or abused or jettisoned as necessary. Profit as the Economics 101 textbooks depict it is already a myth. Eventually the corporations won’t even formally measure it at all, even in the fraudulent way they do today.
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Power is the only thing corporations understand, and a world based upon nothing but this psychotic fantasy is the world they are trying to force upon humanity.)
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Beyond these “sector specific” and thug enforcement provisions putting corporate activism outside and above the law, the TTIP seeks to institute a permanent process of corporate-government bureaucratic Gleichschaltung, called “regulatory coherence”. Here government regulators are to be coordinated under corporate direction to advocate or oppose existing or proposed laws, to oppose existing regulations which the corporations feel hamper them, advocate those which accelerate the race to the bottom as well as regulations of aggression vs. alternatives to corporate domination. (We also have an excellent current example of how government regulators are openly conspiring with corporations to murder c. 200 people over the next 20 years as the “collateral damage” of shale gas and oil export. Collateral damage is of course not an accident, but by definition is premeditated.) In all of these ways “law” is to be nominally maintained but twisted in practice under the command of the corporate sectors.
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2. Ideologically, both aggressive globalization and the systematic demolition of civilization under the campaign name austerity are versions of the “progress” ideology. This aspect of Progress is based on the notion that only limitless power and wealth accumulation can maintain the stability of alleged economic “laws”. In reality there are no such “laws”, only politically chosen frameworks, and it’s the expansion and accumulation process itself which is the greatest destroyer of stability and of civilization itself, as the corporatists themselves admit in another, contradictory branch of their propaganda, the paean to “creative destruction”.
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Expansionism is the accumulation ideology as applied to the state, which effectively provides the subsidy basis for the growth of all the corporate sectors, and whose sword arm makes global corporate activism possible. “Profit” does not mean actual wealth creation; more often it is destructive for the country as a whole.
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Supply-based productionism, the wholesale destruction of the planet to enable mindless production for its own sake, is the practical basis of “expansion for expansion’s sake”. The alternative is a demand-based economy.
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The logic of course shipwrecks at the limits of the globe itself, and that’s where it extrudes the parallel earth-hating cults of “getting off the rock” and of genetic engineering. Both are fantasies of breaking free of the Earth’s physical limits, one by allowing elites to literally colonize other planets, the other by technologically generating a repeatable, “creatively destructive” blank slate where nature and/or prior agricultural orders used to be. This is one of the many ways GMOs embody a precise analogy, and not just an analogy, to war, which also resuscitates faltering accumulation processes by destroying on a massive scale what already exists.
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3. With today’s globalization in its most extremist forms – NAFTA and the pacts which are modeled upon it, culminating in the TTIP, TPP, and CETA – we have the most extreme, crusading imperialist form of US-based corporate rule.
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Europe seemingly wants to relinquish its centuries-old doctrine of seeking a balance of powers in favor of lying prostrate while the US corporate boot stomps it. This is inherent in the transformation the modern state underwent starting in the latter half of the 19th century, a transformation which is reaching its totalitarian consummation only now.
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If the nation-state was first organized in an unproductive way, its reorganization was forced by the rise of fossil fuels and the tremendous temporary leap these afforded in energy consumption, and therefore of economic activism. The nation-state tried to act as a non-profit state rather than as a business. The bourgeoisie has acted to take over the state and run it as a profit-seeking, power-seeking entity. The capitalists’ accumulation-seeking activism had embroiled it in conflict around the world, and they needed state protection and aggression on their behalf. The modern business state’s primary action has been to foster and support “private” economic accumulation. Its foreign policy has been based on expansionism and military aggression on behalf of this accumulation. The state had to be reorganized in an accumulation-seeking way, otherwise it would be superseded by a government form which was so organized. This is the morphology of modern power concentration. Corporations are the most direct, distilled form of accumulation-seeking power, and the profit-oriented state has become more and more a corporate state. With globalization pacts we’re now at the threshold of a unprecedentedly direct form of de jure corporate government.
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The government itself was now put on a profit basis, and all subsequent foreign policy, including so-called “trade” policy, was undertaken more or less from the point of view of a corporation seeking to plunder and extract.
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This was the main driver of the abandonment of the old “balance of power” mindset in favor of an all-or-nothing mindset. This change was most spectacularly displayed in WWI, where the Germans openly proclaimed continental annexation goals while the Allied-imposed Versailles Treaty intended to permanently cripple Germany economically and militarily. But this transformation had been developing over decades.
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The state was transformed into a political form based on the accumulation of wealth and power and the export of economic commodities and of raw power. This was driven by and reinforced the development of a political class which sees all of politics as being about nothing but power. Power and violence aren’t new, but the modern business state is new in making these the very basis of the whole political and economic system, power for its own sake. This is the essence of the corporation’s world view. With the globalization pacts we’re undergoing the formal enshrinement of this Hobbesian framework as the overriding action and basis of government as such, while all human values and concerns are to be literally outlawed wherever they stand in the way of the corporate imperative.
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So the nation itself, civil society in all its aspects, are to be quashed in favor of the power prerogatives of the corporate sectors. This direct corporate rule is being enshrined by its own pseudo-constitution. We can indeed read the text of the TTIP and TPP, and NAFTA and others before them, as comprising a Corporate Constitution overriding the constitutions and laws people think they live by today. But in truth, just as we can view corporate oligopoly as an extraconstitutional Fourth Branch of government to which the first three branches are ceding all power, so we can see how the entirety of the US Constitution has been swallowed up and dissolved by three clauses – the Commerce clause which is today deployed in a veritably totalitarian way, the Supremacy clause which is used to quash democracy and civil society action in every sector, and the treaty-making power under which the nominal “public” government is abrogating much of its power to the TTIP, i.e. the corporations. So looking at it that way leads us to back to the first track – “public”, “constitutional” government is shifting all power to the “private”, extraconstitutional corporate branch of government. This is the legalistic process by which corporate government is being instituted. The globalization pacts play a major role.
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4. In the practical sense, what corporate elites want is for the state to act as corporate welfare conveyor and violent enforcer through threats and military/police means, and to take all the financial and other risks upon itself (i.e. the taxpayers) but not engage in public policy beyond this. Beyond this the state should just maintain a sham facade of “elections” and the two primary astroturfs, the Democrat and Republican Parties. Whatever’s left of public interest government, anything which could actually help people, anything which isn’t directly profitable for the corporate sectors, is to be gutted and dismantled. All true politics are to be eradicated and replaced by a corporatized anti-politics. I call this the bagman/thug model of government.
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This sums up neoliberalism and austerity, and is also the reason why anything the government undertakes which is allegedly for the public benefit, such as “health care reform”, is intentionally set up primarily as a corporate toll booth and to further organize such a core element of human society as medicine under corporate rule. Any government policy must be first and foremost corporate welfare, while a policy like Single Payer that directly helps people and doesn’t convey wealth to the corporations is literally inconceivable by the elites and the political class. This is true no matter how beneficial, rational, and less expensive the public interest policy would be, and no matter how harmful, destructive, irrational, and vastly more expensive the corporatist policy is. The globalization pacts represent the ultimate enshrinement of the this corporate policy derangement.
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5. So we have:
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A. A basically unitary, monolithic corporate elite class, which is roughly synonymous with the 1% and its flunkeys. These include the political class and “professionals” as groups. The organizations wielding tremendously concentrated power are big corporations grouped into oligopoly sectors. The sectors exist in a rough hierarchy with Wall Street at the top. Relations within each sector are based more on collusion than conflict. There’s jockeying for position but only rarely does a serious fight break out.
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B. In the US government system, the political class is transferring power and control from the three constitutional, nominally accountable branches to the extraconstitutional, unaccountable in principle Fourth Branch of government, the corporations themselves.
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Parallel processes are well underway in academia, among professional groupings, and as written into the very ideology of such endeavors as science and journalism, which now exist primarily in the form of corporate-dictated “science” and the corporate media.
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C. The first three branches are to remain potent as corporate welfare bagman and thug, promoter of the pseudo-democratic facade, and as holder of all risk.
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Now that corporatism, and the bourgeois ideology of which it is the ultimate consummation, has won for the time being, the corporate government’s goal is to cause the state to wither away in favor of direct corporate rule, except insofar as the state serves as bagman and thug.
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6. As Arendt put it, the corporations and their supporters want “power without a body politic”. Corporations are to have total power and license, individuals are to be atomized and stripped of all effective power and rights. We can trace the evolution of a yet another parallel track, the evolution of the obscene concept of “corporate rights”. Corporate personhood was first surreptitiously smuggled into constitutional jurisprudence, from there asserted as a precedent, from there became the assumption of the law, and from there to a presumably normative assumption of politics and the public consciousness. This morphed into an affirmative concept of corporate “rights” which was first asserted in court decisions, then elaborated by the courts into a de facto corporate “bill of rights” overriding the people’s bill of rights, and has become a mainstay of media propaganda and corporate rhetoric. Thus Monsanto calls itself a “global corporate citizen” (doubly an oxymoron). From this aggrandizement of corporate “rights” we reach the effective condition where only corporations are presumed to have rights, only corporations are seen as “citizens” (the jargon substitutes the term “stakeholder”), and human beings are disenfranchised. Rather than formally denationalize citizens as prior modern tyrannies have often done, corporate government seeks to render citizenship itself effectively meaningless. It wants to render us all effectively stateless. And today we have globalization pacts like the TTIP which seek to formally enshrine this infinite corporate empowerment and complete human dispossession. Such a concept as the “right to profit” seeks the end of all human and earthly existence as anything but a resource mine and waste dump.
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7. “Profit” is just a pretext for the corporate accumulation and exercise of power, while the goods and services corporations allegedly provide comprise the same kind of propaganda scam as the services allegedly provided by the austerity governments of today. In reality goods and services come from the same source which has always provided them: Nature, and the people who do the actual work. People have always provided the goods and services of civilization in spite of the government and corporate hierarchies which “organize” them, not because of these. The greatly superior moral, rational, practical alternative to all supply-based economic and political policy is a demand-based economy.
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The first step of humanity’s liberation must be the conscious realization that the corporations are not legitimate but alien and tyrannical, wherever they exist and exert power.

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March 10, 2011

Corporations Are Anti-Sovereign

 

The real civil war began during what we call the Civil War, which was only a part of the vastly bigger whole. The real winners of the Civil War were those who used it to win their first big victories in the more ponderous civil war which is only today reaching its climax. These winners were the corporations, and their victories included the mutually reinforcing and procyclical arrogation of pseudo-constitutional “rights” (through rogue courts), unlimited powers, and absolution from practically all responsibility (through courts and state legislatures).
 
This corporatist onslaught has been, since its beginning, anti-sovereign. What is sovereignty? It is the inherent right and prerogative of a civilized people to rule itself, and dictate all the forms and conditions of the institutions it sets up to carry out this rule. This right is postulated, since we know all other derivations of right are fraudulent. One must, in principle, either accept democratic sovereignty or oppose civilization itself. It follows that legitimate power can exist only insofar as it’s deployed through a sovereign form. Any power exercised by any other entity is simply brute state-of-nature force. Such an entity is nothing but a bandit gang operating out of a cave in a swamp, no matter how much it embellishes itself with fraudulent ideology and the trappings of pseudo-authority.
 
In principle, a profit-seeking corporation – sociopathic and anti-democratic by definition and in practice – is an affront to sovereignty. A government which fails to restrain such corporations, which on the contrary sees its role as to empower and aggrandize them, is not bestowing sovereign legitimacy upon them. On the contrary, it’s abdicating any sovereign legitimacy it may have had itself. So the crisis of corporate legitimacy always forces a crisis of government legitimacy as well. (This is in addition to all the other reasons we have to reject this kleptocracy’s legitimacy.)
 
Corporate ideologues have tried to turn this order upside down. They used 19th century theories of organicism and the Natural Entity, along with intentionally sowed confusion between corporate personhood (a technical legal/constitutional status) and corporate personality, the broader ideology regarding who or what juridically exists in the first place. Using these they tried to assert that corporate sovereignty was actually prior to government sovereignty, which would not only forestall government’s right to limit the essence and actions of corporations, but would justify the corporatist bagman-and-goon theory of government.
 
This is absurd on its face and really just calls into question the legitimacy of the state as well, rather than conjuring legitimacy for the corporation. Since sovereignty reposes in the people, only the state could possibly be the legitimate form of this sovereignty. (I’m not saying it ever is legitimate in practice; I’m saying only it could ever be legitimate in principle.) By definition an institution which embodies sovereignty must encompass all the people within the sovereign body (which we can take to mean, a logical area defined by geography, nationality, or some such elemental measure; for now it often also means the existing technical boundaries of countries, however arbitrary these usually are) as citizens, and it must do so toward the goal of their human well-being.
 
A profit-seeking corporation, on the contrary, is dedicated only to profit and property, and recognizes as its equivalent of “citizen” only those who own property and/or are engaged in profit-seeking behavior. Therefore, by definition it cannot be sovereign, only anti-sovereign.
 
The corporation also runs afoul of what was classically called the solecism of sovereignty. This was also called the fallacy of imperium in imperio, “sovereignty over sovereigns”. What it means is that sovereignty can never be divided against itself; this is a conceptual absurdity and can only bring chaos in practice. During the American Revolution the British and their loyalists accused the colonists of this fallacy, when the colonists tried to claim that the King but not Parliament was sovereign over them. (That was prior to declaring complete independence.)
 
It’s easy to see that the British were wrong, since there was no logical reason King or Parliament could be sovereign or should exercise any power at all over people on the other side of the world who were economically self-sufficient. (The colonists were therefore wrong as well so long as they tried to figure out concepts which could justify flouting Parliamentary authority but still recognize British sovereignty at all. Finally they accepted the absurdity of this and declared independence.)
 
But it certainly is true that a corporation asserting rights against its creator (the government, and indeed the people themselves) is a logical impossibility. (It’s the same if government claims “rights” against the people. We can see how backwards most of the language and concept of the Constitution are.) In the original SCOTUS case which first claimed to discover corporate Constitutional rights, Dartmouth vs. Woodward, John Marshall still admitted that a corporation was “an artificial being…existing only in contemplation of law”, but he proceeded to find that a 1769 dictate from King George himself had sovereign authority, and that a corporation could now argue this sovereign right against the government. This is a clear example of the solecism. But thanks to that case the corporation could now claim incorporation itself as a “property right”. (Too bad nobody had ever put through a revolution to purge the notion that George had sovereignty to dictate to us. Oh, wait….)
 
(Before proceeding, I’ll mention that in Federalist 20, in the course of arguing for a strong federal government which would act directly upon individuals without any mediation of the states (this was argued by the “anti-federalists” to be a usurpation of state authority), Madison declared that the real violation of state sovereignty would be if the federal government were to undertake “a legislation for communities as contradistinguished from individuals”, that is if it held states collectively responsible for individual violations of federal law. He said this would constitute the real solecism, the real “sovereignty over sovereigns”.
 
But transposing this to corporate charters, since the state government generates this alien corporation and this corporate form of “sovereignty”, formally enshrines it as a collective sociopath, isn’t this “legislation for communities”? Technically the government places the corporation outside of sovereignty and then invites it to treat the sovereign people as a prey.)
 
The inadequacy of recognizing corporations as being artificial, created by government and dependent upon it, while still trying to argue their “right” was obvious, and ideologues were soon looking for new rationales. The theory of a corporation as a transparent veil between the government and society on one hand, and management and shareholders on the other, held that the corporation is really nothing more than these persons themselves, with a mere veil subtly obscuring their countenance. This had practical use for trying to justify the doubling of rights and shedding of responsibilities for corporate cadres, since the corporation was then held to be indistinguishable from the actual persons making it up. Yet because they were corporatists they were also supposed to get double the rights and license to run risks and commit crimes with personal impunity.
 
But this theory as well could give no reason why these groups of people, transparently veiled or not, should be able to claim special rights and privileges at the expense of government and society. Indeed, by highlighting how a corporation is nothing but a gang of flesh-and-blood criminals who have unaccountably received a special charter to assault the society and the body politic, the theory called attention to questions like: Why should we allow corporations to exist at all? And it underlined the fact of their anti-sovereign nature.
 
How can anything other than the people themselves and any government they constitute be considered to have an unlimited lifespan? And how can any individual be officially placed above/outside the law by being granted the special license of limited liability? (This is most characteristic of corporations, but it’s spread to government officials as well, who are now granted all sorts of immunities beyond the most basic ones listed in the Constitution. I think it’s obvious that any immunity not strictly written into the Constitution is invalid.) The very concept of corporate chartering is a basic democratic government function, so any government relinquishment of this power by granting general incorporation, “for any purpose” incorporation, infinite lifespan, removing restrictions on activities, ownership, mobility, size, etc., are abdications of sovereignty.
 
Given the conceptual problems with this “transparent veil”, how it cannot justify anything but only tendentiously describe it, ideology moved on to the Natural Entity theory, derived from the “organicism” of German liberal* theory, which I mentioned above. This upside down mirror image of the real nature of corporations could be convincing to those who wanted to be convinced. In practice, it was grafted to Social Darwinism and used to justify the most barbarous notions of Might Makes Right. As enshrined in the Lochner case, the theory simply asserted that corporations had a prior sovereignty claim vs. government in principle, so that government action to restrict corporate contracts was by definition invalid. With its interfusion of Social Darwinism it asserted that profiteering was by definition the highest human activity. Putting them together, ideologues and supportive judges found that government, and by extension democratic society, had no authority to restrict profit-seeking activity, however destructive of society or democracy.
 
[* How cute that the same conservatives who are so quick to pounce on any suggestion that American constitutional law should ever pay attention to the laws and theories of “foreigners” derived one of their most cherished ideological tropes from 19th century European liberals, of all things.]
 
The main problem with this as a theory of Constitutional jurisprudence is that it was obviously unconstitutional. If the Constitution had intended any of these radical propositions, it would have said so. But on the contrary, it implicitly denigrates corporations as such and rejects organicism by recognizing only the federal government, states, and the people. (If we really wanted to enshrine corporatism we’d have to rewrite the Constitution including a new Bill of Rights defining the rights of corporations and the rights of people vis corporations. The fact that no corporatist wants to do this proves their bad faith and tyrannical intent. They know democracy would never embrace such a plan, so they stick with their anti-constitutional coup. But the facts remain facts: Under this Constitution, corporatism is illegitimate. If democracy really wanted to constitutionally meld government and corporations into this quasi-command economy, that economy would have to be Constitutionalized.)
 
(Again, where’s our stalwart Constitutional “originalists” on this one? Out to lunch with their corporate pals, where else?)
 
Eventually jurisprudence would reject proclamations of any particular theory of corporate sovereignty or rights, and simply proceed in an ad hoc manner, justifying pro-corporate findings in any convenient way. But the underlying anti-sovereign ideology remained. The main trend of 20th century legal personhood theory continued to define a legal person as anything which seeks profit and owns property. (A more recent manifestation is law and economics, which without any further fuss would simply perform an economic cost-benefit analysis and then apply the law based upon how it maximizes the benefit for the propertarian. This is also the basis of the “reasonable person” standard which denies the existence of coercive capitalism and from there finds any victim of it to have been “unreasonable” and therefore actually his own victim, from the law’s point of view. A typical example is if your boss orders you to do something unsafe, and you’ll be fired if you refuse. If under that duress you comply and are injured and file suit, a Law and Economics judge would deny the existence of the economic coercion, decree that a “reasonable person” would have refused the order, and find you the victim of your own reckless unreasonability. This is nothing but a resurrection of Lochner but with a new spin.) 
 
Today we confront the ultimate totalitarian manifestation of this ideology and the institutions based upon it, globalization. The “free trade” treaties like NAFTA, “the law of the land” according to the Constitution, comprise a global anti-constitution. Their only content enshrines corporate license and prerogative at a level far above national governments and laws. Democracy and civil society have no place at all in this system. The “treaties”, written by multinational corporations, peddled by corrupted bagman/goon governments, and forced upon all other countries, are nothing but laundry lists of anti-sovereign usurpation and incitements to governments to set up administrative “free trade zones”, designed after the Nazi General Government of Poland, whose secession from law and civil society are then to be extended to encompass the entire “country”. At that point sovereignty would be completely obliterated and replaced by direct corporate rule.
 
The provisions are set up to encourage corporations or their goon government proxies to file lawsuits against any manifestation of sovereignty or democracy anywhere which could hinder the profit-seeking imperative, which is the only one recognized by the globalization structure. (The same imperative which is the only one recognized by the “legal personality” regime.) The suits are heard by unelected, unaccountable secret tribunals staffed, as are the globalization cadres themselves, by corporatists who come in through the revolving door. Suits have been filed against the US, Canada, Mexico, and many other governments. The very threat of such suits has a stifling effect on democracy.
 
While the WTO is relatively backward in having governments sue other governments on behalf of corporations, lateral agreements like NAFTA are more advanced in having the corporation directly sue the offending democracy. If it was deranged to allow domestic corporations to sue for rights against the government that created them, how anti-sovereign is it to allow alien corporations to sue a government? Perhaps the most telling fact is that under NAFTA and similar “treaties”, an alien corporation actually has more rights against a sovereign people than a purely domestic one not involved in global commerce and therefore not eligible for the powers of the Treaty.
 
This perversion of sovereignty is the terminal manifestation of how so-called foreign policy has always been the mechanism by which anti-democratic and anti-federalist subversion has been innovated “elsewhere” and then brought home to subvert domestic democracy. In the next post I’ll discuss the corporate assault on democracy and politics itself more thoroughly.

February 9, 2010

Imperialism vs. Politics

 

The White House recently announced its intent to pursue further “free trade” pacts. The pending pacts are with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea. It’s supposed to be part of a plan to double American exports within five years, though how on earth America can do this (other than through further dumping) remains a mystery.
 
The NYT reports that free trade cadres are hailing “the first time that the Obama administration had embraced trade liberalization vigorously.” It’s difficult to see how free trade, which is already a Hobbesian free fire zone, can become more “liberal”, but god bless ’em they’re trying.
 
(Of course the MSM and the hacks want us to forget one of the times the Obama campaign was caught in a lie, when the shiny candidate promised to rethink NAFTA, while on the secret hotline his flunkies were assuring their Canadian counterparts that it was just a lie for the peasants.)
 
Obama’s point man before Congress is, who else, Timmy Geithner.
 

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told a House budget hearing on Wednesday that the administration “absolutely” planned to make passage of the three trade pacts part of the new export strategy this year. “It’s not just that,” Mr. Geithner said. “We want to be in the game in Asia as they move to negotiate new agreements there.”

 
Here’s a quote from Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism which gets more to the essence of the matter:
 

Expansion as a permanent and supreme aim of politics is the central political idea of imperialism. Since it implies neither temporary looting nor the more lasting assimilation of conquest, it is an entirely new concept in the long history of political thought and action. The reason for this surprising originality is simply that this concept is not really political at all, but has its origin in the realm of business speculation, where expansion meant the permanent broadening of industrial production and economic transactions characteristic of the 19th century.

 
Geithner has a long, interesting record in this lawless respect. A few days ago Joshua Rosner reminded us of some of his pre-Fed handiwork, back in the Clintonian glory days of globalization, internet branding bubbles, and deregulation.
 

In truth, Geithner’s ineffectiveness in his role at NY Fed President and his current political posturing — without any policy substance to directly address too-big-to-fail or the Fed’s flawed powers to bailout firms — seems to have resulted from design rather than accident. After all, in a previous “public service” role, Geithner was the lead negotiator for the WTO’s General Agreement on Tarrifs and Trade for financial services. In this role, Geithner reported to Larry Summers, who in turn reported to Secretary of Treasury Robert Rubin. In 1998, this team won the banks EVERYTHING they requested from that treaty. From open access to new markets to unrestricted growth in equity and credit derivatives, they opened the door to rapid and deregulated growth of the large multinational banks, allowing them to become “too big to fail”. Moreover, the terms of the agreement has made it almost impossible to put the “too big to fail” genie back in the bottle without running afoul of rules of this international agreement. That was the work of Geithner as “public servant”.

 
Back then the gangsters looked like vigorous young hunting dogs, chasing the hapless panicked rabbits in the morning sun. Time magazine could actually put some of the ugliest men in the world on their cover (and in an intentionally uglified light) and seriously want you to look at them as if they were movie stars. Tom Friedman published a book dedicated to the image of a straitjacket to whose bondage we must all submit, so we might as well lie back and enjoy it. (He called it the “golden” straitjacket.) Seattle and the dotcom crash had not happened and were physically impossible. Those must have been intoxicating days for Geithner.
 
In fact this round of imperialism is not different in kind from the first round in the 19th century. The same bottleneck of finance capitalism was forcing the same irrationality and violence upon a system which has no productive path available to it. The only way out was expansion for expansion’s sake. Expansion for the sake of the system’s appetite trying to feed itself, expansion for the sake of tyranny to render possible the escalating violence which will be required to maintain “growth”.
 
Imperialism rose out of and is a part of the growth ideology. Where growth runs up against the limits of a nation, imperialism is born. Although this new kind of growth-driven imperialism was and is usually seen as the same as old-style empire building or mercantile colonialism, this is really a sham. This is not nation-driven, state-driven, law-driven, culture-driven. It’s driven by the growth imperative of a particular mode of organizing economic activity, growth capitalism. It’s structural, inherent. It’s nothing but racketeering. 
 
Classical empire-building could only ever expand and enhance the body politic at home where it was based on expanding rather than escaping the law’s purview, integrating new areas into the law rather than setting up free fire zones. But modern imperialism, as it occurred first in the 19th century colonial heyday and now for the second time with modern globalization, is simply business speculation, gangsterism, transposed into the realm of political and foreign policy. It engages in more or less violent and extractive racketeering overseas, consolidates this as the government’s policy baseline through corruption and capture, and then brings the racketeering ideology home.
 
Financialization is one especially modern version of this non-productive, larcenous imperialism. We speak today of the Bailout which began in 2008, but really all of financialization was always this same Bailout. It was always hijacked government legalizing gang activity and where necessary directly funneling taxpayer money to the rackets. This was just stepped up to a higher level of intensity in 08.
 
Perhaps the first big step was the anti-federalist overriding of the many state bucket laws in the 80s. These laws criminalized many of today’s standard speculator practices of betting on the rise and fall of stocks and other underlying. Such gambling was not a legal contract and was relegated to the slimy dives and back alleys where it belongs. (In researching this I learned a new term. They used to call these crooks “bucketeers”, back when we still had the rule of law and these rackets were still illegal, before the law’s hijacking began in earnest in the 1980s.)
 
That this gutter casino was federally legalized, brought into the contractual open, burnished and spit-shined by academia, rolled out to a media chorus of oohs and aahs, was simply the nadir of imperial gangsterism now dignified as the pinnacle of American ingenuity, the apotheosis of the American Dream.
 
Growth is not a political concept, but an ideological dogma. It is anti-political. Its only basis in reality was the way fossil fuels could temporarily fuel it, but now facing the end of this easy fuel source it has lost its place in physical reality and become the province of ivory tower dogma, pseudo-religious fundamentalism, and the gun. Since it cannot be engaged politically, where rationality and humanity would refute it, it becomes aggressively anti-political. The “growth” cadres seek to kill all thought, all discourse, all politics. Just look at the modern media. Today’s MSM preaches a sham “happy balance”, but Arendt expounds the real nature of this balance:
 

This happy balance, however, had hardly been the inevitable outcome of mysterious economic laws, but had relied heavily on political, and even more on police institutions that prevented competitors from using revolvers. How a competition between fully armed business concerns – “empires” – could end in anything but victory for one and death for the others is difficult to understand. In other words, competition is no more a principle of politics than expansion, and need political power just as badly for control and restraint.

 
So just like expansion itself, competition is not political, but on the contrary needs politics to control it. (Arendt’s quote is ambiguous, and seems to mean the empires used politics to control themselves, sort of like how in theory the Mafia’s “commission” was supposed to regulate among the different families. Today Basel, the G20, etc. represent the same theory. But today the globalized gang wants to cast off all controls upon its own actions.) Seeking to cast off such control, the gangs have sought to dissolve politics.
 
Imperialism wants to evade politics. Having had its basis in foreign policy, it tries to bring home this characteristic combination of elitism, secrecy, and debate-killing slogans (like “growth” or “national security” or “terrorism”) to domestic politics, to foreignize it. It seeks to treat the people of the home country as a conquered colonial people.
 
So, for an example, just as Paul Bremer set up a space in Iraq devoid of all law for the mercenaries of globalism, so the system is now bringing home this lawlessness, as the federal court system seeks to absolve Blackwater of all responsibility before any law, anywhere.
 
Those are just a few examples of the lawless, anti-political core of globalization and the growth ideology. What’s considered the debate-killer? What’s our characteristic anti-intellectualism, flat-earthism? And what musters all corrupt political power against anything that’s in the public interest? Anything whose utility for growth isn’t obvious. That’s the black hole, the dead zone, the hypoxia, the doldrums, the horse latitudes, of politics. It’s the repository for all notions and expressions which are stupid, arrogant, bullying.
 
Corporatism is the tyrannical process seeking to liquidate all politics and all freedom.
 
(I add here one optimistic thought. Can the “war on terror” slogan indefinitely terrorize the people into conformity, docility, and where necessary fascist lynch mobs, all on behalf of the military-industrial ans security-industrial complexes, the same way the Cold War mindset and propaganda was able to do? The Cold War actually did threaten annihilation, whereas any sane person has to eventually realize that terrorism is a nuisance at worst, and cannot possibly justify a trillion dollar rathole, the gutting of the constitution, and incipient totalitarianism.
 
Is it likely the liars of the system, who are after all the real terrorists, can really keep this bogus terror going?)  

August 3, 2009

Where’s the Omelette?

Back during the Cold War fellow-travelers often would defend the Soviet Union with the saying, “you have to break eggs to make an omelette”. The anti-communist reply was, “OK – where’s the omelette?”
 
Today we must ask the same question of big capitalism. For so long we’ve been regaled with promises about the bounty which would flow from the invisible hand, from free markets and free trade. If we only cut taxes and deregulated and repealed bothersome laws and tolerated massive wealth inequality, the machine of capitalism would generate massive wealth which would trickle down to everyone. The rising tide would lift all boats. We’d have an ownership society.
 
Sure, some eggs had to be broken along the way, but the omelette would be so thick and rich and delectable, everyone would happily gorge to his heart’s content.
 
So where’s the omelette? Trickle-down has had decades, the invisible hand has had centuries. If this was ever going to benefit all, where’s the benefits?
 
The fact is, capitalism and the rich have abdicated. They create nothing, they innovate nothing, they add nothing of value.
 
Does capitalism better organize the workers for more efficient production? The answer to that depends upon the value of what’s being produced. We can see that in decades there have been no real improvements in any real goods or services.
 
Instead the “innovation” has gone not to making people’s lives better but to destroying lives by destroying jobs. Globalist capitalism and technology have focused above all on assaulting the worker and the people as a whole. Their imperative has been to downsize, deskill, outsource, offshore, to break unions and drive down wages. So by their own premise, that capitalism is the best system for the people, they have abdicated completely.
 
(Their shibboleth of “freedom” is simply a gutter lie. In modern civilization there can be no freedom without broad socioeconomic freedom for the people, which is precisely what corporatism seeks to destroy. They mean only freedom for the rich and for big corporations. That’s the only debased measure of freedom which enters into our discussions here.)
 
A few more points on the globalization scam:
 
1. “Comparative advantage”, a dubious boon even if it ever had really existed or been meant to exist, was always a lie. It was an ideological fig leaf under which Western corporatism sought absolute advantage. Backed by the force of the reserve currency, bullying one-way protectionism, and the guns of the military, Western multinationals turned the rest of the world into a new colonial plantation, whose only “advantage” was its endless slave-wage labor and its cheaply extracted national resources. This onslaught continues at full fury today.
 
2. Even if any part of the “free trade” ideology were true, still isn’t the point of a country to look out for its own people? If there’s such a thing as a national economy, and a national economic policy, and if business benefits from the existence of a national government, then isn’t the number one point of all of these to do well by the nation’s own workers? And in turn, not allowing corporate treason vs. your own country, you therefore also don’t empower corporate rapacity around the world?
 
But the whole point of globalism was always to crush the nation and any sense of national morality or international benevolence or even neutrality. It was from the start the ideology of lucrative treason and global economic aggression. 
 
3. It’s ironic: the right-wingers say they’re opposed to One World government. But by this they only mean the feckless UN.
 
On the contrary, they cherish and worship the only true one-world government. This is the system of the GATT, the World Bank, the IMF and WTO, with all its implementations: NAFTA, CAFTA, the SPP, FTAA, and on and on toward complete corporate totalitarianism.
 
So much for globalization. What about America’s domestic sectors?
 
Banking: What is their measure of innovation (by their own proclaimed invisible hand/trickle-down premise)? They claim to move capital about such that the economy “grows”, ever larger, ever more robust, ever more bountiful for all Americans. Good jobs and prosperous incomes for all, steady wages, stable asset and consumer prices, an economically healthy society. All this the banks promised us.
 
And what have the banks wrought instead? We have oppressive wealth concentration and inequality, massive layoffs everywhere, prices wildly volatile within a general trend of inflation outrunning nominal wages (and real wages always downward), a new economic norm of wild booms and busts, binges and purges, each flow further concentrating wealth, each ebb wiping out an ever greater swath of the people, and encompassing all of it instability, tension, fear as the true leading indicators of social illness.
 
And now amid the disaster the banks can act only as rampaging disaster capitalists, obsessed with mergers and acquisitions (in their own sector as well as facilitating them in every other sector) and with squeezing the same consumers (for example mortgage and credit card holders) whose tax dollars are the only thing propping these banks up.
 
Let’s sample two other critical social sectors.
 
Health care: The measure of innovation is clear. Quality of life, lifespan, infant mortality all improve, while care becomes less expensive and equitably distributed.
 
What do we have instead? By most health indicators America is an also-ran among industrialized countries. The care gets worse, more expensive, more bureaucratically complicated, more tenuous, with ever more uninsured, whose only access to care is the emergency room. The result is ever greater fear and suffering, physical, mental, moral.
 
Agriculture: The measure of innovation is that food becomes more healthy (of higher quality and safer), less expensive, better distributed, with better working conditions and wages for food workers, and greater economic security for independent farmers, who are the backbone of any healthy, resilient food system.
 
Instead, under the reign of industrial agriculture, we have ever greater “food insecurity” (hunger). Diets become ever less healthy. Obesity skyrockets. The diet is loaded with toxins, filth, additives, and empty calories. The factory farm system is set up as a vast network of unregulated bioweapons laboratories which are proving grounds for every kind of livestock-borne disease. Animal cruelty is institutionalized. Regulation is legislatively and administratively defanged and starved of funds. Prices are ever more volatile and generally increasing. The whole thing is an environmental disaster.
 
So we see from just three pivotal sectors how corporatist capitalism has produced, according to its own premises and promises, a world-historical failure.
 
Then we have the general behavior of the greedy rich. Their lifestyle inflation drives up prices for everyone. They doom the non-rich to the rat race. They force the middle class into the mortgage bubble, since the root of extreme housing prices is monopoly behavior by the rich, with their multiple McMansions and cornpone villas, which gives Big Developers the incentive to institute the McMansion model as the American baseline. This drives the non-rich into desperate debt as they are deluded into believing they must keep up in this class war arms race. And so it goes, all the way down to the subprime borrowers.
 
This is just one example of the sociopathy which fuels and in turn is exacerbated by extreme wealth inequality. Where wealth is so unevenly distributed it becomes a weapon used to more aggressively steal social property in the form of privatized profit while externalizing and socializing private cost, risk, and waste.
 
The big corporations and the rich innovate nothing, create nothing, produce nothing of value, do no worthwhile work, serve no social function whatsoever. They add nothing but cost, complexity, instability, volatility, pollution, social tension, uncreative destruction, violence, and ugliness. Their worthlessness and malevolence as parasites is complete. 
 
There is the noble proposition, “The law exists for man, not man for the law.” And now we must ask, are the banks there for man, or man for the banks? For example, should bailed-out banks be facilitating job-destroying mergers in a time when jobs are hemorrhaging? Or, should banks be refusing mortgage modifications if these are not profitable for them?
 
Or on the contrary does this nullify the very reason we allow them to exist?
 
Does the profit motive serve man (as the capitalists claim it does), or is man there to be mined by profiteers (the way it now always turns out in practice)?
 
If the profiteering of a few no longer helps us as a whole, if the wealth of a few is now useless to us; if these things are not only useless but aggressively harmful; then we cannot and must not any longer tolerate their existence.
 
Where’s the omelette? If there ever was one, it was only cooked up to be eaten by a handful of criminals, who left us nothing to eat and the trashed kitchen to clean up.
 
We now must clean up a much larger mess. No doubt it’ll require a ferocious disinfectant. But it’s the only way we’ll cleanse ourselves.    
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