By Jason Miller
A few days ago, one of my closest friends hit me with a heavily loaded question.
“Are you a Communist?” she queried.
To which I replied:
I do not belong nor militate in any formal communist party in the U.S. Nor do I belong to any other political entity or party. Furthermore, I do not subscribe to a specific doctrine, ideology, or dogma. My allegiance is to my core principles and values, which are premised on honesty, justice, humanity, responsibility, critical thinking, open-mindedness, egalitarianism, compassion, a belief in a Higher Power of my understanding, and many of the teachings of Christ.
My personal beliefs aside, communism is an incredibly loaded word. Our infinitely mendacious educational, social, and media infrastructures begin inculcating reflexive rejection of “all things communist or socialist” into US Americans from the moment they draw their initial breath.
Why is the establishment so desperate to vaccinate us against the “disease” of communism?
Because at its hopelessly rotten core, capitalism, which is manifested most strongly in the United States, is about exploitation, hyper-competitiveness, “rugged individualism”, survival of the fittest, concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, profits above all, property over people, greed, and selfishness. Perhaps worst of all, this pyramid scheme masquerading as a “moral” economic system inevitably leads to wars fueled by its insatiable demands for new markets, more resources, and cheaper labor. Why else would 350 million out of 6.5 billion people spend a trillion dollars a year on a military that has the capacity to destroy our planet thousands of times over, dwarfs the combined firepower of the rest of the world, and plagues over 130 countries with its “benign” occupations? We in the United States maintain a carefully crafted façade as the “benevolent champions of democracy”, but will quickly install ruthless tyrants and commit mass murder (euphemistically labeling our victims as “collateral damage”) if sovereign nations dare to resist our economic rape and plunder.
And for those who have swallowed the specious argument that “true capitalism” doesn’t exist, you’re dreaming. Pinch yourself hard enough and you may awaken before it is too late. Capitalism is a cancer upon the sentient beings of the Earth and we are suffering through its advanced stages. Finance capital reigns supreme, massive oligopolies abound, wealth is increasingly accumulating in the hands of the few, imperial wars to expand markets and attain resources are increasing in frequency, and the insatiable greed driving this appalling perversion is raping and destroying the Earth.
Some opine that if we could just dismantle the “socialist” aspects of our socioeconomic system in the United States, restoring an unbridled free market, the world would be a much better place. Certainly our cynical plutocracy would welcome such a transition. However, it is hard to envision too many working people truly welcoming a return to ten year olds working twelve hour days, company towns, death and dismemberment on the job with no recourse against employers maintaining perilous work environments, miserly wages that would make today’s working poor look relatively affluent, blatantly monopolistic business practices, and wanton disregard for the environment.
History has clearly demonstrated that “free markets” are “free passes” for acquisitive sociopaths who thrive on bullying and exploiting a large percentage of the Earth’s sentient beings. And despite the ridiculously few and relatively minor restraints that social unrest has forced the opulent class to implement in the US, adept players in the deadly game of capitalism have refused to surrender their “inalienable right” to fuck the rest of the human race in their relentless charge to attain the power and wealth they so desperately crave to distract them from the existential agony of their spiritual emptiness.
[Note: If you don’t find a historical perspective convincing enough, consider the deadly machinations of the “free market” in China as it hurtles headlong into the very bowels of capitalist Hell:
Karl Marx predicted the inevitable implosion of capitalism and theorized that a much more humane, egalitarian, and democratic system would rise in its place. It is little wonder that the bourgeoisie in the United States have striven so tenaciously to inculcate the unwashed masses to despise, fear, and ridicule socialism, communism, and nearly all aspects of Marxist thought. Sound bites, emotionally evocative images, ahistorical presentations, fear mongering, jingoism, advertising, and numerous temptations of instant gratification comprise a vast array of highly refined and insidious propaganda that perpetually hammers our minds to create a potent and effective false consciousness, and an irrational fear of anything but capitalism.
Socialism and communism, the political manifestations of Marxist ideas, have been grossly distorted within the framework of this false consciousness. While it is true that the implementations of Marx’s philosophies have yielded mixed results (many of those outcomes are primarily due to the unwavering hostility of the older, well established capitalist powers in the second half of the 20th century, led of course by the U.S.), the chasm between reality and the mind fuck we have received since birth is wide enough to engulf Donald Trump’s ego, or most of it anyway. For evidence, one need look no further than our Cold War nemesis.
Consider the pernicious myth that the United States “defeated” fascism in Europe in WWII. This lie persists despite the fact that a number of our very own uber-Capitalists did business with the Nazi regime until the 1942 Trading with the Enemy Act finally forbade it. Ironically, Prescott Bush, GW’s grandfather, was amongst those profiting from Hitler’s rise to power. Further, our ruling elite refused to intervene on behalf of a democratically elected government in Spain against Franco, who ultimately rose to power as a fascist dictator. Perhaps most importantly, the US lost about 500,000 people (almost all of whom were military personnel) in “defeating” Germany. Russia, one of history’s most heavily vilified “communist” nations, sacrificed 20 million people to ensure Hitler’s defeat. Had it not been for those evil “communists”, we might be speaking German right now.
Shortages of consumer goods is another “communist failure” apologists for capitalism love to trot out as “proof” that their beloved license to plunder and conquer is inherently superior to a more just economic system. Yet time and again they suppress the real reasons these shortages occurred. Recognizing the existential threat that Marxist ideals posed to their Anglo, imperial, and patriarchal plutocracy, the United States ruling class and its allies circled the wagons and imposed crippling economic sanctions on nations attempting to implement communism (i.e. Russia and Cuba).
Domestically, communists and socialists endured harassment, financial ruin, and prison. Witness the Palmer Raids and the witch hunts of the McCarthy era. Thank God our opulent overlords nipped potential revolutionary action in the bud. It is a tremendous relief that such a small number of “richly deserving” individuals acted to ensure the perpetuation of their virtual monopoly on the wealth of our nation, particularly in light of the existence of over a million homeless US Americans. Heartwarming indeed.
Yet our intrepid profit-seekers weren’t content to stop there. Realizing that the Soviet Union had an economy that was roughly 1/8th the size of the United States and was still largely agrarian all the way up to the Russian Revolution, they decided to initiate a ruinous military escalation that eventually culminated in the criminal nuclear arms race. Enabling obscene profits for the military industrial complex (by way of raping the US American taxpayer) and smothering communism in its infancy, the vampiric bourgeoisie ensured the perpetuation of its abominable existence. Meanwhile, the Ruskies faced the staggering tasks of industrializing a technologically backward nation, rebuilding their devastated infrastructure, and meeting consumer demands. So of course they didn’t have a McDonalds on each corner or a new car dealer within a three mile radius of every home. They were too busy bringing their economy into the 20th Century, recovering from Hitler’s invasion, and matching the US warhead for warhead.
Now, do I think that any manifestation of a communist government to date is a utopia? No. I see their flaws. But remember, those who have tried to implement socialism or communism have faced a formidable adversary in the form of the rotten bastards who comprise both our “elected” and our de facto governments. Crushing those who dare to attempt alternatives to the sacred cow of capitalism and trumpeting our “monopoly” on virtue, we US Americans would benefit tremendously from some serious soul-searching about our participation in a morally bankrupt mode of being. What spiritual growth or substance could possibly flourish in a system premised on greed, selfishness, and self-absorption?
Are we, the beneficiaries of a relative degree of physical security and comfort (in exchange for our complicity in crony capitalism, Neoliberal exploitation, and imperial invasions), truly superior to the communists and socialists we have been taught to fear and revile? How many invasions have Fidel or Chavez EVER launched?
We the People are mere pawns of our multimillionaires in Congress, the 10% who own 90% of our nation’s wealth, massive corporations, and a group which includes in its ranks both GW and other abject criminals like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Abrams, Negroponte, and many others who have acted with impunity dating back to the Nixon era. There is a revolving door between our government (including both “elected” and appointed officials) and major corporations. Cheney and Halliburton represent exhibit A. Lobbyists and special interest groups pull our legislators’ strings and, in some instances, even write our laws, as was the case in the behind-closed-doors deal that Cheney cooked for the energy corporations. And look at our most likely Democratic Presidential nominee to be, Hillary Clinton, whose conservatism is one of the best kept secrets inside the Beltway. As a First Lady, she ostensibly fought aggressively for universal health care. She has now sold us out by accepting nearly a million dollars from the health care industry. Corruption, duplicity, mendacity, and egregious criminal conduct are not the exception. They are the rule in our vaunted capitalist system.
Our domestic politics, guided and determined by the demands of our predatory socioeconomic structure, are not alone in reeking of the fetid stench of profound moral decay. Consider our malevolent foreign policy, including myriad CIA covert operations, economic extortion, and outright imperial slaughter frequently employed to crush efforts by sovereign nations to defy the capitalist paradigm and implement socialism. For convincing evidence that we are NOT wearing white hats and making the world safe for democracy, do a little research on Chile and Salvador Allende, Cuba and Castro, Iran and Mossadeq, Franco and Spain, Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam (we “only” killed 3 million people there), Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
Here is a good starting point (the entire website is excellent, but the page linked below gives a condensed version of parts of our history the plutocracy doesn’t want the masses to know– the mainstream media and textbook writers have done a masterful job of shielding us from the truths displayed on this site):
While it wasn’t his intention at the time, David Starr Jordan (from Imperial Democracy, 1899, pp. 50-51 –cited in Monthly Review, September 2006, p. 53.) penned an apt characterization of the despicable foreign policy of the American Empire:
“First you push into territories where you have no business to be, and where you had promised not to go; secondly, your intrusion provokes resentment and, in these wild countries, resentment means resistance; thirdly, you instantly cry out that the people are rebellious and that their act is rebellion (this in spite of your own assurance that you have no intention of setting up a permanent sovereignty over them); fourthly, you send a force to stamp out the rebellion; and fifthly, having spread bloodshed, confusion and anarchy, you declare, with hands uplifted to the heavens, that moral reasons force you to stay, for if you were to leave, this territory would be left in a condition which no civilized power could contemplate with equanimity or with composure. These are the five stages in the Forward Rake’s progress.”
Having analyzed our vile and reprehensible economic paradigm from many angles, I find it virtually impossible to believe that a critical thinking, decent human being could support our institutionalized rapacity, at least not once they pierced the simulacrum so fastidiously maintained by the corporate media.
Fortunately, challenging life experiences spurred me to undertake a spiritual and intellectual journey that enabled me to break free of the prison of false consciousness. While I tend to look at the world through a very eclectic lens, I derive most of my principles, beliefs, and sociopolitical views from Marxism, the Friends of Bill W, Christ’s teachings, and Buddha.
Together with many dedicated and exceptional human beings, I am waging an intellectual/political struggle for social justice, a reasonable degree of peace in the world, a significant reduction in exploitation, a more equitable distribution of resources, an end to the rising epidemic of unnecessary suffering, the formation of a social structure based on our interdependence with nature and each other, the obliteration of the moronic, sociopathic American myth that individuality and personal rights supersede the well-being of the collective, true justice for criminals and their victims, the evisceration of corporate power, awakening people from their trance of self-absorption and apathy, and an end to the hedonistic narcissism manifested in obscene levels of consumerism. A number of factors indicate that we are in a pre-revolutionary stage in the United States. Premature revolutionary activity at this point would be suicidal folly, but meanwhile, we have plenty of opportunity to implement radical solutions at the personal level and to employ political education to win hearts and minds.
If you still tremble at the notion of “Godless communists, socialists or Marxists,” remember that though I am not a Christian, I am deeply spiritual and derive tremendous inspiration from Christ and members of the Liberation Theology Movement. Marxist thought is not antithetical to spirituality, morality, or Christianity. In fact, I examined its synthesis with these elements in some detail when I wrote “Jesus Wouldn’t Bomb Anyone: Why are we waging war on the poor and oppressed?” at:
No, I’m not the “communist bogeyman” that Ronald Reagan (who was a far better actor in the White House than he was in Hollywood) warned you about. How could I be? Communists, socialists, and Marxists are only potentially threatening to those amongst us who will waste eternity desperately attempting to squeeze camels through the eyes of needles.
Forget worrying about the “communist threat.” We need to turn the moneyed establishment’s idiocy on its head and focus our energies on answering a question that affects the 90% of us who aren’t obscenely affluent:
How will humanity survive the capitalist threat?
Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.org