Seven US Wars, more Patriot Act. Hey, where is my pension?

How we care for the poor, the sic, and the elderly measures the moral worth of a society

Even my union comrades are drinking the Kool-Aid. When a lunchtime discussion turned to the French national strike, my economics teacher friend said that pensions are unsustainable. And yet, as of today (December 7, 2019), the New York Times reports that “about half of Americans have no access to retirement savings plans, and have little or nothing saved for retirement.” Perhaps the elderly can sell their body parts.

Blame the warfare State, the American Empire. The neoliberal race to the bottom, protected by the US security apparatus. Elected officials are mere puppets to it, including Nancy Pelosi, including the clueless Donald. Why else would the Democrats sneak a provision into a stopgap funding bill to extend the Patriot Act? We are surrounded by enemies, aren’t we? The Patriot Act, passed in October 2001 with bipartisan support, following 9/11, empowers the intelligence community to engage in mass surveillance, just like Google does every day. Wait a second, weren’t the Google founders funded by DARPA to keep tabs on the population? Google, Amazon, Microsoft, all have huge government contracts. Huawei has a huge Chinese government contract. State capitalism in both China and the US? A cyber Cold War? Hmmm.

“War is the health of the State”, as Randolph Bourne once famously said. The U.S. military is officially fighting wars in seven countries, according to the White House’s latest war report. Unknown to most Americans, we conduct ops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger — all bypassing Congress in the name of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to fight al-Qaeda-linked militants, at the discretion of the Emperor. Surely a trillion dollars tax on the middle class is well spent by the Defense Department and Homeland Security since they protect us from non-existent enemies. A lot of money to be made here, by someone.

It’s not a welfare state, it’s a warfare state. Soft totalitarianism herding us toward the right attitude and behavior. The State needs perpetual war to accomplish this, as Orwell noted. Michel Luc Bellemare writes in his Structural-Anarchism Manifesto, on page 27, a warfare state is at war internally against its citizens in addition to ostensibly being at war with external enemies. The American Empire has been practicing this at home and around the world, as I have written. Evo Morales of Bolivia is gone. He wanted to use the Bolivian lithium monopoly to reduce poverty, by setting the world price. Suddenly, after 13 years, he has been removed from office. Pompeo backs Duque in Colombia because the US prefers the trillion-dollar worldwide drug trade over the well-being of the population. Why should the Colombian people have a minimum wage or state-run healthcare?

State-capitalism is the name when the corporations run the government. Corporate fascism prefers profits over people. They never liked the New Deal. They have been chipping away at it for decades. Trickle-down economics is one of their big lies. Their state by state cookie-cutter legislation has been systematically undercutting unions, culminating in the Janus Supreme Court decision. This neoliberal agenda is worldwide and its enforcement is the reason the US has 800 military bases around the world. Enforcing the race to the bottom is the key.

If working people of the world could somehow organize into One Big Union, so much suffering could be averted. As a species, we produce more than enough for everyone on the planet. We don’t have to burn down the Amazon rainforest to accomplish it either. Unionized, democratized production, responsive to the needs of people, will never decide to slaughter millions in senseless wars and waste trillions of dollars.

The first step is to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

Published by Kim Broadie

Since I published the Janus article, I had almost given up thinking that we can change the direction of our country, as the Supreme Court decided that collective bargaining infringes on Mark Janus’ right to babble. Still, I am fascinated by how the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War have transformed the United States in ways unimaginable at the beginning of the 20th Century. Now, as the 21st century unfolds, these transformations have morphed into a new form of capitalism, surveillance capitalism. As AI takes over the production process, and CO2 keeps rising, we are in a race to find an equitable solution for guaranteeing a humane and flourishing world that will remain green and hospitable for human habitation. Philosophy, weak as it is, may yet show us the way back. Questions that go won’t away. Questions that will plague our dreams. Yes, Master Po, what is the Way?

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