[Originally published by the Publishing Editor on Mar. 4 2010 in The October Revue]
What shall not perish?
We have seen the results of an economic elite making billions of dollars in a three-card-monty-economy. You don’t imagine that economics is not a shell game, do you? Perhaps we will actually start producing things at home to help secure a stronger economy for all, but I doubt it. That does not serve the elite; banks give you less than one per cent interest on your CD and yet charge you 20 to 30 per cent on your credit card; and we do not balk, do not write our senators, do not shout to the heavens or to the press–the press is as corrupt as Wall Street or Washington. There are too many profits from child-slave labor around the world–remember Michael Jordan making more money for one NIKE commercial than all the workers making those sneakers did in a year? Michael Jordan is part of the problem, as are all puppets of power and moneyed elites. The same Banks that nearly plunged us into economic chaos supported Obama; his Treasury Secretary Geithner initially employed as his four chief advisors former members of the three banks most responsible for the economic problems we face today; Geithner did not get it; the mentality of greed and irresponsibility cannot mend itself anymore than the sociopath tends to cure himself, anymore than the aristocracy of France could in 1789. But when will our Reign of Terror begin . . . ? I do fear it is coming, but we are stupider than the peasants and the poor of 18th century France.
The further the French get from the memory of the Jacobin, the less free they are; the further we get from the Bill of Rights . . . well? Power will never relinquish power without threat to its safety. Economic power will not give back if it remains safe and secure in its pursuit of wealth. Forty years ago, banks gave you six times the interest it offers you today, and at a time when your money was worth three or four times as much, as high as eight times as much when it concerns rental values, at least rental values in New York. The same rental values that have been inflated by the practice of warehousing apartments, a landlord loophole whereby an artificial shortage in apartment availability raises the value of rent. One of the chief architects of this warehousing technique for raising landlord revenue was Ed Koch, one of the chief supporters of Mayor Bloomberg, and we allowed him to bully and strong-arm his way to an outlawed third term. Who were Bloomberg’s biggest supporters; who are these men on Wall Street that suck the life out of our nation, sucking its wealth as vampires do blood. What are their names, who are they, where do they live, swim, relax, play, all on the life blood of vibrant Americans working away their lives to produce profits for the few. What are the names of the supporters of Bloomberg? Look at how Hollywood came out for Obama and how Obama has come out for the banks . . . what has Hollywood’s relationship with New York money been? Who are the big players in Hollywood; what are their names? How are they aligned with New York money on Wall Street and in what way are the interests of Hollywood Producers and Wall Street Investment firms the interests of Middle America, the South, the South West or any working-class man or woman from any of our cities or inner cities.
How can political authority and power help economic power get richer? Let’s look at the Bloomberg administration, which is what the Department of Justice should do, but won’t. Why does Washington protect Wall Street? Why don’t we ever see a list of the names of the twenty worst landlords by violation, by city law suits, by fines . . . why? Do the landlords in New York City own the papers? Who owns the newspapers in New York that keeps this information out of the papers? What do the twenty-five worst landlords in NYC have in common with the publishers of the newspapers in New York City that you never get an expose about them? What are the names of the publishers and the money behind the papers and who are they protecting in New York Real Estate? Have we so degraded our literacy to think the Bill of Rights is not a mutually inter-unified document; do we think it is a list to pick and choose from as we do in a cafeteria?
But let us return to New York City landlords who are allowed to keep a certain per cent of apartments warehoused as a tax break and to artificially inflate rental values. With the artificial shortage of apartments, rental values increased back in the 80s. Through the Koch years, rents increased nearly six to seven hundred percent. What do Bloomberg and Koch have in common apart from their alliance with landlords and moneyed power in New York? Nothing? Something? Anything? What? Why can’t we say anything? What do we fear? Why are some people “hands off” by and in the media? Does it not seem as if some people get protection or immunity from the media?
Bringing even a bit of industry back to America and stop making billions on the backs of wage-slaves around the world is not likely. The next time you travel internationally, wearing NIKE sneakers and other apparel made in the third world, pause and wonder why Americans are hated. Yes, worry about your safety, asking yourself, why, why, why do they hate us? If I were a man in the third world, knowing what I know, I would like to think that I would have another response than any of the many that others have had toward Americans around the world. But that would be mostly out of fear of reprisals from a state sworn to become The New Order of the Ages . . . Novus Ordo Saeclorum.
If I grew up anywhere in the third world, as poor and helpless as many there are, with a life as hopeless for my children as many of theirs are, knowing what I know, understanding what I understand, how could I not want to murder the power and moneyed elites of the West? Only a horribly corrupted person can look on the actions of a terrorist bomber as something more heinous than a civilization such as ours set diametrically opposed to this bomber’s world, while in every action seems intent on subjugating it for the economic benefit of America’s moneyed elites, all the while they continue to reap profit from the death and maiming of America’s young men and women in wars alleged to maintain our safety, a safety put in jeopardy by both Bush and Obama, one each from an opposite end. Neither is what any of us really need in the way of protecting us from harm while maintaining credibility for the American Imperium, and yes, America is an Empire. To think otherwise or to act as if it were not a fact would be naive at best, monstrously irresponsible at worst.
And I am not one that thinks naively that withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan is possible or should be brought about as swiftly as possible–I know one necessity as I see an equally potent futility coexisting in two very unpopular wars . . . most of us have no clue when it comes to our interests abroad, or what exactly our interests are in all their complexities, or where or when we should protect them, defend them, yes, even with the lives of young men and women . . .
A horror of existence–and yes, there are many horrors in our existence in addition to the many we experience within, the many selves of the Self that wander inside each of us–a horror of existence is that we will always need to defend democracy–no rest for the weary, if you do not mind the cliché. Civil liberties need guarding, watching ever so carefully, attentively, persistently, and yes sometimes with guns, and I’m not one of the gun nuts. What do you imagine the Second Amendment is for; that is exactly what Jefferson’s legacy to the people is all about: a Bill of Rights that is mutual and contingent in all of its parts. The Bill of Rights is not a cafeteria steam table. You must also read the Declaration of Independence carefully and reexamine exactly what Jefferson’s rationale for our break with Britain was, how it was delineated, how it was articulated, just what the diction was and how it remains the correct action even today. Neither Wall Street nor Washington get it; and I fear for us all in the future, allowing ourselves to have been and to be systematically undereducated so as to permit power to usurp our rights, allowing monied elites to become more monied and power elites to become more powerful. We just might only have the extreme at our disposal. The media is aligned with power and money; Hollywood at best is the small space for subversion created by power to allow subversion to emerge in manageable and control-able forms. Everywhere I look, the media has persisted in one or another overly sentimentalized Yellow press campaigns against the Second Amendment. The gun nuts aside, the Second Amendment is the only thing standing in the way of even more state control and restrictions on personal liberty. We cannot allow ourselves to continue playing a rhetorical ping-pong that disallows us a correct management of the received ideas that masquerade as the truth.