“Can’t see nothin’ in front of me
Can’t see nothin’ coming up behind
Make my way through this darkness
I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I’ve gone
How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed
On my back’s a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line
Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight…”
— Bruce Springsteen, The Rising.
A few weeks ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger said that as the energy companies have known for decades about the effects of their product on the environment, they are guilty of murder, and a set of interconnected crimes.
He’s correct but does not go far enough.
They are guilty of ecocide which should be a crime against humanity and should land them either before a special domestic tribunal or The Hague.
The dilemma of course is that prosecuting them for those crimes would, in effect mean, criminalizing capitalism.
Of course that’s true – capitalism is organized crime.
In response to this and the looming end of what we charitably call “civilization” one receives three mainstream responses.
First are the lunatics and cultists who dismiss the evidence.
Second are the self-righteous if well-intentioned fools exemplified by Greta Thunberg who actually seem to believe that one protest a week will be enough to scare the oligarchs into submission.
The third group overlaps with the second and is exemplified by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who believe that relatively small structural changes can save capitalism and the environment.
As we mentioned in yesterday’s post as well as several others regarding the faux left bourgeois stylings of TYT, and Sam Seder, et al, Sanders-Warren advocate (among other plans) eliminating student debt.
This is a good idea.
Except it’s also a stupid idea and not because we advocate keeping student debt.
The problem is that absent nationalizing the banks and seizing the debt market and the hedge funds, eliminating student debt will force the oligarchs to race for the nearest exit and create a debt crisis somewhere else.
So long as debt is a form of currency, and so long as the ruling class is able to buy and sell debt, then there will be a permanent underclass of wage slaves.
This is part of the not so secret sauce of capitalism.
Artificial scarcity is essential for a system that rests on a platform of class divisions. After all, if everyone could afford a “nice” house then the housing market as such would vanish. Therefore, ghettos are not an accident and the poverty of those who live in them is not their fault but is baked into the system as a feature and not a defect or an odd coincidence.
Poverty is a policy decision that generates a deliberate community who exist to be exploited.
Consider this about housing:
Sanders, correctly, wants to create affordable housing for the millions currently reduced to rent slavery.
But in order to do that (in addition to overcoming the whore house of Capitol Hill) would require eliminating (or effectively nationalizing) the real estate market (with all of its remoras including but not limited to box stores and advertising), the construction industry, the shipping industry, and the banks which finance all of those groups.
Sanders probably knows this but either won’t or can’t say it because then he would be casting himself as an authentic revolutionary at war with the founding mythology of America Incorporated – property.
As the problematic Gore Vidal said: there’s one political party in America – the property party with a conservative wing and a liberal wing.
But the fact remains that so long as we have a system based on exploitation the environment will collapse.
It will probably collapse anyhow but the only way to truly have a chance of saving it is to nationalize the banks, seize the assets of the energy companies, the hedge funds, off shore accounts, and so on and to declare them all not just organized crime but terrorists.
This would work as follows:
Under the Patriot Act, the president is empowered to defend the country.
The energy companies have conspired to cause a threat to the national security of the nation.
They have lied, covered up evidence of their crimes, and are currently causing damage to property, lives and the military infrastructure as the navy has reported rising tides are causing billions of dollars in damage to crucial naval stations like Norfolk – in addition to looming threats to Paris Island, Camp Pendleton and Pearl Harbor as well as bases overseas within the imperial orbit.
To put it another way, if Exxon Mobil was named, Abdul Rahim bin Bizir Arab dude, the government would have droned his ass twenty years ago.
But because Exxon et al are run by people named Steve and Scooter and Thurston Howell the Third, everyone ignores the fact that they have done more damage that Al Qaeda and ISIS combined.
The next president must be more Lincoln and FDR than Obama or Clinton.
Both Lincoln and FDR asserted powers that rush right into the realm of tyranny or dictatorship – to the dismay of both conservatives and liberals.
The threats they faced required, and in fact demanded it.
The first step must be to articulate the brutal truth of the threat we face and to name those responsible.
The next president must be a radical relative to the centrism and tyranny of the system.
The reaction of course will be hysteria, violence, accusations of Bolshevism and Maoism and almost certainly a guided tour of Dealey Plaza.
If not, everyone dies.
Everyone dies anyhow but for there to be any chance of a future the next president must view the current system the same way Lincoln viewed the South and FDR viewed the depression and the Nazis and Imperial Japan.
It is a war to the death.
Theirs, ours or everyone.
*We note that there are currently multiple lawsuits pending against the energy companies. While well intentioned they will take more time than is available. The next president must combine a federal lawsuit (akin to the legal actions brought against their former allies in the tobacco industry) with the seizing of assets.
Having seized the assets the government then must use them to dismantle and convert the current energy system, create “green” jobs, establish a domestic and international trust for the purpose of creating a world wide sustainable system, and provide for the recognition that housing, food, education, and healthcare are all human rights and not commodities.
Regarding Greta Thunberg. Protests by teenagers once a week will not only do nothing positive about ecocide but will potentially draw people away from necessary action by offering a soporific.
There is something intrinsically bourgeois about Thunberg. It may raise awareness but it also dilutes energy.
For some details on the guilty: