The Iraq war was an eye opener for many. But, I’m afraid the right lessons aren’t being learned from it. Many people have finally realized that Bush and Cheney lied to people in pushing for the war and the political establishment including even many among the conservative are happy to leave the blame on the Bush Administration to avoid the right lessons from being drawn. How many years will it take for people to realize that Obama lied to them too?
Here are some examples and I’m not even mentioning the promises he made and broke. He misrepresented the war of the Islamic terrorists such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) against the Syrian government as the uprising of “rebels” seeking democracy, a war which has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and displaced and made refugees over 2.5 million Syrians and has destroyed entire villages and cities. He stayed quiet about the massacres of the Syrian people in the hands of these terrorists, while close U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar. UAE and others, with the complicity of the U.S., continued to arm and fund these terrorists and only declared war against them when they began beheading Western journalists. He even used the pretext of a chemical weapons attack on civilians, which he blamed on the Syrian government without any evidence, to attack Syria, which he only backed off from due to domestic and international opposition.
His Administration lied to the UN Security Council to get their consent for creating a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent government planes from bombing the rebels and used that authorization to carpet bomb cities with bombs armed with depleted uranium to topple the regime. What they said they were going to do was to defend civilians from government air strikes when they were planning to bomb the cities full of civilians themselves in order to overthrow the regime.
While he was vocal about the government crackdown in Libya and Syria, where the U.S. wanted regime change, he was mum about and even aided with the crackdowns of the movement for democracy and social justice in Bahrain and Yemen by supplying them with weapons and equipment because they were ruled by US puppets.
While he was accusing Iran of supporting terrorism, the CIA and Israel’s Mossad assassinated four of Iran’s nuclear scientists and his Administration, in cooperation with Israel, unleashed a dangerous and lethal cyberattack using the Stuxnet virus against Iranian nuclear facilities that caused explosions, which could have caused many fatalities. While accusing Iran of aiding terrorism, he continued close relations with the Saudi Kingdom which has been funding Sunni terrorists, including Al Qaeda and ISIS. King Abdullah whom Obama paid respects to when he died and could only say nice things about, personally spent billions of dollars in aid to Islamic terrorists.
His Administration also told lies about the events prior and leading up to and following the CIA assisted coup in Ukraine to justify NATO buildup there at Russia’s border as the continuation of the long running US goal of surrounding Russia with US military bases and weakening the country. He accused the post coup opposition and Russia of shooting down the Malaysian Airline flight 17 without any proof which turned out to have been done by the U.S. installed government in Kiev.
And his latest lie to the American people is about the TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which he pushed for and got Fast Track for at the Congress to keep its contents secret from the American people. And there is good reason for that: the agreement which has been called “NAFTA on steroids” has been written entirely by U.S. corporations and will accelerate what prior such agreements did before: stagnating and lowering of wages, shipping jobs to countries with starvation wages forcing American workers to compete wth those who get $2 a day, remove regulations and laws that protect workers and the environment and give increased power and rights to giant corporations. This is why he wanted the agreement to be kept secret and not be debated in Congress. Yet, he falsely claimed that it will be good for American workers, even though no one can deny that it will ship more jobs oversea and give corporations more rights over labor and environmental regulations.
Obama also cynically gave the green light to Israel and stood by and repeatedly defended the apartheid state while it massacred defenseless and trapped people of Gaza killing over 500 children and a thousand women in addition to an equal number of men.
But, the right lesson now isn’t that Obama lied too just like Bush lied before him and Clinton lied before that and so did Bush Sr. and of course Reagan. The right lesson isn’t even that all US presidents lie or all politicians lie. In fact, the expression that “all politicians lie” has a defeatist quality to it that encourages apathy and inaction. It’s not enough to say “all politicians lie”, which may not even be true. What’s important to understand is what they lie about and why? What is it about US POLICIES that forces US presidents to lie to the people? That question puts the finger on the contradiction between what or whom the government claims to represent and what or whom it really represents and goes to the heart of the question of democracy and representation which is fundamental. The contradiction naturally arises when the government which claims to be for all people is nevertheless owned and controlled by a particular group or class of people, who are very small in number. While government policies and priorities would naturally be driven by the owner class which is a small minority, they have to be presented as being in the interest of the majority to maintain legitimacy, which is hard if not impossible to do without constant lies.
The right lesson from the Iraq War isn’t that it was wrong and a mistake, either. The right lesson is that it was what the corporate empire, the collective or cartel of corporations wanted. Viewed from that angle, it was neither wrong, nor a mistake. It was in line with the empire’s long term goal of world domination for increased profits. But here is the thing: those profits, while making the already rich richer don’t do anything for the rest of the people who happen to form the vast majority, who get no benefit from increased productivity and higher technology and continue to struggle to make ends meet. Not only do the majority not benefit from imperial and colonial wars of conquest that cause so much death and destruction, they pay for these wars with their lives and their tax money which could be used for education, healthcare, retirement and better life for millions, instead of securing more profits which never “trickle down”.
So, you see, the so called trade agreements which are designed to and benefit corporations at the expense of workers and which are pushed by all presidents – Democrats and Republicans – as well as the wars that are waged – again by both parties – that only benefit the rich, are not things that the government can be honest about. Therein lies the contradiction between what is and what’s presented to people which makes deception a perpetual necessity and real democracy impossible.
So, the right conclusion is that the Iraq war didn’t happen due to a miscalculation or misjudgment or personal vendetta on the part of the president and it wasn’t a mistake. And it didn’t happen because Bush happened to be the president at the time and Dick Cheney the Vice President. It happened because the corporate empire wanted and required it and any other president in Bush’s shoes would have done the same including telling the lies. Singling out Bush and Cheney is not only convenient and politically expedient for Democrats, but is also misleading and deceptive, as it gives the impression that the problem was Bush and since they’re gone now everything is fine. But, everything is not fine. We and thousands of innocent people overseas have had to endure several more wars and witness the destruction of yet another country since Bush presidency, while the destruction of Syria continues, tensions continue to be heightened against Russia and Iran also remains in their crosshairs.
So, it follows that any person, who rises as a viable candidate through the system with the backing of his or her party establishment and the corporate media and wins the election by the sheer force of big corporate money, will have to continue those same policies. The system chooses the candidates it needs and helps them get into office. The president takes the White House to serve those who put him or her in office. Specifically, his or her job is to continue to implement long term policies and plans planned and set forth long ago, some in fact generations ago.
Keeping these facts in mind, doesn’t so much absolve the president as it puts in focus the real culprit: the military industrial complex and its government as a whole and as a continuous entity, rather than any one particular president or Vice President. What needs to change therefore isn’t the president or members of Congress that ordered or authorized a war or wars, but the entire socioeconomic system that puts corporate profits over the needs of the people and leaves all the power in the hands of powerful corporations and their wealthy shareholders, leaving the vast majority of the population voiceless and without representation. And that obviously cannot be without its consequences. Is it any wonder then that the middle and lower classes keep getting poorer while the 1% keeps getting richer, the society is becoming a police state, the environment is being irrevocably and irreparably ruined and the world remains a dangerous place with the chance of another catastrophic world war increasing by the day?
While killing of unarmed people of color in the hands of the police continues without an end, averaging about two a day, President Obama on Tuesday signed the “Blue Alert” system, similar to the Amber Alert, to create a nationwide alert system to help capture “anyone who harms a police officer or makes a credible threat to do so”. “It’s important for us to make sure that we do everything we can to help ensure the safety of our police officers when they’re in the line of duty,” Obama said before signing the bill in the Oval Office. Amber Alert has been used to locate abducted children.
Do you know who else President Obama signed a law to protect? Monsanto. He signed H.R. 933, the Monsanto Protection Act, into law, in 2013, over the urgent pleas of more than 250,000 Americans who signed a petition asking him not to sign it.
While he was signing the “Blue Alert” system to “protect” the police, news broke that a pipeline operated by Plains Pipeline, which is part of Plains All American Pipeline corporation, ruptured and spilled up to 105,000 gallons of crude oil in Santa Barbara County and tens of thousands of gallons into the ocean. As reported by Los Angeles Times, the Texas based company, which owns and operates nearly 18,000 miles of pipe networks in several states and reported $43 billion in revenue in 2014 and $878 million in profit, “has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006, according to federal records”.
Also, as President Obama was getting ready to sign a bill “to protect” police officers, it was reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the chemical company DuPont, which has a $60 billion revenue, responsible for failing to maintain the safety of its workers, which it said led to the death of four workers in November. For that, DuPont was fined $99,000! No, that’s not a mistype. The $60 billion company that caused the death of four workers was fined $99,000.
President Obama, who signs legislation to “ensure the safety” of police officers and Monsanto, doesn’t see a need to protect the lives of workers who are in danger everyday or the environment that gets assaulted and damaged permanently through company greed and criminal negligence. And while no company executive will ever go to jail for causing the death of those workers and while Obama’s Justice Department refused to charge bankers who defrauded borrowers in hundreds of billions of dollars, Chelsea Manning received 35 years in prison for revealing US atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan to the world and 85 year old Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, have been in jail for 3 years for cutting through fences to reach the area of the Y-12 complex where much of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium is stored and hanging anti nuclear weapons banners and spray-painting anti nukes slogans!
Now, not only you will get jail time for revealing government atrocities and protesting against nuclear weapons, but also for “threatening to harm police officers” since of all the different sectors of the population including African American men, workers, the homeless and battered women and national treasures like beaches, oceans and underground waters that are being subjected to pollution, it’s the police officers that need a law to “ensure their safety”!
With the candidacy of Jeb Bush for president, a new discussion of the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 has surfaced in U.S. media, a discussion that was conspicuously missing prior and during the invasion when all you could see and read in corporate media was enthusiastic support for the war. The belated discussion began when Jeb was asked if, “knowing what we know now”, he would have invaded Iraq, which he skillfully avoided the question that was asked and answered a question that wasn’t asked. He said “I would have, given the intelligence we all got at the time”, which obviously wasn’t what was asked. The reason this has become a difficult issue for candidates like Jeb Bush and Hillary is that most people have turned against that devastating and criminal war that destroyed the country. But the point I want to make isn’t how Jeb Bush or other politicians lie to the public. That’s rather obvious and all candidates of both parties do it. My hope in this piece is rather to put the issue of Iraq war in a more real and honest context than is being portrayed now in the media.
When Bush ordered the invasion, the pretext was to find and destroy Iraq’s nuclear weapons that Saddam Hussein was supposedly hiding. The reason that became an issue and the pretext for the invasion, which the “intelligence community” could have easily ruled out if it were independent of the political establishment, is that for years, US was adamantly pushing for inspections of Iraq’s military sites, not to make sure Iraq didn’t have a nuclear program – they already knew that it didn’t – but to learn of the location and amount of all their conventional weapons caches and sites in preparation for war. Pushing for the inspections thus had two purposes for the U.S.: to gain intelligence useful for the long planned invasion that was to come and to show to the world and especially their population that the purpose of the invasion was to eliminate Iraq’s nuclear weapons. When no “weapons of mass destruction” was found, “false intelligence” became the culprit and provided the out.
Should “false intelligence” also fail, such “mistakes” can always be blamed on the president’s misjudgment (or Vice President’s), who happened to occupy the White House at the time. And that’s exactly what liberals and even some conservatives have been doing: blaming Bush and especially Cheney for the invasion. But the fact is: Presidents come and go. What stays is the military industrial complex with its multigenerational plans that get implemented by the political leadership with incredible continuity from one president to the next. The continuity has been especially unmistakable since WWII and even more consistent since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The ruling class has various ways to ensure that continuity, from ensuring that only those who are on board with their overall and long term views and objectives get elected to providing to the administration the military, intelligence and “national security” advisors and think tanks and unleashing their army of high power lobbyists who brief and advise the president on a regular basis. They also have the Congress and the courts to make sure the Administration doesn’t deviate from their worldview and long term objectives. So, the idea that the president decided to invade Iraq by “mistake” and should therefore bear all the responsibility for it is naive and intended to mislead the public and move the focus away from the collective of corporations that really control the policies and politics.
The narrative that the Administration and especially Dick Cheney wanted the war and did everything to get it, including creating the false pretext and lying to the public and media is actually partly true: the Administration did tell lies to sell the war, but it didn’t make the decision. That decision and plans for the invasion had been made long ago. Moreover, Bush and Cheney did as they were supposed to and as would any other Administration at the time and in their shoes. It’s just that the timing coincided with the Bush presidency and the job of selling it fell on the shoulders of Bush and Cheney. This is not to say that Bush and Cheney weren’t personally for the war – most U.S. politicians, from both parties are and Cheney himself wouldn’t have missed it for the world – but such a decision with significant consequences for imperialism and the corporations it serves isn’t left to a president and his cabinet to make. Such decisions are often made before the president who ends up issuing the order becomes a candidate for president and sometimes before he’s even old enough to run for president.
This brings us to the war against Libya and the overthrow of Qaddafi. It mattered little that it was Obama and not Bush who was in office at the time. The opportunity came up for the regime change and the political/military leadership decided it was in line with the overall and long term plans and interests of the Empire to attack and the president issued the order to go ahead. They contemplated the same about Syria, but decided to hold off for now and let others – ISIS and other terror groups supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, Qatar, Jordan, Britain and the U.S., among others – do it, which ended up devastating the country, as it happened in Iraq and Libya, making all three nations ungovernable. Obama benefitted politically from his earlier position of not being for the war in Iraq when running for president, but when in office, continued both wars started by Bush and signed off on new ones of his own. And that was someone who unlike Bush and Cheney was originally against the Iraq war.
Still, many of the more skeptical liberals who don’t buy the argument that Bush and company had the best of intentions and wanted to take democracy to the people of Iraq and who are convinced instead that the invasion was for more sinister reasons such as for controlling Iraq’s oil, for removing an uncooperative dictator from a vital region, or for strengthening Israel by removing one of its nemeses, believe it was a mistake since, in their view, the invasion ended up harming US interests in the region, by strengthening Iran, for example. That also is false. Such big interventions as the Iraq war hardly ever end up exactly as they were envisioned or anticipated by the undertakers. There are almost always unforeseen consequences to such interventions some of which may be negative for them. But, overall, the Iraq war didn’t end up hurting US (or rather imperialism’s) interests. The U.S. built the largest embassy in Bagdad for a reason. They stationed military personnel, including military advisors and trainers and private contractors in the country and despite removing most of the troops, they can go back in anytime. They took away control of their oil and gave it to their corporations and ensured its cheap and uninhibited flow which is vital to their economy and military. They created a base in Kurdistan of Iraq, separating it from the central government and directed it to sell oil to Israel. They sold tens of billions of dollars of weapons to the installed Iraqi government. They removed a regime that unlike Saudi Arabia and Kuwait wasn’t controlled by the U.S. in its oil production, which gave it the ability and potential to join other OPEC members and cause volatility in oil prices and the U.S. dollar. And they devastated and weakened an Arab country, making it unable to enter any alliance against Israel or to challenge US interests in the region. Despite the existence of ISIS and Al Qaeda forces and despite Iran’s increased political influence in Iraq, the U.S. isn’t weaker in the region, but is stronger. They now control Iraq, its military and its oil to much larger degree than they ever did or could before, and their presence and readiness to send in the troops again anytime is testament to that.
The U.S. plan for Iran is also similar. They know Iran can’t afford to ever use nuclear weapons and won’t be a threat to anyone, especially to Israel, which has hundreds of nuclear weapons. US intelligence has also concluded that Iran has not decided to develop the nukes and is already being watched 24/7 and monitored by intrusive inspections. Nukes are just an excuse for sanctions which give them intelligence about the country’s military sites and the final pretext to attack. The purpose again is to weaken the country, as they’ve already done to a few other Middle Eastern and Asian nations.
The point is: such attacks and interventions are long term and it won’t matter if the president is Hillary or Jeb Bush or anyone else. Imperialism as the collective rule of multinational corporations follows its long term plan for world domination and the president gets hired to sell and execute those plans, including wars. Such unchallenged domination could not be achieved without an unchallengeable military might which explains the incredible amount of money and resources used to maintain that might. What the ruling class also learned from the civil rights movement of the 1960’s is the need for them to be ready for the domestic front as well by beefing up their domestic surveillance, spying and crowd control capabilities by an ever increasingly militarized police, in order to counter any future unrest that might try to stand in its way and derail their plan for complete and total world domination.
With enough military might, wars like the one against Iraq becomes fewer and direct attack on civilian populations of other countries become the norm as no government with its military will ever be able to stand against the Empire and its European allies and controlling the people everywhere will be the thing to do. That’s why more and more, the focus of the technology and tactics is to go after civilian targets by the use of drones and is why the military exercises are now mostly to train for urban and house to house combat, as well as targeting individuals rather than entire armies (although they still plan to confront Russia and China sometime down the line but that’s another discussion).
They have also set up secret prisons in several countries where they can interrogate captured citizens of other countries. In other words, the Empire is moving to become the world’s dictatorship to rule over all people. This isn’t driven by some inexplicable and mysterious evil and sociopathic tendency, but by the unbridled urge and obsession to seek profits and accumulate wealth by all means necessary.
Ayelet Shaked is a member of Israeli Knesset and the former office director for the office of Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2012, she left the Likud Party to join the Jewish Home and on 14 May, 2015, she was appointed by Netanyahu to be Israel’s Minister of Justice. She posted an article on her Facebook page in June of 2014 in which she called Palestinian children “snakes” and seemed to suggest indiscriminate killing of Palestinians. She has also campaigned against immigration of Africans to “Israel”. Appointing her to the post of Minister of Justice says a lot about Netanyahu, as well as about US Congress that invites him to address their joint session.
A Facebook page displaying her photo drew many comments, which forced me to write this, not about her, but about those who made sexist comments about her, calling her “whore” and “bitch” and one man suggesting that she “needs a shave” and another saying that he “could give her something to suck on”.
Two things: I’ve often said that you can’t be progressive and for social justice, or any kind of justice for that matter, and support “Israel”. But, you also can’t be progressive and for justice and make sexist comments about ANY WOMAN. Sexism and sexist comments about ANY WOMAN is an insult and attack on ALL WOMEN and therefore an insult against all humanity. To join or to even be silent about such chorus of hateful attacks is to choose one kind of hate and prejudice over another, instead of condemning all forms of hate and prejudice. Condemning such hateful and racist individuals as Ayelet Shaked with hate and prejudice of one’s own has no value and impresses me none and the person expressing such prejudice has no credibility to be the defender of the occupied and oppressed people of Palestine. I condemn such sexist comments even before I condemn the vile acts and atrocities committed by apartheid “Israel” against the besieged Palestinian people.
Secondly, even disregarding such sexist attacks, which I wouldn’t and won’t disregard, focusing on and venting out anger against an individual might make us feel better, but isn’t helpful or productive. Individuals aren’t really the problem. The problem which should be the focus of those who want to see justice in Palestine is the occupation, the racist and apartheid state of “Israel” and Zionism, which is causing all the unnecessary deaths, injustices and atrocities. Let’s not add our own injustice to the mix.
Once again, liberals are at a loss. How could this be? How could Obama, a Democrat, who was supposed to chart a new course for the US, push for another so-called “free trade” agreement, after similar ones in the past drove down and stagnated wages of American workers, shipped American jobs to countries with super low wages forcing them to compete with starving workers overseas, imposed draconian “austerity measures” on and further impoverished millions of already poor workers and reinforced sweat shop working conditions and accelerated the devastation of the environment, all for the benefit of giant and obscenely wealthy multinational corporations and their rich shareholders, who were behind these agreements? How could he turn out to be so rightwing? First, came his wars of aggression, which made Bush look like Mother Theresa; then came his endorsement of Bush’s warrantless searches and eavesdropping, followed by his severe punishment of whistle blowers and government secrecy and then the revelation of the most massive program of spying on all Americans; then came the provocation in Ukraine and escalation of tensions with Russia. And now, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has been called “NAFTA on steroids”, which makes “free trade” agreements before it look like a child’s play. Not only is Obama pushing for it, he wants “fast track”, which means a very quick passage at Congress with very minimal – almost none – debate and discussion, and he wants the contents of the agreement, which were all written by corporations, kept secret from the public. Yes, this is Obama. No one killed the real Obama and wore his skin. It’s he alright.
If they would stop to think for a moment, liberals would understand why this happened, why their hope for change turned into a nightmare. Sometimes what seems befuddling and stupefying has the simplest explanation. The truth of the matter is that Obama himself as breathing, walking man is not the issue and is irrelevant to the discussion. And so are his views. There might have been a time in US politics when the personal views of the president mattered – at least to some degree, anyway. But, this isn’t such time, anymore.
Most people have heard the phrase “military industrial complex” and have a vague idea as to what it means: the complex, conglomerate or collective of US military and the large corporations. But, that’s as far as most people’s understanding of what it really is, how it functions and what its ramifications are in the society will go, which leads them to confusion such as about Obama. The fact is that the military is not some independent, unbiased and indifferent force existing and operating above the society. The military, like other governmental organs and entities, such as the police, the courts and the Congress, belongs and answers to and works for and at the pleasure of a certain class of people. By necessity and by nature, the military as well as the police and Congress become part of that class. And it goes without saying, or should go without saying, that that class has to be the class of the most powerful and influential, the class of billionaires and multimillionaires, the major owners of the wealth of the nation, not ordinary working, wage earning people.
The military industrial complex or the corporate empire, with its military wing on its side ready to go to war with anyone that would dare stand in its way, once formed and established, creates, pursues and implements long term plans, strategies and programs, using a multitude of sources that include different think tanks, scholars, strategists, advisors, military planners and other military and civilian personnel. Their plans and programs are large scale and costly and the wealth of many powerful people to the tune of trillions of dollars depends on their timely, smart and flawless implementation. Giant corporations and their CEO’s and large shareholders are not about to risk their immense wealth with the election of an unknown young community organizer from Chicago who might upend their plans, and even if they do roll the dice and lose, they’re not going to say “oh well, we lost”, take the loss in stride and give up their immense power and wealth they have been accumulating. The giant aircraft carriers and multibillion dollar battleships and fighter jets and satellite systems and many other war equipment do not belong to the American people, any more than the tall buildings going up in city centers or giant banks belong to the people. Those who set fire on a CVS pharmacy during riots understand that well. Those big banks or oil companies headquartered in skyscrapers rely on the battleships, fighter jets, tanks and helicopter gunships of the military as well as on urban police as their facilitators to keep their profits flowing. The American people have been taught to think geographically and nationalistically, meaning that if something is geographically close to them or claims to be “American”, it belongs to them. But, that kind of thinking is as accurate as thinking that you own the bank or Starbucks or gas station that you use in your neighborhood.
Obama does what he’s supposed to for the corporate empire that put him in office. And so will the next president. What he thinks is irrelevant. He knows what he’s supposed to do and he does it. We must stop thinking about the individual president or congress-man or woman and think of the system as a whole: its requirements, its plans, its agenda and program. Anyone who goes to the White House is taking a job that’s offered, directed and paid for by the ruling class. His allegiance will not be to the people but to those who put him or her there and who control him or her and his or her plans and agenda.
As you read this, the corporate empire is on a dangerous path of escalating its provocation against Russia that could lead to a dangerous regional, if not worldwide, confrontation that could lead to a major and devastating war. The US is moving warships and missiles and other heavy weaponry to Baltic and Black Sea literally surrounding Russia with military bases, supposedly in the name of defending against its “threat”. But, they know Russia is not the threat. Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which used to belong to it and where most of its population is Russian, was only a reaction to NATO encroachment and provocation. The initial military encroachment through NATO prompted the Russian reaction and was promptly and predictably – no accident here, everything was planned and foreseen years ago – followed by economic warfare through sanctions and dumping of cheap oil on the market None of these moves are necessarily by Obama’s order. In fact, such plans are made and set in motion long before a certain president becomes a candidate and wins the elections as most such undertakings are planned many years and sometimes decades in advance. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan, likewise, was neither the work of Bush and Cheney, nor due to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Nor were they some error in judgement. Even the sanctions against Iran which are meant to weaken it are parts of a large scale and long term plan for world hegemony. Such plans are usually perceived and started long before any president sits in the Oval office and gets briefed by military brass and spy agencies.
Likewise, when Obama pushes for a “trade agreement” that will exacerbate the growing income and wealth gap, intensify world poverty and hunger, ruin the environment even more than it already has been ruined and squeeze workers here and abroad even more, it must be understood in terms of the needs and desires and plans and programs of the corporate empire. Again, Obama is doing what he got hired to do: to continue the long-range plans handed down from president to president. What’s more, he chose the job knowing what it took and he’s performing his duties, just as a CEO who gets hired by shareholders and company board members to maximize company profits would.
What we must focus on is not just the CEO, but the corporation as a whole, not on the gambling or gambling men, but on the casino and its owners, not on the violent police who beat and kill innocent black men, but those who hire and use them like their hit men. We must challenge the notion of the collective of corporations, which owns the government as a vehicle for its aims and goals. Just as a parasite enters and takes control of the brain of its host animal and directs it to do what is beneficial to the parasite at the detriment of the host, so too the government gets taken over by parasitic capitalists and corporations that direct it to do their bidding: to make them rich at any cost, including mass hunger and poverty, devastation of the environment and catastrophic world wars which kill millions of people. What we must stop is not Obama or Hillary or Bush or Paul or Cruz or Warren or Sanders, per se, but the parasites, which own and control the government and all these servants and functionaries of the system. Obama is not the issue. The system is.
Regardless of what you may think of police brutality and killings that are being discussed nationally after the recent murders of unarmed black men in the hands of the police and the protests raging as a result, there are a few points that we must all understand, if we want to reach a correct understanding of it.
Every organization and institution within a society gets formed for a particular purpose and gets tasked with performing a particular function within the society. That includes, of course, the courts, the military, the Congress and the police, among others. While that goes without saying, what isn’t so easy to see is what exactly is the function of such governmental organizations in a capitalist society. I say “capitalist society” for a reason: the function of government agencies and organs in a society is tied directly to and answerable to the socioeconomic system in place within the society. In fact, not only individual institutions, but the government as a whole is a product of and subservient to the socioeconomic system that’s imposed on the society.
This is true on a smaller scale as well. If you join an organization of investors, for example, that’s focused on maximizing the wealth of its members, you get very different rules, codes of conduct, values and priorities than if you join a society committed to eliminating hunger or homelessness. You can see such differentiation and contrast even among fraternities and sororities of college campuses. Their values and priorities depend on their mission and objectives.
Speaking of missions, you might have seen mission statements framed and posted prominently in the lobby of most corporations listing general and empty phrases like “commitment to excellence”, “pursuit of perfection”, “integrity”, etc. These are all, of course, a bunch of baloney that only the most gullible among us would believe. Corporations only have one mission and that’s to maximize profits for their already wealthy owners, or as they’re known in corporate world, shareholders. This discrepancy between what’s advertised and the reality and the need to twist the fact about their real mission is a microcosm of and permeates through the entire capitalist system and the reason is obvious: just like individual corporations that don’t like to say openly that all they’re about is making profits, so too the capitalist system as a whole that’s nothing but a collective or cartel made up of and organized for and around the constituent corporations that make up the system, can’t openly admit to the population that all it cares about and all it’s focused on is the collective of the corporations and their profitability, rather than people’s needs or well being or the environment. This is the first lie the government of the corporations has to tell, and as they say, you can never tell just one lie. The second is that people have the power to elect the government of their choosing, which is part of the bigger lie about “democracy”. I’ve written extensively why democracy and capitalism are incompatible in other articles, so I won’t get into it here.
What we must understand is that the government can’t be both focused on maximizing profits for corporations that are the driving force of the system and at the same time be focused on meeting people’s needs. These two things are contradictory and irreconcilable. A system cannot do both at the same time. All the talk of inclusion, democracy, compassion and care for the poor and disenfranchised is just like corporate mission statements: a bunch of nicely wrapped thick boloney. And this is why I believe Democrats are a bigger barrier for achieving real and fundamental change than Republicans. The latter are more open and forthcoming about their objectives.
If maximizing profits for corporations is the main focus of the government which is their enabler and facilitator, then it follows that the function of just about all governmental organs and organizations must also be for and ultimately in the service of meeting that objective, either directly, as in the case of police, military and Congress or indirectly, as in the case of others like Environmental Protection Agency or Social Security Administration: to create and maintain conditions in society that are conducive to and useful for the smooth and uninterrupted running of the collective of the corporations and removing and blocking any social or economic threat to that order.
The “order” that the government of the corporations is after is not for all people, but for corporations and the protection the police provides is not intended for people, not certainly the poor and the minorities, but for corporations and their private property. What the police is really tasked with is to protect the interests and property of the corporations, not the lives of the people and to serve the wealthy not ordinary people. The latter not only isn’t their priority, they’re not even at the bottom of their priority list. The idea that the police is there to protect people is one of the biggest misunderstandings among the white liberals. Actually, those liberals are partly right: the more privileged a group, the more protection they receive from the police. That same protection that the privileged get turns into repression when it comes to the poor and the minorities living in the ghettos. There, the police is a bonafide occupation army tasked with suppressing and repressing the population.
What most blacks have realized, on their skin and flash, no less, is that the police isn’t there to protect them, but to control and crush them, just as the military does to people it occupies. The similarity between the police and the military is much more than most realize, not just in what they’re designed and charged to do, but who their targets are. When the military occupies a country or when it overthrows a foreign government, often police officers from major US cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and others are dispatched to train the local police to crush resistance. Likewise, when the police can’t keep the order in an American city, the military comes to its help, as we’ve been seeing in Baltimore. Despite all the jingoism propagated on corporate TV, corporations are anything but patriotic or even nationalistic. They have no favorites and make no distinction among the working classes of different countries, including their own. All the talk of patriotism is just for convincing the poor who have no stake in them to go fight the wars that are waged by and for the wealthy and kill people just like themselves.
The police and the military in the US have become even more indistinguishable in recent decades as the former’s militarization has accelerated with police departments acquiring millions of dollars of military equipment every year. Their tactics and mentality also closely resembles the military now. Their similarity also extends into the very purpose of their existence: they both are tasked with protecting the interests and properties of the rich, both here and abroad. They both have the function of confronting and removing all points of vulnerability or threats to the corporate collective. Whom would the police consider a threat to the functioning and profitability of the corporations? The poorest and the most disenfranchised, of course, those who have the least to lose and the most to gain from bringing down the system, those at the very bottom stratum, those who “have nothing to lose but their chains” (Karl Marx, “Communist Manifesto”, 1848).
The problem for capitalism is that it has nothing to offer to those at the lowest stratum; that’s why it’s all stick and no carrot when it comes to dealing with the poorest of the poor. If you look carefully, you’ll see that the most heavily policed areas are the inner cities where the poor and especially African Americans live. That’s the group that gets frisked the most, beaten the most, arrested the most and gets incarcerated the most with longest sentences. The Guardian reported today that a juvenile, who participated in the riots in Baltimore on Monday and vandalized a police car and then, at the pressure of his step father, turned himself in, was slapped with eight counts of felony charges and half a million dollar bail, just for damaging a police car! Since his family can’t afford the bail or to hire a lawyer, the juvenile is looking to spend most of his life in prison. This is what the system does and this is how it treats the poor. But, this is logical: those who have nothing are considered a bigger threat than those with privilege. That’s why the latter aren’t frisked, their vehicles aren’t searched and their homes aren’t raided. If they were, they’d probably be caught with more guns and drugs than blacks, but that’s not the point.
Many among the whites, including many liberals, or maybe I should say especially among liberals, posit that the reason for higher arrest and incarceration rates among blacks is that they commit more crimes. That’s quite an interesting argument because targeted, oppressive and aggressive policing and racial profiling, even without planting of evidence on the “suspects”, which is common, sends a large percentage of black men to prison and then that very discriminatory practice and injustice is used as “statistics” to justify the discrimination! Quite an interesting logic!
Police brutality, like many other phenomena, stems from and is tied to the very logic and needs and requirements of the same economic system that prioritizes profits over people’s needs and results in the rich getting richer and the poor poorer, and then, as the gap between the two classes increases, it moves to fortify its power snd defend its interests against those it considers a threat, by any means necessary, including beatings, killings and mass incarceration. So, you see, the problem isn’t about lack of sufficient training or the need for body or dash cams. The problem is systemic and socioeconomic and tied directly to the income and wealth gap. That’s why the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 must be revived and join the anti police brutality protests since their issues are one and the same.