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Open Letter on
the Question
of Capitalism
and Progress

By Punkerslut
Addressed to USAction

From Peace Libertad Blog
Image: From "No capitalisme" Gallery,
from Peace Libertad Blog

Start Date: April 22, 2010
Finish Date: April 22, 2010

"Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. For instance: just after sunrise, one summer morning, I noticed one of my neighbors walking beside his team, which was slowly drawing a heavy hewn stone swung under the axle, surrounded by an atmosphere of industry- his day's work begun- his brow commenced to sweat- a reproach to all sluggards and idlers- pausing abreast the shoulders of his oxen, and half turning round with a flourish of his merciful whip, while they gained their length on him. And I thought, Such is the labor which the American Congress exists to protect--honest, manly toil--honest as the day is long--that makes his bread taste sweet, and keeps society sweet--which all men respect and have consecrated; one of the sacred band, doing the needful but irksome drudgery. Indeed, I felt a slight reproach, because I observed this from a window, and was not abroad and stirring about a similar business. The day went by, and at evening I passed the yard of another neighbor, who keeps many servants, and spends much money foolishly, while he adds nothing to the common stock, and there I saw the stone of the morning lying beside a whimsical structure intended to adorn this Lord Timothy Dexter's premises, and the dignity forthwith departed from the teamster's labor, in my eyes. In my opinion, the sun was made to light worthier toil than this."
          --Henry David Thoreau, 1863
          "Life Without Principle"


     In many of the issues, I seem to agree full-heartedly with USAction. Free and universal healthcare, environmental protection, anti-war and anti-imperialism, and creating the right to work and live for every person. As William McNary, president of USAction, wrote, "We believe that every man and woman who wants to work is entitled to a livable job with a living wage, safe working conditions and a secure retirement."

     These are all good and noble ideals. But there is no synthesis -- no theory. Who is it that avoids environmental regulations and pollutes the world? Who is it that encourages wars for colonies and foreign, slave labor? Who is it that doesn't provide health services? Who hoards up the land and keeps factories and farms idle, because a starved market has better prices? There is one force doing all of these things: it is private ownership and control of the productive forces of society.

     Essentially, all of the reforms you intend to enact are just new restrictions and regulations placed on an old system. It is still the old form of Capitalism, the descendant of Feudalism and slavery, but organized for the interests of the public. And, the progressivist method of accomplishing this is laid out be Mr. McNary, "We engage in electoral politics, not for its own sake, but as a way to enact our far-reaching policy changes into law."

     Certainly, it is the monopoly of mines, farms, and factories that keeps the worker in the position of a beggar when approaching their job. It is their high hours and low wages that prevent any type of full education that you could push for. And it is the demeaning and alienating nature of their work that conditions them to submit and obey -- they are not lively and active citizens of a Democracy, but the subordinate lemmings of a dominating manager, supervisor, or boss.

     It is not simply that Capitalism is the source of discrimination of employees and customers, wars in Iraq and Vietnam, and our "housing recession" and the depression of the 30's. One part of society lives without working -- they live by possessing property others need to work. There is no taming the instinct of the master; it has not been done for three millennia of every type of imagined government, and none have produced the ideal results. There has always been many begging, full of want and hunger, with nowhere to turn.

     If you want to really improve the conditions of the people, then give them independence and autonomy as workers. Organize them to fight in the workplace, to resist tyranny in the streets as well as where they labor. A General Strike by the workers has been enough to overthrow dictators and to end wars; these are achievements just in the anti-Capitalist struggle, but for the struggle for true liberty and social justice.

     But the General Strike is effective because it has theory; it understands that the suffering of the people comes from social iniquity, whether it's racial discrimination or drafting into a imperialist war of conquest. More than that, it understands that these things are the product of land being owned by people who do not work it. Social injustice is the result of a few individuals possessing everything, and putting the common people into a position to beg for just a few crumbs.

     Any education you'll try to achieve, it will be no good for those who can't find work to pay for it, or spend nine or ten hours a day at their job. Environmental protection, similarly, will be compromised by an economy burdened by those who consume excessively but never work -- by industrialists and capitalists who divide up markets and regions, and organize for public poverty. Why would public spending increase for research into windmills if people don't even have bread? Spending on healthcare provides similarly difficulties.

     If the presses stay in the possession and management of a few, then we will still have wars. We will still have the same lies being fed to the public about "what some other nation is plotting," only to rouse the audience into nationalistic passion. These wars cannot stop, when the people are being told from every source that their way of life is threatened by some third world country. And so, everything you try to do to fight Imperialism and wars will be curtailed by this fact.

     No matter what progress you try to accomplish, it will be compromised and submitted. It does not change the system, but it tries to make it a little more bearable For every small advantage you gain for the people, though, the financial, industrial monster grows three more limbs. Genuine, social progress is not compatible with any form of Capitalism. And, at worst, you are taking people who really want to change the world, and you're feeding them into a useless battle. You're asking them to support this or that politician, in a contest that has always been about who has more campaign funding.

     If you really want this world to become a different and better place, resist Capitalism. Otherwise, all of your efforts will produce meaningless and insignificant results. Real progress is revolutionary.

Andy Carloff

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