New Capitalism

Earlier this morning I came across a provocative headline for a Forbes article on Facebook — “If It Doesn’t Change, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity by 2050.”

Meant to illicit clicks, it did its job. I read through the article but found myself somewhat perplexed by its conclusion – that we must adopt “new capitalism.”

What is this ‘new capitalism’ you might ask? Quite simply, what the author unintentionally advocated for was Marxism. While he used examples of start-up culture to illustrate the idea of labor owning the means of their production – it is not Silicon Valley who founded this economic philosophy. Unfortunately, here in America we’ve been sold a bad bill of goods about democratic socialism and its underlying Marxist philosophy because our schools have long indoctrinated us against anything but capitalism.

The Red Menace, communism, The Soviet Union – a bastion of evil, horrible living conditions and a people abused by autocratic rulers. It is a place where your neighbor might be ratting you out to the spies. The buildings all look the same and so too do the cities as a result. Planned cities, cities like Chernobyl, a crumbling relic of planed living shrouded in a toxic cloud of atomic dust. Big giant nuclear bombs and missile parades celebrating pure lust of power – of global domination and where America and capitalism and freedom is the enemy! The Domino Theory and the end of the world as we know it. Most importantly, where Marxism is the root of all this evil.

This is how American school kids are taught about Marxism. Any word tangentially associated with this great evil – the USSR – is by proxy considered anti-American and evil. So to discuss the actual merits of Labor owning the means of production (you know, real Marxism) is a complete non-starter. You can’t even broach the topic with most people born before 1985, and many after too.

That is because they live and have lived many generations in an America where they were taught by Boomers afraid of the red menace to fear communism and that socialism was a bridge to said evil. They believed and continue to believe and educate our kids that Capitalism will set you free – that it is a system which offers choice and prosperity. Communism these educators say offers no such choice, it is anti-freedom – or more specifically it is anti-American.

The education system in America is designed to intentionally obfuscate and propagandize corporate capital and consumption. It is designed to protect the status quo and keep you mindlessly strolling through shopping malls. So instead of a debate between two economic theories – one where labor owns the means of production (Marxism), the other where capital owns the labor class (Capitalism) – we get a Cowboy versus Indian story of good versus evil. And as a result, John Wayne is considered an American hero while writers trying to organize for better workers rights were blackballed from an entire industry.

So beyond this good versus evil nonsense taught in our schools what does Marxism, or rather “New Capitalism” look like?

It looks like Germany, where the board of companies like Mercedes are split 50-50 between the workers and the owners. It is in start-up culture, and companies like Google, where workers participate in profit sharing agreements so as to own a piece of the company themselves. It is in Italy, Germany and Nordic nations where in order to become CEO, you don’t graduate with an MBA and nab the job but work in every facet of the company as a worker beforehand. Workers owning the means of production mean that robber barons and titans of industry can’t screw them over because they can block that from happening because they own the means of their production instead of it being owned exclusively by the capital class.

On the government side of this equation, It is in Western European nations like France which has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. While they pay higher taxes, they pay less than we do out of pocket for superior care. In fact we pay more out of pocket for life’s necessities than Europeans do — but we don’t call it a tax. Although it should be treated as such, only we pay our tax to aloof corporate overlords instead of benevolent government.

What else is provided by said taxes?  University is subsidized – in many cases free – and only the brightest attend. For those where college isn’t an option, they train via trade schools and educate their kids in high school better than many American colleges do. They invest in science and research. They have state of the art facilities like CERN. Arts and letters are supported versus looked down upon as a waste of time. Many European high school students are better educated and more well rounded than Americans with bachelors degrees!

Americans have been sold a lie. Ask yourself why you can’t afford your healthcare premium/deductibles? Capitalism. Ask yourself why you can’t send your kid to the college of their dreams without incurring massive debt? Capitalism. Ask yourself why you can’t afford to buy a home when your parents could years ago? Capitalism. Ask why your wages aren’t keeping up with inflation and you can barely afford to feed your family? Capitalism.

Capitalism is socialism for the rich. It is the massive theft of Labor redistributed to the capital class at the expense of your economic well being. It is a system of freedom and choice, but only if you have lots of capital. Capitalism has an end stage, and that stage is upon us now – where only the rich have choice and opportunity. You have people making off with the whole damn pie while we are left fighting over the crumbs!

The only reason this is possible in America is because people still see socialism as a dirty word – associated with the USSR. They have been indoctrinated since childhood by a school system that sought to lie to them. A system which told them if they worked hard and did a good job, they’d be able to live the American dream. They lied.

But it’s not too late. We can have an honest debate about the merits of empowering labor, as Marx advocated – but only if we first get rid of the propaganda in our education, entertainment and political landscape. This will be a tough fight, but it is an essential one to have. Let’s go out there and fight for “New capitalism” – since socialism is such a dirty word.

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A Political Fiction (The Conclusion)

This is fiction. It is purely for entertainment purposes only and any likeness to actual events or persons is purely coincidental. 

Read Part II here

PART III

A sole camera points at the empty chair behind the desk in the Oval Office. Beside it, the President paces back and forth before his advisor.

“Millions voted for me. They voted for me to take a hard line approach. I did a good job!” It is not so much of a statement, but a self congratulatory remark. The president continues undeterred, “I am not going to resign at the first threat of force – not just yet.”

His advisor smiles, ‘go on’ his face suggests.

“I am not going down without a fight.” The president barges out of the Oval Office. “Get this camera outta here. Get it out!”

In the press pool, reporters anxiously await the press secretary. A nervous chatter develops when the Secretary enters the stage. Everyone goes silent as he grabs the microphone.

“The President and his Vice President will resign at 4PM this evening.” He walks off immediately thereafter – leaving a million questions unanswered. The media go into a frenzy.

On the Whitehouse lawn, international and national press cover the developing story with shock. An NBC anchor breaks the story first, “the President and his Vice President are both planning to resign at 4PM. It is revealed to us by sources close to the matter that the Speaker of the House will be tapped to take his place.”

Out at sea, the broadcast reaches the Sino naval offense. An officer relays the news to the admiral. In Mandarin, “they say he is stepping down.”

A long pause as the admiral stares out at the water crashing against his lead destroyers bow. “Maintain course. This man is a slippery snake. I will believe it when I see it myself.” His officer bows and leaves.

3PM, the West Wing. The President has shored himself up in an undisclosed location within the West Wing along with his advisor. The President is furiously typing at a computer terminal, he finishes.

“One down.” The President prints out his memo on official Executive Order letterhead.

His advisor chimes in, “this takes us out of NATO and cuts all funds to the UN.”

“Excellent.” The President signs and begins typing a new letter. “The next one is to cut all trade with China.”

Later on in the Oval Office, the camera remains positioned in front of the desk. The Vice President and his officials have gathered. It’s now 3:55.

“Mr. Vice President, have you heard from the President?” A senior official grows worried.

“No sir I have not. I have not spoken to him in two days.” The room reacts in shock.

Before anyone can say anything, the President enters with a stack of bound papers. “I am ready.”

News stations broadcast the address worldwide. He begins, “my fellow Americans, I am agreeing to step down for the good of this nation and to avoid further escalation with China and other enemies.”

Protests erupt in cheers. Cars honk across America. Celebration begins as if it is the end of world war from coast to coast as the news pours in.

On the ship, the Admiral gives order to halt further progress. A horn blasts. He gives orders to his officers, “halt progress and call off the advance. Await further instructions on prisoners. We will return them to the next administration… with a message.”

Meanwhile the President continues, “I deeply apologize for my social media being maliciously hacked. But I will not apologize for trying to make us more safe. That is why I have drafted several executive orders in my final hours…”

SEVERAL DAYS LATER.

The new president sits at his unelected desk. Phone calls pour in. “Yes I understand, but I plan to govern much differently from my predecessor.” Dial tone. He turns to his new advisor, “so we’re shut out of NATO, the UN, several countries have brought sanctions against us including some of our allies and China will no longer trade with us or buy our debt and Russian troops have built up a military presence on their western border with Europe.” He catches his breath. “He’s completely fucked us.”

Thousands of miles away in the Kremlin, the Russian president swings open the doors to his office. The former president enters alone. “Welcome to Russia my friend. You’ve done my country a great service.” The former president sits. The Chinese-looking hackers from the train car are seated at the bar in plain clothes. “These are my friends who helped with the twitter account – Kazakh-Chinese agents, all former KGB.” The former president nods to them.

“So what about my assets, my debt is forgiven as well?” The former president is almost intimidated by the Russian leader, who reacts with a wry smile.

“All gone my friend. We will harbor you here to protect you from prosecution and look forward to hosting your enterprise. It will prove very popular here in Russia. You’re a true hero.” The Premier walks to the bar. “Lets have a drink.” He pours himself the last of the bottle. “It appears we’ve run out.” He motions to the former KGB agent to fill a glass from a new bottle. “My own family recipe.”

The former President cheers, takes a shot. “This is terrific, thank you.” Behind him two guards appear. He grows feint.

“Please escort our friend to his new home. And do make him feel comfortable.” He tries to resist but the poison is too powerful, he’s asleep almost immediately. The Premier turns to his comrades, “advance the troops on the Western front. It is time to reunite the Satellite Republics.”

END

Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power” – James Madison, Federalist Papers, 1788

A Political Fiction (Part II)

This is for entertainment purposes only. It is not based on any credible threat or Intel. It does not advocate treason or sedition. It is fiction and any coincidence, people or events portrayed in this story are also fictitious.

Read Part I here

PART II – On the Brink of War

The generals come to terms with what they have just heard. He’s their president, they are to obey his orders as commander in chief. Yet their faces ask a question they won’t dare pose aloud “what if he is wrong?”

The senior most general, head of Defense chimes in, “sir I’m not sure we have the man power you need. We’re spread thin at the moment. Most of our fleet is patrolling the waters off Iran in the Gulf, not to mention off Africa and around the Middle East.”

“Then scramble what we do have. We won’t be met with our pants down.” The president abruptly gets up. “Find me a working twitter account.”

“Sir might a speech to the nation be better suited at this fragile moment in time?” His staffer gets out of his way as the President swiftly exits the situation room.

News crews gather around the island of Oahu in Hawaii. All cover the same story. We focus on CNN, “I’m here live from Oahu where several credible sources at the Pentagon are saying there is a large Chinese naval presence offshore. Are we headed to war?”

Another crew covers the concurrent narrative of the presidents personal Twitter, “the latest message is tweeted in Chinese traditional characters, when translated reads ‘America is no longer the world’s greatest super power.'”

At the White House, the President emerges from the situation room to his lower level staffers surprise. They watch the news unfold on several TV monitors.

“Turn it off! Turn it off. It’s fake news, turn it off.” Embarrassed for him, they comply. All stand around waiting for orders. He doesn’t say another word. Suddenly his advisor emerges from the room too, grabbing his shoulder.

“Are you just gonna let those career assholes run the show? This is your time to lead! Get back in there, I’ll have your back.” The president gets the jolt of energy he needs. They head back down.

The president re-enters the situation room as camera footage shows naval cruisers preparing to meet the Sino forces. “Give me updates, now.” The president speaks with forceful confidence as he takes a seat at the head of the table.

“Sir we have activated our entire Pacific fleet, mobilized from Pearl Harbor with backup forces on alert in San Diego. We will approach by air first without firing. We have already scrambled Navy jets to issue said fly over.” The general eyes the President as if to expect a retort.

“Good.” He sits, almost too comfortable. “What is the status of my Twitter?”

The two generals eye each other – their faces suggest ‘how do we tell him?’ The head of Defense steps forward and clears his throat. “Mr. President…”

A long pause. Too long of a pause. “What, what is it?” The president grows impatient.

“Mr. President the Chinese have asked that you resign the office of the presidency, along with your Vice President due to violating Chinese territory in Taiwan.”

He throws a tantrum, banging his fists on the table. “I will not bow down to these thugs! We will win this war. Taiwan isn’t theirs. The whole world knows that! If I have to build hotels up and down Taiwan I fucking will!”

The general continues unfazed by the outburst, “sir that’s not all. They said failure to comply with this request will result in escalation. You have five hours to comply.”

His advisor chimes in, outraged, “we don’t negotiate with terrorists. This man was democratically elected!”

A lower ranked general chimes in, “they’re not terrorists, they’re a nation state. There are people rioting in our streets across the country demanding you step down and a Republican congress ready to impeach. We risk war with a nation of three billion people and likely no allies to help.”

“You’re fired.” He says it with almost a grin. But the general doesn’t move. “I said you’re fired!”

The head general tries to restore order, “sir, respectfully, I think you need to take a page from the Nixon administration and consider what is best for the country.”

News footage shows massive protests across the nation. Fires, and Black Bloc mobs setting storefronts ablaze all over the nation. Sirens, and first responders overwhelmed. Protesters chanting for impeachment. It’s 1968 all over again, as the national guard is activated in response.

With the drumming of protests and the slow burning fire not far off in the distance, we catch site of a familiar rail yard. In the background is Washington DC. Just past the entrance to the rail yard, the refrigerated rail car. The agents have been operating out of DC the whole time.

Inside the men make their final preparations. They rig the train car with timed mines. The senior Intel officer bows, “it’s time.” They swiftly gather laptops and anything with traceable evidence and flee.

Guards spot them exiting this time, and a chase ensues. The dogs are let out ahead of them. The men reach the exit as the guards pull their weapons and aim down sights. Target locked. Finger on trigger. A massive sound.

Just as the guards approach the train car, it explodes killing them instantly! The agents continue on foot, with the dogs still in pursuit. Finally, the German Shepard takes down the slowest agent. The senior agent stops, turns to the dogs. He raises a handgun… instead of shooting the dogs, he shoots the agent in the head and continues. A black Mercedes sprinter van opens its doors for him. He jumps in. Smoldering wreckage in its wake.

The cockpit of a naval fighter jet. Several jets in tow in a V formation. Our pilot makes out the lead cruiser in the Sino naval command. “Got them in sight over.” The jets make a low altitude pass over the boats bow. Two hover in place.

Several Chinese officers cheer at its sight, ready for a fight, fists in air. The jets begin a broadcast. “You are entering US Waters, turn around now. You are entering US Waters, this can be construed as an act of war.” On the captains deck, the admiral smiles. He gives signal for the horns to be blared again. Then he gives another signal, “lock on target.”

In the situation room, things grow tense. His head of defense hangs up the phone. “That’s a no from France, a no from all of NATO actually. Even the U.K. says it will only cautiously watch the situation right now. Most cited your desire to defund NATO as reason.”

“What about Russia,” the president asks almost dumbfounded. “If our so called allies won’t help, let’s see if they will.”

“Also a no due to sanctions, we tried.” The president shrinks in his chair as the general tells him this. Perhaps the lowest blow of them all, his face can’t help but show incredible disappointment, heartache even.

“These are our allies!” The advisor is outraged. “This is why NATO is obsolete, they pay nothing and won’t come to our defense!”

A staffer enters. “We have word from the UN, almost the entire body is willing to take this up in special session and call for the resignation of the US President to ensure restoration of peace.”

“I don’t answer to the UN, I don’t answer to anyone!” The president is furious now. “Who is using my twitter? I will sue them for defamation and criminal hacking.”

“Sir, perhaps you will answer to us. Step aside or millions may needlessly die in conflict.” The president almost seems to not be listening. A phone rings, cutting through the tension. It is the emergency phone, he puts it on speaker.

“Sir, two of our naval planes were shot down. The pilots have been taken hostage.” The general slowly hangs up in disbelief and turns to his president.

“Do what is right for your country and resign, sir.”

“You’re all fired.” The president won’t back down, yet his voice seems weak if only for the first time. Nobody moves. “I said you’re fired. You’re fired!” He remains seated in his chair with his arms crossed, obstinent and determined like a child in the grocery store aisle who refuses to put the pop tarts back. He looks small, helpless. Even his advisor seems unsure of him now. Never has he seemed so weak in his life.

The advisor gets up. “Sir, let’s go.” The two exit the room. The five hours are up.

On the Chinese destroyer, the admiral is aware of the time as well. “No response. Set course for San Francisco.”

A Political Fiction (Part I)

The following is pure fiction intended for entertainment purposes only. It is not based on any empirical evidence or based upon any credible threat, foreign or domestic. 

PART I

A rail yard in an undisclosed location, two masked figures in black move decisively in the dusk toward a refrigerated train car. German Shepards bark in the distance, we catch first glimpse of a guard tower to the East. Flash lights appear beneath other cars, guards footsteps approaching fast. One masked figure tries to key into the rail car from outside. The keys remain red, the code is no good. The other man pushes him out of the way, tries another combination. It works, just as the German Shepard’s and guards round the corner – to a dead end.

Inside the train car is a state of the art computer terminal with servers and several monitors. Two Chinese men meet them. One, clearly senior in rank, steps forward and speaks in Mandarin, “did you bring it?” The man removes a brief case from a black backpack with a nervous nod.

Washington DC. A red carpet gala awaits this years new Congressional leadership. Media gathers, photographing and interviewing several politicians in line for the black tie event.

In an undisclosed location, the President lays out a choice of bold red ties before returning to his cellphone. He is distracted by several messages. He can’t help but begin to reply to them. A knock — a secret service officer enters.

“We depart on Marine One in ten minutes.” The president gives him a curt nod before returning to his phone.

The messages appear to come from Twitter, indicating that a password change has been requested. He pauses, when another message comes in.

“If you believe this message was sent in err, please reenter your old password and hit send.” The president pauses. A knock catches him off guard as he types in a series of characters and hits send. Two secret service agents enter this time.

“Sir we have reason to believe you may have received an unauthorized text message.”

“No only from Twitter. Everything is fine.”

“Sir, your phone is not secure we need –”

“You said I could continue to tweet. Everything is fine, I’ll turn the phone off. Is Marine One ready?”

The two men aren’t going to fight it any more. They hold the door for him.

Meanwhile, in the rail car… The two masked men have settled in before monitors. The brief case has been converted into an encrypted radio device. One of the senior men step in to use it.

In Mandarin, “Project Shaolin underway.”

At the other end of a radio, a naval officer hangs up the receiver. He gives order to sound the horn.

Beside them are several hundred naval vessels, including aircraft carriers. They all turn up their engines and begin to head in the same direction.

At the red carpet gala, the president exits his limo with several secret service agents building a wall around him ahead of gathering media. Lights flash as cameras capture the presidents arrival. Reporters throw questions at him from all angles.

“Mr. President, many say your ramping up in rhetoric with regards to China is inappropriate.”

“Look – we’re going to put America first. I really don’t care if the Chinese are offended. Next questions.”

A friendlier face catches his attention.

“How are you dear, you look terrific.”

“Oh thank you. Um, Mr. President, can you please explain a tweet sent by you exclaiming we will defend ourselves against any Chinese attacks?”

“I’m sorry can you read me this tweet?”

“‘China is weak. We will defend any attacks with the full force of our SUPERIOR military’ — what does this mean, has there been a threat of attack?”

The President grows pale, silent. His detail rushes him inside. The media erupt in pandemonium. “Mr. President!”

A situation room has been set up. Several military officers in uniform, and the presidents heavyset advisor in an ill fitting suit and crooked tie.

“When was this tweet sent?” A senior official asks.

“I never sent it.” The president is stoic, almost unfazed.

“Sir, it was time stamped fifteen minutes ago.” A military officer looks at the President. “We’ll need your phone sir.”

A staffer enters, hysterical. “We’re locked out, we can’t get into his account!”

Another military officer enters. “I have word from the pentagon. A large Chinese naval presence has been spotted 3000km off Hawaii. We sent a spy plane out. There’s close to 100 vessels, possibly 250,000 men.”

The advisor speaks up, “then bomb them. Why are we sending out spy planes when we should be sending out destroyers!?”

The officer retorts bluntly, “you have no experience to make that call. War with the Chinese is a loosing proposition — Mr. President?”

A long pause. “They got my twitter password. I thought the text was from Twitter.” The room goes silent. Several officers then look at one another. Finally, “scramble all available ships and blockade our borders.”

Read Part II