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May-31-2012 22:03printcomments

Strategies of Deception

Under a Republican president we could revive the spirit of revolt and mobilize the people of the world against the empire.

US President Barack Obama
Salem-News.com

(OLDENBURG, Germany) - To get a preview of Obama's strategies for winning a second term, we just need to read the liberal press. They are giving lip-service praise to the current protests while trying to steer them in a direction that serves the Democratic Party. Seeking to restore the fading illusion that the Democrats work in the interests of the 99%, they imply that if Obama is given a second term, his true nature will emerge and he'll crack down on the greed and corruption of the 1% and lead the country in a progressive direction. They conveniently ignore that he's done the opposite during his three years in office.

They also try to scare us into voting for him by claiming a Republican president would be much worse. In fact the differences between Republicans and Democrats are mostly a matter of image and style. Their military policies are equally aggressive, and their economic policies differ only in nuances. But the Democrats put a friendly face on their administration of capital. Their rhetoric is sprinkled with populist slogans as they're bailing out banksters and dropping bombs.

The more blatant style of a Republican president might actually be better now because it would generate more opposition at home and abroad. This opposition needs to build into militant resistance before it will produce real change. To prevent this sort of uprising was one of the reasons the corporate elite backed Obama. And until recently he's succeeded in quieting dissent. With masterful PR legerdemain, he put the antiwar movement to sleep while continuing to fight the wars. Under a Republican president we could revive the spirit of revolt and mobilize the people of the world against the empire. It's going to take that kind of international struggle to overthrow this colossus.

Another strategy of deception is to claim that the good old days of middle-class prosperity can be brought back. Both major parties say their policies will restore high employment at good wages. But those times are gone. Those were the conditions in the prior, Keynesian phase of capitalism, when the main market for products was the home country. Wage increases were tolerated then because they stimulated consumption. Now the market is global, and corporations face severe competition from emerging industrial powers such as China and India, which have far lower labor costs. To compete with their prices, US and European corporations must slash wages and benefits. If they are to maintain long-term dominance, they must also extend their hold on essential resources. Control over Mideast oil and a pipeline through Afghanistan aren't just things they'd like to have. They need them to hold on to their power in the present consolidation phase of capitalism, when the less effective predators are eliminated and wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer giant corporations. The system demands they impoverish their workers and kill millions of people. Capitalism is inherently aggressive and predatory, and this intensifies in its later stages. Reforms can't change its basic nature.

In addition to pushing reformism, the liberal media portray the economic crisis as being a problem of distribution. The 99% have too little, the 1% have too much, so the 1% should be taxed and regulated so the rest of us get a fair share. This sounds good, and it has elected a string of Democrats who talk about it while loyally serving the interests of the 1%.

The core problem is not distribution but ownership. If forced to, the 1% will accept higher taxation and regulation, as long as they maintain ownership. With the economic power in their hands, they can reverse the taxes and regulations later, as we have seen.

The only fair share is an equal share for everyone. To achieve that we must take the means of production -- the natural resources, factories, banks, and major corporations -- away from the 1% and use them for the benefit of us all.

The 99% doesn't need a bigger piece of the pie. We need to own the pie. We planted the seeds for the pie, tilled and harvested them, ground the flour, cut the sugar cane, churned the butter, bake the pie, delivered it to the store, rang up the sale, and made the owners rich. It's our pie! But we're going to have to take it back.

We're not going to do that through liberal regulations and reforms that leave ownership in the hands of the 1%. And we're also not going to do it through a dictatorship such as the Soviet Union or China. They were under constant attack by the capitalist countries, and they had no tradition of democracy, so they reverted to totalitarianism. But we aren't under attack by a global superpower and we have a heritage of individual liberty, so we can build a democratic, decentralized form of socialism.

The first step towards that is to free ourselves from the strategies of deception with which the oligarchs try to shape our minds. The second is to join with others in active struggle. Just being angry isn't enough; to succeed we must be organized and militant. Salem-News.com is a resource for both these steps.

William T. Hathaway's new book, Radical Peace: People Refusing War, presents the experiences of peace activists who have moved beyond petitions and demonstrations into direct action: helping soldiers to desert, destroying computer systems, trashing recruiting offices, burning military equipment, and sabotaging defense contractors. Chapters are posted on a page of the publisher's website at http://media.trineday.com/radicalpeace A Special Forces combat veteran, Hathaway is currently an adjunct professor of American studies at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. His first book, A World of Hurt, won a Rinehart Foundation Award for its portrayal of the psychological roots of war: the emotional blockage and need for patriarchal approval that draw men to the military. He is also the author of Summer Snow, the story of an American warrior in Central Asia who falls in love with a Sufi Muslim and learns from her an alternative to the military mentality. Chapters are available at www.peacewriter.org.

_________________________________

William T. Hathaway is author of the novels A World of Hurt, CD-Ring,, Summer Snow and a nonfiction book, Radical Peace: People Refusing War. He also wrote the screenplay for Socrates, an educational film starring Ed Asner that was broadcast on PBS.

Hathaway began his writing career as a newspaper reporter in San Francisco, then joined the Special Forces to research a book about war. Based on his experiences on a combat team in Vietnam, A World of Hurt won a Rinehart Foundation Award for its portrayal of the psychological roots of war.

After the war Hathaway became a peace activist. In his latest book, Radical Peace, he wrote, "Since then my books and articles have centered on this theme, as do many of my nonwriting activities. It's become my beat, as they say in the newspaper business." A selection of his writing is available at http://www.peacewriter.org. You can drop William an email at this address: william.hathaway@ewetel.net



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Daniel Johnson June 1, 2012 11:36 pm (Pacific time)

Spot on!!! We need to go beyond opposition to militant resistance. Only the Republicans can affect this transition. When unemployment remains high, wages continue to decline and worker's rights are removed wholesale as in Wisconsin, enough of the American people will snap out of their dazed reality and the world will really see some potential change and progress. That, at least, is the theory. The history of the American people on waking up, however, is not good. 


M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. June 1, 2012 9:45 pm (Pacific time)

My hat is off to you, sir. There has been no interest in promoting a truly progressive write in candidate which solidifies the twisted thought America lies down to: The Lesser of Two Evils. The Ron Paul hypnotized clowns will never wake up to who he really is, so one merely adjusts to the chirping noises and seltzer spray. Personally, global sentiment is rapidly turning against a second Obama term and Romney is a laughing stock. The Occupy movement is forming alternatives and will soon be educating the public on important issues they can control through employing numbers. The backlash from the 1% will be enough to create action whether Obama or Romney get the king seat.


Anonymous June 1, 2012 11:30 am (Pacific time)

This article talks about republican leadership but does not mention what republican leadership. Romney? who is just another obama? Or Ron Paul? In my opinion, this article is out of the Saul Alinski book, "rules for radicals", (obama's mentor) this author is just a horse of a different color. This author tells truth about many things in his writing, but I feel the author is a trojan horse, jumping on the bandwagon of the freedom movement, only to fool us back into slavery. I have come across too many people like this, I feel I know what I am talking about. Romney will just take the baton from obama and run, the same way obama took the baton from bush etc. If you are a republican, the only answer is Ron Paul. If you are democrat, kucinich is somewhat ok, altho he sold his soul in 2008 after taking a ride on air force one, and changing his vote on obamacare. Ron Paul would not do that. We simply do not have a democrat presidential candidate that is worth a darn. Alan Greyson who is a democrat is quite cool, but the powers to be ended his career before it got started.

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