We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, June 8, 2015

“Under the Dome” Exposes the Extent of China’s Pollution Problems

Click here to access article by Beth Kelly from Uncommon Thought Journal. 
When former CCTV star investigative reporter Cai Jing posted her air pollution documentary “Under the Dome” on the People’s Daily website, it went viral overnight, racking over 175 million viewings over the weekend. Estimates concluded that within days the film had been seen by a third of China’s online audience. Its debut just ahead of the annual National People’s Congress seemed well-timed to air the debate on environmental concerns that had made many Chinese especially angry about the “airpocalypses” of years prior. However, just a week after its debut, China’s censorship apparatus abruptly caused all commentary and articles on the film and finally the film itself to be removed from Chinese and international websites.
China is experiencing some major contradictions under capitalism: preserving a healthy environment while meeting the requirement of economic growth, jobs, and equitable distribution of benefits. While people are clearly concerned, the ruling directors are reflexively using authoritarian methods to contain dissent. 

Here in the US, our ruling class directors are burdened by an historical legacy of liberalism, the ideology of Western capitalism. In the 18th century when the rising capitalist class in Europe was small, they saw the necessity of inducing ordinary people to support them in their opposition to the rather arbitrary rule of monarchs and their aristocratic supporters. Hence they made all sorts of promises to ordinary people about various freedoms that they would enjoy if monarchical rule could be overturned. They have always had to contend with the democratic demands of this legacy, but they have done so successfully using a variety of methods. 

To fully understand this would require a study of the real history of the US and Western civilization which is not easy to find. Besides the reading list I've recommended on the right hand side of this website, I can recommend a few books such as The Democratic Facade by Hellinger and Judd, Propaganda by Edward Bernays, Manufacturing of Consent by Herman and Chomsky. 

So that you don't come to the erroneous conclusion that our system is so much better than China's and other countries, the point I wish to make is that ruling classes always find ways to insure their subjects' compliance to their rule. Also, it must be kept in mind that our ruling class do not entirely depend on these softer methods to induce compliance. Should these methods fail, they are ready, willing, and able to use violence against dissenters. That's why we have 24/7 surveillance (instead of widespread censorship), militarized police forces, and a huge military establishment.