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, April 11, 2016

Monsanto's Willing Executioners

Click here to access article by JP Sottile from TruthOut. (Minor revisions made up till 7:30 AM Seattle time on 4/12/2016)

I have already established the fact that TruthOut has large Democratic Party funders (see my commentary at this post) who act like a Mephistopheles on the people who run this website. According the the Faust legend, when you make a pact with the devil (in this case people committed to capitalism), you bargain for more time to seek knowledge and power in exchange for your soul. With this post and similar ones TruthOut makes an effort to redeem its pact with the devil. Whether they can, unlike the legend, continue to do so and ultimately outwit the capitalist devil is for the future to reveal. (I extremely doubt it.)

Anyway, this piece is a major contribution to an understanding of how Monsanto has succeeded in selling so much poison that has been spread over much of our Mother Earth, and continues to in spite of popular opposition. 

We should not be surprised that when power and profits are at stake, corporations always win in any contest with the capitalist version of democracy. 

This piece has got me thinking. Staying with the metaphor of the Faust legend, one might think of the capitalist version of democracy as also a pact with the devil made by people several centuries ago when they joined the capitalist class to help them overthrow the rule of the existing ruling class--the monarchies and aristocracies of the feudal era. The capitalists seduced the peasants and workers (artisans and craftsmen) into supporting them with promises of all kinds of freedoms that became the capitalist ideology of liberalism. In reality the core concepts emphasized the equivalence of liberty with the rights of property and individualism. (This classic view of liberalism should not be confused with the revisionist form as used today with its emphasis on a mixed economy and the equality of social identities.) This was essentially a pact made between the rising capitalist class in the 17th and 18th centuries and the rest of humanity in the Western world.

Much of this ideology of freedom was stolen from Age of Enlightenment philosophers who challenged the many superstitions in the feudal era based on the developments of scientific inquiry and the subsequent discoveries by the early scientists of our natural world. (Notice that this is much like corporations today such as Monsanto that appropriate the scientific method to create antisocial products to enrich themselves instead of satisfying real social needs.) To conform to their interests, this new capitalist ruling class as they came to power made a revolutionary transformation of all institutions to conform to their interests. This was especially true of the underlying ideology of Western societies which they transformed into one that was much more compatible with their rule: the worldview of Romanticism which emphasized the heroic role of individuals (capitalists). 

I think that in this contemporary period, in which capitalism has spread throughout the world, we are seeing a day of reckoning for making this making this pact with the capitalist devil. We are seeing interminable wars and its effects (social chaos and the rise of terrorist armies), destabilization of the climate which threatens human habitat, the decline of living standards for most humans along with the enrichment of a tiny class, the rise of police state features (24/7 surveillance, militarized police forces, suspensions of civil liberties, etc.), and the ever present threat of a nuclear war conflagration between capitalist countries. It has now become questionable whether humans can survive even another century.