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Commentary Last Updated: Dec 30th, 2008 - 02:10:43

Ring out the old, and hurry
By Frank Scott
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Dec 30, 2008, 00:48

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2009 brings a new administration to the USA and new hope to many Americans and much of the world. But that new executive staff continues to support and attempts to maintain an old system with current problems that could be the beginning of the end of finance capitalism, if not nature itself.

They will offer a brief revival of industrial capitalism, but that is likely to bring only temporary relief. So when the celebration is over and the euphoria induced by high-flown rhetoric wears off to reveal the ongoing disaster, what will we have to be hopeful about?

Maybe the end of our worst administration in history and the election of an at least half-black man as president is enough for the moment. But soon after the immediate gratification commodity Americans have been socialized to purchase wears off, for perhaps the last time, we�ll need to make changes that go far beyond what the new president implied with his rhetoric or indicates with his appointments.

Capitalism has been running on fossil fuel power and Ponzi scheme economics for so long that many think it is some natural way of life. But people have been fighting its colossal contradictions for generations and attempting to end its domination of social reality, even succeeding in the case of Cuba. Now that many more see the terrible crisis it has brought to the world, nations like Venezuela and Bolivia have elected governments that openly speak of the need to end capitalism before it ends civilization. They are working to develop a new phase of social organization that respects humanity and the environment in ways which the present system�s core principles cannot allow. We need to join them, and very soon, or it will be too late for us to affect the future in anything but a terribly negative way.

Present attempts to sustain capital at public expense would lead to a revolution if Americans were better organized and less confused about their political-economic system. But even with the shaping of our collective consciousness by corporate mind managers, there are indications that we may not allow continued robbery of our national wealth. But passive consumers need to become active citizens in order to claim rightful control of what they create but others somehow own.

As quickly as this old system is falling apart, we have to fashion a new one that will serve humanity and respect nature, rather than simply use and abuse them to generate wealth for a minority. We can�t do that under a leadership with undying faith that capital must endure and bring further material benefit to the old rich, so that they can allow their excess to trickle down to a majority which is becoming the new poor.

Capitalism is so out of control it may no longer be possible to bring it under control. Blood transfusions cannot revive a dead body, nor can infusions of make believe money reanimate a dead system. Belief in eternal life is hopeful religion, but our economic system is a debased religion which has been maintained by high priests teaching its dogma, and military power destroying any who question, criticize, or rebel against it. That has worked for centuries but now the planet and its people are saying that it cannot be tolerated any longer.

Signs of global rebellion are everywhere, and even if they don�t label the oppressive system in the same way, they all speak to the social and environmental threat represented by a dominating force which benefits the few at the expense of the many. If we don�t work to transform that system here at its disintegrating center, the rest of the world will have to do it without us. That kind of continuation of present divisive politics will make the problems that need cooperative solutions in the future even more difficult, if not impossible to solve.

How much more debt can a majority endure to finance credit for a minority? A generation ago, the entire expense of the New Deal�s temporary salvation of capitalism was less than a trillion dollars in today�s money. We have thus far expended more than 8.5 trillion dollars to unsuccessfully breathe life into a monstrous zombie that threatens to devour us all. Unemployment is increasing at a frightening pace, credit is sinking by the minute, and survival itself is becoming a serious problem for what used to be called a middle class. That marketing label was applied to working people who were induced to consume lots of stuff without paying cash, but instead incurring massive debts now impossible to pay.

One of the crippling contradictions of capitalism is that owners must pay workers less, so that they can profit more. But those workers must be able to consume what they produce, so capital has built a credit casino in which people make purchases with plastic instead of money. And despite the waste and immorality of an economy without health care for millions of humans but with medical care for millions of pets, Americans rely on credit cards in order to pay for the food, clothing and shelter which they depend on for their very survival. And now their credit is being denied by the same banks which they are financing with their public funds.

We are living on borrowed money and time, neither of which can be repaid under presently collapsing capitalism. We need to organically transform our economy before its synthetic malevolence totally poisons the earth and destroys civilization. That calls for a democratic structure we still need to create. Once we begin that process and join the emerging global culture of change we not only can believe in, but absolutely need, 2009 could turn out to be a significant turning point in history. But we need to work fast.

Copyright � 2008 Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears in the Coastal Post, a monthly publication from Marin County, California, and on numerous web sites, and on his shared blog at Contact him at

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