Shouting at the Devil: “F*ck You, Capitalism!” By Jason Miller

Dandelion Salad

By Jason Miller
Thomas Paine’s Corner
10/29/07

“America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you’ve lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn’t belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don’t care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve.”

–Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine

Does my profanity offend? If so, accept my sincere apologies for having the audacity to use a vulgar expletive in reference to the malignant force that is raping the Earth and murdering its sentient inhabitants. Then take my ‘deeply sincere’ pleas for forgiveness, and with the aid of an unlubricated rod of significant diameter, ram them firmly up the collective asses of the plutocratic bags of shit who comprise the ruling elite in the United States.

Capitalism, capitalism. How do I loath thee? Let me count the ways….

1. Few would argue with the conclusion that greed, selfishness, ruthlessness, and egocentrism are qualities that all of us humans possess, to varying degrees of course. Equally compelling is the argument that nearly all of us are capable of acting with kindness, compassion, justice, honesty, generosity, and empathy. Yet despite the sweeping epidemic of unnecessary suffering caused by torrential waves of avarice, self-centeredness, and brutality, our filthy moneyed elite, their well-compensated sycophants, and countless millions of deeply inculcated members of the working class defend the sacred cow of capitalism with the zeal of the Siccari. What a brilliant way to conduct human affairs and organize ourselves socioeconomically! Not only do we embrace the inevitability of our human frailties; we willfully and perpetually embrace a system that ensures that the worst elements of the human psyche will predominate AND which amply rewards those who act the most reprehensibly.

2. One of the idiocies advanced as a logical argument to justify the continued existence of the abomination of capitalism is that while it may be flawed, it is still better than any alternative. If capitalism is the best humanity can do, it’s time to cash in our chips and leave Earth to our non-human animal counter-parts. They may not have opposable thumbs and formidably sized frontal lobes, but at least they don’t engage in the systematic destruction of themselves and the rest of the planet. However, before we act too hastily and engage in mass Seppuku, perhaps it would make more sense to implement a mass reorganization of our socioeconomic structure, basing the new paradigm on far more egalitarian, sustainable, democratic, just, and rational principles. Or we could just keep destroying each other and the fucking planet….

3. Capitalismo has raped Central and South America nearly to death. Unlike the “Land of the Free,” most of those horribly victimized nations have a vibrant, thriving, and well-organized Left to stand in opposition to the scourge of humanity and the Earth. US-sponsored death squads, torture, disappearances, privatization, “free” trade, deregulation, union busting, evisceration of social programs, coups, and vilification of leaders with the audacity to defy the status quo of avarice on steroids have assailed our southern neighbors since we in the United States (the self-appointed champions of capitalism) began our wholesale exploitation, imperialism, and neoliberalism by “acquiring” half of Mexico. Let’s see now. Remind me again. How many invasions has that “dire threat” to humanity named Hugo Chavez launched? How much “collateral damage” has he inflicted?

4. Capitalism is an anachronism that long ago out-lived its usefulness (except to the morally rotten parasites comprising our de facto aristocracy) and has proven itself to be an abject failure as a means of human interaction and organization. It’s one step removed from feudalism, for Christ’s sake! (Oops! Sorry, I forgot about mercantilism—the transition to capitalism made such a difference). One of humanity’s strengths is our capacity to evolve. Given that, why in the hell do we stubbornly cling to a system that enables a fraction of a percent of the population to live in OBSCENE opulence while 35,000 of our fellow human beings die of starvation-related causes each day? Are the rest of us truly inane enough to believe that asinine myth that any of us has a REALISTIC chance of becoming the next Bill Gates, if we “just work hard enough.” Or that there is an ounce of moral virtue in pursuing the accumulation of excessive wealth?

5. Resting upon the “pillars” of greed, selfishness and hyper-competitiveness, capitalism is irrational and unstable. Crisis and resource wars are chronic and inevitable. How could we expect it to be otherwise? Unleashing some of the ugliest aspects of the human spirit and creating artificial shortages in a world of abundance (by allowing a select few to hoard most of the resources as “their property”), capitalism doesn’t exactly engender an environment of peace and brotherly love. While our filthy ruling plutocracy has allowed a degree of socialism to diminish their power to rape, pillage and plunder, they only did so to quell social unrest during times of serious instability (i.e. The New Deal). Meanwhile, reactionary elements in our “democracy” are consistently scheming to eliminate the use of public monies to actually benefit the public. Witness George Bush’s ongoing demands for an open purse to fund our insanely bloated military and the war crimes we are committing in Iraq. Compare that to his recent refusal to spend an additional $35 billion to provide health care for 3.9 million children. Bush and the moneyed interests for whom he is fronting are inflicting gaping, cankerous wounds upon humanity and the Earth. How much more obvious could it be? (And this administration isn’t an aberration; they are simply bold enough to reveal their agenda—that’s the scary part).

6. Thanks to our slightly adulterated yet plenty virulent infestation of capitalism, the United States is not the “Christian nation” it touts itself to be. While we certainly abide by the Golden Rule in the sense that “he who has the gold makes the rules,” there is little about the manner in which we conduct ourselves as a nation (particularly in terms of foreign policy) of which the person meeting the Biblical description of Jesus Christ would have approved. Let’s just run through a few highlights. We have killed millions of Iraqis via two invasions and barbaric economic sanctions (the sanctions alone killed over half a million children—they’re on your tab, Bill Clinton)—and these are people who NEVER attacked us nor posed a true threat to our “national security.” We arm and support Israel, the diseased enforcer of the mental illness known as Zionism. Ethnic cleansing. Now there’s a spiritually nourishing Christian pastime for you. We revere, idolize, and empower talented, “beautiful” people whose moral evolution came to a screeching halt at about age five. They are our CEOs, politicians, celebrities, athletes, billionaires, pundits, and Wall Streeters whose smug, hubristic “all-American” mugs, talking heads, and ‘surgically enhanced’ bodies are blasted into our homes 24/7 via Fox, CNN, ABC, and a host of other disseminators of the fetid garbage of infotainment. Sorry folks. Calvinism is about as close as our culture comes to the compassion and love modeled by Christ. And with John Calvin in the saddle, we fall significantly short of that mark. As his unwitting disciples, we are imbued with cynicism and self-hatred (we are, after all, “original sinners”), a sadistic desire to inflict ample doses of punishment for the smallest of transgressions (hence the US having the largest prison population in the world—comprised largely of non-violent drug offenders) and the notion that being rich means one has acquired God’s stamp of approval. (Thoughts of camels, needles, and kingdoms of heaven keep throwing me into a horrid state of cognitive dissonance in my desperate efforts to be a good little capitalist by embracing Part III of the Calvinist doctrine…..). Somehow I don’t think Christ had capitalism in mind when he preached the Sermon on the Mount…..

7. Let’s consider sustainability and consumerism for a moment, shall we? Two more of capitalism’s noxious, life-extinguishing qualities are its demand for infinite growth and its unavoidable “dilemma” of excess production. Problem number one is insoluble, but we can simply let our grandchildren worry about our insane insistence on maintaining a system demanding infinite resources from a finite world. As for excess production, that one is simple. We have the most advanced agitprop industry (Madison Avenue) and the most powerful delivery devices (the mainstream media) in the history of humanity churning out alluring appeals to consumers to buy what they don’t need, can’t really afford, and may never even use. Surplus schmurplus….

8. As an “added bonus” to the wounds it inflicts upon humanity as a collective, capitalism also causes serious character malformations in individuals. As infants and young children, human beings naturally believe themselves to be the center of the universe. In order to “succeed” (and sometimes just survive) in the rat race of capitalism, as we mature we begin viewing our narcissism as an attribute. Rather than shedding it, we nurture it with the tenderness of the most devoted of mothers. Looking out for number one, careerism, an obsession with winning, acquisitiveness, and putting money and appearances ahead of principles and people are considered to be virtues in this violently seething cesspool we euphemistically call a culture.

9. Perhaps most disturbing of all is the way in which capitalism’s relentless advocates have managed to bamboozle billions of people into equating it with democracy. Diabolical to its core, but sheer genius nonetheless. Concluding that capitalism and democracy are somehow synonymous is a bit like saying that Dick Cheney and the milk of human kindness relate to one another in even a very remote fashion. (Have you seen the myriad pictures of his evil grimaces floating around the Internet? Despicable creature that he is, he doesn’t even attempt to mask his malevolence). Capitalism is naturally hierarchal, authoritarian, and brutal. Corporations, the legal vehicles for the plutocracy to maximize their profits while minimizing liability, are structured as tyrannies. What the hell is democratic about dog eat dog, law of the jungle, and every man for himself? Besides, if we uber-capitalists here in the United States are truly “democratic,” and we “elected” a depraved idiot like W to what is ostensibly the most powerful position in the world, what does that say about us?

George Bush, Dick Cheney, et al aren’t anomalies or accidents. They are the naked face of savage capitalism evolved to its ultimate and inevitable state, which is embodied by corporatism, monopolism, cronyism, imperialism, and fuck-everyone-but-the-rich-ism.

Slice it, it dice it and spice it any way you prefer. A pile of shit is a pile of shit by any other name. Capitalism is just that from the standpoint of compassionate, moral, and intelligent human beings. One exceptionally virtuous person, Archbishop Don Helder Pessoa Camara, who was a progenitor of Liberation Theology and an unwavering champion of the poor, once remarked, “To examine capitalism is to indict it.”

Unfortunately, capitalism remains the 800 pound gorilla in the room. There is little doubt that its countless millions of fiercely loyal minions amongst the working class and poor will continue heeding their indoctrination, daring us to pry their copies of Atlas Shrugged “from their cold dead hands.” And we can count on the fact that the likes of the Mars heirs, Richard Mellon Scaife, and their ilk are not destined to experience profound spiritual awakenings anytime soon.

Yet there is hope. Capitalism exists in a state of perpetual crisis. Inequality is on the rise, globally and domestically. Our lords and masters are beginning to fall victim to their own hubris as they practice their predations more and more overtly. Palliatives can only delay the system’s inevitable collapse for so long. Sooner rather than later the deepening undercurrent of social unrest will burst the levees of injustice asunder.

Relative to what’s coming, the Great Depression was a mere warm-up. Yet in adversity there lies opportunity. Our US gulag, often referred to as the prison industrial complex, will serve as excellent quarters for the irredeemable scum stalking the corridors of power in DC, the Walton clan, Larry Ellison, and the rest of the parasites atop the capitalist pyramid.

Or perhaps things will take a more Jacobin turn and we won’t need to waste any more precious resources on these predatory sociopaths….

Fuck you, capitalism; fuck you…..

Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com

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9 thoughts on “Shouting at the Devil: “F*ck You, Capitalism!” By Jason Miller

  1. there is nothing about capitalism that mandates a hierarchical structure. it really is up to the property owner, whether it be a single person or a cooperative. it is not even necessarily the case that capitalism mandates competition, as a contract could be made between parties to ensure reciprocal welfare in times of need; which is typically what the cartels would do, though largely with government assistance. all capitalism mandates is a system of private property (and that property can either be land-based or labor-based) and some kind of pricing structure/unit of exchange, which can either be fixed (in the classic cartel style) or “floating,” that is, based on demand and/or competition. we have already discussed the problems associated with getting rid of private property altogether, but if you want to return to that discussion we can do so here.

    i think the statement “after decades of education the workers took over the means of production and organized **spontaneously**” hits the nail on the head. also, the fact that the CNT did not coerce that other 30% out of their property, as the state no doubt would have done given the opportunity with a mandate from the proletariat.

    you seem to think that coercive state power can be used to strong arm big business into behaving properly, at which time the workers would rise up and take over from there…but then what you have to deal with is that *other* monopoly enterprise you encouraged with your exhortations of “democracy” and “equality,” which then allowed it to form its own cartels and expand its surveillance and police powers to prevent black markets and enforce its “codes,” (rather like FDR’s NRA debacle), etc etc.

    you seem to fall for that lethal seduction of marxism, that either the “state” or the “dictatorship of the proleteriat” will be necessary in the transition toward “real” communism. but as history has shown time and time again, this only emboldens the state and centralizes the bureaucracy to such an extant that all those evil corporations you wanted to get rid of are given an opportunity to buy up the handful of regulators that run the whole economy at the national level and squash competition from smaller enterprises, as well as employ those expansive police powers for their own devices (this is essentially what happened under the regime of “deregulation”; namely, all those cartels that were formed by New Deal-style policies were given free reign under the false banner of “free markets,” while the state infrastructure that was fattened by two world wars remained largely in place)

    the surest route is to scale back the size and scope of the state while at the same time rallying the masses to boycott those industries which are no longer serving the needs of the people, beating them at their own game with local enterprises, cooperatives, outreaches, etc., and gradually starving them of their market. that way you don’t have the state to worry about, the corporations can no longer use the apparatus of the state to suppress competition and dissent and you have developed a community-based infrastructure to take over where the welfare/warfare state had left off.

    i think it is just a question of tactics, really. i distrust any system or regime that employs the use of force to achieve egalitarian means.

    -b-

  2. Simply stated, Capitalism requires hierarchy and indefinite expansion. The commune I envisioned would at some point hit an equilibrium and would effectively be classless as the workers would be responsible for providing for themselves as well as each other.

    Your inability to marry liberty and equality is a testament to the power of our culture. With two participants competing in an unequal but free society (free market) the stronger of the two will almost always prevail and marginalize the weaker. Where is the liberty in that? Equality is paramount. Complete liberty cannot come until equality is achieved, as there would be no hierarchy to oppress the individual, not even the majority would be a coercive force.

    For a better understanding of what I’m referring to take a look at the Spanish Anarchist Collectives. Through decades of education workers took over the means of production and collectivized spontaneously. Does this mean the CNT marched from town to town kicking people off there land or robbing peasants of their produce? Not in the slightest. In some areas up to 30% of the population refused to be collectivized. Some farmers didn’t want to share their yields and the Anarchists didn’t coerce them into forfeiting their property, they worked with those who dissented. These are just a few humble examples of how a truly free society can incorporate equality and liberty.

    As far as the 1960s are concerned it seems I didn’t make myself clear. I wasn’t bemoaning the decade, I was praising it. From 1950 through 1973 economic performance outshone the subsequent decades. What came after was a relaxation of government protection of workers, union busting and deregulation (see: Thatcher and Reagan). If this wasn’t an ideally “free” market it was at least a freer market. These policies, because of reasons I’ve already mentioned, transferred money from the poor into the hands of the rich.

    Your examples of Taiwan and Vietnam are well chosen and well stated, yet, you don’t give the complete picture. Taiwan’s provincial government maintains social programs to help ensure a consistent quality of life and Vietnam hasn’t fell into the common pitfall of economic disparity precisely because the government has stepped in and took money from rich provinces and spread it across poor ones. Moving from highly coercive communist governments (something, needless to say, I hardly endorse) to labor friendly states which resemble social democracies provide safety nets for the underprivileged segments of society, not exactly a free market paradise.

    Unions, environmental regulations, and worker protections have been won through bloody struggles. Government pressures businesses into adhering to basic human rights restrictions often cutting into profits. Imagine how much Exxon Mobile could make if they didn’t have to pay out pensions or overtime. But this is a practice which would be morally disgusting, and it is the job of government to corral business until the people can do it themselves.

  3. rich,

    even you agreed, in our little debate, that in your ideal society “private property” would still exist as a kind of boundary that cannot be crossed by those who do not work and live in a productive commune but still demand the fruits of other people’s labor; you also agreed that this hypothetical commune should be able to keep and re-invest its own revenues (that is, distributing it among its own workers); how is any of this incompatible with capitalism, as i have defined it above? i think it’s just semantics; you are afraid of the word. let’s call it “market communism” then. i’m ok with that.

    and yes, in a free society there will be inequality. but i think liberty is more important than fraternity, which is what distinguishes me as an individualist anarchist from your collectivist breed. i have every right to carve out my own piece of land and grow my own food and sustain my own existence. if my garden happens to be on a plot of land that is more productive than yours, you don’t have any right, by force of sheer numbers, to demand that i give up the fruits of my labor to you or your cronies; but if you ask me, i will probably give you a fair share.

    this requires that i have some monopoly of the use of force on my side, to protect me as an individual (a minority) against the whims of the majority (democracy, after all, is what killed socrates), which is the only legitimate reason “government” as such exists at all.

    once you say that the state needs to get involved in redistributing the fruits of my little garden, then you open the door to tyrants everywhere to seize a monopoly not only on the use of force but also the productive tools of the society, which results almost inevitably in the soviet-style system.

    “free markets” are not to blame for the turmoil of the 1960s. it is all those institutions of central economic planning established by keynes and his interventionists over at the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO, which essentially give no-bid contracts to corporations to buy up land which should have been given to local communities to start their own markets and exports, which, of course, are hampered by red tape from those same institutions. this is what happened, for example, in indonesia. but where genuine free markets have been allowed to take root, in taiwan for example, or later on in vietnam, you see innovation and the standard of living rise for the local communities, who are able to find in a niche in the global market and fill it with their own businesses.

    kenya is a good example of what happens when the state does not allow communities and villages to start their own markets; they are not allowed to have their own property, and so they do not even have an identity that can be used to get loans to start their own enterprises, or if they are able to set up shop as a vendor somewhere, the state taxes all their revenues and they are not able to grow.

    in the end, i do believe an equitable distribution of the wealth is possible, but only in a voluntary system of even exchange. i do not want equality if it means i have to sacrifice liberty; “equality” has been used as a banner by tyrants everywhere to justify mass culling in the name of the “higher good.” we would do well to learn from the mistakes of history and not repeat them.

    -b-

  4. Pingback: Socialism or barbarism? By Alex Miller « Dandelion Salad

  5. Bon,

    I agree that we must jettison both Big Government and Big Business. However, you neglect to give even a nod toward the necessity of equality. The ownership of private property, as is fetishized under Capitalism, will inevitably foster inequality.

    Even under your government-less, free market-based system liberty and justice would simply be a commodity with the strong out-muscling the weak. Capitalism is a “grow or die” system. This is antithetical to sustainability. In order to achieve growth, Capitalism must reward narcissism (which is often confused with individualism by right-libertarians, much to my displeasure) and authoritarianism. To force dominion over others, for example wage slavery, is by definition evil.

    The dirty little secret is free markets are bad. Although I believe both business (in its current configuration) and the state are illegitimate authorities at least social democracies with strong welfare states have historically generated employment, energized unions and produced a rebellious populace. Take a look at the global unrest during the 1960s. Free market policies were enacted in industrialized countries in the following decades as a way to transfer wealth from the lower classes into the hands of the rich, and subdue dissent. This makes sense. In an unregulated market with two unequal parties competing the stronger will almost always emerge victorious. When the people are ready it is my view that they will helm their own workplaces and decapitate the government.

    Beauty, intellect and charity are all admirable aims, but to expect Capitalism to be able to adapt to these noble demands is like expecting to discover a square circle. As long as the playing field remains uneven, and the bottom line continues to be our primary goal there will never be a time when all of the virtues we value can be fully realized.

  6. capitalism: a system in which i may own my own property, start my own business, earn a living any way i see fit and keep and reinvest my revenues.

    yeah, sounds evil to me.

    unfortunately, what we have today is corporatism, the collusion of big government and big business, which is the worst of all possible worlds.

    the state has failed profoundly as an institution, and is the #1 cause of unnatural deaths in human history. but ooooh, it’s that evil boogeyman “capitalism” that we have to worry about.

    nonsense. under capitalism, anything can become profitable. including sustainability. that is what is so great about capitalism: it’s vacuousness. it isn’t the system that is at fault, it is the ideologies that have hijacked it. due to our own laziness and our inability to adapt the market to our own needs, in part, because we think we can find something better, or somehow exist on the margins.

    the solution isn’t to go from Big Business (one form of monopoly enterprise) to Big Government (another form of monopoly enterprise). the solution is to get rid of both and create a market where intellect, charity, beauty and all the great human qualities are rewarded, become profitable, instead of the usual inane drivel.

    -b-

    -b-

  7. I ran across this quote just the other day and it pretty much puts capitalism and what it means in a nutshell for me. If we were to take your entire excellent rant into a sentence or 2, this would be the winner. That quote is this “A healthy human mind is incompatible with capitalism.”

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