by Finian Cunningham
27 January 2012
Listen to this fable. A man was lying in bed, tired and tormented. Tired because it was the early hours and yet he could not sleep; tormented because the cause of his tiredness was a mosquito, lurking somewhere in the darkness that would sporadically make its presence known by homing in on the man’s head, its whining buzz ringing in his ear. Try as he might, the man could not find any rest. Covering his head with the bed sheet only made him hot and breathless, the clammy discomfort made all the worse because of the climate.
Furthermore there was the hateful, capricious presence of his tormentor. Just when tiredness was overcoming the man, luring him to sleep, his tormentor would descend with its wicked whining on the other side of the sheet. Jolted by the sound, the man’s irritation would surge again, knowing that another hour of sleeplessness would have to pass.
His mind began to wander into squeamish thoughts. If he submitted to his tormentor’s desires by throwing off the sheet from his head, gaining some air to breathe and some badly craved minutes of sleep, then the mosquito would as sure as hell take its toll. The man pictured the ruthless parasite gorging on his blood while sleeping. He was nauseated by the idea of an alien creature being able to violate his skin with impunity and dipping into the well of his lifeblood, sucking his body’s vital fluid until its spindly belly became grotesquely bloated. The horribleness of the process disgusted him, terrorized him.
But also the squalid, gratuitous relationship filled him with anger. All at once his anger redoubled because he then realized that he – a man – had wasted so much of his precious rest time cowering under a sheet intimidated by an inferior speck of an insect, which in daylight he recalled is actually a very ungainly, insipid kind of creature that can easily be captured and crushed.
The man wasn’t yet working to a premeditated plan. Angry and exasperated, now fully awake, he simply decided to throw off the sheet and enjoy the cooling air. Lying full-square on his back, at first he felt a certain amusement from his petty show of defiance. What he would do next, wasn’t quite in his consciousness. He was just for the moment merely taking in fresh air.
Then out of the blackness, it came again, the wicked whining. Louder than ever, it seemed, the tormentor was drilling towards his bare face. But this time the man did not shirk or take shelter under the sheet. It was probably a mixture of irritation and anger that made his hands snap together in reflex, not consciously. He was surprised by his own quick, powerful action. And what was even more surprising to him was the subsequent silence. At first hardly believing his luck at catching his tormentor in pitch darkness, he then became elated by the sustained silence that meant that the torment was over. He had at last acquired rest and he luxuriated in the satisfaction of earning it. To be sure, in the scheme of things it was only a small victory, but nevertheless the man allowed himself the pleasure of knowing that he had asserted his will deliberately, purposefully for the comfort and peace of his mind and body. No longer would he be subjugated by a fiend. Henceforth, or at least for the rest of the night, this man would be the subject of his own fate.
The parasitical nature of late capitalism in the early 21st century is beyond comparison to a pest such as the mosquito. The lifeblood sucked from the body of society by a tiny ruling elite is oceans in volume by comparison; the human misery and suffering magnitudes worse. Prolific journalist Stephen Lendman can provide the shocking data on the United States of America in particular and how that society has within the space of a lifetime been bled utterly dry by the Wall Street banks, corporate oligarchs and their servile political Igors in both mainstream parties, including the occupant of the White House . The same torment of the large body of people by a parasitical elite is replicated in Europe and elsewhere.
That is the ineluctable fiendish nature of global capitalism, which over generations feeds on the lifeblood of workers, and emaciates them and their families, while the system’s executors become bloated to the point of bursting, with all the wastefulness and destructiveness, including wars, that that entails. There is no way of legislating against such parasitism because the legislators are, or will sooner or later become, part of the parasitism – as the rich get richer and power and wealth inevitably polarize under capitalism. It is like a centrifugal force; always taking, taking, taking until the majority are left looking like a spent liquid to be discarded. Look at every nation state under the diktat of capitalism at this time in history, and dare say that that isn’t so.
The only protection to be gained is from crushing the system and replacing it with a different paradigm of relationships (democratic socialism – an alternative that has scarcely ever been given the chance to develop under the tyranny of capitalist imperialism).
In truth, this is not an impossibly tall order. The tormentor is in actual fact puny in number and size when compared with the collective body and power of the people. In many ways, the tormentor is only able to continue his parasitical tyranny because the people have chosen thus far to cower and take relative disorganized shelter. Or worst, they have fallen asleep from weariness, assigning themselves completely to the mercy of an insatiable feeding frenzy.
But signs are that the great body of humanity is finally beginning to rouse in anger, precisely from a painful understanding of how it has been and is being tormented. The world is awakening – thanks to global communications – and no more so than in the United States, where it is arguably most needed. And like the man in the above fable, a moment of determined organization could be all it takes to suddenly overturn a state of fear and torment into one of joy and freedom.