by The Necromancer
how Capitalist society continues to promise so much and deliver so little
Today we continue to hold witness to the great lie of modern society. A lie which propagates itself with mass media, with lofty notions of freedom and liberty, and taught to each new generation as the “true” way humanity should live. That lie is that all people living under the “Western Liberal Democracy” model of society are equal. That they are free. But the truth is something far more complex. As I am an American, I will likely use examples within my own nation. For those who read this and wish to provide examples in their own nations, I urge everyone to do so in the comments section.
What is the truth? The truth is that the peoples of supposedly “free nations” may have their rights, but there are a multitude of hidden double standards. The issue of Racism, for example, has been a long-standing one in America. While the official policy of discrimination and hate had been scrapped nearly forty years ago, pervasive elements of Racism still split the masses. What is worse is that many willing feed the fire of hate. It may be illegal in America to not hire someone or treat someone based on their skin, but to the subtle racist there are still many avenues of discrimination. Simply ignoring applicants (but not before you fill your Affirmative Action requirements), for example. While businesses can no longer hang signs stating that “-INSERT MINORITY HERE- need not apply”, this has never stopped employers claiming that potential applicants are “not qualified” or even “over qualified”. The same plight is faced by those who have physical or mental handicaps (I know “handicap” is no longer the accepted vernacular, but as I am an amputee I feel perfectly within reason to use the older term if I want). Tell me, where is the real equality here?
There is also the double standard of the older generation. Specifically speaking, the Great Recession of the past few years has seen record numbers of career workers, many of whom were very skilled in their professions, unemployed. Due to their age and supposed “over qualification” (that increasingly popular excuse again), many of these older unemployed have gone without new jobs. Legally, yet again, they must be considered. But in reality, that is the only obligation to equality Capitalist society is held to owe these people who have worked hard all their lives.
Another pressing double standard is that of Women’s Rights. Most recently highlighted by Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney with his “binders full of women” comment, the plight of real equality for women continues. Statistically, women still make less than their male counterparts in the workplace. And even if they are just as qualified, women are less likely to reach the highest levels of any company. The old term “glass ceiling” comes to mind once more. Even with Romney’s example, all he did was highlight the fact that he had files on potential female employees only because he legally had to.
That of course brings us to the lie that is Affirmative Action itself. Now, do not get me wrong. Affirmative Action has been a step in the right direction. Certainly we do not desire to go back to the days of open discrimination. But, as is expected of a New Left policy, it never did go far enough nor does it get to the heart of the problem it tries to address. In some cases, Affirmative Action has, rather then foster a true atmosphere of equality, created further animosity and division. People to this day argue about the social impact of the legislation and how it has created a small, and sometimes vocal, minority that consists of the former oppressors who now claim they are the oppressed.
While a step in the right direction, true equality is not granted with mandates and requirements to have X amount of minorities in one’s employ or to have X amount of women in the boardrooms.
Now I shall move on to another part of the great lie. To quote the activist and lawyer Bryan Stevenson: “The opposite of poverty is not wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice.” True to my fashion, I shall interpret this observation from the Marxist perspective. Never has wealth been the opposite of poverty. Instead, wealth has been used as the false promise and distraction to keep people in poverty. Western media, especially in America, idolizes the rich, the luxurious, and the bourgeois way of life. Our opponents, especially the disciples of Ayn Rand, proclaim that wealth will solve all of one’s problems alone.
We know better. No amount of money can make up for the exploitation and degradation of the masses. While it is a sad fact that people can be bought, and certainly Capitalism loves buying people, no amount of wealth will make up for what wrongs have been committed against entire groups of people. We shall take the experience of Native American tribes as example. The United States Congress allows for reparations payments to the various tribes. One of three forms is through cash payment. This money has hardly ever done anything to improve the chronic poverty of most modern Native American communities.
Justice, on the other hand, is part of the solution to poverty. When the masses are given justice, their oppressors held accountable rather than penalized, when the law states that serious and lasting consequences are to be handed down on those who continue to exploit people, there is justice. When the people feel justice has been done, there will be satisfaction. When people feel that justice has been done, they will have the motivation to continue. When justice is combined with a stable and secure environment, the masses will thrive.
That brings us to another aspect of the lie of the Western model. Or does it? No, this next aspect is uniquely American. I will at least give some credit to Europe and elsewhere in regards to providing stability for the masses. But in America, even basic requirements of a stable life are seen as commodities, as a means for profit. While the propaganda of American democracy promises the opportunity to thrive, this is conditional and rarely does anyone attain the idolized status. It is because the individual faces several distinct hurdles to their stability. As noted, stability is required for the individual to actually thrive. These hurdles are the cost of healthcare, the cost of education, and the cost of living itself.
In America, healthcare is seen as a business. Something for profit. If one cannot afford medical care when they fall ill, they don’t get it. If you are uninsured in America, you are particularly screwed. I won’t repeat the horror stories one hears in this nation about what happens to people who cannot afford medical care. The point is that people cannot be stable if they are ill. So long as medical care is seen as a business and not a requirement for the stability and success of human life, nothing will change. The myth will live on that opportunity is out there for wealth. Just don’t get sick.
The cost of education hampers many aspiring workers around the world. This situation is further complicated by the myth given to children as they grow up, that they can be whatever they want to be. Well, you can be whatever you want to be, provided that you can afford the education to get there. For those who come to America and are skilled professionals, the lie is even more painful when they realize their credentials or degrees are not recognized by their potential employers. Thus these people, who have likely sacrificed much to move to a new and better country, are suddenly saddled with the choice of finding a way to pay for the proper piece of paper or settle for lesser work. Either way, these immigrants are now in a struggle that will threaten their continued success and stability. Instead, they become further victims of the great lie.
Both of these factors contribute to the cost of living. The cost of living alone is a threat to stability. However, it is the staunch position of our opponents that the government’s sole obligation is the security of the people. When it comes to the stability of the individual, they argue that it is a violation of their own rights to use funding to create an atmosphere where people are not just safe, but need not worry about how they will feed themselves or pay for medical expenses. No, when it comes to the cost of living, our opponents solution is to tell the hard working people to “just get another job”. As a Marxist, I find this an unethical and immoral response. If we create a society that solves the critical issues of the needs of the people, they will have stability. When the masses have stability, they will feel secure. Add this to the State’s obligation to keep it’s people safe, and now the masses are even more secure. And if social justice accompanies this development, the people will be unified. When individuals are stable and secure, when truly unified with one another, they will have all the tools necessary to succeed in their lives. Never has wealth alone provided all of these things.
The lie of the modern American model extends to democracy itself. I’m hoping those who comment may add to the nature of democracy in their own nations, as I would like to think it may be slightly more legitimate elsewhere. But in America, democracy isn’t really the truth. Our system works yet again on money. Campaign contributions buy airtime and eventually votes for both of the major Parties. The so-called “Third” Parties usually get locked out of the national spotlight. A choice of but two Parties is not democracy.
I will, of course, take a small breather here and admit the irony of a Marxist-Leninist preaching democracy. Traditionally, Marxist-Leninists have not been famous for their democratic spirit. This leads me to the lie that is perpetuated by the West. That if you do not have their definition of “freedom”, you are not free. Using the American model as example again, this has been a most voracious accusation due to the continued mentality of the Cold War.
I believe there has been some confusion on what the Marxian definition of democracy is, so it is little wonder that Socialist nations are proclaimed as undemocratic. But in regards to democracy, the great lie of the West is yet again exposed. While their political systems are democratic to varying degrees, the democratic spirit is crushed in almost every other area. In regards to the workplace alone, the Capitalist economy is especially tyrannical. True democracy is not just political, it is social. In the Marxian sense, if the masses cannot execute democratic principles within their workplaces, they have no control, stability, or security over their lives. While workers unions have existed to fight and protect workers rights, until the working masses have a genuinely cooperative environment where each individual has a say and stake in their workplace, they will remain commodities to be exploited. Yet again, without justice the masses will never be free. So long as the old bourgeois model is retained, the working person will never have justice or be recognized for their true worth.
This is the lie. This all is the great lie of the “victorious” Western Liberal Democracy. The deception of these nations Capitalist models. What is so horrid is that many have bought into it. They’ve been fooled, and even praise their exploiters. Some even argue that things need to be even more laissez-faire, with less assured security from the only entity that is capable of ensuring the stability of the masses. That the State has no place in supporting it’s people.
They too further the lie, they too obstruct the progress of human development. And as such, the great lie of our era is continued and renewed. Until the masses realize and become conscious of their exploitation by both their governments and their employers, the deception will live on. It is the duty of the Communist to wake the masses, to arise them from their slumber and show them how we are all being used.