Saturday, June 23, 2007

There is NOTHING to take back

Dennis Perrin sez:
"There's a film that I'm sure many of you have seen. It's called 'Network', and though it was first released about 30 years ago, there is much in it that remains very pertinent today. I'm thinking primarily of the scene in which the head of the corporation that owns the fictional network explains global political reality to his top star, who has urged his massive audience to protest and stop a financial deal between the US and the Saudis. As the character Arthur Jensen put it:

"'You think you've merely stopped a business deal -- that is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity. It is ecological balance. You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, Reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today!'

"'There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today . . . The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.'

"Beautifully put, both by Paddy Chayefsky who wrote it, and by Ned Beatty who delivered it. And of course, the next Dem president will serve this enduring reality, especially if it's Hillary Clinton.

"I quote from that film, not only because it speaks to us more strongly today, but because on Digby's site, she features the image of Peter Finch as Howard Beale, the man to whom reality must be explained. Yet, when Digby posts about 'reclaiming' America, she appears to genuinely believe that there is an 'America' that can be reclaimed. This is childish nonsense, and as I said earlier, dangerous, because it furthers the fantasy that keeps us locked into this fixed system, a system owned and run by those who do see the world as it actually is, and operate accordingly. We will never even begin to break free of this system if so-called 'progressives' insist on speaking a mystical language, one that can be and is regularly ignored by our rulers. By doing this, we are essentially policing ourselves for their benefit. We may not, in our lifetimes, seriously undermine, much less dismantle, the corporate stranglehold on the planet. But we sure as hell have no chance if we cannot even identify what it is that holds us down, and speeches like Digby's, while all nice and good, helps to keep us obedient and docile to this system.
Found via IOZ. There is nothing to "take back" unless one still buys into the mythical notion of American Exceptionalism, and that somehow a Democrat-run exceptionalist empire (oops, "democracy") will with the wave of a magic wand make all the bad guys go away - and we can all go back to the glory days of the 1990s when there was endless credit, an over-abundance of cheap goods from Bangladesh sweatshops, ad nauseum. America will then be in the business of bombing and starving other peoples' families with the best of intentions, as opposed to those evil Rethugs who wear their imperialist fantasies on their sleeves. Of course to really believe the Exceptionalist mythology, one must somehow ignore some of the nation's greatest hits, including genocide, eugenics, Jim Crow, the nuking of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, napalming of civilians in Vietnam, and so on. One would have to ignore centuries of human rights abuses that were just "good business". If you can successfully do that, as I've said before, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd love to sell ya.

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