This page features short articles that are less than 30 days old.
1: Activist Networking
2: US Hypocrisy and the Maduro Catch 22
Activists in the United States are like the man who attempts to bail the ocean through the holes in his boat. His attention is focused on the symptom which is the water entering the boat, but ignores the cause which is the hole. I am like a man standing next to him with a patch, but he would prefer to see me with a bucket.
The success of efforts to network have been limited, and no doubt my approach is partially to blame, but I am also without an alternative approach.
Activists and fringe political parties coalesse around primarily of what they are against, but rarely have any worth while solutions for addressing their grievances. They are for assembling, holding signs, and chanting their contrary message towards whatever social problem is in vogue, but they are devoid of comprehensive solutions. The more radical groups having extreme ideas reminiscent of ages past to “seize the banks”, but how are you going to do that, and what would you do in this alternate reality where this goal was accomplished? The more moderate groups simply support Bernie Sanders, as if the career politician who has been in Washington for close to 30 years is going to accomplish anything in the executive branch after having been not much more than a professor of rhetoric during in his tenure in the house and senate.
Other organizations have a single cause, like being against war. Their contribution to a better world consists of holding signs against US acts of aggression, which have the same effect as group prayer: it feels good to be in a group with good intentions, but the act has no influence on the outcome. This is the primary function of most groups. Protesting, which is ineffective and often times counter productive.
I attended a group where a woman was bragging about how their protest shut down a street. For her maybe it was a demonstration of the groups power. In the eyes of most people you are the source of an irritation and delay in what is likely a busy schedule. People who may have been sympathetic and supportive of your cause now associate it with the hassle you have brought into their lives. They may not only be indifferent to it, but may now be against it.
Some may argue that protest brings social causes to mainstream America, but the sequence is often the opposite. Above I wrote whatever social problem is in vogue, and this assertion is based on a history of activists being pulled like reeds in the wind towards whatever cause has been made popular.
The Black Lives Matter movement grew out of the race based killing of Trayvon Martin. Following this event there was a great deal of attention focused on what is perceived to be race based killing by law enforcement. Was this attention the result of activist actions including protests?
The amount the media charges its advertisers is based on the amount of people who view their programming. If a story receives a lot of attention and gets good ratings they will air similar stories, so long as those stories are not contrary to their inherent interests, i.e. those things which challenge the American Myth or as Chomsky refers to it, do not go beyond “the limits of controversy”. The Trayvon Martin tragedy received good ratings and naturally every media outlet is looking for similar stories they can break to attract ratings. Which led to activists being drawn to the unnecessary use of deadly force by law enforcement against black people, like Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and many others.
Black Lives Matter grew out of a faulty causation interpretation of the statistic that black people consist of 13% of the population yet represented 27% of deadly force by law enforcement officers.
The causation is not that they are shot because they are black, that poor people are predisposed to commit crime, based off of their circumstances. Evident by the fact that people who are incarcerated come from an average income of 21k per year whereas the average income of a non-incarcerated person for that year was 44k per year. The difference between black people and white people incarcerated in terms of income is roughly 3 thousand dollars per year.
More black people are killed by law enforcement because as a percentage more black people are poor, the average income being about 10k less than white people. Being poor causes the areas they live in to have more crime, and more police exposure. This is largely the result of past state sanctioned racism because their grandparents were denied jobs and educational opportunities based on race but most of the deadly force occurrences are probably not directly race based.
The point being, Black Lives Matter came into existence in 2013. Prior to Trayvon Martin there were racial based killings, and prior to Michael Brown, law enforcement was using unnecessary force against black people, but it was only when the media decided to focus on it for profit, that activists made it a focus of their platform. Today there is still the unnecessary use of deadly force by law enforcement but it isn’t the trending issue, now they’re onto Me Too and sexual harassment which reinvigorated after the R-Kelly documentary will lose steam and give way to the next big attraction. Before Me Too we school shootings and gun control had a stint, which led people away from the removal of confederate monuments. Topics I will address in other portions of this article, and I’m not saying there is only one cause at any given time, abortion is ever present, immigration, the next country in line for regime change, as well as climate change or the assertion of lack there of.
Activists are not proactive. They are ineffective because they cannot bring an idea to the average person and say this is what is wrong, this is what we want to do to change it, this is how it affects you, and this is how we can do it.
On the subject of race, gender, and activists, activists fail to recognize how the amplification of these class and state supported divisions are detrimental to many relevant causes. They pander to racial minorities in an effort to swell their ranks. They make the most extreme interpretations of actions and statements in an effort to demonstrate how anti-racist they are, and further the race divide. They make it an issue with support of the state and media because a people divided among race is in the interest of preserving a class based power structure.
Many as they are conditioned to believe will say race is an issue. I don’t deny that there are people who are racist, but there are a few points that cause it not to be an issue especially for political activists. 1st racism is not state sanctioned and there are laws against discrimination based on race. There is nothing further you can do legislative in regard to racism. 2nd It is socially unacceptable nearly everywhere in the United States. 3rd a black, brown, yellow, or red person born into money benefits from all the advantages a white person born into money benefits from, and a white person born into poverty faces all the same disadvantages that any above mentioned minority faces.
Racism does exist among people in the United States, but it exists much more abundantly thanks to activists. What activists do not acknowledge, is how it exists from all directions. I could tell you about being 6 and 7 years old where my race had a single digit percentile of representation in a primarily all black school. Yet what I endured as a child at that school as a result of race was far less than what I endured prior to this living with my great grandmother and being an emotionally damaged poor student at a nearly all white school as a result of class. I could talk about racism as an extreme racial minority at 14 years old incarcerated in what equated to a juvenile prison; or being in jail at 17 years old, or being in prison at 19 years old, but I would rather tell you that if I were born into a family in the top 60 to 70% of income earners, I would have never been to any of those places. And neither would the black, brown, white, and other people I was incarcerated with.
Activists also tend to mistake prejudice for racism, and most of what they consider to be racist is harmless. There is a difference between prejudice and racist. All people, including activists, are prejudice. Every group you come in contact with whether a race, a nationality, a genre, religion, gender etc. leaves impressions on you. Everything you are exposed to regarding any group leaves an impression on you. These impressions form the basis for your prejudices, and prior to interacting with a person you have expectations or beliefs about that person. The difference between a person being prejudice and racist, is when a prejudice is based on race, when you interact with them you treat them based on their character and what you think of that person is based on the interaction not on your prejudice. Whereas a person who is racist has some ingrained understanding of racial superiority, treats people based on their prejudice not on their character, and leaves interracial interaction maintaining the idea they began with irrespective of the experience.
If you are still unconvinced and you want to make ending racism your cause there is only one thing you can do about it. Only repeated and welcome interaction that is contrary to a persons prejudice will cause them to change their attitude. Darryl Davis has caused 200 Klansmen to renounce the KKK using this method. Which means if you’re white, shouting slogans at other white people is not your mission. You need to find some racists of another color to accomplish your goal, I don’t know, maybe try the Nation of Islam.
While it’s something hard for the reader to understand, I didn’t initially begin writing this with the intention of bashing activists. The rough outline I drew up in my mind consisted of mentioning activists and explaining what I wanted to accomplish through networking with activist organizations, followed by the deficiencies of the two business parties agenda. However, this is probably more beneficial as it is more inline with the disposition of my approach to networking. I want to come in like Shiva to clear a path to be Brahma, and share in Vishnu. A Hindu reference of destroy, create, and maintain although I’m not a supporter of the religion.
One final point of criticism before I move on, activists are just as dishonest as other people and groups in the interest of furthering their agenda. They lack objectivity. They will omit, exaggerate, and use lens of interpretation that distorts for the purpose of something or someone being seen in a light that fits their model. They are static among things, they are for this, they look for opportunities to make something this, or they are against that, and consequently they are looking to make things that.
In addition to the willingness to distort to give themselves a cause, being static around things means they are often wrong even if the things they are for are good, or the things they are against are bad. They lack fundamental principles, and it is these principles that serve as the ethical framework for why something is good or why something is bad. Meaning sometimes you are for something and it is good based on most circumstances and other times it is not based on exceptional circumstances, and vice versa. This mode of thinking is sometimes detrimental to strategy, especially when between groups and among member you people who are subtly trying to compete for who is the most active, radical, or for the cause so to speak.
I looked at groups and what they are for and against and considered them to be likeminded based on principle. I also anticipated based on the purity of principle that these groups were honest. This probably serves as a part of the basis of why I have been unsuccessful in my efforts and the other portion I will address shortly.
I have a few ideas I am pushing, but none is more significant than the Center for Economic Planning. If you read the home page of my website you know that a Center for Economic Planning is a solution to potentially every problem, empowering people through money with opportunity, as well as creating the opportunity to direct industry competing sums of money in politics, and significantly decide production. A CEP is in the interest of any group that has a cause, something I can demonstrate if given the proper attention.
What I am looking for in networking is for an organization to include a Center for Economic Planning in their program. To incorporate the idea into their literature and to promote it. I can contribute to the process of tailoring the points for a CEP to fit their specific goals, as well as strategy and tactics to engage the public and promote.
The Center for Economic Planning first requires the public to develop a basic understanding of it. A basic understanding can be accomplished through a short talk and Q&A.
A CEP is born out of a city. It is accomplished by creating public interest, electing a mayor, and lobbying city council members.
o A city of adequate size is chosen.
o A network of activist groups are trained to engage the public and activate members of public to proliferate an understanding of a CEP.
o The network begins a fundraising campaign to promote a mayoral candidate running on the CEP platform.
o The network presents the CEP to incumbent city council members as well as the most serious contenders. Based on the enthusiasm of the sitting member or the challenger the network supports which ever member will approve the CEP.
A CEP planning is not something that can only be embraced by the left or the right. It is not an idea that has much risk in failure. It is something that serves the interest of about 99.9 percent of people in this country. If given the attention it will be embraced and received.
I understand why I’m not embraced by activists apart from the criticism mentioned above. If you’re the founder of an organization, or even if you’re in a leadership position, I come to you seeming as if I am trying to co-opt your organization. For most in the organization you had to bail so many buckets of water from the boat in order to reach the level where you can decide who bails what and how they bail. I come before you unwilling to pick up a bucket and wanting you to promote a patch.
A group of people forms an organization, incorporates as a non-profit, fundraises, holds meetings, creates literature, distributes pamphlets, hands out flyers, hangs posters, and holds signs to publicly declare their cause. They do not want someone telling them where to turn the wheel, even if the direction is truer to a true ideal and will lead them to the accomplishment of their goal.
As mentioned previously I was going to criticize the agenda of the two business parties, Democrats and Republicans but this article is already lengthy so I am going to write that in separate article.
(I still need to reread this article but I am posting it prior to rereading as I may not have time or an internet connection later)
US Hypocrisy and the Maduro Catch 22
I don’t where to begin as there are so many key points to address on the subject of Venezuela, but in the end the Venezuelans lose, as is usually the case when western powers have an interest in your resources. They have an incompetent elected president in Nickolas Muduro whose government held elections ahead of schedule presumably at a time that would be most advantageous for his reelection. Despite his incompetence, he represents the interest of the Venezuelan people, even if he lacks the ability to do it effectively.
On the other side they Juan Guaido, who represents not only the interest of wealth and the upper classes in Venezuela, but also the interest of the United States and Western Europe who are salivating at the prospect of Venezuelan oil and a desperate labor market ripe for exploitation by foreign investment.
As I have explained simplistically on so many other occasions, both in writing and conversation, the motivation of US foreign policy is to ensure market access for the exploitation of labor and resources. Other goals related to the primary goal is securing geo strategic footholds to apply pressure, and removing potential obstacles. Which is to say in some countries there may not be a direct interest in the market, but that country may be an obstacle to securing market access in other areas.
If Juan Guaido was elected having changed the date of the elections, but had presumably been friendly to US interests, there would be no sanctions, no calling for the end of a dictatorship that is not a dictatorship, no calling for the president of the national assembly to head a transitional government while elections are held, no denial of access to assets held abroad, no one sided coverage of protests, and no recognition by Europe or the United States as the legitimate leader of the country. Instead you would hear commentary in the news if you that an election took place and this is who the people of Venezuela have chosen, if you heard anything at all.
There was no call for the Somoza dictatorship to end in Nicaragua because the Somoza dictatorship served US interests, and received US support. When the people of Nicaragua finally overthrew the dictatorship, the United States funded, trained, and supported unsuccessful counter revolutionaries in an effort to preserve US interests in Nicaragua. (1) The newly appointed special envoy to Venezuela Elliot Abrams had a direct hand in that support, as well as other terror perpetrated with the support of the United States. Most notably Abrams effort to conceal a massacre in El Salvador, in the village of El Mozote, where 800 to 1200 people were massacred by US trained forces, just one of many incidents supported and aided by the US to secure interests in El Salvador. (2)
There was no call for an end to the Francois Duvaler dictatorship in Hati. (3)
There was no call for elections or an end to the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, a coup facilitated and supported by the United States. (4)
There was no call for an end to the US supported military junta in Argentina. (5)
There was no call for an end to the US supported Batista dictatorship in Cuba. (6)
We could continue with historical examples, but there are recent points that parallel more closely and highlight US hypocrisy.
There is no calling of Juan Orlando Hernandez a dictator in Honduras, even as the Organization of American States who sent election observers said it was illegitimate, and called for new elections. There is no human rights rebuke over those who have been arrested or killed protesting the results. Not to mention, Hernandez came to power through the removal of the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya in 2009, and remains in power through a rigged election held in 2017 and support by the United States.(7) The difference of course is Hernandez represents the United States in Honduras, and Maduro does not represent the United States in Venezuela. Hernandez is not called a dictator, there is no outrage by US officials calling for new elections, and no call for Hernandez to resign.
The US had no issue with Carlos Salinas who came to power through a rigged election in Mexico, in 1988, where the ballots were burned after the election to conceal the fraud. Salinas went on to do the bidding of the US by including Mexico in GATT, NAFTA, amending the constitution which forced poor Mexican farmers to sell land by ending development loans from the government, agreeing to structural adjustment programs for loans from the IMF, among other policies that served the interests of the US and the industries that direct it, but harmed the interests of the Mexican people.(8) There was no call for a new election, no sanctions, and no recognition of interim leader to establish a transitional government while elections take place.
All this is to say the US acts on its industrial financial interests, not on any principled or moral grounds as it peddles to the mind controlled masses who consume its information.
John Bolten, the newly Trump appointed National Security Advisor has expressed in no uncertain terms US interest in Venezuela by stating the obvious. Bolten told Fox Business News “We’re in conversation now with major American companies that are either in Venezuela, or in the case of Citgo, here in the United States. You know, Venezuela is one of the three countries I call the troika of tyranny. It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities of Venezuela”. (9)
Meanwhile, Venezuela finds itself very limited in its capacity sell oil under the sanctions, which basically prevent buyers from purchasing the oil for fear they will either be penalized by the US, or unable to do business with US companies for violating the sanctions. In addition to the sanctions which are deepening the economic crisis which was already amplified by sanctions that began under the Obama administration, Venezuela is prevented from accessing assets held abroad.
What does Maduro do? If he resigns he is handing the future of Venezuela over to the United States and the wealthy state elite. It will return to what it was before Chavez, great inequality, high infant mortality rate, high extreme poverty, high poverty, and a lack of opportunities for the poor. Under Chavez all these social indicators were reduced, including massive gains in GDP and underclass opportunity for education and jobs. (10) Since the death of Chavez, aided by sanctions, the conditions have reverted to something akin to what existed prior to Chavez in regard to the quality of life, although differently.
If Maduro resigns the people of Venezuela suffer at the hands of regime that will carry forward US interest. If Maduro stays, the people of Venezuela suffer at his tied hands. There is nothing he can do with the sanctions in place to improve the quality of life for Venezuelans. Without the ability to sell oil for the importation of needed goods and without access to assets held abroad the noose tightens around the neck of the Venezuelan economy.
The best hope for improving the quality of life for the Venezuelan people would be for Maduro to negotiate for an end to the sanctions in exchange for new elections which Maduro does not participate in. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is not going to negotiate, nor would they agree to negotiate simply for the prospect of improving the lives of the Venezuelan people. The United States has Venezuela exactly where they want it and they are about to get everything. (I was looking for a way out of writing the last pair of sentences in this article with this paragraph)
Again, if Maduro resigns he is handing the government over to the interests United States and he is not going to do that. Yet, what he may be overlooking, is while Chavez is a once in history level figure, possessed of pure intent, extraordinary intelligence, and irresistible charisma to all but his adversaries, it was the people of Venezuela who created the Bolivarian revolution and Chavez was only the catalyst. As much I don’t like it, because I know what it means in the short term, Maduro has to trust that the people of Venezuela, while Chavez still lives in their hearts and minds, are capable of restoring the revolution after he allows this coup to succeed. The same way they restored Chavez after the US supported coup in 2002, which allowed him to empower them for the gains they had under his leadership.
Maduro should capitulate to the insurmountable pressure and resign for the good of the Venezuelan people. It pains me profoundly to write that statement.
1: Houston Chronicle. “Nicaragua and the US.: A Long Relationship.” August 17, 2006. https://www.chron.com/news/article/Nicaragua-and-the-U-S-A-long-relationship-1500155.php
2: The Nation. “Elliot Abrams: It’s Back”. June 14th 2001 by David Corn. https://www.thenation.com/article/elliott-abrams-its-back/
3: Origins vol.4, Issue 5, February 2011. “A Pact with the Devil? The United States and the Fate of Modern Haiti.” By Leslie Alexander. http://origins.osu.edu/article/pact-devil-united-states-and-fate-modern-haiti/page/0/1
4: Democracy Now September 10th 2013, ““Make the economy scream” secret documents show Nixon, Kissinger role backing 1973 Chile coup.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2Ki6nWSeVQ
5: TRT World, “Declassified Doccuments Reveal US Role in Argentina’s Dirty War”. February 3rd 2017, by Ramona Wadi. https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/declassified-documents-reveal-us-collaboration-in-argentinas-dirty-w-289517
6: Global Research. Cuba pre-1959: The Rise and Fall of a US Backed Dictator with Links to the Mob. July 26th 2015, by Timothy Alexander Guzman. https://www.globalresearch.ca/cuba-pre-1959-the-rise-and-fall-of-a-u-s-backed-dictator-with-links-to-the-mob/5464738
7: Jacobin “Dirty Elections in Honduras with Washington’s Blessing.” By Alexander Main. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/01/honduras-election-jaun-orlando-hernandez-nasralla
8: “Structural Adjustment in Mexico and the Dog that Didn’t Bark” 1997, Judith Adler Hellman, pp 3-6)
9: Democracy Now “What’s Next for Venezuela as US and Opposition Reject Negotiations Aimed to End the Crisis Peacefully”? February 5th 2019. https://www.democracynow.org/2019/2/5/whats_next_for_venezuela_as_us#transcript
10: The following are excerpts of what Chavez accomplished in the first 10 years of his presidency.
The current economic expansion began when the government gained control over the national oil company in the first quarter of 2003. For the next 10 years, real (inflation-adjusted) GDP nearly doubled, growing by 94.7 percent in 5.25 years, or 13.5 percent annually.
Most of that growth has been in the non-oil sector of the economy, and the private sector has grown faster than the public sector.
During the current economic expansion, the poverty rate has been cut by more than half, from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty has fallen even more, by 72 percent. These poverty rates measure only cash income, and do not take into account increased access to health care or education.
Over the entire decade, the percentage of households in poverty has been reduced by 39 percent, and extreme poverty by more than half.
Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47 in 1999. This represents a large reduction in inequality.
Real (inflation-adjusted) social spending per person more than tripled from 1998-2006.
From 1998-2006, infant mortality has fallen by more than one-third. The number of primary care physicians in the public sector increased 12-fold from 1999-2007, providing health care to millions of Venezuelans who previously did not have access.
There have been substantial gains in education, especially higher education, where gross enrollment rates more than doubled from 1999-2000 to 2007-2008.
The labor market also improved substantially over the last decade, with unemployment dropping from 11.3 percent to 7.8 percent. During the current expansion it has fallen by more than half. Other labor market indicators also show substantial gains.
Over the past decade, the number of social security beneficiaries has more than doubled.
Over the decade, the government’s total public debt has fallen from 30.7 to 14.3 percent of GDP. The foreign public debt has fallen even more, from 25.6 to 9.8 percent of GDP.
Inflation is about where it was 10 years ago, ending the year at 31.4 percent. However it has been falling over the last half year (as measured by three-month averages) and is likely to continue declining this year in the face of strong deflationary pressures worldwide.
Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research, The Chavez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators. By Mark Weisbrot, Rebecca Ray and Luis Sandoval, February 2009. Pg 3 http://cepr.net/documents/publications/venezuela-2009-02.pdf