Saturday, November 18, 2006

Kapitalist's Kooky Kavorting Krafting Kommie Komeback?

I remember an episode of "The Simpsons" where Bart is trying to escape the homicidal intentions of Sideshow Bob while trapped on a boat. He tries fleeing to one side of the boat and finds nasty alligators in the water. He flees to the other side of the boat only to find electric eels preventing his escape. He runs back to the same side of the boat from which he originally fled, only to find the very same alligators still anxiously awaiting his arrival in the water. Bart pauses and remarks, "Oh yeah!"

That is the image which came to mind as I was thumbing through the Communist Manifesto. Don't ask... really.

Let me start off by proclaiming right off the bat that I'm no commie. I bleed red, white and blue (I'm currently taking antibiotics to help with the white part). But seriously, I'm pretty left, but I've never had any romantic notions of Communism. I was fascinated by the entire spectacle as I was growing up with the looming spectre of the former Soviet Union on one side and the champion of freedom, the United States, on the other. When the game was over, we won and it was pretty damned cool.

Of course, now that the commies were gone, the world must be in for a new golden age of freedom and liberty, right? Right?

My political awakening, with its uncovering of the truth of our involvement in issues from Iran, Guatamala, Cuba, Panama, East Timor and so on, was a crushing blow to me. I never thought that my country, which I volunteered to serve during a time of unrest, would end up being the bad guys. When I look at where we are now it is like a shameful dream. We keep taking step after step toward the type of cold, totalitarian state I was always told was un-American. All the things those commies did (meddling in internal political affairs, dragging people off to prison without a trial, starting wars, having unfair elections, lying, etc.) seem to pale in comparison to our resume. It hit home this weekend when I saw a video of a stupid college student being tazed into frenzy for not having his ID ("Yoo haff zee papers, ja?") Just like everything else (except gymnastics, chess, weightlifting and caviar), at least we do those things better than the commies. When my heart was broken by my government, it allowed me a sort of freedom to open my mind. Since I couldn't trust them to make the best decisions for me any longer, I didn't think it treason to read through this document. It was high time I started making my own decisions. I've never looked back. To many, this is a "duh" moment. But for most people in this country, we trusted those in authority. We were raised to revere our nation, its Founding Fathers (which I still capitalize), the flag, our ideals and our government. I won't go into the reasons why no one should trust the government. The reasons are so voluminous and far-reaching that it would take me the remainder of my life to itemize and discuss adequately. Besides, you all know what is going on.

Related to my interest in the scaling back of the American dream due to the convergence of many dire issues facing our planet, I found a couple quotes of interest in this dusty old document. Had I read them years ago they would have meant nothing. Reading them now reveals a freshness and renewed vigor:

"The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere."

We have bases in something like 130 of the 190ish nations of the world. We are desperate for oil and are drilling, negotiating and threatening everywhere in order to secure it. We've hired out our labor force to third-world nations. Second only to our military expansionism and intervention around the globe is the marketing of our way of life to the world via TV, ads and films. We urge people to work like us so they can buy like us so they can live like us. Tyler Durden's words echo in my head... "we're slaves with white collars. Advertisements have us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need." We have lost our soul.

But it wasn't that much different back in the day of Marx. He saw the handwriting on the wall. Was he off the mark on this statement? Seems to me that history has validated it and then some. And what of this paragraph...

"The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of reactionaries, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations."

There is a reason we can't keep our nose out of other nation's affairs: we are too busy exploiting them for our own gain and interests. Revered cultures and folkways are giving way to iPods, golden arches and swooshes on sneakers. The basics of life are giving way to Asics (tm) and Life (tm). There are fewer and fewer unique cultures and quaint customs. Everyone looks, speaks and dresses like Americans. Every suburb in America looks the same. We ship to and from all over the globe. No one here knows how to build or create anything any more unless it has to do with entertainment, sports or weapons. We ship ideas from one country and materials from other countries to yet another country where they are assembled partially, shipped elsewhere to be given final assembly and then shipped back to us here. We've made nations too dependent upon one another to their detriment and our benefit.

He may have been a commie bastard, but Marx seemed to hit the nail on the head. So when I see Bart Simpson seemingly forget what he saw that made him run away in the first place, I am reminded of what caused all this commie talk in the first place. I see it and I, like Bart, absently say, "Oh yeah!" Things have to change in our nation or this old theory may find new life. Our neighbors to the south seem to have no trouble whipping up the ghosts of the past. Nothing brings the commies out of the woodwork like a good, old-fashioned fascist regime. As we've created a renewed sense of Islamic pride and fundementalism in the Middle East due to our foolish policies, so, too, will we wake the dead bones of Communism in South America with our incessant sabre-rattling and rhetoric. I don't know which system I fear more.


Post a Comment

<< Home