It’s the whole system that is rotten. That’s why we can’t get traction, and actually move our country toward the progressive goals that so often top the polling data of American values. The system is incurably corrupted. The golden rule of Mammon, which refers to the biblical concept of wealth, is that the one with the gold rules. In our system the top tenth of the top 1 percent — that is, the stratospheric billionaires — makes the rules. They set the standards that the system uses to make decisions. The greed and hubris of the wealthy have bought off congress, the courts, the media, the military and the executive branch of government. There are now no other spheres of power to check and balance the move toward total domination by the elite. The whole system, the whole American way of life, must be dismantled if we are to have actual, real hope.
Here’s a timely example: Bring up the subject of Ukraine with your friends. About the only thing that folks know about Ukraine is that it has been known as the “breadbasket of Europe.” Some folks will know that it is also a country that is hard to hold on to in the board game of Risk. Others might recall something about a color-based revolution a few years back, and now, of course, everyone knows that bad guy Putin is trying to steal it out from under democracy.
But what rarely is brought up in discussions about Ukraine is how democratic institutions like the International Monetary Fund are gutting what’s left of the country. It always begins the same way with “loans” meant to help. But the loans go missing, money is pocketed for private gain by government and military insiders and the scraps that are actually available for use somehow manage to be disbursed in military applications rather than building necessary infrastructure for the homeland. But then, because the loan has been given, it must be repaid. The people will pay through austerity programs that increase unemployment, destroy pensions and social welfare benefits and, eventually, turn over the resources of the country — in this case the agricultural land, along with the gas and oil rights — to multinational corporations run by, yep, the top tenth of the top 1 percent. The stratosphere folks.
It’s all a filthy, rotten game. Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and now our own country are all just game board pieces to be acquired by those who, in a just world, would be carted away in orange prison suits or to maximum-security mental institutions.
Here’s my point: Today I was asked to get involved in a planning process for a renewed peace movement. I declined. The only protest worth doing is one whose goal is the dismantling of the empire. The only action worth doing is revolt. We must turn away from corrupted capitalism and the American way of life. We must pray for the defeat of empire. We must radicalize our actions.