Slaves to the "Free Market" Unite
Can Humanity Make a Stand Against the Ruthless
Onslaught of Capitalist Imperialism?
By JASON MILLER
-- -- America and its White
Christian patriarchy do not have a historical monopoly on
abuse of power or exploitation of “lesser people”. It is
also true that Anglos have been victimized at various points
in history. Yet the United States exists and thrives almost
solely because it obscenely exploited Africans to attain
economic power and committed genocide against North
America’s indigenous people to obtain and expand its
While other nations and races have committed similar
atrocities throughout history, Anglos have suffered
persecution, and slavery and the Native American genocide
are in the past, the actions of the United States and its
White patriarchal society were still morally reprehensible.
Furthermore, many of the beneficiaries and descendents of
the perpetrators remain unrepentant. Recent polls and events
also indicate that about a third of Americans still support
an entrenched American power structure which flourishes by
practicing exploitation and conquest.
The United States is not the only nation currently
committing brutalities and injustices, yet Washington is
home to a government which claims to be the ultimate moral
authority on the globe. While invading and occupying nations
which posed no threat to them, slaughtering innocent
civilians, and torturing suspected
the United States continues to mouth empty platitudes about
spreading freedom and democracy, pompously lecture other
nations on human rights, and hypocritically determine which
nations are too “evil” to be trusted with nuclear
In his recent book, Overthrow
There is no stronger or more persistent strain
in the American character than the belief that the United
States is a nation uniquely endowed with virtue…..This view
is driven by a profound conviction that the American form of
government, based on capitalism and individual political
choice, is, as President Bush asserted, “right and true for
every person in every society.”
Time and again the United States has acted on
this pathological belief, almost always spreading suffering
and misery rather than democracy and freedom.
Little deters them
Despite remarkable strides toward social justice
achieved by powerful leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Eugene Debs, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the advent of
international humanitarian laws like the Geneva Conventions,
and the addition of amendments to the US Constitution
expanding civil rights, the relentlessly acquisitive
individuals manning the bulwarks of the Corporatocracy at
Wall Street, Capitol Hill, Langley, and 1600 Pennsylvania
Ave have continued to find myriad means to advance their
malignant agenda on both the foreign and domestic fronts.
They are employing direct intervention through invasion and
occupation in Iraq as I write. Indirect intervention by the
CIA has brought many ruthless dictators to power because
they were friendly to corporate America’s interests.
Multi-national corporations devastate weaker nations by
grossly exploiting labor and resources. The World Bank and
IMF enable the ruling elite of the United States to enslave
developing nations economically. Nuclear intimidation rounds
out the vast array of weapons at the disposal of the power
mongers at the helm of the United States.
Consolidating power into the Executive Branch, nullifying
several Constitutional Amendments with the Patriot Act,
packing the courts with “their people”, and conducting
pseudo-elections are currently at the forefront of the
domestic arsenal of America’s ruling elite.
Tell me lies....tell me sweet little lies
Utilizing the corporate domination of the mainstream
media and educational textbook producers, the patrician
class of the United States continues to white-wash history
and current events to perpetrate one of the biggest hoaxes
in the history of mankind. They have managed to convince
many of their plebs of the virtuous, benevolent, and
“democratic” nature of America, to the degree that some
violently reject the truth when confronted with it.
The under-funded No Child Left Behind legislation ensures
that educators lack the resources they need to prepare their
students for mandatory tests which emphasize rote
memorization and basic skills. Teaching critical thinking,
history, literature, and politics falls by the wayside in
the mad scramble to prepare students to pass
government-mandated exams. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for
those atop the food chain in the American Empire if they
could virtually eliminate domestic dissent without resorting
to mass arrests or torture?
Despite the widening wealth gap, the Wal-Martization of the
economy, Katrina, Iraq, stolen elections, an $8 trillion
national debt, tax cuts for the wealthy, and increasingly
rapacious acts by corporations, many Americans are still
oblivious to our descent into fascism. Sucking on the
pacifier of conspicuous consumption, they “shop til they
drop”, lining Corporate America’s pockets and freeing the
ruling elite to pursue world domination, as outlined in the
Project for the New American Century and the Bush Doctrine.
Certainly there are some decent human beings who hold great
wealth or positions of power in the United States, but their
voices and actions are readily neutralized by the far more
numerous spiritually hollow individuals whose existence is
predicated on attempting to fulfill their insatiable lust
for money and domination of other people.
Slaves to "human nature" we are not
Some argue that avarice, hatred, cruelty, territorial
instinct, and deceit are inescapable aspects of "human
nature" and define the human condition. Large scale
human-inflicted injustice, misery, and suffering would
indeed be inevitable if one accepted the notion that we are
slaves to "human nature", our ids, and our Shadows.
I refuse to accept this hypothesis for several reasons.
Human beings possess highly developed frontal lobes and
opposable thumbs so that we can problem solve and avoid
subjugation to our animal impulses. As Scott Peck astutely
observed in The Road Less Traveled, it defies human nature
to use a toilet or a toothbrush, yet most people learn to do
I spent some time acting on the dark side of my nature in
the past, yet I managed to undergo a profound moral
transformation over the last thirteen years, choosing to
live a life based on basic human decency, dignity,
non-violent assertiveness, and compassion. My life is full
of family and friends who share similar values. While it is
impossible to completely deny one's id or Shadow, it is
possible to manage them and live a reasonably ethical life.
There are also numerous examples of extraordinary people
like Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama who achieved the peak
of human moral development.
masters' kingdom would collapse without the slaves
One of the wealthy ruling elite’s most poignant
victories against progressive, humane forces has been their
crushing blow to working people around the globe. Since the
advent of the Industrial Revolution and the birth of the
prevailing virulent form of Capitalism, the working class
has been a festering thorn in the side of their masters,
motivating them to devote a great deal of energy to keep
Representing a necessary evil, workers in America and abroad
are the engine of the Corporatocracy, as both the producers
and consumers who power the Capitalist economy. While
monstrous men like Henry Kissinger would move to shrink
their numbers through starvation (or perhaps carpet bombing)
if permitted, they still recognize that these “beasts of
burden” are indispensable.
Not surprisingly, political ideologies which seek to empower
the poor and working class have been heavily vilified by
those who hold a vested interest in keeping wealth and power
in the hands of a few. Americans are inculcated with the
belief that men like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Salvador
Allende, and Evo Morales are (or were) our enemies. It is
anathema, we are taught, to our “free market system” and
“democracy” when leaders of other sovereign nations end the
persistent grip of an entrenched oligarchy and raise a
majority of their people out of abject poverty. With such
beliefs, perhaps America’s moral deficit exceeds its fiscal
Can I interest you in selling Amway?
American Capitalism is the ultimate Ponzi scheme. For
each of the four remaining Walton heirs to enjoy their
billions, millions of human beings have to suffer abysmal
poverty. Certainly, there are the occasional members of the
Proletariat who infiltrate the exclusive world of the
Bourgeoise, but they are so few and far between that they
pose little threat to the dominance of the filthy rich
resting at the pinnacle of the pyramid. Besides, thanks to
Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy and the inevitable repeal of
the inheritance tax, America’s wealthy elite will be further
insulated from threats to their virtual monopoly on
As a member of the working class, I am weighing in against
the status quo multi-level marketing scheme. Despite my
lower middle class upbringing and opportunity to obtain a
college education, I went through hard times and quit
school. For the next six years, I faced under-employment,
unemployment and serious economic struggles. Intermittently
working as an unskilled laborer in various manufacturing and
service jobs, I received wages as low as $5 per hour, had
limited or no benefits, endured miserable conditions, and
suffered severe burns on my legs in an industrial accident.
I experienced life in the lower stratus of the pyramid of
American Capitalism first-hand. In a nation as wealthy as
ours, it is a travesty that some people remain trapped in
such wretched circumstances throughout their lives.
Today my wife and I are fortunate enough to generate a
middle class income together, enabling our family to live a
modest lifestyle and for me to engage in my avocation of
researching, writing dissident essays, and publishing my
blog. However, as members of the middle class, we are part
of a dying breed in America, balancing precariously on the
edge of an economic abyss.
Ethics, laws, justice? Who cares...
Consider three examples of the fates of laborers who
dared to defy the primary beneficiaries of America’s
predatory economic system.
During a peaceful pro-labor rally in May of 1886, anarchists
were exposing the recent Chicago police slaying of two
laborers striking against McCormick Harvesting. An
unidentified individual detonated a bomb in the midst of the
crowd, killing eight police officers and three
demonstrators. In an effort to turn public opinion against
the labor movement, the Land of the Free committed
state-sponsored murder against four of the anarchists,
publicly hanging them. The Illinois governor later concluded
the executed men were innocent, the Haymarket Martyr’s
Monument was raised in their honor, and wide speculation
emerged that the bomber was a corporate agent provocateur.
In 1894, when workers became fed up with rail car
manufacturer George Pullman’s “welfare capitalism” (a
euphemism for indentured servitude), they went on strike.
Eugene Debs led a sympathy strike amongst thousands of
railroad employees, whose refusal to handle Pullman cars
seriously interfered with national rail traffic. President
Grover Cleveland broke the strike with US Marshals and the
military, leaving thirteen strikers dead and Debs in prison.
It is small wonder that so many of America’s elite genuflect
to Ronald Reagan and want to see his countenance emblazoned
on the ten dollar bill. Reagan dropped a nuke on labor in
the ongoing class war when he fired the PATCO air traffic
controllers in 1981. When Reagan took office, union
membership was 23%, down from its 35% peak in the 1950’s.
However, his withering blow greatly accelerated the
precipitous decline of organized labor in the United States.
By 2005 only 8% of America’s private sector workforce was
Brute force, propaganda, illegal firings, and
state-sponsored murder imposed by the ruling class in the
United States were not enough to deter the American labor
movement from its diligent efforts to improve the lot of the
working class. We can thank them for the eight hour work
day, an end to child labor, increased safety in the work
place, higher wages, and health and retirement benefits.
Since the majority of the population is a part of the
working class, a majority of people benefited from labor’s
gains. Sounds like a logical outcome in a nation which
espouses democratic values. However, the minority in the
ruling plutocracy was not pleased. Determined as they were
to protect their interests, the modern day Money Changers
discovered new ways to impose their economic brutality.
(Imagine what Jesus would do on the floors of the stock
Welcome to McDonald’s! Would
you like fries with that?
Arguing that American workers are overpaid,
corporate elites have slashed pay, health benefits, and
pensions. They contend that to stay competitive in the new
“global economy”, they need to cut labor costs. Working
people are to sacrifice with a smile since it is in their
best interest to enable their masters to stay in business.
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, massive layoffs pushed
millions of middle class blue collar workers into service
sector jobs which cut their incomes in half. According to
Louis Uchitelle of the New York Times, 30 million Americans
were laid off between 1984 and 2004.
Starting in 2000, Silicon Valley and the telecom companies
began a trend of massive white collar layoffs. Other
industries have followed suit. In short, “overpaid” front
line American workers have become highly expendable.
Corporate America doesn’t care what color your collar is.
Human beings are commodities to them, and if an employee’s
existence is too costly, they eliminate them. Illegally
firing employees who try to unionize, hiring temps to
replace full-time employees (to eliminate paying those damn
benefits), replacing seasoned employees with fresh college
grads, and “off shoring” American jobs to exploit cheap
labor in other nations exemplify the new paradigm in
American business. While corporate profits soar at an annual
clip of 30%, employee wages crawl upward at an average of
2%. Meanwhile, CEO’s earn an average of over 400 times that
of their employees.
While American workers struggle, multinational corporations,
which are often guided by American executives and extremely
wealthy share-holders, have introduced human beings in
developing nations to the profound misery of Dickensonian
Capitalism. When laws in the United States began making it
prohibitive for the Social Darwinists to exploit employees
and the environment to the extent that it engorged their
bank accounts, they began moving their operations to
countries which did not have these “harsh constraints”.
It is time for labor to unite on behalf of
In a 1978 letter of resignation from his position of
president of the UAW, Douglas Fraser wrote:
I believe leaders of the business community,
with few exceptions, have chosen to wage a one-sided class
war today in our country --a war against working people, the
unemployed, the poor, the minorities, the very young and the
very old, and even many in the middle class of our
society….I would rather sit with the rural poor, the
desperate children of urban blight, the victims of racism,
and working people seeking a better life than with those
whose religion is the status quo, whose goal is profit and
whose hearts are cold. We intend to reforge the links with
those who believe in struggle: the kind of people who sat
down in the factories in the 1930's and who marched in Selma
in the 1960's.
Unfortunately, Fraser’s inspiring words have gone largely
unheeded. The two party American Duopoly continues to
represent the interests of their wealthy and corporate
benefactors. Grass roots mobilization and efforts to advance
the interests of social and economic justice for the poor
and working class have virtually fallen from the radar
screen of organized labor. The larger labor unions continue
their close ties with the Democratic Party, apparently
believing the fiction that Democrats have the spine or the
will to advance the interests of the working class.
In July 2005, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
president Andy Stern took his 1.8 million members and broke
ties with the AFL-CIO, an organization which has achieved
few tangible advances for labor or the working class in
recent years. A former social worker and present activist
for social causes, Stern was recently profiled on 60
Minutes. Organizing workers, many of whom are minorities and
women, in previously under-unionized industries such as day
care and janitorial, Stern has created an agenda of global
worker cooperation to end the disturbing trend of corporate
Stern and his followers have set out to rectify the gross
economic injustices facing the working class and humanity in
general. They recognize that collectively, the working class
wields great power. Unionizing, strikes, and boycotts are
the potent weapons they employ against the seemingly
overwhelming forces of Capitalist domination.
Last week, I asked SEIU’s online campaign manager, Anders
Schneiderman, to share his thoughts on labor taking the lead
in advancing the causes of social and economic justice.
SEIU members believe that the only way we can
build a better world for all of us is if we unite with
workers across the globe. When corporations move around the
world looking for opportunities to maximize their profits by
driving down pay and benefits standards, no one is safe
unless we work together. That's why school bus drivers, are
joining together on both sides of the Atlantic to hold First
Service accountable, and why on June 15 janitors from around
the world will be celebrating International Justice Day and
discussing where their campaigns to raise standards should
While the ruling elite have done an exceptional job of
employing the concept of divide and conquer in human society
(gay vs. straight, pro-life vs. pro-choice, red state vs.
blue state, Christianity vs. Islam), a majority of the
global population shares at least one common interest.
Almost all of us need to trade our labor for our means of
sustenance. A global unification of working people of all
stripes is what we of the poor and middle classes need to
overcome the tyranny of the moneyed ruling class. These
modern day monarchs thrive by keeping their peasants in a
perpetual state of unnecessary poverty, ignorance, war, and
Contrary to the lies of the elite, human nature does not
doom us to high degrees of injustice and misery. Human
beings are blessed with free will. As individuals, and
ultimately collectively, we can choose to act in mostly
reasoned, honest and just ways. We can avoid resorting to
impulsive, reactionary responses to primal emotions like
fear, lust, and anger (feelings propagandists love to
trigger and manipulate). No one will make reasoned, fair
choices all of the time, but I know from my own experience
that through conscious effort, it is possible to do so much
of the time.
A revitalized labor movement on a global scale could very
well be our means to snatch victory from the pitbull-like
jaws of Capitalist Imperialism and to forge
a reasonably just and humane society.
Jason Miller is a 39 year old sociopolitical
essayist with a degree in liberal arts and an extensive
self-education (derived from an insatiable appetite for
reading). He is a member of Amnesty International and an
avid supporter of Oxfam International and Human Rights
Watch. He welcomes responses at
or comments on his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at
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