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Why can’t I question capitalism without being called a “socialist”?
“The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital.” (Michael Parenti)
For as long as I’ve been writing, giving public talks, and all that, I have offered informed critiques of capitalism.
For as long as I’ve been offering informed critiques of capitalism, I get replies like this: “I suppose you think socialism is the answer.”
The paucity of imagination never ceases to disappoint me.
Breaking news: One can challenge capitalism — both its theoretical and practical versions — without being a fan of Castro or Lenin.
Side note to those in the “medical freedom movement”: Your frequent misuse of the words “communism” and “Marxism” does not serve you well.
A few snippets from stuff I’ve written over the years/decades:
Capitalism is an economic system based on perpetual growth and the relentless exploitation of what we've come to call “natural resources.”
Resources are finite. They cannot/will not be replicated in a laboratory by transhumanists. Exploiting, poisoning, and consuming the ecosystem alters the delicate and symbiotic balance of the natural world — which only leads to further devastation of our shared landbase.
By definition, such an approach is unsustainable and thus, anti-life.
To gain access to and control of these resources, capitalism requires brutal, sustained military interventions (or the threat thereof).
Military interventions (or the threat thereof) lead to wars, war crimes, the propping up of authoritarian regimes, poverty and repression, environmental devastation, and eventually: corporate dominion over resources.
Capitalism has resulted in a toxic, poisoned, and clear-cut planet ravaged by unremitting war, disease, inequality, repression, incarceration, and discrimination.
If the U.S. is the world's shining light of "free market capitalism," why then are its citizens left with no choice but to make desperate (and usually inept) attempts to defend human, environmental, civil, and animal rights?
Capitalism — in its predatory pursuit of profit — requires humans to dominate humans and humans to dominate the landscape — until there's nothing left.
Capitalism requires constant consumption. Hence, humans are re-programmed into compliant, ill-informed pawns. Pervasive propaganda/public relations keep consumers consuming, workers working, and repressors repressing (thus explaining why middle-class cops pepper spray protestors instead of joining up with them).
To question capitalism is not the same as endorsing any other current “ism.”
To blindly accept capitalism is to ignore the reality that what we call capitalism survives due to the socializing of corporate costs and the privatizing of corporate profits.
To question capitalism is to look beyond the next fiscal quarter, beyond national boundaries, and beyond corporate propaganda.
To blindly accept capitalism is to pretend that technology is neutral, humans can “control” nature, and the playing field is even.
To question capitalism is to have a new vision for the future that extends well beyond today's closing bell on Wall Street.
To blindly accept capitalism is to prize shareholders over solidarity and commodities over communities.
To question capitalism is to recognize that we can have prosperity and abundance without surrendering compassion and cooperation.
To blindly accept capitalism is to behave as if we are the last generation of humans.
Critiquing capitalism does not make you unAmerican, unpatriotic, communist, socialist, or Marxist. It makes you empathetic, open-minded, curious, and imaginative enough to say: None of the above.
Who knows how many better options can arise if we’d expand our vision and stop viewing capitalism as our god?
I say we find out.
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