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13 January, 2011


Liberals almost never win in America. It's gotten so bad that they're trying a name change, but I don't see Progressives faring much better. Obama's agenda was either shut down or turned into exactly what the chamber of commerce republicans wanted. 

Maybe the most notable success the left has had during my lifetime was in fighting South African Apartheid. There were demonstrations, attempts at media blitzes, celebrity endorsements, but in the end what sprung Mandela and crumbled the Afrikaan regime was money. Or specifically, the lack thereof. 

Divestiture drained the apart-hate elite of the global infusions of capital they needed, and they caved.

So, could a similar approach knock Goldman Sachs out of power in the US, is there any hope that conscientious objection to the power of multinational corporations could get our own country back?

Not if it depends on the investment portfolio of modern serfs like me. Too much cash has been bled from the working and middle classes through the series of scams and extortion wrought by the Bush Dynasty (S-and-L crisis, tech and housing bubbles, massive corporate bailouts to the FIRE sector), and the wealth disparity is too stark already. It was not for want of investment from the township dwellers that Botha had to cut back in the Department of Opression, and it won't be 21st Century American proles who starve their overlords, either.

I'd like to think that the Germans and maybe the whole EU could help out, but I'm not holding my breath. South America could surprise us, but we've been so vindictive to any economy with a hint of socialism that they're in no shape to pull it off alone. And the Chinese, well why the hell would they want to mess around with a market so large and gullible?

The odds of preventing the oligarchy from owning the US of A disappear over the horizon of a dark northern land when you consider that most of the people who share my predicament (being robbed at every turn by people who cannot ever seem to amass enough money) have no idea why and how they've been screwed. Thanks Ronald Reagan, for the kicking off the decline in federal Education policy. We now have a country that doesn't necessarily believe in evolution, whose Osama or Obama fear can be counted on to fuel a brick-headed patriotism. They don't have the money to divest the oligarchs to death anyway, and if it ever came down to a real revolution, they'd start shooting liberals, or progressives, or whatever epithet you choose: left-of-center, college educated, pinko, Jew, commie,...they got a million of 'em.

So maybe an outbreak of socially conscious investment is not in the offing. But I can go at it the other way around, by decreasing the portion of what I buy that can be traced back to the people screwing me. It won't put them out of business, but it'll keep me out of theirs. 

Bouts of poverty, a growing environmental awareness, recurrent ludditis, and a richly burled iconoclasm [RIP, Carla] mean I'm already a little divested. Driving little in a 1997 4-cylinder car), eating mostly local food (and planting some), wearing thrift store clothes, buying from local merchants, and living in a house mortgaged no further than my local credit union. This winter I bought a cord of wood from a neighbor and cut the utility bill by more than a third.

If I weren't so shiftless and procrastinatory, I'd've done more. Grow more food, burn less oil, no plastic,'s a long road, and then a path, and then maybe a hermitageous grotto. I dunno how far I'll get, but the less vested I am in enterprises I despises, the happier I'll be.

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