The conservative goal has been the Third Worldization of the United States: an increasingly underemployed, lower-wage work-force; a small but growing moneyed class that pays almost no taxes; the privatization or elimination of human services; the elimination of public education for low-income people; the easing of restrictions against child labor; the exporting of industries and jobs to low-wage, free-trade countries; the breaking of labor unions; and the elimination of occupational safety and environmental controls and regulations.
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Candidates who win while spending less than their opponents still usually have to spend quite a lot. While not a surefire guarantor of victory, a large war chest -even if not the largest-is usually a necessary condition. Money may not guarantee victory, but the lack of it usually guarantees defeat. Without large sums, there is rarely much of a campaign, as poorly funded 'minor' candidates have repeatedly discovered.
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People may like what third-party candidates say, because often they are the only ones saying anything, but they usually won't vote for someone who doesn't have a chance. Since third-party candidates are not in the news, they are considered to be not really in the race; and since they are not in the race, this justifies treating them as if they are not news.
For the last fifty years we've been supporting right-wing governments, and that is a puzzlement to me...I don't understand what there is in the American character...that almost automatically, even when we have a liberal President, we support fascist dictatorships or are tolerant towards them.
The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital. The live green earth is transformed into dead gold bricks, with luxury items for the few and toxic slag heaps for the many. The glittering mansion overlooks a vast sprawl of shanty towns, wherein a desperate, demoralized humanity is kept in line with drugs, television, and armed force.
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Democracy is not about trust; it is about distrust. It is about accountability, exposure, open debate, critical challenge, and popular input and feedback from the citizenry. It is about responsible government. We have to get our fellow Americans to trust their leaders less and themselves more, trust their own questions and suspicions, and their own desire to know what is going on.
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Between 1831 and 1891, US armed forces - usually the Marines - invaded Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Brazil, Haiti, Argentina, and Chile a total of thirty-one times, a fact not many of us are informed about in school. The Marines intermittently occupied Nicaragua form 1909 to 1933, Mexico from 1914 to 1919, and Panama from 1903 to 1914. To 'restore order' the Marines occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934, killing over two thousand Haitians who resisted 'pacification.'
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Only by establishing military supremacy were the European and North American colonizers able to eliminate the crafts and industries of Third World peoples, control their markets, extort tribute, undermine their cultures, destroy their villages, steal their lands and natural resources, enslave their labor, and accumulate vast wealth.
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I dream that someday the United States will be on the side of the peasants in some civil war. I dream that we will be the ones who will help the poor overthrow the rich, who will talk about land reform and education and health facilities for everyone, and that when the Red Cross or Amnesty International comes to count the bodies and take the testimony of women raped, that our side won't be the heavies.
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A nation as such does not give aid to another nation. More precisely, the common citizens of our country, through their taxes, give to the privileged elites of another country. As someone once said: foreign aid is when the poor people of a rich country give money to the rich people of a poor country.
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If Big Brother (of Orwell's 1984) comes to America, he will not be a fearsome, foreboding figure with a heart-chilling, omnipresent glare as in 1984. He will come with a smile on his face, a quip on his lips, a wave to the crowd, and a press that (a) dutifully reports the suppressive measures he is taking to save the nation from internal chaos and foreign threat; and (b) gingerly questions whether he will be able to succeed.
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I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own.... And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots" by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed down their throats by Americans.
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In societies that worship money and success, the losers become objects of scorn. Those who work the hardest for the least are called lazy. Those forced to live in substandard housing are thought to be the authors of substandard lives. Those who do not finish high school or cannot afford to go to college are considered deficient or inept.
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The nation, like the church, has its visible symbols and insignia, its parchments engrossed with the revealed word, its dogmas, hymns, liturgy, holy day celebrations, its early Fathers, prophets and martyrs, its priesthood and its lay sodality, its myths of sacred genesis and apocalyptic crises, its world-saving mission and its missionaries.
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The problem with capitalism is that it best rewards the worst part of us: the ruthless, competitive, conniving, opportunistic, acquisitive drives, giving little reward and often much punishment-or at least much handicap-to honesty, compassion, fair play, many forms of hard work, love of justice, and a concern for those in need.
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To oppose the policies of a government does not mean you are against the country or the people that the government supposedly represents. Such opposition should be called what it really is: democracy, or democratic dissent, or having a critical perspective about what your leaders are doing. Either we have the right to democratic dissent and criticism of these policies or we all lie down and let the leader, the Fuhrer, do what is best, while we follow uncritically, and obey whatever he commands. That's just what the Germans did with Hitler, and look where it got them.
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All economic and political institutions are contrivances that should serve the interests of the people. When they fail to do so, they should be replaced by something more responsive, more just, and more democratic. Marx said this, and so did Jefferson. It is a revolutionary doctrine, and very much an American one.
Ecology's implications for capitalism are too momentous for the capitalist to contemplate. The plutocrats are more wedded to their wealth than to the Earth upon which they live, more concerned with the fate of their fortunes than with the fate of humanity. The present ecological crisis has been created by the few at the expense of the many.
Capital requires protection, as do the institutions through which it operates. As capital expands its operations, the state that is associated with its protection must develop its capacity for autocratic control. Thus, the "Free World" increasingly resembles a dreary string of heartless police states.
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My point is that it's incorrect to say that the Iraq policy isn't working. It is working. It is doing what they want. They have got control of the oil and they are exporting it, and they have stripped a government that was 90% state owned and they are privatizing it. ... They have taken a country that was self defining and self developing and is now an impoverished prostrate devastated country where people will line up to work for slave wages or become members of the police or army because it's the only job they can get and serve as adjuncts to U.S. imperialism.
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With each newly minted crisis, US leaders roll out the same time-tested scenario. They start demonizing a foreign leader ... charging them with being communistic or otherwise dictatorial, dangerously aggressive, power hungry, genocidal, given to terrorism or drug trafficking, ready to deny us access to vital resources, harboring weapons of mass destruction, or just inexplicably "anti-American" and "anti-West." Lacking any information to the contrary, the frightened public ... are swept along.
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Editors and reporters are not as free and independent to invite a variety of opinions as they might think. They are free to say what they like only as long as their bosses like what they say. They are free to produce what they want if their product remains within acceptable political boundaries. You will have no sensation of a leash around your neck if you sit by the peg. It is only when your stray that you feel the restraining tug.
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[The ruling elites] know who their enemies are, and their enemies are the people, the people at home and the people abroad. Their enemies are anybody who wants more social justice, anybody who wants to use the surplus value of society for social needs rather than for individual class greed, that's their enemy.
If the test of patriotism comes only by reflexively falling into lockstep behind the leader whenever the flag is waved, then what we have is a formula for dictatorship, not democracy... But the American way is to criticize and debate openly, not to accept unthinkingly the doings of government officials of this or any other country.
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In the end I created a career of my own, concentrating on my writing and lecturing, reaching larger audiences than I would had I ended up with tenure and a full teaching load. It was Virginia Woolf who said that it is terrible to be frozen out of a sacred tradition-but even more terrible to be frozen into it.
A tiny portion of the population controls the lions share of the wealth and most of the command positions of state, manufacturing, banking, investment, publishing, higher education, philanthropy, and media... these individuals exercise a preponderant influence over what is passed off as public information and democratic discourse.
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If one looks into the genealogies of many 'old families,' one discovers episodes of slave trafficking, bootlegging, gun running, opium trading, falsified land claims, violent acquisition of water and mineral rights, the extermination of indigenous peoples, sales of shoddy and unsafe goods, public funds used for private speculations, crooked deals in government bonds and vouchers, and payoffs for political favors.
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Conventional opinions fit so comfortably into the dominant paradigm as to be seen not as opinions but as statements of fact, as 'the nature of things.' The very efficacy of opinion manipulation rests on the fact that we do not know we are being manipulated. The most insidious forms of oppression are those that so insinuate themselves into our communication universe and the recesses of our minds that we do not even realize they are acting upon us.
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Far from being reluctantly propelled into hostilities by popular war fever, leaders incite that fever in order to gather support for their war policies. Thereby do they attempt to distract the public from pressing domestic matters, serve the overseas interests of U.S. investors, justify gargantuan military budgets, and present themselves as great leaders.
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With unfailing consistency, U.S. intervention has been on the side of the rich and powerful of various nations at the expense of the poor and needy. Rather than strengthening democracies, U.S. leaders have overthrown numerous democratically elected governments or other populist regimes in dozens of countries ... whenever these nations give evidence of putting the interests of their people ahead of the interests of multinational corporate interests.
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