Antidote to Capitalist Realism

What to Say When They Say It’s Impossible

Here are ten smart responses you can use when people tell you
there’s no alternative to the capitalism that’s cooking the planet.
posted Jun 13, 2013
Raining exclamation points
Photos from Lana N/Shutterstock and Yes! Magazine

Those committed to building a more just future must question the taken-for-

granted “truths” that support the beliefs that capitalism is the only common-

sense possibility and that there is no alternative. We can’t leave this task to

the pages of peer-reviewed journals and classrooms of social theory—these

conversations can start with family and friends but must spread until we

create a new common sense. Here are conversation starters to address

some standard defenses of the status quo.

1. Alternatives could never work.

Does capitalism “work”? Even by its own indicators, as we’ve become

more capitalist—deregulating finance and promoting “free trade”—

economic growth and productivity have actually declined. Capitalism

does work for accumulating wealth and power in the hands of a few.

Is that what we want, or do we want a system that works for all?

2. Today’s globalized world is too complex to organize things any differently.

Of course the world is complex. But some things are also quite simple

—we live in a world where 1 billion people go hungry while we dump

half of all food produced. The gift of today is that we have the ability to

reflect and draw upon many forms, past and present, of non-capitalist

social organization, and to creatively experiment with blending the

best of these possibilities.

3. It’s either the system we have, or it’s no progress at all.

Doing away with capitalism doesn’t mean resorting to primitivism,

denying the poor their right to development, or abandoning all of our

washing machines. There are limits to the Earth’s resources, but we

can organize a productive, equitable, and sustainable social order that

includes many of the comforts of modern life and the benefits of technol-

ogy. In fact, getting rid of capitalism gives us the best chance of having

time to organize a sustainable system of consumption before it is too late

—staying hooked into capitalism may be the quickest route to primitivism.

4. Freedom can only be realized through a free market.

Attaching our values of freedom to the market is not just dehumanizing.

It also fails to recognize how one person’s “freedom” of economic choice

is another’s imprisonment in a life of exploitation and deprivation. There

is no possibility for true freedom until we are all free, and this will only

come through a much richer and deeper conception of human freedom

than one that consists of going to a grocery store and “choosing”

between 5,000 variations of processed corn.

5. Capitalism is the only system that encourages innovation and progress.

Progress toward what? And how does enclosing common knowledge

through intellectual property rights, or excluding most of the world from

quality education, or depriving half of humanity of the basic life-sustaining

goods needed for health lead to greater innovation? Just begin to imagine

the innovative possibilities of a world where all people had access to every-

thing they needed to live, to think, and to contribute to the common good.

6. Things could be worse.

They could. But they could also be better. Does the fact that we’ve lived

through bloody dictatorships mean that we should settle for a represen-

tative democracy where the main thing being represented is money? Fear

of change is a great tool to limit our imagination about human possibilities.

7. Things are getting better.

Can we really say that things are getting better as we head toward the

annihilation of our own species? Sure, the United States may have our first

black president and be making small gains in LGBT rights or in women’s

representation in the workforce. But let’s not neglect the fact that capital is

more concentrated, centralized, and in control than it has ever been. I think

we should give ourselves more credit than to settle for this “better.”

8. Change is slow.

Slow is not in the vocabulary of the corporations that are stealing our common

genetic heritage, or financiers who are getting rich playing virtual money games

that legally rob us all. The enclosure of our commons and the concentration of

capital is not happening slowly. Whether we acknowledge it or not, change is

happening— what is up for grabs is the direction of that change.

9. The best we can hope for is “green” and “ethical” capitalism.

This belief is fundamentally flawed because it assumes that within capitalism,

businesses can prioritize anything over the bottom line. But businesses that

commit themselves first and foremost to being fully ethical and green will find

it difficult to stay in business in the current system. There are great models of

ethical business— worker-owned organic farms, for instance—but these

cannot become the norm within an economic structure that concentrates

wealth and power in the hands of Monsanto. And while we should support

these alternatives, we need to recognize that we can’t shop our way to a

better world. We’ll only change the structure and scale up existing

alternatives through collective political struggle.

10. People don’t care.

People may be distracted by consumerism, may not have time or energy

outside of struggling to pay their bills, may be fearful, may lack access to

good information. Those things are different from not caring. The charity

industry is thriving precisely because so many people do feel implicated

in the revolting manifestations of capitalism. But this is part of the problem

—much of our outrage is being channeled away from collective political

action and toward “green consumerism” and charitable donations, as if

more capitalism could save us from capitalism. Despair, guilt, disempower-

ment— these are all symptomsof living within a system that rewards greed

& self-interest over our innate desires for compassion, care, and cooperation.


Andrea Brower wrote this article for Love and the Apocalypse,

the Summer 2013 issue of YES! Magazine. Andrea is a Ph.D.

candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Auckland.

Adapted from an article originally published at commondreams.org.

—————————————————————

Reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

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5 thoughts on “Antidote to Capitalist Realism

  1. Thanks for the courage and directness of this article. “much richer and deeper conception of human freedom” is a particularly great point! So important that we citizens get used to the notion that useful freedoms compete, that there are tradeoffs involved in every kind of freedom, and that much better balances need to be found. And, like you, I also think people DO care, and that we need to envision a future that can do worlds better than we do now, as we reduce capitalism’s unhealthy influences in our political process. There are many wonderful opportunities afoot.

    > as we’ve become more capitalist…economic growth and productivity have actually declined.

    This is the kind of broad, sweeping statement that is almost certainly in error in important ways. Certainly it’s wrong by most useful definitions over periods that are not 2008-2012. It’s the wrong point to make, anyway. Better to stick with what that growth and productivity entail, i.e., increased indiscriminate consumerism and machine/computer-driven productivity (i.e., both are extremely narrowly defined). You’re essentially saying that capitalism doesn’t deliver well on consumerism or a productivity that doesn’t lead to quality of life. I respectfully disagree. I think it does that remarkably well, and generally better all the time.

    > 1 billion people go hungry while we dump half of all food produced.

    Dude- seriously? You have a reference for that? If so, why is it not included? And why not one for the above narrow other contention, for that matter? I’m surprised a Ph.D. candidate would toss out such a thing without circumscribing it a little, or at least by appending a smidgen of background.

    Both these points buried the headline for me quickly, which is a shame, since neither can possibly be considered central examples. Like many such polemics, you makes good points about capitalism- it is the broad side of a barn, after all- but you’ve papered over how the distinctions between capitalistic and non-capitalistic options are both subtle and controversial, and that there are quite useful hybrid structures around as well.

    You have the common anarchistic tendency to assume that cogent repudiation of capitalism’s efficacy and direction is somehow equivalent to providing a holistic alternative vision for how to operate. But “let’s do it way different” ain’t a project plan. Any article that doesn’t at least put it’s toe into the execution waters while railing against this particular broad side of a barn has a hard time holding my attention. And no- a murmur about researching effective alternatives can’t suffice- not this late in the game. We know a lot about how to get there. There’s a big ultrasonic screech where that vision should be sketched out a bit in this article, and it’s a sound that many set on major world-changing don’t seem to hear. I have fought the negative affects of capitalism all my life, and seen many valid alternatives. I’d suggest such examples in an article like this, so that the polemics have a frame stretched out under them usefully. Extra credit for: discussing the non-capitalist alternatives that failed miserably; any other stories that add dimensionality to the Monsanto-vs-usgreatguys setup; examples of our personal culpability and active involvement in the excesses and winnowings of capitalism; or that explains how we can drag the same bullshit problems- or yes, even worse- right into the next system, as if we were born to.

    >we can’t shop our way to a better world

    Poppycock. We MUST shop our way to a better world from here: must start consuming better products, and caring about how they’re produced. It’s an essential effort, and it’s not secondary to some greater politicization, but is a key part of it. You think abuses for money or power and lousy regulation are unique to capitalism? ANY organizations, including capitalist ones, who do things more holistically are making important inroads in technique, public consciousness, and who knows what else, and those skills will translate along into any healthy post-capitalist efforts. Try to not imply that good people working as they can within a flawed system are somehow draining the most important effort of its strength. That hierarchical, simplistic thinking about world-beating got us the Nader-following that got us George Bush, and various late imperialist purges.

  2. “Thanks for the courage and directness of this article.”

    It isn’t my article. I’m just re-posting it. I take neither credit nor blame for it. And I offer neither agreement with or criticism of it. I just thought it interesting and worthy of being given some space on my humble blog.

    The only thing I added was my own title to the post. In the title, I called it an antidote. Thinking more about my choice, I think it wise. It isn’t a cure. It isn’t articulated logical refutation. It just softens the bite of capitalist rhetoric, although of course it doesn’t defang it entirely.

    “This is the kind of broad, sweeping statement that is almost certainly in error in important ways.”

    Maybe it is in error in important ways, but it is also likely correct in important ways that many people are afraid to admit. I suppose it depends on which aspect one wishes to emphasize.

    This is what I can be certain of. Growth hasn’t been clear, steady and even for the economy and workforce overall.

    Like real wealth, real growth can be challenging to measure objectively, especially when externalized costs and long-term consequences aren’t factored in, but shift perspective using different data and the picture looks radically different, sometimes with polar opposite conclusions. It’s easy to make things look good on paper.

    There is also the issue of shifts, trends and cycles. You can look at any snapshot and see growth or decline. But what is the baseline? And which direction is it heading? Or even what is growing and who is experiencing growth vs what and who isn’t? Beyond such relatively simple questions, is it healthy and sustainable growth? Is it tangible or illusory, long-term or temporary, stable or a boom? What is the fuller analysis when put into the big picture of all data?

    As with everything in life, it is complex. Way more complex than I feel like arguing about.

    “It’s the wrong point to make, anyway. Better to stick with what that growth and productivity entail, i.e., increased indiscriminate consumerism and machine/computer-driven productivity (i.e., both are extremely narrowly defined).”

    Fair enough. This article doesn’t represent the way I’d criticize capitalism or, to be more specific, capitalist realism. What capitalist realism entails is a very bleak world. If you wish to understand my preferred analysis of “actually existing” capitalism, then I’d refer you to the book Capitalist Realism: Is there no alternative? by Mark Fisher. That author truly grasps what gets denied and ignored, obfuscated and externalized.

    “You’re essentially saying that capitalism doesn’t deliver well on consumerism or a productivity that doesn’t lead to quality of life. I respectfully disagree. I think it does that remarkably well, and generally better all the time.”

    It depends on which measures and which comparisons. I have various posts on my blog comparing the US to countries that take a more socialized approach in certain sectors such as healthcare and education, the very sectors I’d consider fundamentally central to quality of life.

    “Dude- seriously? You have a reference for that? If so, why is it not included? And why not one for the above narrow other contention, for that matter? I’m surprised a Ph.D. candidate would toss out such a thing without circumscribing it a little, or at least by appending a smidgen of background.”

    With a few minutes of web searching, I quickly found numerous articles about the issue.

    Before making a comment, at least look at the first page of results for a basic web search. Just for the sake of curiosity, if not for any standard of intellectual fairness or rigor. That is one of my major pet peeves. I go to a lot of effort when I make comments. Maybe I’m expecting too much from others, but I expect the same from those who comment in my blog.

    That said, I’m forgiving of your comment because another pet peeve of mine is when a writer makes a strong claim without offering a hyperlink or citation. So, you are right for pointing it out, even if you failed in your acting dismissive of something you haven’t researched.

    Even ignoring left-leaning alternative media, here are all the sources I found:

    http://www.catholic.org/hf/home/story.php?id=49341

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=one-third-of-food-wasted-can-retailers-help

    http://www.livescience.com/5919-americans-toss-40-percent-food.html

    http://phys.org/news/2013-04-food-key-element-billions-people.html

    http://www.economist.com/node/18200694

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-10/living-in-the-united-states-of-food-waste

    http://www.businessinsider.com/why-half-the-food-in-world-gets-wasted-2013-1

    http://businessetc.thejournal.ie/half-world-food-goes-to-waste-749157-Jan2013/

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/21/us-food-waste-idUSBRE87K0WR20120821

    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/10/business/la-fi-mo-food-waste-20130110

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/12/how-the-world-manages-to-waste-half-its-food/

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/us/july-dec12/food_09-07.html

    http://business.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/13/30-of-all-worlds-food-goes-to-waste/

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-57398342-503543/experts-up-to-half-of-worlds-food-goes-to-waste/

    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/10/16449710-half-of-world-food-goes-to-waste-global-study-says?lite

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2259883/We-throw-away-HALF-food-Supermarket-deals-confusing-sell-dates-mean-families-waste-480-year-groceries-eat.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/10/half-world-food-waste

    “You have the common anarchistic tendency to assume that cogent repudiation of capitalism’s efficacy and direction is somehow equivalent to providing a holistic alternative vision for how to operate.”

    Maybe you haven’t read my blog regularly. If you had, you’d know I love to point out alternatives that have been tried in the real world. I won’t bother offering you links. If your intellectual honesty and curiosity is great enough, you can easily find such posts. Just use search terms such as “sewer socialism”, “municipal socialism”, “public bank” and “anarchosyndicalism” or simply do a search on “socialism” and “communism”.

    “Poppycock. We MUST shop our way to a better world from here: must start consuming better products, and caring about how they’re produced. It’s an essential effort, and it’s not secondary to some greater politicization, but is a key part of it.”

    That is so simplistic as to be unworthy of comment.

    “You think abuses for money or power and lousy regulation are unique to capitalism?”

    I can’t speak for the author, but this very question is why I’m as much an anarchist as I’m anything else. Anarchists have their origin in the same working class movement out of which libertarianism and socialism arose. But I’m not an ideologue. I just know that history has proven the more money and power is concentrated the more corrupt it becomes. That is as basic of a truth as gravity.

    However, somethings need to be worked out on the large-scale. We’ve created problems so massive that we are unfortunately beyond many of the best small-scale (decentralized, grassroots and direct democracy) solutions. So, we are in the lose/lose scenario of looking to the large-scale paradigm for solutions for the problems caused by the large-scale paradigm.

    “ANY organizations, including capitalist ones, who do things more holistically are making important inroads in technique, public consciousness, and who knows what else, and those skills will translate along into any healthy post-capitalist efforts.”

    I’m all in favor of capitalists attempting to prove that capitalism can be something other than what it has proven to be. Capitalism hasn’t even come close to living up to its rhetoric/propaganda. If some day, capitalist find a way to create a worthy capitalism (sustainable, morally good, etc), then I’ll support them like a true believer. But until then, I won’t hold my breath.

    “Try to not imply that good people working as they can within a flawed system are somehow draining the most important effort of its strength.”

    Good people working in flawed systems are what they are. That is true of every flawed system: capitalism, communism, fascism, theocracy, monarchy, slavery, etc. Still, you can’t help but hold people accountable when they don’t morally confront the failings of the system they are a part of.

    “That hierarchical, simplistic thinking about world-beating got us the Nader-following that got us George Bush, and various late imperialist purges.”

    That is so beyond stupid that I don’t how to respond to it. That is way up there on my list of pet peeves. If I didn’t know better, this last sentence would make me think you were one of the most ignorant of partisans… or just plain naive beyond comprehension.

    Nader is one of the few people who sees outside of the partisan bubble and is willing to reach beyond ideological divides. Ron Paul and Nader have developed an alliance, both interestingly of the Silent Generation which is a generation that helped keep politics moderate for decades. It was only when the Boomers became a majority in Washington, at the beginning of this new century, that the polarized partisanship really got out of hand. The Democrats have been so weak in their acquiescing to Republicans that it is no longer funny.

    Sadly, Obama is as imperialist as Bush. Obama has essentially just continued Bush’s policies, especially in terms of imperialism, military imperialism most of all. Every Republican and Democratic president in my life has been imperialist. I don’t want to seek partisanship or bipartisanship. Fuck both parties! Literally, fuck them up the ass! Pardon my French.

    I’m sorry if that seems mean-spirited, but you really pushed my buttons with that comment about Nader. For God’s sake, the guy is principled and the jokers the two parties put into power lack any worthy principles whatsoever, assuming they have any in the first place.

    Come on, you can’t make a comment like that and expected to be taken seriously. You seem like a nice, intelligent guy and not one to play the whole partisan/ideological game. I’m very surprised to see a comment like that come from someone like you. Just know if you make a comment like that in my blog I’m going to ream you a new asshole.

    But it’s all good. Don’t take me too seriously. Everyone is allowed to say something stupid once in a while, myself included.

  3. Benjamin, thanks for the considered response. Sorry I didn’t make clear that I knew it wasn’t your writeup- I just decided to respond to that writer here, because I couldn’t see how to do so otherwise, since his original article is behind a paywall. Guess that wasn’t obvious.

    Re Nader, we’ll probably have to agree to disagree. This is a very old within-liberalism argument now, with familiar peals and apparently similar emotional levels as usual. I take you seriously, but I disagree strongly with your logic in the standard way. I think the argument centers on:

    1) Nader has the right stance and high levels of integrity, so we should support him.

    – Which I agree with, for the most part. A wonderful man. I was referring to the unrealistic votes to make him President, which in my opinion caused us Iraq, continuance of Afganistan and some other domestic disasters that Gore would never have allowed. I have a tough time with Nader’s arguments against that point, which I view as misplaced idealism and impractical to the point of deadly. More broadly, though, my point was about castigating good efforts because they’re not great, in our opinion. I’m against that in general.

    2) There’s no significant difference between the parties.

    – Nader’s point in the 2000 elections, which I strongly disagree with, even though I somewhat agree with you about the level of Obama’s imperialism. This 2) is a common feeling among many liberals, and I think I understand the causes, I just can’t agree. I see important qualitative differences between Democrat and Republican stances, and was referring to them in a 2000 presidential election context. I simply submit that Gore would’ve been a significantly better president, that he lost because of Nader (and a bunch of other bad moves that had nothing to do with Nader), and that there was a useful parallel with the writer’s complaint about trying to do responsible capitalism.

    This I think a wise statement: “We’ve created problems so massive that we are unfortunately beyond many of the best small-scale (decentralized, grassroots and direct democracy) solutions. So, we are in the lose/lose scenario of looking to the large-scale paradigm for solutions for the problems caused by the large-scale paradigm.” I wouldn’t say we’re beyond “decentralized, grassroots” solutions, but that they’re made quite a bit more difficult to implement because of both the scale of our production and our mindset around fulfillment of demand and consumption. I would note that your statement hints at a problem that is largely beyond ideology, or that touches both ideologies in America about equally in pain, while needing approaches that are less political than good business in orientation. In truth, we will need to adopt approaches that are radically decentralized while maintaining and vastly improving elements of centralization, technology, and information. The left will lead (poorly), and I believe the right will come along, typically quite late, as the economics are made plainer and plainer over time through pain.

    > you can’t help but hold people accountable when they don’t morally confront the failings of the system they are a part of.

    That’s true. Again, I object, within this article’s context, to implicitly holding people to a higher standard when they do something (anything) right. It’s kind of like a parent who is never grateful, no matter what a child does right- there’s always something the child is screwing up that is ‘more important’ or that would ‘really make a difference’. It’s that spirit I object to in general. It’s a huge benefit to society that some capitalists try to make capitalism more responsible. I like to leave a period there at the end of that last sentence, as opposed to complaining in the same breath about their (supposed) lack of political activism, as if their contributions mean relatively little, or that those contributions are an unhealthy apology for a bad system, or that by doing such good they’re somehow especially responsible to subvert the dominant paradigm. Again, poppycock. I view their efforts as in some kind of parity with political efforts to get us beyond capitalism, and no less moral, per se. I hang around a lot of those guys, and questioning their moral commitment to a post-capitalism future is really barking up the wrong tree. I suspect most of them are much better informed about post-capitalist possibilities than the writer, and I’d contend they’re doing more to get us there.

    > That is so simplistic as to be unworthy of comment.

    I don’t follow. It’s ok if you view the statement as dumb enough to not retort to: if so, forgive me for being obtuse. The context was my statement about people providing more responsible products within capitalism.

    Re food waste, thank you for recognizing the lack of a citation as a problem: that was my main point, by far. I shouldn’t be forced to wander around the web to ascertain veracity of such an incendiary claim. Secondarily, thanks for the references. It was good to think about and research this stuff. The writer you quoted said this, though: “we dump half of all food produced”. That is a completely deceptive and highly incomplete statement. That was my point. When I dredged up the probably primary reference that your secondary news sources mostly refer to, which was a study by engineers (motivated economically, I must say, to make the waste number big), their claim is “30-50% not getting to consumers’ mouths”, which I would submit in itself is very, very different both definitionally and quantitively than the writer’s statement. It’s those kind of differences (rounding up; semantics, lack of detail/context/precision) that underscore the reason for good references. The engineers then go on to make some rather bold claims about waste in the third world that the UN contradicts, such as “up to 80% rice losses in China”, and others. The “report” looks and reads like a marketing document, because it is a marketing document. The statistic seems very suspect to me. Some good references elsewhere had decent information and multiple sources about US food waste, and the high waste statistics there seemed straightforward and generally reasonable, but extrapolating to throughout the majority of humanity in the third world seems highly problematic. The UN agrees with me; their equivalent number here http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e00.pdf with global food waste is 33%, and they are very careful to point out their definitions, the tough parts, the capitalist-oriented parts, the fact that the waste is proportionally found in highly developed countries, etc. I found a few reliable statistics from India that were radically lower than a 33% waste figure, but very little otherwise that questioned or detailed the claims because- and I think this is key with these kind of statistics- just as it was pertinent for the writer to gloss and spin and not question the statistic, it was useful for many others to do the same, with almost no parties motivated to get it right. This is the kind of statistical abuse that the left gets wrong a lot, because we grind away almost as much as the right when we think we have a shocking “proof” behind our vision of the world, and we are loathe to look at details or find the non-ideological aspects of the problem.

    Let me pour gas on the fire by being clear about my own views, Benjamin. I believe good capitalism to be essential; that capitalism isn’t going away, and that it shouldn’t; and that there are some very healthy reasons for capitalism to exist. I am somewhat Marxist in some senses, mostly in my tendency to encourage a relatively much larger amount of (smart/sampling) regulation; tariffs, taxation that addresses externalities, and other market limitations/prohibitions currently considered severe; and an attempt to limit undue capitalist influences of the legislative process. It’s totally possible that my perspective is thus distorted and inaccurate when addressing opinions like this writer’s, but then again I’ve been dealing with all of his arguments, often within an academic context, for many years. In his case, I liked the enthusiasm for non-capitalist solutions and a couple of points, but I hated the grinding surety, the dripping ideology, the lack of solution-orienting, and the carelessness.

    • As I’ve pointed out to others, Nader didn’t cause Gore to lose. First, Gore actually did win the election. Second, Gore chose to not challenge the election being stolen from him. I wrote a post about it:

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/the-complicity-of-mainstream-politics-and-media/

      If your high school team won a football game. It was clear you won, but the other team had paid the referee to make bad calls against your team. At the same time, there was a really good player that could have played on your team, but chose to play on some other team. Would you blame your loss on this player or would you blame it on the referee and the other side that bribed him?

      I ask myself why didn’t Gore challenge an election when it had obviously been stolen from him. Why do people like I get blamed for not fighting for a candidate who refuses to fight for himself?

      Considering his behavior and how well he has done since, I suspect that Gore himself was paid off by someone. He was offered something to remain silent and not fight back. I don’t know what it was, but no one would have done what Gore did (or rather didn’t do) without some massive benefit to himself. Or maybe he was blackmailed. I don’t know. Certainly, it wasn’t Nader’s fault.

      Speculating in hindsight, I could see Gore possibly being better than Bush (and I have speculated about this myself in the past). Then again, maybe not. If no other factors other than personal experience and tendencies decided presidential decisions, one would assume for example that the Iraq War would have been less likely. However, obviously more goes on in decisions than the personal. If it was only for personal reasons, Gore logically should have fought back to take the election he had won. Since Gore didn’t act logically in that case, I don’t know that we could predict how he would have acted as president.

      There are so many forces behind the scenes we don’t see. Who paid Gore off or blackmailed him to not fight for the election he won? Maybe the same people who manipulated the system to steal the election for Bush. Neither of us could begin to guess who this might be, without going into conspiracy theory. The bureaucracy of non-elected officials seems to be more powerful than any presidential election. No matter who gets elected or who steals the election, nothing seems to change even when a winning candidate states they plan on changing things once in office. For example, Obama said he would close Gitmo and help create government transparency, but he has done neither and quite the opposite if anything.

      Even when Bush was given the presidency, he didn’t have absolute control of the government. It would have been harder for Bush to have done what he did without as much support as he was given by Democrats. Your argument about Gore might hold water if Democrats were willing to fight against the Republicans when it matters most, but at those precise times is when the two parties will cooperate with little if any disagreement or conflict

      http://rense.com/general30/grant.htm

      When Democratic candidates fight for their own elections against those who try to steal them, when the Democratic Party actually fights on the behalf of people like me, I’ll more than willingly fight the good fight for the blue team. But don’t ever blame people like Nader or I for refusing to be part of a corrupt system that lies to you by telling us it will be different this time if we throw away our vote one more time.

      After a while, the lesser of two evils just looks plain evil. Why not vote for the good? If all Americans voted for the good, we would have it. A silly notion, I realize. Democracy actually working! No, that is crazy talk. Let’s just keep the corruption and dysfunction going for as long as possible. Yeah, that is the best solution available to us.

    • The food waste issue isn’t one I feel like arguing about. I’m sure there is a wide variety of data out there. Still, even putting the most positive spin on it as is possible, it still doesn’t look all that good. You could argue that isn’t reason to put a negative spin on it. However, as with the Gore issue, I’m not big on trying to polish a turd.

      I also don’t feel much like arguing about capitalism. I honestly don’t have a strong opinion for or against capitalism as an abstraction. My criticisms are mostly focused on actual existing capitalism. Speculating on some fantasy of real or true capitalism seems pointless, but I’m openminded about it. There are many possibilities out there and I support experimentation. Even socialist model like anarcho-syndicalism can and do work within capitalism, although they might work better in a system that isn’t crony capitalism or corporatism.

      I’m sure I agree with you or don’t strongly disagree with you on lots of things. That Nader part, though, is an issue I will never budge on.

      That election demonstrated the growing cancer at the heart of our democracy and how powerful it had become. Gore wasn’t going to change that. We are nearly at the point of requiring revolution, if not long past that point. The mood of today is closer to that felt during the Great Depression and maybe even closer to what was felt during the Populist Era. Those were times of great violence and radicalism when fascism was a real threat.

      It’s actually because I’m against violent revolution that I wish those in power would take the threat more seriously. Why are we all being pushed to the edge? Every country has a breaking point. We aren’t there yet, but we keep getting closer. At this point, elections can’t change the momentum behind the direction we are headed. Only mass protest and other forms of direction could possibly put a halt to what is happening and make those in power think twice before continuing.

      Democracy isn’t ultimately about elections. A votocracy isn’t the same thing as a democracy. We Americans have yet to demand actual democracy, but I suspect one day that demand will come. Part of the problem is that most Americans haven’t seemed capable of grasping what democracy is. The younger generation has a better grasp of this, though, and they are better informed over all relative to older generations (as always, one could take this as a compliment to the young generation or merely a criticism of the older generations).

      Time will tell.

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