Michael Parenti Triple Header
First Program: Fascism: The False Revolution
Fascism is being mentioned more and more in the context of U.S. and European elections. It is a term that is bandied about often rather loosely. Orwell wrote that it is understood to be "something not desirable." But it is a complex political and economic synergy that has racism, force and nationalism as its animating matrix. It involves heavy doses of propaganda and media manipulation. Mussolini, in one of his more honest moments said, "Fascism should be more properly called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." For Americans it is universally associated with despotic regimes in other countries. It can't happen here. Huey Long, the self-styled populist governor of Louisiana, once warned, "If fascism ever comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American flag."
Second Program: The Pathology of Wealth
As the planet moves closer to environmental catastrophe, the captains of industry, the robber barons of the age, could hardly be bothered. They have more important matters to consider. Making money. And they better be on the ball and deliver those dividends because if they don't they will soon be replaced. Profits uber alles is the guiding mantra. Environment. Schvironment. It gets in the way. Sure they'll recycle paper and glass but forget about doing anything substantial. Pursuing new corporate earning opportunities and wealth accumulation are in capitalism's DNA. The owners of the economy, the 1%, are operating from the tar sands in Alberta to fracking in Pennsylvania. They have got their eyes on the only prize that matters to them. The lust for lucre continues unabated.
Third Program: The Hypocrisies of Capitalism
The "Newsweek" cover declares, "We are All Socialists Now." Some people have a different take on it. Paul Krugman, commenting on the bailout of banks and the giant insurance company AIG, says it's a classic example of what he calls "lemon socialism," that is, taxpayers bear the cost if things go wrong, but stockholders and executives get the benefits if things go right. Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner, is describing our economic system as it really is, not the fantasy tale spun for mass consumption by Alan Greenspan and his disciples. One salient aspect of the economic collapse is the focus on rotten apples like Bernard Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford. They are easy pickings. We can all be virtuous in denouncing them as cheats and swindlers. But what escapes scrutiny and discussion is the barrel itself. And that is the capitalist system.
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