Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink. This is a pep talk for me, but I suspect others can use one, too.
I was reading an article about how entrepreneurs like the Fyre Fest guy and the fake blood machine woman have conned investment cash out of venture capitalists. One of the startup companies mentioned was WeWork, a real estate company, I guess, specializing in incubator- type spaces or something, where people working on a project together would live in the same space, maybe, or just inhabit the space somehow, but the space would be specifically curated to cater to a group who wanted to be, I don’t know, entrepreneurial or some shit, like maybe the type of people who would develop a company like WeWork, the company specializing in spaces for groups of people getting together to come up with companies like WeWork.
Companies that are con-jobs specifically structured to take investors’ money fascinate me, because they demonstrate how fucking brainless capitalists are, and how expecting vacuous greedy twatism as a philosophy to somehow improve society can lead to hilarious disasters. WeWork started out with a hefty valuation of $47 billion, one that dwindled to, I think, currently, do not quote me on this, five dollars and forty cents.
What caught my eye, though, was a phrase in their phishing literature that attracted investors: there was a “kibbutz-like” atmosphere at the company, or in its buildings, or some such garbage. Whatever you think about Israel, a kibbutz is a socialist socio-economic relationship between its members, often built around a few small industries, crops, and livestock. There’s a seniority system, but at every level the fruits of labor are shared out equally, and decisions about just about everything are made democratically. Children are all raised together, so they are like siblings. A lot of siblings.
The thing that surprised me is that anyone would consider a kibbutz or any socialist enterprise an attractive advertising analogy. But then I got to thinking how successful many left efforts have been in the marketplace.
Greenwashing is, of course, when a vile corporation, the sole purpose of which is to make as much profit as possible, pretends to the public that it cares about the environment. Greenwashing it a huge part of any polluting company’s PR budget.
Likewise, sensitivity across the gender, ethnicity, and racial spectrum. “Wokeness” as the rightwingers who despise liberals would have it.
Corporations are the marketplace. Advertising is by far humanity’s greatest expenditure on education. And all that fake education is a worldwide effort to sell compassion on the part of entities for whom the impulse to be compassionate doesn’t exist.
Of course, in the realm of advertising, aka propaganda, compassion and wokeness appear fake, because all corporate education is indeed fake. Liberalism and many left issues – even decent treatment of workers, as long as it isn’t too specific, like unionization and benefits and wages – have been co-opted by the lyingest organisms in our society.
For this reason, such issues have become stigmatized. The people who want to blame government and liberals for everything only have to mention an issue, such as caring about wildlife habitats, or caring about child nutrition, or caring about getting teachers decent pay – they only have to mention such issues in a way that echoes the capitalist’s shallow rendering to convince a great mass of people of the shallowness and valuelessness of the individual human beings who actually care about such things.
This is why we have to focus on the one problem with capitalism that it can’t co-opt: capitalism is destroying civilization and the planet. Capitalism must be destroyed for the sake of civilization and the planet. Obviously, that means we must continue to culturally criminalize imperialism. But I can foresee corporate capitalism co-opting anti-imperialism too. Corporations already have public relations materials about how much better they make the lives of people in the nations they steal resources from. Smiling Nigerian child actors receiving iPads in their schools, while meanwhile, in real life the military, paid by the oil company, mows down Nigerian protestors.
We’ve already gone a long way toward culturally criminalizing being super-rich. Mocking the three billionaire space stooges is pretty much mainstream. It’s going to take a lot of work to bring that criminalization from cultural stigma to material stigma, but the longer capitalism sticks to its doctrine of private property accumulation, which by its nature it must, the more visceral and material that crime is going to feel to the people.
We may never get the working-to-middleclass superpatriots on board. They’re kept satisfied by a SCOTUS that’s been bought with dark money because the Koch, Karlyle, and Kargill (KKK) Supreme Court makes the same theocratic culture war noises the jingoist superpatriots do. And no, we shouldn’t tailor our declarations or actions to avoid being mocked by them.
But their propaganda calling out the fake compassion of the left, supported by the fake- compassion propaganda of corporate feudalism, affects those still wandering in the old paradigm of “we can fix all this with good ol’ American stick-to-it-iveness and gumption!” We have to give the right as few tools as possible to spread their message, and the tools they have we must take away.
No more applauding the wealth accumulation achievements of someone just because they’re a person of color. Wealth accumulation is not admirable. And yes it’s great that there’s a First Nations woman who’s now Secretary of the Interior. But is it? Is it really? How about we judge her actions on their merits, not freighted with her people’s heritage, as if that has merit that attaches to whatever policies she chooses to pursue no matter how destructive or ineffectual. If the policies she follows are wonderful, well that’s wonderful. If they’re not, we don’t have to pretend to be happy that “at least it was a Native American who sold out the Sacred Lands and water to the oil companies.”
It’s been said so many times that it’s almost a truism: the majority of people in this country support progressive policies. And the generation coming up is way more on board with actual socialist solutions to our problems, especially as they are the only solutions that can reasonably be expected to work.
Incidentally, this Generation Z – can we just call all generations Generation Z from now on? There’s a popular idea that we should call the generation just being born Generation Alpha. That’s completely uncalled for. Until we fix it so human civilization will survive into the future, all generations from now on should be called Generation Z. Because any generation from now on is likely to be the last. If we get through the next half-century with a reasonable expectation that humanity will indeed have a future, I’d be fine if we called the generation starting in that new world “Generation Alpha.” But to call any generation anything that seems more like a beginning than an end under the current circumstances, which promise only to grow more dire, is a categorical error.
If your politics doesn’t center working to turn around the climate disaster, the mass extinction, mass human impoverishment, and the persecution of poor people, it’s just irrelevant to what we need to be doing, in my opinion. And the solution to turning around all these catastrophes hinges on wealth being used for purposes other than to enrich a small fraction of privileged humanity. That suggests a full overhaul of the global economy. I don’t care how we get there, but that has to be the goal.
Petty arguments about who gets to be on postage stamps are totally relevant when one is discussing postage stamps and who has historically gotten to be on them. The argument about who gets to wear the Tiffany diamond necklace is fine and relevant if you’re arguing about necklaces and the status connotations of the wearer, their identity, and the place people with their identity have traditionally been relegated to in fashion history. But don’t act like Beyoncé wearing the Tiffany diamond necklace constitutes progress toward a world where society refuses to allow people to go hungry or be forced to sleep under highway overpasses without access even to a legal place to relieve and wash themselves. Let’s not act like a Secretary of the Interior being Native American automatically makes a livable future for plant and animal life a more likely scenario than it was before she was installed.
Obviously, right now, nothing positive seems probable. But that’s all the more reason to do triage on the actions and language that can bring the world we want closer to reality, however unlikely that reality might seem at the present moment.
That’s a goal of mine. I’m working on making it real in an economy that sort of doesn’t want me to live if I rebel against it. Goals. I’m not great at them. But I believe I can learn.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!