Happy New Year and Row on You Galley Slaves !
07 January, 2008
By Anwaar Hussain
Chances are that this year too fear will continue to be necessary, merit useless, intellect dangerous and blind obedience vital to the autocratic powers imposing themselves upon the global citizenry.
The year 2008 has just dawned. The world continues to lurch from crisis to crisis. Towards the close of the last year, the Supreme Commander of the most heavily armed country in the world shot off the words ‘Third World War’ with an arrogant contempt, and an oafish ease, for the destinies of global citizens. Perhaps he fails to realize that a Third World War is synonymous with the extinction of a developed human civilization from the face of planet earth. Or then perhaps he does not care.
So how does 2008 look up? Will this be a more peaceful year than the last one, is a grim question riding the minds of all thinking citizens of this planet.
Let us look for clues.
A little known report has quietly slipped into the fringe media; that of America’s military spending. Global Security has prepared a new chart from the Fiscal Year 2008 U.S. budget. Illustrative of the warlike nature of America, the report highlights some other alarming facts too.
It is clear to see that with US $ 623 billion, America’s military spending exceeds the rest of the world’s combined spending on arms. Not only that, America spends almost 10 times that of the second-placed country, China. And that “only” about $150 billion of the total U.S. amount is attributable to the two active wars America is engaged, in Iraq and Afghanistan. What takes the cake is that the US military budget is almost 29 times as large as the combined spending of the six “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) that spent $14.65 billion.
Now here is another interesting site that shows that for the period of this astronomical increase in America’s military spending i.e. the last ten years, the undisturbed profits of the American corporate sector rose from US $ 217 billion in 1997 to US $ 542 billion in 2006– an increase of about US $ 325 billion. Simple arithmetic tells us that for the period involved, the increase in America’s corporate profit is almost exactly the same as the rise in America’s military expenditure. Coincidences, coincidences.
Now combine this fact with yet another little fact that since 1979 income gains among America’s high-income households, the ivory castles in which America’s decision makers dwell, have dwarfed those of middle- and low-income households. Consider the following;
The average after-tax income of the top one percent of the American population nearly tripled, rising from $314,000 to nearly $868,000-for a total increase of $554,000, or 176 percent. By contrast, the average after-tax income of the middle fifth of the population rose a relatively modest 21 percent, or $8,500, reaching $48,400 in 2004. The average after-tax income of the poorest fifth of the population rose just 6 percent, or $800, during this period, reaching $14,700 in 2004.
Furthermore, legislation enacted under George W. Bush since 2001 has provided taxpayers with about $1 trillion in tax cuts over the past six years. These large tax reductions have made the distribution of after-tax income even more unequal by further concentrating income at the top of the income range.
For these decision makers, war is a bonanza, manna from heaven. They would be out of their minds to make 2008 any different than the past so many years. For the corporate Leviathan, wherein reside the core decision makers addicted to unlimited wealth and unmatched power, the six billion denizens of planet earth are either producers or consumers, not human beings. Profit is the only motive that drives them and in this quest, we are the slaves, they the slave masters.
In their focused pursuit of wealth and power, therefore, they will stop at nothing. They will employ all means to achieve their goals, exploiting, subjugating, manipulating and enchaining us, controlling the instruments by which to command society, decimating the environment, steering us directly towards the gates of corporatism.
While below deck the galley slaves of the American economic slave ship row on with ebbing strength, above deck the race is on for the election of yet another slave master. And because they also know how profitable a venture war is, the Presidential frontrunners from both parties are vowing to increase the size of the military if elected as commander in chief.
Not a single candidate has expressed unequivocally his revulsion to the ideas of war, domination and conquest. Not one of them vows to conduct the affairs of this most powerful of the states with morality and justice and to make these the foundation on which to structure all laws, civil, political, fiscal and international. None have denounced war for profit as a heinous crime, as heinous as a highway robbery. None have declared the usurpation of sovereign power as a punishable felony. None have pledged sincerely to make the peoples truly the arbiters of their own destinies, to uphold laws, to destroy undue privilege, to break the stranglehold of corporate power.
So how does the year of the Lord 2008 look up?
Chances are fear will continue to be necessary, merit useless, intellect dangerous and blind obedience vital to the autocratic powers imposing themselves upon the global citizenry. Chances are, the oppressors will continue to oppress in the name of duty, religion and nationalism. Chances are in this year too we will see the battle ships continuing to be fuelled and rowed on by the muscle power of us galley slaves. Chances are, the slave masters, with whips at the ready, will continue to manipulate us through our sentiments, passions and prejudices towards their single predefined goal–the goal of PROFIT.
On this sunny note the scribe ends this piece and from one slave to the rest, “Happy New Year and row on you galley slaves.”