You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Disaster Capitalism’ tag.

In Alberta our current government is off the rails.  They are enacting austerity programs that are targeting the public sectors of our society during a pandemic.  The quarrel with Alberta doctors over their working conditions during this exceptional time exemplifies the negligence of this UCP government.

This same radical right United Conservative government laid off thousands of Educational Assistants and support staff during the pandemic as well.  The pattern is clear.  The UCP are starving each of the public sectors of our society of the funds and people necessary for them to function efficiently.  The next round of bullshit will be point out how these same gutted public sectors are not doing a good job and therefore must be replaced with private, more efficient, systems of delivery.

The UCP of Alberta are taking plays from the very first page Disaster Capitalism’s playbook.  They are pushing through reactionary anti-education, anti-worker, anti-public health, reforms in the legislator at a marathon rate with essentially no debate.  Albertan’s will be waking up to a very different set of ground rules in society, and most of said rules will be making their lives marginally worse.

Speaking of marginally worse, the contract for Alberta Teachers is up on August 30th.  There will be no joy at the negotiating table this year, let me assure you.  Austerity will be the only option – while we generously fund pipelines to nowhere – for Alberta Teachers.

Plastic shields for students? Netherlands is doing it.  Alberta is not.

Concomitantly, Teachers will be asked to perform their duties under conditions that are directly hazardous to not only their students’ health, but theirs and their families as well.  No additional funding for pandemic measures is on the table for the opening of the school year.  No PPE, no classroom caps of 15, no additional cleaning personal or cleaning routines will be available.  Teachers will be expected to take up the pandemic slack, as do ‘the best they can’ with the dangerous circumstances mandated by the UCP government.

This is unacceptable.  Teachers should not have to unreasonably risk their lives and the lives of their families working in unsafe conditions.  Is it just to expect teachers to be responsible for the death of their aging parents, or young children because of the government’s mandated unsafe working conditions in the schools?

Alberta teachers will not get, as in the previous agreements, another cent more in wages.  Cost of living be damned.  We expect that, especially with this government that is so completely beholden to private sector; especially Oil and Gas.  The continued existence of the white elephant Energy War Room more than proves this egregious bias, the fact that it continues to exist during the pandemic will be one of the darker stains on this government’s legacy.

Wages aside, it is not reasonable for Alberta Teachers to risk their lives (and their families) to perform their duties.  We are being set up to be the at the very nexus of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The situation, as currently mandated, is a untenable situation.

We must seriously consider a strike because our government seems unwilling or unable to adequately protect the students and teachers of this province.  We should also consider coordinating with healthcare professionals because this government is serious about dismantling our public systems, and we need to present a united front that is too big to fail and cannot be punitively,and in piecemeal, legislated back to work (which will happen).

We let this happen at the ballot box, and now the grave consequences of voting in a American style government with a unhealthy privatization fetish, are here.  We cannot sit back throw up our hands and somehow think that students and teachers dying at school because of the malfeasance of the government is in anyway okay.  We are better than that as a teachers and as Albertans.

 

Signed,

 

A very concerned Alberta School Teacher.

 

@albertateachers

@rachelnotley

@albertandp

@ucp

@edmontonjournal

@adrianalagrange

Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism

 

“Yet the corporate use of the word democracy has no relation to the word’s philosophical definition. It is merely a portmanteau for all manner of plunder, the techniques of which include first evicting the wayward socialist in power, by sanction or sabotage or shotgun, then implanting a pliable stooge in power, implementing economic austerity, and selling off state-owned assets (held in the name of the people) to U.S. multinationals. Meanwhile the population stews in a cauldron of social and economic chaos. The pundits then clamor to administer more of the same, calling it a cure, but knowing it isn’t.

The wreckage entrained by this turn of events is nearly wholly hidden by the corporate press. But the events occur nonetheless. The ‘pliable stooges’ are referred to in Communist lore as ‘comprador elite’. Effectively, Washington buys off an elitist in the target country–there are always plenty, most of them educated in some American re-education camp disguised as an Ivy League Elysium–and supplies him or her with a prefabricated policy playbook drawn up inside the beltway by congeries of Chicago School fantasists. Then our obtuse organs of capitalist oligarchy will provide military aid in the form of weapons and training that will almost certainly be necessary to put down the social unrest caused by the austerity policies. Austerity means slashing social spending, which depletes economic demand, which shrinks the economy, which causes international lenders (read Washington-directed banks) to step in, wringing their hands in brotherly concern for their Latin lessers, and hold out a dollar-based loan package stippled with conditionalities.

These conditions include budget caps, the violation of which will trigger punitive measures, and the dropping of tariff regimes that protect domestic industry in favor of “FDI” or Foreign Direct Investment, a pseudo-economic term for a firesale of national resources at deep discounts to foreign corporations. This is also referred to as ‘privatization’ which is said to be necessary in order to raise funds for the government to pay back the onerous loan, which was naturally signed off on by the comprador elite in charge, a traitor who betrays his own population, impoverishes them, and fences their own wealth for what amounts to a transaction fee, which he then pockets before absconding to foreign climes. (Think of the Shah of Iran being granted admission to the United States for medical treatment after being chased from the country by the revolution). This makes the loan odious as well as onerous, but this is disregarded by the debt collectors.

Additional costs come in the form of ‘externalities’, the second best trick of capitalist exploitation. The first is when capital captures the surplus value from labor (which means you will never be paid your true worth in a capitalist system). The second is when capital socializes the steep costs of production. Here the costs often materialize in the form of ecological depredations, as when corporations strip mine mountaintops (see West Virginia or Jharkhand, India, where slag and sulfur wreck native habitats). These actions often proceed protected by the infamous ‘MOU’ or Memorandum of Understanding that permits domestic and foreign corporations to mine under the aegis of the federal state. Yet how much of this is shared in the tepid correspondence between the monolithic institutions of corporate media and their million minor outlets?”

We’re the good guys, right?

 

Greeceeconmelt    Here at DWR we’ve been keeping an eye on the Greek economic situation.  As early as 2010 we commented that the IMF had been working its magic on the Greek economy:

“Did you ever want to see a society remade into the corporatist mode?  Greece is going down that path right now.  The IMF is gleefully setting out conditions and ‘austerity measures’ necessary for Greece to qualify for the bailout package.  How much would you wager that the Public Sector is going to take a beating?  Today’s news is part of a cycle of the forced privatization of the Greek economy.”

Here we are in 2015:

“Greek lawmakers have approved a government motion that allows reform proposals [AUSTERITY] to be used as a basis for negotiations with international creditors, as the country seeks a third bailout.

The 300-member parliament passed the motion by majority vote, with 251 lawmakers voting in favor, 32 against and 8 voting ‘present’ — a form of abstention indicating dissent from their own party line.

In a speech delivered ahead of the vote, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sought to persuade lawmakers, including dissenters within his own left-wing Syriza party, to back the proposals and grant his finance minister the authorization to use them as a basis for negotiations with creditors over the weekend.”

You see?  The IMF hasn’t stopped its slow destruction of the Greek economy, like slowly metastasizing cancer, the financial skulduggery makes fixing the economy untenable.  The recently ousted Greek finance minister  Yanis Varoufakis comments:

“Varoufakis explains exactly why he fought for a NO vote and how unfair and irrational the creditors have been in refusing to discuss debt re-structuring. As Varoufakis points out, it is perfectly normal in the world of finance for us to be offered long term loans that suit our budget. It happens every day, yet Greece has not been offered a sustainable debt repayment plan that will enable it to pay back its creditors with interest, without forcing people at home to suffer as they do right now. If Greece has no money left, then how can it possibly pay what the IMF and the ECB expect it to? Varoufakis had suggested that his country pay an increased sum of money back over a longer time period, enabling the economy to grow over time. The creditors refused. When Prime Minister Tspiras announced a referendum would take place, the creditors were absolutely furious. Democracy is not something they understand, it seems.”

This is exactly the no-win situation that Disaster Capitalism sets up.  Which leads to this inescapable conclusion:

“And herein lies the problem. We live in a neo-liberal, globalized plutocracy. An elite group of bankers control the global money supply (and the politicians we vote for), and here’s the thing: they do not believe in democracy. They do not believe that ordinary people have the right to an opinion, let alone a vote, on issues as enormous as the one facing Greece. This is all the more infuriating when you consider the fact that it’s regular members of the public who are being forced to bail out private banking debts. Worst of all, rather than listen with interest to Varoufakis’s logical and intelligent argument, corporate journos like Paul Mason prefer to doggedly defend the position of Greece’s creditors, while peddling fear and lies about the consequences of a Greek exit from the Eurozone.”

So what to do in Greece?  The proposed “bailout plan” is shite, and the people of Greece have already said no to similar BS:

“The proposed measures, including tax hikes and cuts in pension spending, are certain to inflict more pain on a Greek public who just days ago voted overwhelmingly against a similar plan.”

“The new measures overturn many of the election promises of Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party, which had vowed to overturn bailout austerity, and come less than a week after 61 per cent of voters opposed similar reforms, proposed by creditors, in last Sunday’s referendum.”

The Greek people have said “No” to Austerity and Greece’s political elite are apoplectically pretzelling trying to make the societal poison known as Austerity somehow palatable to masses.

A quick review of what is coming next:

 

We need to watch what happens in Greece very carefully now.  The forces of international neo-liberal capitalism need to make an example of Greece to scare other countries in similar situations (Spain, Italy) into accepting the resculpting of society for the benefit of the hyper-rich.

Democracy is expected to bend a knee toward this insidious neo-liberal economic paradigm – the will of the people subsumed to corporate interests – an for what?

We all know the answer.

[Source:cbc.ca]

[Source: True Activist.com]

 

 

Important Update: It is also nice to see the skeptical community is doing its job and calling the Zeitgeist Movement on its bullshit. The site Conspiracy Science has a great breakdown of the gaping holes in the ‘logic’ and ‘reasoning’ used in the the first two films. I suspect the third film, posted here is also as full as crap as the first two.

It is nice to see a director break down such complex topics in our society.  Peter Joseph places capitalism and our society under a critical lens and examines the system that is methodically stripping our planet of resources and turning it into items we really do not need.

Fractional reserve banking?  Covered in within the context of this film, as well as inflation, the business cycle and how the structural features of our system are grossly inefficient and are actually harming the social fabric of our society.

I’m very glad this film points out that it is the egalitarian societies ( yes, the evil spectre of socialism once again) that fare better in almost all categories that measure a societies health, productivity and innovation.  It caught my particular attention because I’m constantly bombarded with the notion that “competition drives innovation and because that’s what capitalism is ergo its all good.”   This particular meme is exploded as you are shown graph after graph of data pointing out that the societies that redistribute wealth acutely are the ones that do better in the world, economically, politically and socially.

I’m not entirely happy with the movie as it gets a little tinfoil hatty around the idea of Big Medicine and Big Pharma…but one must take the bad with the good.  I link to the trailer and the movie for your viewing pleasure.

I’ve only seen the first two parts, but they have been generally quite good.  Its LOTHR length, so make sure you have your popcorn and comfy chair ready if you intend to watch the entire film.   The website to see the first Zeitgeist and the Zeitgeist Addendum can be found here.

The content of the documentaries mentioned are pretty much guaranteed to rile my conservative readers…I look forward to the comment section of this particular post.  :)

Note: Please where possible reference specific points in the movie, I’m going nuts trying to find the specific parts when referenced by name alone.

Important Update: It is also nice to see the skeptical community is doing its job and calling the Zeitgeist Movement on its bullshit.  The site Conspiracy Science has a great breakdown of the gaping holes in the ‘logic’ and ‘reasoning’ used in the the first two films.  I suspect the third film, posted here is also as full as crap as the first two.

Wonder why things are generally going as they are?  Start here.

This short video is entitled the Crisis of Capitalism, and depicts the recent history of what has happened over here in the Western world.   I think it speaks correctly on several of the shortcomings of the capitalist system and is well worth your 10 minuets your time.

Did you ever want to see a society remade into the corporatist mode?  Greece is going down that path right now.  The IMF is gleefully setting out conditions and ‘austerity measures’ necessary for Greece to qualify for the bailout package.  How much would you wager that the Public Sector is going to take a beating?  Today’s news is part of a cycle of the forced privatization of the Greek economy.

“Hundreds of youths rioted in Athens on Saturday, throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at police who responded with tear gas at a large May Day rally against austerity measures needed to secure loans for near-bankrupt Greece.”

The youthful vanguard responds, but until the middle class in Greece responds their efforts will be in vain.

“Greece’s additional austerity measures are likely to include raising consumer taxes while docking pensions and public service pay. Unions are furious.

“These measures are death,” said Nikos Diamantopoulos, participating in a rally organized by unions. “How people are going to live tomorrow, how they’re going to survive, I do not understand.”

The people will live for tomorrow but will they accept the dismantling of the state in order to ‘save’ their country?  Some resist:

The Greek people do not owe anything to anybody,” Left coalition leader Alexis Tsipras told reporters at one of the Athens rallies, assailing “those who have brazenly robbed public money and pension funds.”

Virginia Kalapotharakou, an accountant who joined striking seamen and dockworkers rallying in the port of Piraeus, called the potential measures “very reactionary.”

“They’re trying to do away with all the rights we gained through struggles in previous years,” she said.

Because breaking unions and cutting the public sector is obviously the first choice in fixing a country.  How about raising corporate taxes and income taxes for the rich?  Austerity plans seldom mention these strategies.

Stay tuned, hopefully the workers in Greece can resists the undoing of their country.

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