Let me say this from the outset, even though it saddens me to do so. I know that there are a lot of people who are coming to this article triggered by the thought that I’m about to bash their political heroes. Likewise, an equal number of people are also sprinting to this article like Usain Bolt on fire thinking that I’m about to take their political nemesis to the woodshed.
Let me disabuse you of these thoughts, I’m not here to feed into the preexisting notions of people who are wedded to politics above reason.
So when you read this critique of socialism, please don’t think I’m a cheerleader of capitalism. Likewise, as you observe me criticizing politicians like Bernie Sanders or the media darling who is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, rest assured I am not lauding our repugnant president Donald Trump.
I am sure I just lost about 50% of the people who came by now. Good. The rest of you who remain are actually the ones I’m writing this article to. I hate to sound pretentious about this, but politics has a way of vacating logic and replacing discernment with blind zealotry that makes it impossible for some to listen to anything that does not echo their predilections.
Capitalism is cancerous
I think most of us are waking up to the fact that capitalism is broken. Alas, we have been so thoroughly conditioned as a society to accept capitalism as the very meaning of Americanism that to question a system that profits few while humanity suffers is akin to kicking kittens. True enough, capitalism built up a flourishing middle-class in the past and makes it possible for me to write this article that is going to reach thousands of people before the day is over.
However, capitalism reached its tipping point in the 1980’s, imploded in 2008 and is now dragging the rest of us into the abyss. The vast majority of Americans are in financial binds or bound by indigence while a fraction of society are living like nobility. George Bush used to explain that his fiscal and monetary policies were trickle-down economics. He actually believed that if you give rich people enough money, the benefits would trickle down to the rest of society. Money has a way of inverting people’s souls and their conscience.
What we actually have is strangle-up economics; America is the largest pyramid scheme in the history of humanity. The bottom 90% are the base of the pyramid, the top 9% sit atop society and have escaped the gravitational pull of inflation, while the top 1% are the capstones who literally harvest humans as crops. What none of these bankrupt politicians and vacuous media personalities refuse to talk about is how the system of fractional reserve banking transfers wealth upward. In this dynamic, inflation is the new slave ship and debt is the 21st century form of enslavement.
Yet, as immoral as capitalism is, socialism is no better. I’ve written about this in the past and explained that communism is just as flawed as capitalism. Both systems depend on central authorities lording over all of us. In capitalistic countries, the central authorities are federal governments who are under the thumbs of corporations. Within socialist countries, the state is the central authority that dictates to corporations the rules of the game. Even then, the state is so leery of disturbing corporations that they give preferential treatment to private concerns over the public good. In both instances, the people become indentured servants either to politburos or the plutocracy.
Handing our power over to technocrats, politicians and bureaucrats—whether those governments happen to be socialistic or capitalistic in makeup—and expecting them to do right by the people is the height of foolishness. John Dalberg-Acton once said “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. He was dead on accurate with his observation; there is nothing as corrosive as power that is consolidated by a few.
A sip from the chalice of authority metastasizes the ego and makes monsters out of people.
I know they will never teach our children this in school, but let me break some news here. America stopped being a Republic a long time ago. Federalists hijacked the experiment in self-governance and replaced it with an odious central government that is guarded jealously by two factions, Democrats and Republicans, and the media-politico complex who all work obsequiously for their corporate masters. As always, revolutions devolve into the same tyranny that gave birth to them.
The levies that inspired the American Revolution were downright quaint compared to the onerous taxes and fees that are bleeding the vast majority of Americans dry. Parenthetically, the casus belli for the revolution has been replaced with propaganda, I’ll save that story for another day. Wish all we had to worry about was the Stamp Act, Sugar Act and the Tea Act. Instead we are being bludgeoned by the IRS—which is anti-Constitutional by the by—and forced to pay a third of our income in taxes while billionaires like Jeff Bezos game the system to pay nearly nothing and corporations like Amazon pay nada in tariffs. King George was a saint compared to the corporate-state boot that is stepping on our collective necks.
Socialism is insidious
Socialism is not exempt from the axiom about revolutions returning to the womb they were born from. Communism, socialism, Marxism; all of them are based on the state being the caretaker of the people and the people being subservient to the government. Whereas the fatal flaw of capitalism is greed and self-service above the collective whole, socialism is equally flawed because it disincentivizes work. If I know that I’m going to be given the same reward irrespective of my output, rational decision kicks in and encourages me to coast.
By the way, I write about socialism and capitalism from a first hand perspective. My family and I were forced to flee my native land Ethiopia once the Derg communist government took over. The Derge rose to power under the guise of returning the land to the people and giving power to the proletariat, Mengistu Hailemariam ended up killing over 500,000 Ethiopians—the lands they gave the people were their graves. Revolutions are fought by the idealists and hijacked by opportunists. America is not exempt from this rule, Shays Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion and Rosewood are a testament of what happens when people try to empower themselves and threaten the hustle of central powers. See Patriot Act.
There is a different path, one that does not go the way of socialism or capitalism. I hate to give a name to this alternative given that ideologies end up creating the very consolidated power that I just spoke against. But I guess if we must give this new option a name, let’s call it communalism. Communalism is what the founders of America had in mind when they tried to constrain the size of central governments and instead wanted to empower states and localities to govern themselves. Flawed people can come up with good ideas even if they excluded many from their ambitious goals for America.
This ideas of limited government and local governance have become radioactive after proponents of slavery rallied to the side of the confederacy. As soon as someone says “state’s right” is the minute they get mugged with accusations of being racist. Not here to defend all people who go around espousing states’ right however, it was only a generation ago that “black” folks were put through the hell of fire hoses and police dogs states’ rights proponents. What many don’t see is that there are demagogues in the establishment who intentionally shred open the historical scars of racism and bigotry in order to make it impossible for the marginalized masses across the spectrum from forming a consesnsus. The color lines are prisons that prevent healing conversations.
Let’s get over labels and seek a common ground, how about we call it community empowerment. I can’t think of any person in the world who is against community empowerment. This is, after all, the same model that the Black Panther Party used to launch their initiative in the 1960s. Instead of depending on the federal government for help, they decided to help themselves. Contrary to popular opinion, what made the Black Panther Party powerful and targets of COINTELPRO was not their guns but their spoons. They were decimated by the FBI and various intel agencies because they threatened to make “black” communities throughout America self-sufficient.
There is nothing that power fears more than people who speak of self-reliance and solidarity with others. On the flip side, the surest way to be embraced by the establishments is to incite hatred and antagonize the masses:: #FoolsGold
— Teodrose Fikre ✒ (@TeodroseFikre) February 19, 2019
After leaders like Fred Hampton and Huey Newton were assassinated and others like Angela Davis were sent into exile, the Federal government stepped into the vacuum and decided to “help” black people the same way the devil helped Eve and Adam—be leery when capitalists offer you assistance. One of these days, our children will look back and realize that Lyndon Banes Johnson’s “Great Society” was nothing more than a soft-extermination campaign. Instead of empowering disadvantaged people, he made them dependent on government. While I’m not advocating the end of welfare and social services at this moment—too many people would be hurt by that type of radical pullback—I just want people to know that these programs were not intended to help as much as they were meant to kneecap millions into reliance.
What LBJ did with a socialist program, Republicans likewise did with their embrace of strangle-up economics. There is not even a difference between the two parties these days, they diverge in their approach but in the end they both serve the same corporate masters. To this end, socialism and capitalism are nothing more than branding campaigns, the true powers are central bankers and corporations who dictate policies and legislation. Even in China and Russia—countries that pretend to be rooted in social capitalism—the people who reap the rewards are the uber rich while the rest are indentured into a lifetime of service for the corporate-state.
People who give you fish after stealing your fishing rod are not philanthropists, they are the harvesters of humans.
I don’t know when we will wake up to it, the planet has been turned into a giant web where the oligarch spiders entangle us with debt and turn us into their products. Capitalism and socialism are both under the umbrella of globalists who answer to invisible hands that remain hidden from public. On a regular basis, world leaders are summoned to Bilderberg Meetings and exclusive conferences in places like Davos and Riyad where they go to kiss the rings of their patrons. The idea of sovereignty in the 21st century is laughable; we are all assets on the balance sheets of central bankers. One day, we will become liabilities, watch out when that day arrives. There is only one way to overcome this paradigm of corporate totalitarianism, it’s through unity. That is the exact case I make in this video below about the intersection of Adwa, Haiti and America.
I guess in a way we ask for it, as long as we keep bowing before the rich and famous while disregarding our neighbors, what we will get are governments we deserve. No, the change we want will not come by way of Bernie Sanders, AOC, Trump or the next puppet they parade before us. Seriously, think about this for a moment, how do you start a revolution by meekly submitting to the same establishment you are supposed to revolt against? How about we stop waiting on change to come from the top and we become the change ourselves? The only way we can make a difference and finally have the change we can believe in is if we take steps towards decentralizing power and instead empower our communities where we live. #FoolsGold Click To Tweet
By the way, at the risk of being self-serving here, I will take this chance to plug our efforts here at the Ghion Journal. Instead of pursuing the corporate path and depending on companies like Coca-Cola or Pfizer to fund us by way of ad revenue, we disavowed that model all together and decided to start a community driven publication—corporations are evil, they shall not be found here. Our Ghion Manifesto is a rebuke of mainstream media and the corporate structure writ large, I had faith that communities would rally to us when they saw the value we provide. It’s taken us two years of arduous work to get here, but Ghion Journal is no longer on the outside knocking.
The power of a united people is greater than the power of corporations.
We don’t have to walk in the lanes drawn for us and insist on seeing the grandness of this world through binary lenses—we can blaze our own trails. Or we can keep chanting at rallies and continue believing that the same politicians who work for the status quo and are enriched through it will be our saviors. I don’t know about you, but the bamboozling of 2008 and the fraudulence of our First Bank President was enough to shake me out of the cognitive dissonance that kept me wedded to one party and fixated on political personalities. Here is to hope that more people rebel against the duopoly and walk away from both parties, ideologies and imposed identities and build up our communities instead.
I know that there will be some folks who will get caught up on terminologies and insist on arguing the specifics—in the process missing the forest for the branches. The basic premise of both socialism, capitalism and almost every ism is people outsourcing their power to a central state that functions to collect the means and resources of the people only to turn around and reallocate in pennies what they have taken in dollars. This is the deception of all federalized systems; whether the federation is grounded in socialism or capitalism makes no difference. What matters is that authorities in power are siphoning our wealth, skimming off the top, indenturing us into service and telling us what to do. I ask people all the time—outside of homogenized and uber-wealthy nations in Europe—name one place where either socialism or capitalism works. Theory has a way of being aborted by the ego and arrogance of men.
As for Bernie Sanders, who announced his presidential bid today, it is truly sad seeing the opportunity he wasted away in 2016. He had the name recognition and political capital to truly shake things up and run as an independent. Even if he lost in a three way race, he could have paved the way Americans to realize that our nation has been hijacked by these two equally malignant factions and their oligarch patrons. Instead, he chose expediency and embraced Dick Cheney in Pantsuits aka Hillary Clinton. It is said that there is no education in a second kick of a mule, Bernie is about to learn that lesson once Kamala Harris and the DNC donkeys give him a second shellacking. I’ll say it again and again, there is no changing the system from within, the system is the one that always changes people. The ego is a bedeviling friend.
Ideologies enrich the establishment and impoverish the believers::
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
- Bloody 60s: the Decade that Aborted Leadership in America - August 22, 2019
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019