Competitive Capitalism is the Answer, Not Socialism –
The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
If the film Reds is even close to an accurate historical portrayal of the relationship between Louise Bryant and Jack Reed, then there is a lesson here we can all use to plan the next phase of American democracy — if we are willing to listen and learn and act accordingly.
“Reds” is a 1981 epic film that was co-written, produced and directed by Warren Beatty and features a love story between John “Jack” Reed, the journalist and writer who chronicled the Russian Revolution in his book Ten Days that Shook the World, played by Beatty, and writer Louise Bryant, portrayed by Diane Keaton. It is making the rounds now on cable television. You can catch it to see what I mean.
The story shows the couples’ involvement in the heady days of the Russian Revolution during World War I and how everything fell apart when activists on the left ended up in a never ending argument with each other and the creation of the corrupt bureaucracy that led to the formation of the U.S.S.R. and eventually the fall of the Soviet system of Communism.
Apparently Bryant tried to talk Reed out of going to Russia that final, fateful time, and she tried to convince him that Socialism would never work in the United States. But being a hard-headed Revolutionary writer, he did not listen, and that sealed his ultimate fate. Failure.
I have been contacted very recently by others of late through Facebook who would make the same mistakes. And I have watched in dismay for the past decade as liberals spent all their time arguing with each other rather than trying to concentrate on building a better media system in America to counter the mantra of conservatism that inevitably leads to run amok corporate capitalism in the place of actual democracy.
As a film reviewer, it is not my place to quibble with little bits of historical inaccuracies or attack film makers for taking creative license. I will leave that for Rotten Tomatoes and the New York Times. I’m interested in the Big Picture. What lessons we can learn that will help us actually form a more perfect union. How we can come closer to reaching the ideals of a democratic Republic. If you are interested in the same goal, please keep reading and share this with your friends and your enemies.
I’m not interested in what conservative talk radio shock jocks or bloggers have to say in the comments. In fact, as I have said many times before, our political future is not in the hands of tea party Republicans who can’t be educated to do the right thing. They are a lost cause, so there is no sense in wasting any time — much less ink and paper — trying to appeal to them. They will never change their minds or their votes. As I have documented in the past with academic research, the racists will be racists until they die off. The good news is they are a shrinking minority in America.
My focus is on concerned citizens who are looking for answers, not just liberals or Democrats but those in the big American middle who call themselves independents and are actually interested in the facts. Political games don’t interest me, which is why I don’t go in for every opportunity at sensational blogging. I am not in this either to get rich or maximize traffic. I am in the Web publishing business to try to make a difference for good.
And the thing is, I know what I’m talking about, because I’ve been researching this and practicing it for more than three decades now. I know how to make democracy work. But I cannot do it all by myself. Your help and cooperation are required.
If you think you can save the world simply by getting paid in the new profession of working for a non-profit environmental group, then you don’t understand how American democracy works. If you think being in a union is enough, you are fooling yourself. If you thinking voting for Democrats is enough, you don’t understand the war we’re engaged in. If you think reading a mainstream daily newspaper is enough, you are so far behind the technology curve you will never catch up.
Now for a little critical history. We are engaged in an all out struggle for the future of American democracy led by evil sons of bitches like Karl Rove, who know the money is on the conservative side of the ledger and will do anything it takes to get that money and turn America into a privatized multinational corporation. That means NO government regulations. NO taxes. NO government to speak of.
In his vision for America, and those who are with him in this war like the Koch brothers, for example, all prisons are for profit private enterprises going back to creating a convict-lease system where dissenters can be locked up and put to work for the corporate “state.”
In this vision for an American future, there can be no “liberal” college professors to give American students a liberal education. They might grow up and get smart and vote for Democrats. So for them to transform the political system, they have been engaged in an all out war to get rid of liberal professors, destroy teacher tenure, and transform education institutions into capitalist machines. I know this because I was an early victim of it. It is not a conspiracy “theory.” It is happening right before your eyes only you don’t know it because the corporate news media is not covering the story.
The only education that matters to these so-called “conservatives” is vocational training to work for the mega corporations. The idea is not to teach people to think for themselves. It is to teach them how to recite the mantra of the political right as outlined on talk radio and Fox News.
Under this philosophy, liberals are bad. Conservatives are good. All arguments are black and white. There’s nothing in between and there’s been no new knowledge worth learning since Jesus died on the cross and those early scribes wrote a book called the Bible. There’s no such thing as global warming. God controls the climate.
Their world is a simple one, easy to understand, not one you have to think about and actually debate.
This philosophy had already caught on in the U.S. and — other than the victories for the White House by Barack Obama in the last two presidential election cycles — it is winning. But it doesn’t have to win in the end, if enough people will listen to what I’m saying and get onboard in this fight.
Just take for example the latest struggle down in Mobile, Alabama, between the chamber of commerce forces (Karl Rove’s buddies) and the other side. I can’t tell you how many times the President of the Mobile City Council squelched the audience in the public hearing and said, I kid you not, “We are not here to have a debate.”
What? No debate? Is that not what democracy is all about? Is that not what town hall public hearings are all about?
That may be the philosophy that has taken hold in Alabama and other states, but in the end, it did not win the day — mainly because there was an organized opposition that was actually covered by this national news organization in a way that is different from how Newhouse newspapers, for example, cover news stories. We get it all on video and tell it like it is.
I have been attacked from the left of from those who would say I am not creating something new. Why, because I don’t do partisan blogging like some of the other news Websites that have taken hold in the past decade?
I have been attacked from the right because I do not publish “both sides” of the story, giving equal weight to conservative arguments along with liberal ones. But it is my firm belief that is not what is needed to change the debate and form a more perfect union. If that is not new, I don’t know what is. The word blog does not appear anywhere in the name of this site and we do not call reporters or columnists bloggers. People getting their news from the Web is NOT a fad, but free blogging is. It will not last.
What will last is using actual education and experience to find out the truth and tell it like it is until enough people act on it to change things. Success is NOT guaranteed. We could fail.
Karl Rove could win again and get Jeb Bush elected to the White House in 2016. In addition to retaking the Senate and keeping control of the House, we could very well see another Bush regime come in and take us back to deregulation, mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing jobs overseas, and no oversite of the oil industry so we end up with another BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, for example.
At a recent meeting of an environmental group in Birmingham, when I tried to make this case for non-profits and unions getting involved just like corporations in funding a new media system, I was scoffed at by someone with very little education or experience other than to get paid a salary to work for an environmental group.
“We don’t have the money to pay the media to do its job,” it was said, but in fact that’s not only not quite true. It shows a complete disregard and a lack of understanding of how media works in America, how competition is necessary for democracy to work.
Unions, trial lawyers and environmental groups may not have the same amount of money as BP or Southern Company to buy the point of view of newspapers and television news stations or talk radio. But they do have the money to advertise on the Web and help us help them make a difference.
Social networking is a key part of the equation but by itself it is not enough. It takes an understanding of how marketing works, how advertising has been the primary source of funding for media since the early days of this country, and how it can be used to influence media coverage and public opinion. The corporations know this. Karl Rove knows this. When will the left figure it out?
In other words, Socialism and Communism won’t work on these shores. But we don’t have to live under a system of run amok corporate capitalism either. Competitive capitalism is the answer to saving American democracy. Competition among the media is as important as competition for other kinds of businesses. Are you ready to start competing yet? Or are you just going to sit around arguing with your friends on Facebook and let the corporations merge us into one big corporate state and destroy the ideals of what democracy was supposed to be about?
© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.