(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
I think the thing that fascinate me the most is the solemn and evangelical need for Americans to “be born yesterday”. This naivite is beautifully portrayed by Mark Twain and it continues to this day. That’s why it is so easy to fool Americans. I remember when I lived in Florence, Italy I knew some hustlers, mainly Papagalli or gigolos (I have a penchant for always associating with “low” companions) who told me that the stupidest people in the world and the easiest marks were the Americans by a long shot. People from other countries knew the score, knew what they wanted and got on with it. But Americans were clueless in the eyes of these professionals and wanted to be fooled.
So it’s no surprise that we have entire institutions built to convince us that we need to pull the wool over our own eyes. So the propaganda organs (and they are entirely that–I see no difference between Pravda of several decades ago and say NYT except that Pravda stories were better written. There is a party line in the U.S. media and there’s are pretend conflicts that resemble professional wrestling but no real fundamental political differences are ever seen in the official press.
Crime and organized crime is an area that gets little play other than PR releases by public officials which (gasp) are often on the take (how could I make such an accusation why they’re American public servants?). The reality is that organized crime thrives today as it never has. People like …. who wrote Rogue Economics argue that we are in a kind of post-state world that is somewhat chaotic such that “crime” is becoming normalized on both sides of the legal fence. This has happened before in periods of chaos and change and that is the world we live in my friends.
Our nations state is rapidly becoming a fiction. It is not that we are in an Imperial world but that this world is increasingly dominated by organized crime syndicates who do the dirty work for a variety of states. One of the problems progressives have is that they’ve never encountered outright criminality because they, for the most part, never wandered far from suburbia or gentrified urban areas. Well, I have wandered as a few people my age who were influenced by the real left and associated with working class and criminal youth. So I got to know the score on the street (you had to) and the relationship between the criminals and police and politicians. Guess what, it’s not what you are taught. You see it fiction like the work of James Ellroy but most people just believe that is made up. It’s not. That’s the way it is. Maybe not to the extreme that Ellroy points out but close — if the stakes are high enough. And we live in a historical period internationally when the stakes are very, very, very, high.
Misha Glenny (here’s a link to a talk he gave) wrote a book that came out a year or so ago that gives some insight into what we call organized crime. Glenny describes the illegal economy to be about 15-20% of global GDP. This includes bribery and all kinds of fraud, pyramid schemes etc. Still that’s quite a figure. And we have to keep it in mind because all evidence shows us that as state power declines law enforcement is either further corrupted or just lacks the resources to fight it. I believe, for example, that drugs are illegal, at this point, because a lot of money is made by organized crime and certain intelligence agencies but I won’t belabor this.
Glenny was well known as a BBC reporter who covered the Balkan wars. He noticed that, at the time, the chief form of income was the trade in illegal cigarettes which believe it or not is a big time money maker for criminals in Europe. He found that the worst of the paramilitary leaders, the worst killers actually cooperated with each other in this trad and shared the proceeds of the trade. That is Bosnians and Serbs were friends when it came to business. This insight is important because it may also be true, for example, that leaders of opposing factions in wars and conflicts may cooperate in maintaining war to keep the illegal trades going since organized crime thrives on chaos.
I remember having the frightening feeling in the 80’s that all sides of the wars in Central America profited from that war. As long as the war went on the U.S. would send huge amounts of money to the region. No war, no money. Same is probably true everywhere. No war, no U.S. aid (Colombia). No drugs, no massive spending on “police” (Columbia). You get the picture. In fact, I would go further and say no Cold War no money flowing to the military on both sides. It has been to the advantage of U.S. militarists to have war because it makes them a lot of money. Yes, the generals in the U.S. make out very well particularly after they leave the military, again another story.
The vid below (skip the first part) is an interview with Loretta Napoleoni. One thing she says is that the economy is moving faster than politics. She feels that states do need to take back the power from the rogues. But I don’t see that happening. Partly because of the inability, as I’ve written elsewhere of progressive voices in our society to understand the essence of politics and fact the truth about our world. If you start with examining the Rogue Economy and how it is a result of globalization you can move to understand just what forces make up the oligarchy and then look into how those forces encouraged chaos and war in order to enable laws to be defeated.
This vid was made about a year and a half ago but not outdated.
Let’s grow up and face the music. We live in a tough world where people get the shit beat out of them or killed for standing up for themselves and their communities. It’s not about writing letters to Congress or manning phone banks — that is, in the face of what we are facing, trivial.