Tag: Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter 1930-2008: “What happened to our moral sensibility?”

Harold Pinter died yesterday of cancer at age 78. He was one of the great playwrights of the twentieth century. In his plays, like The Homecoming, The Birthday Party, and Old Times, he caught the ambivalent and restless conflict, the striving for significant personal connection and the intricate by-play of emotion and memory, that lay at the heart of the human dilemma.

Pinter also was one of the great moral voices speaking for human justice and freedom the English-speaking world has seen in recent times. This is most evident in his final testament, his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he received in 2005.

Lenin’s Chickens Roost in Paulson’s Attic

Another reason why the omnipotence of “wealth” is more certain in a democratic republic is that it does not depend on defects in the political machinery or on the faulty political shell of capitalism. A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell…, it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it. — Lenin, State and Revolution

The cascade of financial failures on Wall Street — the sure result of a decade or more of unregulated, unrestrained capitalist speculation — has shaken the world capitalist system with a sudden, shuddering spasm  of fear. But with fear comes opportunity, and the ruling elite now sees an opportunity to cast off the shackles of messy public oversight and control entirely.

If one were looking for the utmost in financial irresponsibility, allowing the system to implode/explode, paving the way for socialist revolution (or failing that, a fall into post-Roman-Empire-like darkness), then you’d put Bush and his cronies, like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, in charge of a supposed “bailout” plan for Wall Street. That’s because the Bush-Paulson plan, by turning over unrestricted control of nearly a trillion dollars of a running tab, while handing the gargantuan bill over to an already deficit-weary taxpayer, will totally eviscerate the public sector of the economy, and pave the way for the complete impoverishment of the wide spectrum of the society. (Naomi Klein has described this process accurately in her widely-read book, The Shock Doctrine.)