Archive for February 6th, 2011

February 6, 2011

Why I Call Myself a Socialist-Wallace Shawn

Great essay by a meticulous actor. He can steal the show.  The reasons he gives for his choice seem unassailable particularly when you consider the destructive nature of American capitalism.

There still seem to be people who revel in their rise from poverty to the heights of success attributing their accomplishments to only themselves and their hard work.

Never do such people realize that good fortune played a role in their success and dismissively they tend to demean those less fortunate who cannot rise up or whose careers are in freefall.

Sadly, too many of these people are purveyors of the notion that American capitalism created the greatest economic system the world has ever known. They are unwilling to or incapable of recognizing the savage nature of this cruel brand of economics, a system I refer to as T-rex capitalism because of its ruthless pursuit of profit and the debris in human lives it casually jettisons along the path to greater and greater wealth for fewer and fewer people.

For those who wallow in their success and celebrate the choices they made along the path, a comeuppance may be just around the bend on the cruel path to profit.

And if anyone of them loses a job tomorrow and can’t find another one for two years and has to accept work at a greatly reduced salary, then that person made all the wrong choices. Either that or the authoritarian nature of American capitalism has made the choice for them without regard for any individual’s needs

When your luck runs out you may find yourself in a small bedroom in a single wide trailer where so many lives began and so many still exist.. Many people are heading in that direction, discarded by a vicious brand of capitalism that offers diminishing rewards for the many and consigns the wealth of this once prosperous nation to a shrinking few.

I hope the luck holds, as mine has so far. But when it ends, all of the hard work will be meaningless and the savagery of American capitalism will discard us and the hard work and the lifetime of experience onto that great and growing heap of once prosperous careers.

Discussions of this post inevitably turned to socialism and how government activity in an economy other than to protect property represents interference in the affairs of business

I’m not sure how socialism applies to the discussion­. Even though Shawn describes himself as one, it is really a distractio­n here. In my remarks I was making reference to unfettered­, deregulate­d capitalism­, the direction in which the US economy has been moving for thirty years, and how this movement benefits fewer and fewer people.

If government acts to reverse this process it is fulfilling its role as protector of the weak versus the powerful and not engaging in socialist behavior.

The economy in this country has witnessed massive corporate mergers, experience­d deregulati­on resulting in great harm to millions and been victimized by a deliberate policy of lax enforcemen­t of regulation­s still on the books, all of which has resulted in a rapidly declining middle class. Add to this corporate friendly trade agreements written by the very people who represent corporatio­ns and it should be apparent that this new system of corporate domination of the economy and of government is a threat to the well-being of all but the wealthiest citizens.

What we are enduring now is an insatiable corporate drive for profit that casts aside any and all who stand in its way. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in that position beginning anew will be difficult indeed because there are scant opportunit­ies remaining for those who are discarded by the voracious few.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost