• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

donderdag 31 december 2015

Happy New Year

EVERYBODY 

A HAPPY NEW YEAR 

SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF 12 'O CLOCK!























Vluchtelingenstroom 48


In De Groene Amsterdammer van 9 december 2015 stelt Henk Hofland, de 'journalist van de eeuw' zichzelf de vraag: 'Hoe kunnen we IS in het hart treffen?' Volgens de 88-jarige was 'de bedoeling' van 'de oorlogen van het Westen in het Midden-Oosten' om daar, 'welvarende democratieën te stichten.' Desondanks is 'het resultaat' van dit uiterst nobel streven 'volstrekt tegenovergesteld' geweest. 'En dan verzuimen we onszelf de vraag te stellen wat daarvan de oorzaken zouden kunnen zijn.' 

Waarom de 'eerste journalist die de P.C. Hooftprijs ontving' verzuimt zichzelf deze vraag te stellen is niet moeilijk te beantwoorden. Hofland zou dan serieus moeten ingaan op de ware 'oorzaken' die ertoe hebben geleid dat het Westen, onder aanvoering van Washington en Wall Street, het 'Midden-Oosten' in een chaos hebben veranderd. En juist dit onderwerp is onbespreekbaar voor een mainstream-opiniemaker. Dus beweert de in de polder zo gerespecteerde columnist van het kleinste weekblad voor de 'politiek-literaire elite' in Nederland dat:   

Het voor het Westen een dwingende noodzaak [blijft] zich zo doeltreffend mogelijk tegen de terreur te verweren. Daarvoor bestaan twee manieren die gelijktijdig kunnen worden toegepast: verdediging en aanval. Al meteen na 9/11 is het Westen begonnen met het perfectioneren van de verdediging. Na de aanslagen in Parijs hebben we in Brussel gezien tot welke verlamming dat kan leiden. En we zien ook dat IS succes heeft met de uitbreiding van het front naar ons gebied. Toch blijft georganiseerde achterdocht onze beste verdediging.

Het gaat hier om de aanval. Hoe kunnen we IS in het hart treffen, buiten gevecht stellen, zonder daarbij de puinhopen aan te richten die ook al het gevolg waren van vorige militaire expedities?

Deze voorstelling van zaken is kenmerkend voor het simplistische niveau zodra de polder-intelligentsia de westerse geopolitiek begint te analyseren. Hoflands betogen zijn telkens weer een schoolvoorbeeld van hoe mijn Nederlandse mainstream-collega's binnen de nauw omlijnde, officiële, zwart-wit versie van de werkelijkheid blijven, geheel volgens de voorschriften die de invloedrijke Amerikaanse opiniemaker Walter Lippmann in zijn boek The Phantom Public (1925) als volgt heeft omschreven:

Since the general opinions of large numbers of persons are almost certain to be a vague and confusing medley, action cannot be taken until these opinions have been factored down, canalized, compressed and made uniform. The making of one general will out of multitude of general wishes is not an Hegelian mystery, as so many social philosophers have imagined, but an art well known to leaders, politicians and steering committees. It consists essentially in the use of symbols which assemble emotions after they have been detached from their ideas. 

Lippmann besefte dat de rijke elite nooit een ware democratie zou accepteren vanwege de eenvoudige reden dat elke macht de massa dient te mobiliseren om haar doeleinden te kunnen verwezenlijken. Daarom moesten, zo stelde hij in zijn boek Public Opinion (1922),  beschouwd als 'the founding book of modern journalism' dat:

public opinions be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press... Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible.

Propganda moet voorkomen dat de legitimiteit van de elite wordt aangetast in een staat die voor democratisch doorgaat. Lippmann, wiens invloed niet snel kan worden onderschat, schreef het volgende daarover:

When political parties or newspapers declare for Americanism, Progressivism, Law and Order, Justice, Humanity, they hope to amalgamate (doen samensmelten. svh) the emotion of conflicting factions which would surely divide, if, instead of these symbols, they were invited to discuss a specific program. For when a coalition around the symbol has been effected, feeling flows toward conformity under the symbol rather thans toward critical scrutiny of the measures. It is, I think, convenient and technically correct to call multiple phrases like these symbolic. They do not stand for specific ideas, but for a sort of truce (wapenstilstand. svh) or junction (verbindingspunt. svh) between ideas. They are like a strategic railroad center where many roads converge regardless of their ultimate origin or their ultimate destination. But he who captures the symbols by which public feeling is for the moment contained, controls by that much of the approaches of public opinion.

Met andere woorden: om te voorkomen dat de democratie de macht van de elite uitholt, moet de elite erop toezien dat juist de democratie wordt uitgehold door middel van het manipuleren van symbolen. Vandaar dat Henk Hofland spreekt van 'het vredestichtende Westen' en Geert Mak van de Verenigde Staten als 'ordebewaker en politieagent,' en dat de polderpers in het algemeen spreekt van de ‘vitaliteit’ van de ‘Amerikaanse democratie,’ en ondertussen angstvallig verzwijgt dat meer dan 40 procent van de Amerikaanse kiesgerechtigden al een halve eeuw niet meer stemt tijdens presidentsverkiezingen, en slechts eenderde tijdens tussentijdse Congresverkiezingen. De democratie waarbij er 'Geen Jorwert zonder Brussel' mogelijk is, blijft ook in Europa een wassen neus, en de mainstream-opiniemakers functioneren als ordinaire propagandisten. Ze weten dit ook. Daarom weigeren ze in discussie te gaan met individuen die beargumenteerde kritiek op hun propaganda geven. Ze weten namelijk dat zodra ze ook maar op één punt serieus zouden ingaan, hun hele ideologie als een kaartenhuis ineen stort.  

Wanneer Hofland spreekt van 'de terreur,' dan bedoelt hij alleen 'de terreur' van De Ander. De westerse 'terreur' is namelijk in zijn ogen 'vredestichtend.' Daarom wordt het begrip 'humanitair ingrijpen' of 'responsibility to protect' zo vaak gebruikt voor massale NAVO-bombardementen die de chaos alleen maar vergrootten. Nogmaals: 'he who captures the symbols by which public feeling is for the moment contained, controls by that much of the approaches of public opinion.' Met als gevolg dat elke dissidente stem zoveel mogelijk wordt geweerd door de mainstream-pers, waardoor het laatste beetje democratie vakkundig wordt vermorzeld. Het enige dat overblijft is de leugen. Als verwoede krantenlezer — volgens eigen zeggen tenminste twee uur per dag — moet ook Hofland het volgende hebben geweten: 

In 2012, the New York Times confirmed that the CIA was sending weapons and other military materiel into the hands of anti-Assad forces from the Turkish side of the border, using their connections with the Muslim Brotherhood to do so. However, it has also come to light that Turkish intelligence has been front and center in the ongoing campaign to arm and resupply the terror groups such as the al-Nusra Front and others. This fact was exposed by Can Dündar, the editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet, who now faces a potential life sentence at the behest of President Erdogan, who himself called for Dündar to receive multiple life sentences… Of course this policy of alliance with anti-Assad terrorists has been part of Turkey’s modus operandi since the beginning of the conflict. In 2012, Reuters revealed that Turkey, 'set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border… "It’s the Turks who are militarily controlling it. Turkey is the main coordinator/facilitator. Think of a triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom," said a Doha-based source.'

This information was confirmed by Vice President Joe Biden in his spectacular foot-in-mouth speech at Harvard University where he stated:

'Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends… [and] the Saudis, the Emirates, etcetera. What were they doing?… They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied, [they] were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.'

Hofland en zijn 'politiek-literaire elite,' Mak en zijn Makkianen, allen zijn kleine schakeltjes in een bestel dat allang niet meer democratisch is, maar in toenemende mate totalitaire trekken vertoont. De bekende Amerikaanse politieke theoreticus, wijlen Sheldon Wolin, betitelde in zijn boek Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2008) het huidige Amerikaanse systeem 'inverted totalitarianism.' Het vernuftige aspect ervan is dat het in staat is

wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion (degradatie. svh) in the status and stature of the ''sovereign people'' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of ''popularizing'' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.'

Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology of advertising and the rule of 'market forces' in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge. Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation. Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl's classic film 'Triumph of the Will' was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush's apparent landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq…

The main social sectors promoting and reinforcing this modern Shangri-La are corporate power, which is in charge of managed democracy, and the military-industrial complex, which is in charge of Superpower. The main objectives of managed democracy are to increase the profits of large corporations, dismantle the institutions of social democracy (Social Security, unions, welfare, public health services, public housing and so forth), and roll back the social and political ideals of the New Deal. Its primary tool is privatization. Managed democracy aims at the 'selective abdication of governmental responsibility for the well-being of the citizenry' under cover of improving 'efficiency' and cost-cutting.

Een typerend voorbeeld van wat Sheldon Wolin een 'democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad' noemt, is George Soros, een Hongaars-Amerikaanse beursspeculant die de Britse regering dwong de pond te devalueren, en op die manier in één dag meer dan 1 miljard dollar winst wist op te strijken. De handelaar in lucht, meer is het niet, stond in 2015 op de 29ste plaats van de Forbes-lijst van rijkste mensen in de wereld. Dankzij de verwerpelijke praktijken van zijn hedge funds is zijn geschatte vermogen meer dan 24 miljard dollar. Dezelfde Soros speculeert ook in regime-change. Zijn nieuwste project is Oekraïne, waar hij mede verantwoordelijk is geweest voor het financieren van de gewelddadige oppositie die het land in een chaos heeft veranderd. Interessant daarbij is dat George Soros sinds november 2014 maar liefst 4 keer in het invloedrijke tijdschrift The New York Review of Books uitgebreid de ruimte kreeg om het conflict tussen de Europese Unie en de Russische Federatie op de spits te drijven. Hoewel Soros beweert dat hij dit doet om de democratie daar dichterbij te brengen, is zijn beeld van de democratie op zijn minst verdacht. Zo meldde de New York Times op woensdag 30 december 2015 onder de kop 'For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions,' dat 

the liberal billionaire George Soros, who has called for higher levies on the rich while at the same time using tax loopholes to bolster his own fortune.

Maar voor de polderpers, die zelden iets onderzoekt, is de doortrapte George Soros een 'filantroop,'  die een 'pro-democratische ngo' financiert, zoals de Volkskrant-correspondent in Moskou, Tom Vennink, hem betitelt. Hoeveel Soros aan regime-changes verdient, wordt niet door mijn collega's in de polder onderzocht. De conservatief christelijke website Curiales daarentegen gaat wel serieus in op de kwestie 'Waarom George Soros levensgevaarlijk is.' 

Op 2 juni 2014 verklaarde Soros dat hij medeverantwoordelijk is voor het omverwerpen van de regering van Viktor Yanukovich in Oekraïne. Veel van de demonstranten tijdens de zogenaamde Euromaidan maakten deel uit van NGO’s die gefinancierd worden door de miljardair. Ook onderhoudt Soros banden met de nieuwe Oekraïense president Petro Poroshenko. Op de onderstaande foto is te zien hoe Poroshenko onderhandelt met medewerkers van de Open Society Foundations, inclusief Soros zelf.

In strijd met de eenvoudig te controleren werkelijkheid beweerde de Open Society Foundations van Soros op 7 april 2014 dat de uiterst gewelddadige regime-change in Oekraïne het resultaat was van 'A group of unarmed citizens' die 'rose up and overwhelmed a police force with orders to shoot to kill them. We are witnessing the birth of a new nation, a new Ukraine—with a limitless future made possible by people willing to sacrifice their lives for their country.' 

Poroshenko onderhandelt met medewerkers van de Open Society Foundations, inclusief Soros zelf.

Veelzeggend is de nauwe band tussen de miljardair Petro Poroshenko en de miljardair Soros die vanzelfsprekend een financieel belang heeft bij regime-changes, tenminste zodra die resulteren in een neoliberale democratie waarbij hij via zijn windhandel en belastingontduiking nog rijker kan worden. Even veelzeggend is de achtergrond van de huidige Oekraïense president die dankzij 'Maidan'  en financiëlesteun van Washington en Brussel aan de macht werd geholpen: 

Billionaire Poroshenko started his business by laundering the money of Soviet times’ administrators. He has never been an entrepreneur to start a business of his own. The story is invented. He made a head start thanks to the criminal connections of his father sentenced for large-scale theft in 1986. Having served the sentence, Poroshenko Sr. launched his own business making his son involved in the activities.

The business was dirty, it all started with the plundering of state property by armed gangs. The Poroshenko family had plans to expand the activities beyond Ukraine. Tatyana Mikoyan, a well-known Kiev-based lawyer, remembers what the family did in Transnistria,

'It was horrible back in the 1990s: illegal arms, prostitutes, drugs – all bringing profits to father and son.'

Poroshenko Sr. was awarded for his merits – in 2009 he received the Hero of Ukraine decoration bought for him by his son who was part of the inner circle of President Yushenko, Godfather to Petro Poroshenko’s children.

The President-elect is well known for misappropriating budget funds. He has the reputation of someone who knows how to make money out of thin air. Many times he has been accused of being involved in large scale corruption schemes, open lobbying, embezzlement of budget allocations, tax evasion, illegal operations to acquire shares and physically threatening political opponents and competitors. Certainly he is not just another swindler but a tycoon, an owner of huge and diversified business empire.

Forbes lists Petro Poroshenko as the 130th 'wealthiest person' in the world with 1, 6 billion dollars. In the past Poroshenko was a sponsor of Our Ukraine and Victor Yushchenko. His business empire also includes the 5th TV channel known for anti-Russian propaganda. Until recently his Roshen confectionary manufacturing group had earned hundreds of millions in US dollars making business in Russia. As of 2012, Roshen accounted for 3, 2% of Russian market (the 6th largest producer). He always used the money earned for anti-Russian projects.

The President-elect makes the return of Crimea to Ukraine and defending the country from 'outside intervention' his foreign policy priorities. It’s hard to find anything stated in concrete terms in his program. There is nothing definite there. Instead it is full of empty calls for making a 'free European state,' 'revive military might' etc. Many find his speeches repugnant, especially when Poroshenko starts telling stories about 'patriotism,' 'national unity' and 'protection of human rights.'

Petro Poroshenko is a political chameleon. This tycoon was very cynical as he went into politics. He did it for personal enrichment. He is full of ambitions and outright lust for power but lacks a professional team to work effectively or impress public. He is rather led by greed than ideas.


De neoliberale westerse stroman, de miljardair en president van Oekraïne Poroshenko en zijn 'backers.'


Dit is de wereld van de neoconservatieve ideologen in de Obama-regering, de wereld van het witwassen van zwart geld, omkoping en corruptie die noodzakelijk zijn om het neoliberale kapitalisme te laten globaliseren. Kortom, de 'inverted totalitarian' wereld die zo helder beschreven is door wijlen Sheldon Wolin, waarbij de democratie als 'a method of ''popularizing'' power' stap voor stap is veranderd in een 'democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad,' een proces waarbij de gecorrumpeerde westerse massamedia een vitale rol speelden, zoals de journalist en bestseller-auteur Geert Mak publiekelijk toegaf toen hij stelde dat hij en zijn collega's in de polder als 'chroniqueurs van het heden en verleden' hun 'taak, het ''uitbannen van onwaarheid,''' niet 'serieus genoeg' nemen. De juistheid van zijn bekentenis onderstreepte Mak nog eens zelf door op 3 oktober 2012 tijdens een uitzending van Pauw en Witteman met grote stelligheid te verklaren dat:

Amerikanen, vergeleken met ons fatalistische Europeanen, [blijven] op een bepaalde manier hele optimistische mensen. Echt, dat vind ik ook fantastisch van ze! Ze blijven de moed erin houden,

terwijl in werkelijkheid

Antidepressiva sind heute bereits die in den USA am meisten verkauften Medikamente – ihr Konsum hat sich in 10 Jahren verdoppelt.

Dies wurde mittels einer Metastudie von Untersuchungen aus dem Jahr 1996 und 2005 an 50.000 Kindern und Erwachsenen festgestellt, welche in den Archives of General Psychiatry veröffentlicht wurde. Demnach nehmen heute 10 Prozent der Amerikaner – etwa 27 Millionen Menschen – Antidepressiva ein, etwa doppelt so viele wie 1996.

Americans remain world's most medicated people

U.S. prescriptions have swelled by two-thirds over the past decade to 3.5-billion yearly.

About 130-million Americans… swallow, inject, inhale, infuse, spray and pat on prescribed medication every month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates. Americans buy much more medicine per person than any other country.

The number of prescriptions has risen by two-thirds over the past decade to 3.5-billion yearly, according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical consulting company. Americans devour even more nonprescription drugs, polling suggests. […]

More than 125,000 Americans die from drug reactions and mistakes each year, according to Associated Press projections from landmark medical studies of the 1990s. That could make pharmaceuticals the fourth-leading national cause of death after heart disease, cancer and stroke. […]

The pharmaceutical industry served up more than $250-billion worth of sales last year, the vast majority in prescriptions, according to industry consultants. That roughly equaled sales at all the country's gasoline stations put together, or an $850 pharmaceutical fill-up for every American.

De eminente Amerikaanse historicus Daniel Boorstin schreef in Hidden History. Exploring Our Secret Past (1987) over de kenmerkende psychologische vervreemding van een consumptiemaatschappij als de VS:

We find that in our nation of Consumption Communities and emphasis on Gross National Product (GNP) and growth rates, advertising has become the heart of the folk culture and even its very prototype… They come from advertising agencies, from networks of newspapers, radio, and television, from outdoor-advertising agencies, from the copywriters for ads in the largest-circulation magazines, and so on. ‘These "creators" of folk culture -– or pseudo-folk culture -– aim at the widest intelligibility and charm and appeal.

But in the United States, we must recall, the advertising folk culture, like all advertising, is also confronted with the problems of self-liquidation and erasure.

Our folk-culture is distinguished from others by being discontinuous, ephemeral, and self-destructive. Where does this leave the common citizen? All of us are qualified to answer.

In our society, then. those who cannot lean on the world of learning, on the high culture of the classics, on the elaborated wisdom of the books have a new problem…

The characteristic folk-culture of our society is a creature of advertising, and in a sense it is advertising. But advertising our own popular culture, is harder to make into a source of continuity than the received wisdom and commonsense slogans and catchy songs of the vivid vernacular. The popular culture of advertising attenuates and is always dissolving before our very eyes. Among the charm, challenges, and tribulations of modern life, we must count this peculiar fluidity, this ephemeral character of that very kind of culture to which they have looked for the continuity of their traditions, for their ties with the past and with the future.

We are perhaps the first people in history to have a centrally organized mass-produced folk-culture. Our kind of popular culture is here today and gone tomorrow -– or the day after tomorrow. Or whenever the next semi-annual model appears! And insofar as folk culture becomes advertising, and advertising becomes centralized, it becomes a way of depriving people of their opportunities for individual and small-community expression.

Maar deze 'Hidden History' blijft in het simplistisch wereldbeeld van de journalist Mak en zijn Makkianen inderdaad 'Hidden.' Hun intelligentie is te beperkt om de subtiliteiten van het bestaan op te merken, laat staan te doorgronden. Dus beseffen ze niet dat de massa weerloos staat tegenover de virtuele werkelijkheid van reclame en propaganda die elk uur van de dag over hen heen spoelt en waaraan ze zich zonder enige frictie moeten aanpassen. Iedere dag opnieuw heeft de consument tot taak zich te schikken naar de nieuwste modegril of de laatste politieke slogan, en zo blijft hij/zij voortdurend psychisch en fysiek gemobiliseerd, terwijl de zelfbenoemde 'chroniqueurs' weten dat ze de leugen niet aan de kaak stellen. In een consumptiemaatschappij is alles geregisseerd, niets is er spontaan. Door de korte levensduur van zowel producten als ideeën kan het nieuwe niet tot wasdom komen, waardoor fouten niet worden gecorrigeerd. Op het moment van ontstaan is het product of het idee al gedateerd, rijp om vervangen te worden. Niemand krijgt meer de rust om op enige afstand te heroverwegen. Tegen de tijd dat de consument weet waarnaar hij kijkt is het al voorbij. Wat Mak ziet als ‘de moed erin houden’ is niets anders dan een staat van totale verwarring, het individu is niet ‘optimistisch’ maar reageert eerder als een willoze verslaafde. Verdwaasd beweegt de consument zich in een werkelijkheid van gefabriceerde spullen zonder enige authenticiteit, alles omlijst met musac, dat op muziek lijkt maar het niet is. Deze schijnwerkelijkheid die maar al te werkelijk lijkt is inmiddels geglobaliseerd en verschaft de mens zijn identiteit. In de essaybundel The Short American Century. A Postmortem (2012) beschreef de Amerikaanse hoogleraar Geschiedenis aan de Universiteit van Californië, Emily S. Rosenberg, over ‘the world’s first mass consumerist society’:

Consumer goods seemed to confer glamour, leisure, and respect. This style of consumerism, so in tune with a highly diverse and mobile society, became intertwined with particular characterizations of personal ‘freedom’ and with the political culture of ‘democracy.’ Mass consumption and mass entertainment fashioned an ‘American Dream’ of upward mobility.

American-style consumerism thus fostered an ‘imagined community’ out of a population divided by language, history, and customs. During the half century between 1880 and 1930, 27 million immigrants entered the United States. In the face of this cultural multiplicity, mass production and consumption, which flowered in the generation that came of age after the First World War, presented commodities as markers of national as well as personal identity. A consumer society offered a set of common referents around which people living in the United States could bond as ‘American.’ Especially for first- and second-generation blue-collar ethnic immigrants, consumption provided a powerful Americanizing agent, with the rituals of shopping constituting a style of ‘consumer citizenship’ that rivaled older definitions of civic participation.

An expanding array of consumer goods and entertainment offered ways to shape communities of identification around comfort, leisure, and personal interests rather than around the regional, ethnic, or familial associations that once organized social life…

Innovations in the profession of advertising, directed to the domestic market and then also employed overseas, played a growing role in promoting mass consumerism's economic and cultural appeal. Especially after World War I, advertisers began to voice a refrain that soon became a hallmark of their profession: the prosperity and stability of the nation (and then of the world) depended upon their skill in stimulating ever higher levels of purchasing and consuming and therefore 0f jobs and prosperity. 'Buy More, Prosper More' became their unofficial motto. 

De werkelijkheid achter de terloops geuite kwalificatie van de populistische Geert Mak dat de meer dan 320 miljoen inwoners van de VS 'hele optimistische mensen' zijn die 'de moed erin houden,' is veel gecompliceerder dan deze journalist en zijn mainstream- collega's zich kunnen voorstellen. Wat zij in hun verpolitiekte werkelijkheid niet beseffen is dat 'mass consumption and mass entertainment fashioned an ‘American Dream’ of upward mobility,' en zo een ‘imagined community’ heeft gecreëerd, waarbij 'commodities' golden 'as markers of national as well as personal identity,' en 'consumption provided a powerful Americanizing agent, with the rituals of shopping constituting a style of ‘consumer citizenship’ that rivaled older definitions of civic participation.' Dit alles vormt een fictie, een luchtbel, die nu  uiteen is gespat. De 'geheime liefde' die Geert Mak al sinds oktober 1952 voor de 'Amerikaanse droom,' koestert, toen de eerste 'gratis, Donald Duck' in het Nederlands 'opeens in de bus viel' van de familie Mak, was en is inderdaad een 'droom,' en wel, zoals de Amerikaanse satiricus George Carlin verklaarde, ‘because you have to be asleep to believe it.’ 


Wat Mak langs zijn neus weg op televisie opmerkte is propaganda van een  opportunist die een zo groot mogelijk publiek wil behagen met een mythe  Ondertussen wordt het ware probleem almaar manifester; in de praktijk betekent het consumptiemodel een permanente staat van oorlog met mens en natuur, zoals we vandaag de dag overal kunnen zien. Mede dankzij het globaliserende neoliberalisme wordt de mensheid nu bloot gesteld aan een klimaatverandering, waarvan niemand precies overziet welke ingrijpende gevolgen zij allemaal zal hebben. Daarnaast moet tegenwoordig de helft van de mensheid zien te overleven van rond de 2 dollar per dag. Enkele officiële cijfers:

Today 2.5 billion people, including almost one billion children, live without even basic sanitation. Every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation. That's 1.5 million preventable deaths each year.
Source: Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council

At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.

The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they 'die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.'

Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted.

Als er één ding duidelijk moet zijn dan is het is dat het winstprincipe van de enkeling ten koste gaat van het welzijn van miljarden mensen. Het neoliberalisme is daarmee moreel failliet. Maar niet alleen in moreel opzicht.  Gezien de milieurampen en de toenemende armoede -- nu ook in het Westen -- plus de verwachte nieuwe kredietcrisis en de aanhoudende economische crisis is het neoliberalisme als heilsleer failliet. Dat kan ook niet anders. Professor Rosenberg:

Brand identification -- Coca Cola, Kellogg cereals, Swift meats, White Castle hamburgers -- forged communities of consumption. 

Twentieth-century consumerism created an imagined community that included some and excluded others. The amusements and the products of American consumer culture redefined democracy and continually rearranged ethnic and class divisions. In the first half of the twentieth century, through their participation in the consumer republic, Irish, Italians, Eastern Europeans, and Jews slowly became ‘white’ and ‘American.’ The entertainers and advertisers who helped fuse the trinity of whiteness, nationality, and consumption into one compelling imaginary also created categories of outsiders who appeared as colored and as un- (or even anti-) American. People from African, Asian, Spanish-speaking, or Native heritage often found themselves largely excluded from the performances and displays of upward mobility and consumer nationalism.

Door de globalisering doet ditzelfde verschijnsel zich nu wereldwijd voor. In lage-lonen-landen werken momenteel vrouwen en mannen tegen een minimuminkomen en zonder sociale voorzieningen voor de consument elders, zoals blijkt uit de fabricage van alles en nog wat, van trendy elektronische snufjes en modieuze leggings tot aan hippe Nike-schoenen.

In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad…

In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history.

However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.

More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.

Garment factories in the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore caught fire on 11 September 2012. The fires occurred in a textile factory in the western part of Karachi and in a shoemaking factory in Lahore. The fires are considered to be the most deadly and worst industrial factory fires in Pakistan's history, killing 315 people and seriously injuring more than 250. The conditions under which Pakistan's blue-collar labour works have often been raised by trade unions and workers' rights organizations. There is also a controversial, yet wide use of child labour in Pakistan. […]

The garment factory 'Ali Enterprises,' which is located in Plot 67, Hub Road, Baldia Town, Karachi, used to export its garments to Europe and the United States, and had employed between 1,200 and 1,500 workers. Ali Enterprises manufactured denim, knitted garments, and hosiery, and had capital of between $10 million and $50 million. Workers at Ali Enterprises said they earned between 5,000 and 10,000 rupees ($52 to $104) a month for their labour. The factory manufactured jeans for textile discounter KiK. KiK claimed to control enforcement of labour laws and security standards of its suppliers. However, a security check in 2007 revealed deficiencies in fire protection of the Karachi plant, which KiK claimed were fixed by 2011. According to the Pakistani Textile Workers Union (NTUF), a high working pressure and overtime with unpayed additional work were frequent at the factory. A few weeks prior to the fire, the factory passed an internationally recognised safety test. The factory is also suspected of using child labour and locked workplaces analogous to prison cells. The owner of the factory, Abdul Aziz, had reportedly prevented inspections of the factory. 

Een ander willekeurig voorbeeld, ditmaal uit de Britse Guardian:

Britain's appetite for fast fashion is pushing workers into starvation conditions…

When the fashion press covers ethics it largely means whether catwalk models should eat more, rather than whether garment workers should eat.

It's tempting to cast retailers as Dickensian ogres (bullebakken. svh) but fast fashion is driven by consumer appetites. We love fashion but we also dump two million tons of textile waste (mostly clothing) in landfill each year, which suggests we don't value it. We get the type of fashion retail we deserve and ask for. We need a new plan.


On April 24, the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,129 workers and injuring at least 1,500 more. Most were young women earning about $37 a month, or a bit more than a dollar a day. The collapse was the worst disaster in the history of the global garment industry, evoking the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York City. The Rana Plaza factory made apparel for more than a dozen major international fashion brands, including Benetton, J.C. Penney, and Wal-Mart. This was the third major industrial accident in Bangladesh since November, when 112 people were killed in a fire at a garment factory producing mainly for Wal-Mart. At Rana Plaza, cracks appeared in the eight-story building the day before it collapsed. Police ordered an evacuation of the building. But survivors say they were told that their pay would be docked if they did not return to the factory floor, and most did.

Het neoliberalisme, de huidige variant van het kapitalisme, kan alleen bestaan door dezelfde uitbuiting waaronder de westerse arbeiders gebukt gingen in het begin van de industriële revolutie. Zonder uitbuiting van mens en natuur zijn het winstprincipe en de consumptiemaatschappij onmogelijk te handhaven. Maar omdat de dagelijkse propaganda het doet voorkomen dat de kapitalistische dogma’s gebaseerd zijn op natuurwetten lijkt het alsof er geen levensvatbare alternatieven bestaan. De Amerikaanse journalist en bestseller-auteur William Greider schrijft in The Soul of Capitalism. Opening Paths to a Moral Economy (2004) dat weliswaar sommige individuen een positief mens- en wereldbeeld erop na mogen houden, maar dat

the governing elites in business and finance as well as government, regardless of political preference, operate on bleaker assumptions about the human condition. High-minded stewardship, they tell themselves, requires a rather constant manipulation of the soft-headed populace, deftly steering the people toward correct outcomes, even if people are too stupid to understand their own best interests.

What’s worse is that many ordinary Americans –- maybe most of them -– believe this too. At least, many have internalized from experience the notion that they have been assigned lesser roles in the grand scheme and there’s nothing to be done about it. Like it or not, the obstacles are simply too formidable to overcome. The frontier is closed; the pioneering is history. This self-doubt and resignation may be the greatest barrier to realizing an alternative future, one in which people at large can participate from their various angles in the decisions that govern their lives.

En dus dompelt de massa zich onder in oppervlakkige amusement en consumptie van rotzooi. Steeds meer van hetzelfde tot men in het eigen escapisme verstikt. Lethargie, onverschilligheid en cynisme zijn daarvan de opvallendste kenmerken. Door het dé-politiseren van de politiek, waaraan de massamedia vrijwillig meewerken en dat een massale westerse apathie heeft veroorzaakt, is een proces op gang gekomen, waarbij, volgens Sheldon Wolin:

The privatization of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture from a system in which democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributing elements, to one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled.

Kenmerkend daarbij is dat, aangezien de democratie 'represented a challenge to the status quo, today it has become adjusted to the status quo.' In een recensie van Wolin's boek Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2008) schreef de Amerikaanse geleerde Chalmers Johnson: 

One other subordinate task of managed democracy is to keep the citizenry preoccupied with peripheral and/or private conditions of human life so that they fail to focus on the widespread corruption and betrayal of the public trust. In Wolin's words, 

'The point about disputes on such topics as the value of sexual abstinence, the role of religious charities in state-funded activities, the question of gay marriage, and the like, is that they are not framed to be resolved. Their political function is to divide the citizenry while obscuring class differences and diverting the voters' attention from the social and economic concerns of the general populace.' […]

Another elite tactic of managed democracy is to bore the electorate to such an extent that it gradually fails to pay any attention to politics. Wolin perceives, 

'One method of assuring control is to make electioneering continuous, year-round, saturated with party propaganda, punctuated with the wisdom of kept pundits, bringing a result boring rather than energizing, the kind of civic lassitude on which managed democracy thrives.' 

The classic example is certainly the nominating contests of the two main American political parties during 2007 and 2008, but the dynastic 'competition' between the Bush and Clinton families from 1988 to 2008 is equally relevant. It should be noted that between a half and two-thirds of qualified voters have recently failed to vote, thus making the management of the active electorate far easier. Wolin comments, 

'Every apathetic citizen is a silent enlistee in the cause of inverted totalitarianism.' […]

Managed democracy is a powerful solvent for any vestiges of democracy left in the American political system, but its powers are weak in comparison with those of Superpower. Superpower is the sponsor, defender and manager of American imperialism and militarism, aspects of American government that have always been dominated by elites, enveloped in executive-branch secrecy, and allegedly beyond the ken (horizon. svh) of ordinary citizens to understand or oversee. Superpower is preoccupied with weapons of mass destruction, clandestine manipulation of foreign policy (sometimes domestic policy, too), military operations, and the fantastic sums of money demanded from the public by the military-industrial complex. (The U.S. military spends more than all other militaries on Earth combined. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion; the next closest national military budget is China's at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.)

Foreign military operations literally force democracy to change its nature: 

'In order to cope with the imperial contingencies of foreign war and occupation,' according to Wolin, 'democracy will alter its character, not only by assuming new behaviors abroad (e.g., ruthlessness, indifference to suffering, disregard of local norms, the inequalities in ruling a subject population) but also by operating on revised, power-expansive assumptions at home. It will, more often than not, try to manipulate the public rather than engage its members in deliberation. It will demand greater powers and broader discretion in their use ('state secrets'), a tighter control over society's resources, more summary methods of justice, and less patience for legalities, opposition, and clamor for socioeconomic reforms.'

Imperialism and democracy are, in Wolin's terms, literally incompatible, and the ever greater resources devoted to imperialism mean that democracy will inevitably wither and die. He writes, 

'Imperial politics represents the conquest of domestic politics and the latter's conversion into a crucial element of inverted totalitarianism. It makes no sense to ask how the democratic citizen could ''participate'' substantively in imperial politics; hence it is not surprising that the subject of empire is taboo in electoral debates. No major politician or party has so much as publicly remarked on the existence of an American empire.'


Later meer over de 'Amerikaanse Droom' van Geert Mak en zijn Makkianen en Henk Hofland en zijn 'politiek literaire elite' in de polder.


Professor Sheldon Wolin, geinterviewd door de kritische Amerikaanse journalist en nieuwscommentator Bill Moyers.