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RF Dude On December - 15 - 2013

 

rollerball

Ladies and Gentlemen, Our Corporate Anthem

1975… My, how the years slip past so quickly.

Remember when this movie was an interesting science-fiction film?  A good yarn about one man taking-on the crushing corporate power in ‘the future’ (as 2018 was regarded back then) , ‘Rollerball’ was one of the seminal movies of my college years.

Long before it was obvious that nations were dissolving under the power of corporate money, we dozed under the dream-myth of ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’ that we learned as children and still then believed.

Even though the cannon-fire echoes of Vietnam still echoed in our ears, we believed that as a country we had things ‘right’ and everything would work out ‘better’.  After all, we were raised during the post-WWII years of good employment and job security, home mortgages that were affordable, a ‘new’ used-car once in a while.

At least many of us were living in that dream-world.  We were the lucky ones.  ‘Poverty’. we were taught, was something that happened in ‘other’ countries, ‘poor’ countries – countries where freedoms were limited and uneducated populations were exploited by a small class of wealthy, unscrupulous rulers and controllers aided by evil-minions.

Well, welcome to late-2013.

Times today are a little different than they were in 1975.  In the intervening 39-ish years, corporations have been granted ‘personhood’ by supposedly bright judges.  The impoverished 3rd-world countries are now exploited by corporations seeking lower costs, exporting manufacturing jobs overseas or importing low-wage overseas workers to make up for artificial ‘job shortages’ in the professional world.  Corporate money controls our very government from top to bottom, creating laws and court rulings favorable to The Corporation at great cost to our personal freedom and liberty.

In the meantime, as Rollerball so exquisitely illustrates, the people residing in the formerly ‘free’ countries are distracted by an entertaining gladiator-game full of action, violence, the occasional death or gruesome mash-up – as the crowds cheer wildly for ‘their side’.

Threatened by one man, Jonathan E. (James Caan), the corporations (as personified by the brilliant John Houseman) realize they must crush his independence publicly and violently.  People are starting to wake up and realize they’re being played.  This is the one thing corporate power fears – what if one person, or several people, or a lot of people suddenly wake up to realize they are being played?

The message here is that individuals are not powerless in the face of overwhelming adversity.  Each one of you has the power to make a change.  You do not have to be a Jonathan E., or a Martin Luther King, Jr., or a Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – each of those men, and many others like them throughout history, were able to make changes because they had first one, and then two, and finally many other people who supported them in whatever capacity they could.

Read.  Write.  Speak.  Listen.  Participate however you can, at whatever level you can.  There is much to be done, and the feeling of incapacity can be paralyzing to us as individuals.

But that is the fallacy – we are not individuals!  As you have seen many times over the years, no matter how ‘far out’ you think you might be you consistently see other people out there with you.  Your ideas are not alone, and neither are you!

Don’t expect things to change all at once.  Prepare for disappointments and setbacks.  Expect the long haul.  But always keep true to your inner voice – follow it where it leads you.

In the end, even if you do not see all of the change you desire, you have still done your part.  And like tossing a rock into a still pond, you can never know how your ripples will help move another.  And another.  And another…

You do make a difference.

Remember, the corporations have to win – we, the ‘little people’, only have to not-lose!

Written by RF Dude

Just an average Man of Bronze.

54 Responses so far.

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  1. Aquarius 1027 says:

    Great article, RF Dude! The early 70’s were my college years as well. Your eloquent description of that time reflects the intensity of change that has occurred. While busy raising kids and working, I had not observed as much of the corporate activity. Yet the 300% increase in college tuition for my kids was a huge wake-up call to the financial structures in our country. The more recent legislative assaults on education, as well as other right wing agendas, have only served to increase my political participation in whatever way I could to counter these destructive corporative forces. -- Yes, my friend, an individual can indeed make a difference. :)

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you Aquarius! College was indeed much less expensive in those days -- I could actually afford to buy the occasional 8-track tape! ;-)

      The assaults on education are among many of the assaults on our way of life. Corporate power has warped the country, split the citizens along old racial lines not seen since the 60’s, sucked the life out of families in the form of crushing debt, and taken the entry level jobs that our young men and women need to get started in life.

      Only the people of this country can change that. Getting involved at any level, paying attention to the real news and not the celebrity fluff pieces, turning off the television and talking with neighbors and friends.

      It all makes a difference. Wake up the people you know one by one. It will take a lot of us, but the alternative is unthinkable.

      • Quick Brown Dog says:

        Getting involved at any level, paying attention to the real news and not the celebrity fluff pieces, turning off the television and talking with neighbors and friends.

        It all makes a difference.

        Well, every so often I do fancy me a celebrity fluff piece, because public figures are influential in our discourse nowadays, and what they say/do does have an impact. Cf. the whole Phil Robertson debacle. We need to pay just enough attention to this story because like it or not, Duck Dynasty is a very popular show, and the words of a popular public figure do have impact on the people his comments have hurt.

        Not sideboob, though. ANYTHING but sideboob.

        As for talking with neighbors and friends… I don’t have any in real life :( but at least I have the good folks at POV and all the Huffpugees elsewhere on the web :)

  2. agrippa says:

    If you want to have an effect, it is important to understand that politics is local. Candidates for state legislatures and HoR Reps are decided at the local election. Many of the candidates are promoted from city, county and school boards. The primary election is controlled at the local level.
    GOTV is at the local level.

    Money, of course, comes from higher up the ladder. The higher Party leaders parcel out the money to each district; which means if the Party ‘cannot win’ the seat, the candidate does not get much money. That is what made Dean’s ’50 state’ strategy so important.

  3. PocketWatch says:

    To paraphrase something I saw in the movie Cloud Atlas (which I heartily recommend)…

    Man to son-in-law defying him: “You are just a drop in a limitless ocean!”
    Son-in-law: “What is an ocean but limitless drops of water?”

    We are all just drops in the ocean, but together we can be much more.

    Do what you can, when you can.

    • Fergie1 says:

      PocketWatch, well that takes me back a hundred years or so!
      In 1967, I was doing a project at College in SF. Naturally I ended up at the DrogsStore in Haight Ashbury in SF for my project for a Communications class. The age of Flower Power! Of course I met some fascinating people for my ‘interview’. But one in particular actually said, and I DO quote:

      “We are all drops in the ocean and some of those drop sparkle, some DO sparkle.”

      It’s a comment that I never forgot as a young college student in the heyday of ’67/68. That was quite a time in SF!

      • PocketWatch says:

        I’m an old retreaded hippie myself, so I can relate, Fergie.

        One I don’t forget is “With every evil you do, and every kindness you commit, you forge your own future.”

        Also, “Never trust anyone over 30!” -- This one I tend to ignore these days…. ;)

        • Fergie1 says:

          Hey PocketWatch nice to meet a fellow ‘traveler’ from the halcyon days of free spirits! Truly fun, interesting and colorful times!

          Liked your quote but sometimes evil has a way of visiting you no matter how kind you are.

          I’ve shed the “never trust anyone over 30″ mantra just last week! Only kidding! Yeh, it’s been a while since that was relevant to me! LOL.

          • Quick Brown Dog says:

            I’m a 17-year-old Millennial — and I tend not to trust anyone UNDER 30. Actually, make that 60. I don’t trust the young folks not to post my picture or say something not so nice about me on some stupid social MEdia website (because that’s really what all those sites are about, shameless self-promotion and narcissism and ME ME ME) with their iWhatevers. (Talk about being left to your own “devices.”)

            I get along much better with people who didn’t grow up with all this Twitface crap and as such tend to have minimal use for it. Nobody needs to see pictures of what you just did in the toilet, and it certainly isn’t worth getting into a car crash to comment on a photo of Justin Bieber’s latest BM. Older folks seem to understand that a lot more than people of my generation. I started college early and have actually had other students ask me if I’m from “Pennsylvania farmland” (meaning am I Amish because I don’t use social media or have a cell phone or email address)! Meanwhile the CE (continuing ed.) students who are there to study so they can get a good job, and not so they can socialize and party, they don’t really care. Most of them don’t see the point of Failbook either.

            My parents are in their 60s (though they weren’t really “of the ’60s” in terms of sex/drugs/rock-n-roll) and have never used a computer. They don’t even know how to operate cable TV. Unfortunately, I have an aunt who is closer to 70 and she just a couple years ago figured out how to switch it on (cable TV, not the computer). She got cable around the time of the DTV “transition” when they were telling everyone that you had to get cable otherwise you couldn’t watch TV anymore. ‘Course, the only station that’s ever on at her house is Fart Noise. Needless to say, I don’t necessarily get along with everyone over 60. ;-)

    • PocketWatch, I forget who said this, but I always thought it was good advice…”You can become the ocean, or be sea-sick everyday.”

    • RF Dude says:

      Excellent PW -- I’m hanging on to that one! ;-)

  4. Greta42 says:

    Congratulations on a well written first article RF! The topic of course is compelling -- corporatism and its overtaking of government and legislators to accomplish its own greedy goals. We only have to look at the ALEC agenda to see it in action -- and the sad thing is that in many states the rightwing has implanted themselves in elected state offices in order to carry out their plans.

    We do all bear the responsibility to speak up and show up -- especially for the primaries and then the elections! It amazes me that so few can determine candidates (20% in many cases) because others don’t bother to vote in the primaries. Perhaps many feel it’s a lost cause but I think many don’t pay attention to ‘politics’ at that level and only react after the harm is done. We need to re-engage people in order to wage a battle worthy of us.

    Thanks again.

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you Greta.

      ALEC -- a four-letter word if I ever saw one!

      I was very late to the election-scene myself. For years, I showed up at the General Elections because I figured if I didn’t vote I couldn’t complain about anything ‘Them Government People’ did.

      But I realized that the action really takes place in the Primaries. That is especially true now, in states that have adopted Open Primaries -- because in many of those states the top two ‘winners’ of the Primaries are the only candidates in the General Election. This means that it is quite possible to have two Republicans (or two Democrats) running on the General ballot and no opposition candidate!

      Plus, since the turnout in Primaries is historically smaller than in the Generals it is ~much~ easier to load a ballot with less-than-stellar candidates.

      Having said that, turnout in off-year General elections is something that ~must~ be improved if Progressives want to regain control of some of the seats. We cannot keep lurching from one majority to the other, with nothing getting done in-between. Too much time has already been wasted since ’10 with all of the games that have been going on in Washington and at the State level.

      I am usually in favor of ‘balanced’ government with no single party running the show. This has been reinforced watching all of the energy spent keeping REgressive state legislatures from trying to turn back the clock to 1951 as they ram through their ALEC agendas purely along party lines and the Dems have to sit and watch, powerless.

      The Federal Government has been simply gridlocked since about 2008. Except for a few months when the Democrats held the WH and a majority in Congress, power has been split such that nothing of meaning gets done at the Federal level. This must change, and if it means majority control by Democrats at the Federal level for several election cycles I am all for that. (We have already seen what Republican majority control will do -- I give you Wisconsin, Michigan, and pretty much all of the Southern states…)

      So yeah, ’14 is a very important year for this country. Whether one prefers Progressive or Conservative philosophies, it is past-time to get things moving and we need to get the vote out, preferably elect Progressives or Moderate Conservatives, and try to get this country moving again!

      • Quick Brown Dog says:

        I think it’s blatantly obvious the underlying reason why government has been gridlocked since ’08. Problem is, in many cases you get accused of oversimplifying things or “playing the race card” if you say so.

        We need to face up to the fact that the catalyst for this debacle — the straw that broke the elephant in the room’s back — was the “president precedent,” in other words, ZOMG TEH BLACK GUY WON TEH END IS NEAR!!!111!1one! Democrats and Republicans alike went along with GWB on the Patriot Act. But Obama can’t get Republicans to agree on a measure affirming that water is wet. Bush could say the sky is under your feet and the ground is above your head (and I wouldn’t doubt if he did), and Republicans would nod their heads in agreement.

        Obama will never be judged by history on his merits, because any real accomplishments he could have made will forever be undercut and short circuited by the racist GOTP. If this were not true, he would not be called the “crack president” by Michelle Bachmann without Bush also being called the “rum and ‘coke’ president.” Far as I know, Obama has never smoked crack in his life, unlike Ivy League party-boy Bush, who by contrast makes Charlie Sheen seem like a teetotaler.

  5. confuseddemocrat says:

    Interesting post. What I find interesting is that Americans are in a state of denial or may be some have given up. I believe that the grass root supporters of the Tea Party are really reacting to the structural changes that you have described. However, rather than looking at the institutions and political parties, they have turned towards scapegoating particularly against minorities who they see as exploiting the safety nets and the cause of poverty. But if you can get a TPer out of their Obama-derangement-brown folks paranoia and just get them to talk about what truly angers them, they will tell you that they are against the increasing destruction of the American middle class, the big corporations which are destroying communities and exporting jobs as well as intrusive government. Ironically, these are the same grievances expressed by many progressives and the OWS.

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you Confuseddemocrat.

      The people who have joined in to the Tea Party ‘movement’ are indeed looking for change, but the Tea Party itself is by no means a true grass-roots effort.

      The Tea Party is widely known as a vocal group funded by the very same people who are working strictly for Corporate interests -- people like the Koch brothers. The money-people have tapped into a large pool of fear and anger, fueled the Us-Them division, and gotten some pretty extreme candidates elected to support a wide anti-government agenda. Many traditional Conservatives have gone along with this movement because it has (so far) worked in their primary interest of getting re-elected -- but has the movement really been effective?

      What I see is a Republican party that has been quickly stretched to the extreme right, and a Democratic party that has been pulled more to the right. So in that sense the Tea Party has been quite effective at shifting the conversation towards the far-right.

      As I see it, their primary accomplishments so far have been to 1) shut down government in the areas where government is most needed at this time -- job creation, infrastructure maintenance, safety nets and Social Security/Medicare, and 2) have stretched the Republican party to the point of schism.

      You are absolutely correct in that the unknowing membership of the Tea Party has much in common with the Progressive side -- the desire for personal security, the opportunities for growth to be opened, maintenance of their SS and Medicare benefits (which, although labeled ‘entitlements’ are in fact benefits which have been paid-for through payroll deductions during the working lives of the recipients).

      The perversion of the Tea Party has been the control, behind a curtain, of these people by the very Corporate interests who have no interest in making the country a better place for them to live. It is a cynical sham, and so many have let their anger and their fear of a dark-skinned president blind them to the reality that they are once again being played.

      • confuseddemocrat says:

        I agree 100% with your perspective RF-Dude. The fears of the Tea-partiers (TPers) are deliberately being stoked by corporate shills (AM radio hosts and Faux News). I hate to use any references regarding 1930s Germany, but it is quite amazing how effective the propaganda arm of the Right has been. Everyone is so busy looking down at the class or group less fortunate and less powerful that they fail to see how they are being robbed by the top 1%. I thought that Mitt’s 47% comment would have jarred the TPers out of this racism haze and make them realize that the upper 1% sees no distinction among the races, the poor and the middle classes. It really is just about the “haves” versus the “have-nots” and about the “haves” ensuring their perpetual control of the nation’s resources. I was quite surprise that the comment did not awaken the TPers.

        • Quick Brown Dog says:

          I hate to use any references regarding 1930s Germany

          You have to note though, that much of their furor is tied to Dominionist fundamentalism and literal interpretations of (select quotes from) the Bible. Most notably, the passage about “he who does not work, shall not eat” and various parts of Leviticus condemning homosexuals as lepers who deserve to be punished with exile and death. I am a lapsed Catholic turned atheist, but even though I reject the supernatural mythology of most religions, I agree with many of the sentiments of Jesus as philosopher and social reformer. Things like “he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” and “love thy neighbor as thou wouldst love thyself.” TeaBooger XChans are nothing but selfish, greedy narcissists who conveniently neglect these passages in favor of the harsher, more punitive ones, many of which are from the Old Testament and not the New Testament they’re supposed to follow. They are not “true” Christians, otherwise they would adhere to the philosophy of Christ as noted above. They believe that it’s their job to do “God’s work” and obliterate the heathens and the “unfit” and let them starve out and die.

          Godwin’s law is practically a commandment to them, because comparisons to Nazism are not at all unfounded. Actually, Nazism is also an extremist form of Protestant white-nationalist fundamentalism, the kind we know from Dixiecrat-ism and Jim Crow white supremacism. The aftermath of the Civil War and the birth of American eugenics are actually very much tied to the Nazi Reich and the eventual Holocaust. There is a terrific book exploring this in detail: The Nazi Connection by Stefan Kuhl. I used it in a paper for a college course about WWII, and have just now begun reading it in detail. It explores the link between American racism and the horrors that occurred when Nazi Germany ran with the ball. I sort of liken the reaction by Republicans to Obama’s (two) victories to that of Hitler when Jesse Owens won the gold medal in 1936. Reductio ad Hitlerum is perfectly applicable here.

    • A perfect example is right here:

      http://www.chuckharder.com/

      I used to listen to far right Chuck Harder some 18 years ago. When talking about multinational corporations and outsourcing, he sounds exactly like us.

      But, as Harder’s website shows, it includes *classic* examples of scapegoating social aid recipients, immigrants, and “Communists” rather than the real villains. It is a *classic* example of playing to prejudice and resentment while the real bandits of America make a clean getaway.

      Scarcity and hard times, whether natural or, ahem, artificially created, intensifies the “every man for himself” behavior that enriches the hyper-capitalist right.

      Diabolical how it all fits together…. and exasperating when it doesn’t — as in Chuck Harder’s site.

      • confuseddemocrat says:

        Thank you Opposition-Research for that link. It was quite illuminating. I do feel that many of the AM radio shills do not believe the vitriol and minutia that they are peddling. The upper 1% and the Republicans realize that the majority of interests and grievances of the TPers and the Progressives are the same. They know that if both groups were to ever coalesce, it would be the end to political dominance of the GOP (and possibly even the democrats). So it is actually in the interests of the GOP and the 1% to keep Americans divided among racial, religious and socioeconomic lines. It is working beautifully……

    • Nirek says:

      Confused, TPers can’t see that their grievances are parallel to ours. They can’t see that we are against BIG multinational corporations. They can’t see past the color barrier.

      • Quick Brown Dog says:

        Not just color, but ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation — especially that last one. They’re basically 17th-century Puritans with 21st-century technology, and it galls them that anyone should be proud to identify themselves by who they are drawn to (horrors!) have sex with. In a perfect (GOTP) world, nobody would be drawn to have sex with anybody! They wouldn’t even know what sex is!*

        *Except that it’s something husbands compel their wives to do to spread their seed and ensure that the LORD’S MOST PERFECT BEING — themselves — gets replicated ad infinitum. But any mention of the mechanics behind it and you’re guilty of obscenity. No, sex is just something that wives, and only wives,** have to do for their husbands BECAUSE GOD SAID SO.

        (Also, it has to be when the husband wants it, because if the wife ever asks, she must be a prostitute and should be burned at the stake. RUSH SAYETH SHE ASKETH FOR IT.)

        **Well, it doesn’t have to be wives; it can be mistresses, because that’s not adultery. Adultery only happens if a wife strays from the planta — er, marriage. But GOD SAYETH THE MAN IS ENTITLED TO AS MANY CONCUBINES AS HE SO CHOOSETH. In fact, a man doesn’t even have to get married to have sex; he just can’t get married to, or have sex with, another man. He can have sex with an unmarried woman, but an unmarried woman cannot have sex at all, including with an unmarried man. Or any woman.

        (Ow, my head hurts… logical deficiency fail…)

      • confuseddemocrat says:

        I agree hence the downward spiral. However, democrats have been horrible populists. I think the goal of progressives should be to re-master the language of “populism”. The democratic party candidates simply don’t seem to be able to speak in those terms and offer policies to counteract the corporatism which is destroying our society. I have yet to see a house advertisement or senate advertisement by a democratic party candidate highlighting the repeated votes of incumbent gopers who support bills that gives tax credits to job exporters. Where are the ads highlighting gop opposition to the raising of minimum wages or the ads showing how gopers support bills that would allow banks and brokers to risk your money without full disclosure and would protect them from fraud charges? These are issues that cross party affiliations.

        • Nirek says:

          CD, this is why my Senator Bernie Sanders is the best of all 100! He is independent and caucuses with the lesser evil (Democrats). If we could clone him we might have an effective government. IMHO

        • ClassicalGas says:

          Yes, the language. George Lakoff speaks to this. There are a lot of issues that cross party lines, and this is the big one.

          One of the questions in my mind is why -- why is it that the Democratic party fails so badly in this area. Is it a lack of will or is it a lack of commitment to the principles? Or, is it the money?

          We can talk one-on-one to the people in our areas, but until there’s serious buy-in from our candidates we’re not going to get very far.

          I think it’s time to put a lot of pressure on those candidates to walk the walk. The alternative, in my mind, is to work towards a progressive third party. Win, lose or draw, the presence of a strong progressive movement cannot help but drag the political spectrum to the left. The Right has succeeded because the only alternative -- as they’ve been told -- is the “elites” on the “radical left”.

          It’s our call, imho.

          • confuseddemocrat says:

            ClassicalGas (love the song btw) you ask what has happened to the Democratic party. I think Brian Schweitzer interview at the weekly standard sums it up quite nicely.

            http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/podcast-hillarys-first-real-challenger-brian-schweitzer_770962.html

            The Democratic party is corporatist party-lite. The cruel reality is the amount of money needed to mount a successful presidential campaign (1B), a successful house bid (1.4M) or a successful senate bid (8.5M) means that our politicians must court large donors and thus are beholden to the corporate sugar daddies. Since most sugar daddies view the social safety nets as hindrances to them attaining even more profits, politicians can not show too much support or populism and thus risk loss of patronage. Remember Wall Street backed Obama when they were losing their shirts in 2007-2008, but then switched allegiance to the Tea Party as soon as Wall Street reform was discussed in 2009. Democrats learned the lesson; hence, the muted/ non-existent populist talk by Democrats.

          • “One of the questions in my mind is why – why is it that the Democratic party fails so badly in this area. Is it a lack of will or is it a lack of commitment to the principles? Or, is it the money?”

            I think it is, in part, lack of practice and lack of experience.

            With so few liberal or progressive voices in the mainstream broadcast and cable media, our pundits just don’t get enough practice at framing issues and fine-tuning the delivery. Preaching to an empty room only improves ones’ skills so much…

            I’ve been forming some thoughts on countering Ayn Rand economics and ways to go about it. In short, Ayn Randians regard their doctrine as “inerrant.” It cannot possibly be wrong, and unfortunately their air of absolute certainty aids in the proliferation of their ideology and talking points.

            That will probably be the subject of my first post.

            • ClassicalGas says:

              I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.

              The modern Randians don’t seem to realize how far from some of her basic tenets they have wandered. Her absolute disdain for middlemen and religion, are two that come to mind immediately.

              There’s a lot to work with.

  6. Sabreen60 says:

    Excellent article.

    It seems that so many have adopted the Ayn Rand philosophy of “self” first, last and always. That altruism is a dirty word. I think President Obama has tried to lead us away from that mentality. If you read his writing as far back as when he was in college, he has not changed. For him, I think, it’s about the individual -- yes, but it’s also “I am my brothers/sisters keeper”. He has been trying to remind us that some things we must do together because they cannot be done by an individual, e.g, the Hoover dam; the interstate highway system and many more.

    • Quick Brown Dog says:

      He has been trying to remind us that some things we must do together because they cannot be done by an individual, e.g, the Hoover dam; the interstate highway system and many more.

      Rome wasn’t built in a day. It wasn’t built by one person either.

      Unfortunately, it might burn just as fast — especially if everyone is too into themselves to work together and stop it.

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you Sabreen!

      The greed that has poisoned our society has driven many into thinking that it’s ‘everyone for themselves’. It’s why our infrastructure is in disrepair, we are told constantly that unemployed are ‘lazy’, and that if you help others you are ‘making them dependent’.

      I shudder to think of what a President Romney would have done to this country… Beyond our worst nightmares, that would be certain.

      Obama has tried to show this country that we are all in this together, and we will get nowhere fighting each other. He is one voice, and the power thrown against him is enormous, but you make a very good point that he provides a good example of working for change (no matter how small it seems to us) against long odds.

      I would be happier if Obama could do more, but given the circumstances (and especially that we do not have a President McCain or President Romney in office!) I can only keep up the support (and pressure) for him to keep trying.

      We can but emulate his example and do what we can on our own part.

  7. funksands says:

    RF, great piece. You are absolutely correct that we are not alone and it is never ‘one man’ against the ‘system’.

    Unlike in the movies, most corporations aren’t malevolent entities that will stop at nothing to get what they want. They don’t have to be. They realized a while ago that the best and easiest path to profit was innovation through legislation. As long as our political system is captive to the corporate system, then corporations don’t need to find the path of least resistance to big profits, they simply need to CREATE that path in their own choosing.

    Americans, cynical and disenfranchised as they are, have to layer by painstaking layer rebuild a new body of representatives that believe as they believe, that multi-national corporations, given that 40% of their earnings come from overseas, may not have the same goals as the nation’s. And as such should occupy a different spot than the top of the democratic totem pole.

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you Funk.

      You are absolutely right that Corporations rig the system with money, influence, whatever so that they achieve their goals. They do not care one bit about the bigger picture -- only maximizing their return.

      The extreme money that Corporations and the Uber-Wealthy can pour into elections has given this country a dysfunctional Congress, State governments burning down the house as fast as they can, and even local towns and counties -- all with extremely narrow agendas focused on turning the clock back 50 years or more.

      Gotta at least keep trying in ’14 to hold the line -- I’m not expecting to score big, but we must hold the line!

  8. Nice work!

    In my opinion, the prizes for the most incredibly (and inadvertently) prophetic films ever go to the following:

    Despotism (1946) by Encyclopedia Britannica Films
    https://archive.org/details/Despotis1946

    The second half of this film has fully materialized in the United States, and the realization of the scenario depicted in the first half is well under way.

    And,

    Don’t Be A Sucker (1947) by the US War Department
    https://archive.org/details/DontBeaS1947

    That could be any number of today’s right wing talking heads or politicians on that soapbox…

    Both of these films leave me with that “Oh, my God” after-effect.

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you, OppositionResearch -- and thank you for the links! These are both films that I will watch -- neither is particularly long, looking forward to them!

      I will get back to you after watching them!

  9. Kudos RFdude. Well done. Many science fiction writers have been pretty accurate in predicting future times. As you can probably tell by my screen name, Kurt Vonnegut was one of favorites. He actually did more social commentary than actual science fiction, but he was pretty right on about many things, especially in his wonderful novel “Player Piano.”

    Another of my favorites is “Brave New World.” As shocking as it was, it was Huxley’s follow up book, “Brave New World Revisited,” that scared the pants off me. He has been proven quite right in his predictions, especially about media brain washing. And of course, there was the terrible predictions by George Orwell in 1984.

    As some have said here, people will eventually say enough is enough. People can be pushed only so far before they are shaken out of complacency. More people need to realize that for a democracy to work, they have to take part. It’s not for bystanders.

    • funksands says:

      KT, try William Gibson’s “Neuromancer”. Great book written in 1984 that has turned out to pretty prophetic

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you KT -- yes, there is much in our literature that foreshadowed the times we see today. These were authors that had a message, and they used the genre they were best at to communicate their message.

      Many just read (or watch) for the high-level story, and that is OK. I did the same reading and watching all those years ago -- and now, as I reflect, I see what they were ~really saying! The seeds they planted have sprouted and taken root -- that is the beauty of the process.

      And you are SO correct -- as 2010 showed, democracy is not something you can just watch on the TeeVee. It is far more than a series of debates or news articles -- it takes getting out and at least voting, or we risk losing the small gains we have seen in the past.

      Corporations are in it for the long-game. They plan ahead, and they work their strategy over decades. They have the advantage of a unified organization, money, and manpower.

      Citizens here and around the world are waking up, many see the need and the question is ‘How do we get to the same level of organization’?

      In the mean time, as we try to organize ourselves, we must keep up the pressure on politicians and government to slow the Corporate plans -- and we must find a way to ‘get it together’ for the future.

  10. M Cubed says:

    Nicely written, RF Dude! You are so right on the money when you bring up this film--it is a perfect warning for our days. It was directed by Norman Jewison, who made the quirky but beautiful “Thomas Crown Affair” in 1968, then the mega-hit “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1971. Those two films gave him enough cache and freedom to absolutely rock the world with his next two films: “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 1973 and “Rollerball.” He struck out hard against politics, organized religion, and corporatism, and asked his audiences to really question their everyday lives. I was too young to see an R movie when “Rollerball” came out, but I remember the controversy surrounding it.
    Jewison’s brilliance, as well as awesome scriptwriting and art direction have left us a terrific piece of art which will resonate today, and warn us what could happen.

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you M^3 -- I did not remember that Norman Jewison also directed those other fine movies!

      “Fiddler on the Roof” reminds me of another migration taking place today, in a way -- the forced eviction of the good commenters at Place Formerly Known As The Poo. (Well, it’s still known as that…)

      It is symbolic of the forced-relocation of peoples through the ages by unreasoning, tyrannical power structures that just laugh at the helplessness. This is, in part, what inspired me to write this piece.

      • Quick Brown Dog says:

        ♪ ♪ ♪

        Ariannatevka, Ariannatevka
        Underfed, overworked Ariannatevka
        Where else could sabbath be so sweet?

        Ariannatevka, Ariannatevka
        Intimate, obstinate Ariannatevka
        Where I know everyone I meet.

        Soon I’ll be a stranger
        In a strange new place
        Searching for an old familiar face
        From Ariannatevka!

        Ariannatevka, Ariannatevka
        I belong in Ariannatevka —
        Dear little village,
        Little town of mine!

        ♪ ♪ ♪

  11. Kalima says:

    Hi RF Dude. You have written an excellent first post here at The Planet and thank you.

    I was anazed because my hubby and I were discussing this very same subject last night, and I said that I firmly believe that one day there will be a global “revolution” against inequality. We only have to look at what has happened in the ME in the last few years, and is happening in parts of Europe against austerity, and Thailand against corruption as I type this. It will happen, but maybe not in my lifetime. People all over the world are waking up from a deep sleep of oppression and economic depression, and it’s only a matter of time. Oh, and corporations are not people, despite what your RW SC says. It was one of the most shameful rulings in the history of the court.

    One day, enough will really be enough.

    Welcome to The Planet.

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you Kalima! Synchronicity is a common element in my experience online. I have found that whatever wild ideas are floating in my mind are shared by many, and turn out to be not so wild!

      Power structures can do much evil in the world before they are corrupted from within and fall. It is the duty of each person to hold onto their own identity, realize that we are not alone, and that one day we or our children or our grandchildren will have a better world.

  12. Nirek says:

    RF Dude, great post. I especially like ” countries where freedoms were limited and uneducated populations were exploited by a small class of wealthy, unscrupulous rulers and controllers aided by evil-minions.” Because that seems to be what America is now.

    My pet peeve is multinational corporations! By virtue of their “multinational-ness” they are NOT American “persons” or citizens. Therefore they should not receive status as American “persons”. So why are they considered “persons” and given the right to lobby and bribe Congressmen/women?

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you Nirek. Yes, that does seem to describe the America we live in today -- the slope is steep and the bottom looks rocky.

      Corporations as ‘persons’ is a dangerous legal fiction, and the SC knew well what it was doing in that ruling. People are responsible for their actions -- Corporations are doing their best to make sure that Corporations are not responsible for ~their~ actions.

      This must change, it cannot stand!

  13. AdLib says:

    Brilliant and effective post, RF Dude. Good science fiction extrapolates issues and trends in a way that appears prescient and Rollerball sure did that.

    I too saw Rollerball in the theaters. That was an era of many science fiction films as cautionary tales (Westworld, Soylent Green, Logan’s Run, The Stepford Wives, etc.) and though they may feel somewhat dated when watched today, their basic stories and themes aren’t.

    It does give one pause to think what a culture shock and how unacceptable many of the compromises we accept today would be to America of 1975. All Americans being spied on by their government, websites tracking your every move and trying to get their users to give up their personal information and privacy, the regularity of mass killings which can’t be addressed because of the money and power of gun manufactures and their lobby, the NRA.

    Corporations as people? That alone could have been a 1970’s science fiction movie.

    Your positive message is very appreciated. The people can and continually do overcome the powerful minority that tries to oppress them. There are victories all the time, some are small and others are big. There are losses too but they don’t negate the people’s ability to beat the corporate and wealthy forces arrayed against them in other cases.

    We do have a President Obama, elected twice. We have the ACA, the end of DADT and the spread of marriage equality, we have states raising the minimum wage and boycotts and protests that force corporations to back down.

    None of these things and many others could have happened without regular citizens coming together and believing they can change things.

    Looking down the barrel of the corporate money and power canon can be unnerving but when enough people stand up to them and take the fuse out of their hands, they’re helpless against them.

    It takes strength and principal to stand up against those who offer bargains and convenience to us in exchange for a worse future for ourselves but for those who see the big picture, there is no greater bargain than making sacrifices of time and energy today to win back one’s own and one’s children’s future.

    Again, well done on your debut article here at The Planet. Looking forward to more!

    • RF Dude says:

      Thank you ~very~ much for providing this place for our voices, Ad!

      Another movie comes to mind here too -- THX1138. The extreme example of people-as-sheep, and one man breaking out into the light of a new day.

      I remember laughing at the robo-cops being called off because they had overrun the budget chasing THS1138 up the ladder! Perhaps this is a clue as to how to take on the Corporate power -- after all, it’s all about the money to them!

      Oh, and it is ~such~ a relief to see so many friends coming here and connecting on a forum that is free of oppression. You and several other good posters have given us all space to regroup for the next round -- thank you again!

      • AdLib says:

        RF -- I was going to include THX1138 but didn’t, great reference! Saw that many years ago, not too long after it came out.

        As for The Planet, thanks for your very kind compliments. For all of those who’ve contributed to making The Planet what it is, it’s very appreciated to hear.

        The Planet is what it is primarily because of its members. It’s member run and member powered. And I think most members who have been here a while would share my delight at having so many great folks from HP joining us since last week.

        Thanks for jumping right in with your post and making your self at home here. This is now your Planet too and you’ve already added to it’s character and substance with this post. Cheers!


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