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Grabbing the headlines

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Capitalism – January 2009 – Colorado Central Magazine


Remember when foreign money started moving into Colorado? Back in the late ’70s, when I first arrived, it was common to hear locals say “Don’t Californicate Colorado,” or “If God had intended Texans to ski, he would have made bullpoop white.” So imagine what it must feel like, being a “local” in some place like India or Bali, when all that foreign capital starts moving in to fill a vacuum or just to elbow out the previous local economy. The jobs created by the new money are useful, or even necessary, but the whole scheme isn’t really sustainable, since it depends on global money machinations and distant markets, a house of cards which flip and flap according to whatever liquidity crisis or rumors on the world stock exchanges happen to be current. There’s no connection to your basic food and survival chain, gathering nuts or raising livestock or making shoes for your community. You’re a puppet on a chain, jerking around from paycheck to paycheck, serving a class of people of an alien economic stratum and, maybe, alien religion, culture, and ethnic origin, too.

As I write this, Ms. Condi Rice, our Secretary of Obfuscation and Browbeating, has flown to Pakistan to thump her American fist on the table and demand co-operation in the matter of the recent Bombay massacre. She’s plainly the happy tool of our empire’s interests, and it’s in the best interest of the empire to have a handy hook to hang all that scary mayhem on: al Qaeda or some related conspiracy that has tentacles everywhere and is out to make us all God-fearing Muslims. Which is surely out there, granted. But all this finger-pointing at the gremlins of Pakistan, though it’s surely intended to make the world’s public sympathetic to our war on terror, may have little or no basis in fact.

The first reports I heard of these Bombay hoodlums were that they were dark-skinned Deccan freedom-fighters and carried passports for Mauritius, and neither Decca (south India) or Mauritius (an island halfway to Africa) is part of Pakistan. But the notion that such discontent and violence (directed at the jet-set, mostly) could have somehow sprung up of its own volition is inconvenient to the thematic material behind the war on terror. We can fling more money and arms against “Muslim extremist” cabals, but what hope is there if gunslingers can spring up in anyone’s back yard like dandelions?

So Ms. Rice or someone like her must grab the ball and toss it at Pakistan, grabbing the headlines because she has name recognition, and sure ’nuff the media forget that there wasn’t any credible evidence linking one with the other. It’s hard to find a kernel of truth in all this pile of stable-muck we call diplomacy and the world economy.

But the alleged world crisis in liquidity, or whatever it is, may have a bright side. If the investors can’t borrow the money to keep building luxury hotels and oppressive sweatshops, if the agribiz giants have run out of steam for their campaign to dispossess the family farmers of the world, maybe the terrorists will run out of targets or even lose some of their motivations.

And maybe the new Secretary of Obfuscation and Browbeating, Ms. Hillary, will be faced with an austerity budget and have to do her globe-trotting and headline-grabbing with economy-class tickets. Not exactly a great image for table-thumping and holier-than-thou recriminations, and wouldn’t that be nice?

If God had meant capitalists to get rich forever and swill gin at fancy hotels, maybe he should have had them born with body armor.

Slim Wolf

Villa Grove