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That other world is growing faster than we can keep it out

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Corporations and government – January 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

Ed and Martha,

I got a chuckle out of Lindell Cline’s letter. Once I would have written him off as a hopeless reactionary, but now I’d call him a hopeless reactionary with a couple of good points. Yes sir, if you want the government to rein in everything wicked, then you have no moral recourse if the government comes over to tighten the reins on you. There is a time to quit whining and thumbsucking and start piling up rocks or whatever you can get and make a little bit of the world into your corner where things work right according to you. And, no sir, I did not vote for that old curmudgeon Nader as I’ve got all the old curmudgeon I need right here in my own home.

But even if I could run errands on a horse or a fuel-cell vehicle (which should have long since been available) and raise all my own edibles and weave my own cloth, I couldn’t kiss the other world goodbye — or at least not nearly as easily as I might have in 1870. That other world is growing faster than I can keep it out; I get to sit helplessly as American seamen get blown up in the Red Sea. Were they over there protecting a shipment of solar panels? Quite the contrary, they were protecting corporate oil, at taxpayer expense.

Then I get to sit helplessly when I get a bill from the hospital which includes a $320-charge for the recovery room. That is to say, they flopped me in a bed and let me sleep it off for a couple of hours. It takes me over twenty hours of hard labor with stones and a wheelbarrow full of mortar to make $320. And if I do get to town to go shopping, I get a five-percent discount for cash from one or two merchants, which means that the other merchants, as I watch, are taking those carrying charges they incur on behalf of the plastic people and tacking them onto my bill. So Visacorp gets to devalue my dollar (everyone’s dollar), which amounts to taxation without representation. Then I get to watch while the guy with the most millions buys the election from a platform of lies.

So I don’t blame anyone who gets tired of just watching and tries to make a few changes. Does this mean I should go live in Cuba? Lenin the revolutionary was probably just a talented rabblerouser with a grudge who never got a callus from either a hammer or a sickle, but I know what made those factory workers march out into the Czar’s rifle fire, and it wasn’t Lenin; it was the Czar, and today it’s the Corporate Czars. I wish I could agree with Lindell that the corporations will come around with what the people need, but the evidence is to the contrary. They’d rather ship it in an overseas container full of half-dead refugees so they can undercut our homegrown producers who might rather make a more durable product and pay a living wage. And our elected president toddles off twice a month to some sweatshop republic to shake hands, grease palms, and keep the ships rolling in.

A DECENT SOCIETY would enable a person to make _-an honest living. If we didn’t have corporate money manipulation we wouldn’t have to tax everyone so we could compensate the average working slob like me with so many socialist welfare schemes to try to level the playing field. Yes, Lindell, the reds sure blew it, but they only had 70 years to work on it before we subverted them with rock and roll and Leave It To Beaver and blue jeans. The capitalists, on the other hand, have had since the days of Babylon and Rome to smooth out the kinks in our system, and if it weren’t for an overbearing government, odious as it may be, to stalemate the overzealous private sector, we’d be right back to Imperial Russia, 1905.

It’s the corporations, not the government, who stand to gain the most from a nation of dependent personalities, which is why they invented the TV commercial. Sure, Uncle Sam has learned that trick too, and is now the world’s biggest corporation, and corporate hacks and government hacks have the same kind of grey matter in their brains. But there’s more money in sales than there is in taxation and to some degree the government has developed as a necessary antidote to the greed and callousness of the private sector.

But I hope more people will take Lindell’s suggestion and go out into the world and harness their frustration into positive alternative actions, like photovoltaics (try to say that once more, Dubblya?) and co-ops and community gardens. Maybe it sounds communistic to some but I’d rather think of it as common-ist, as in the grazing commons or the village barleyfields, which were happening thousands of years before they were reinvented by Marx and Lenin.

Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove