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There's a whole other world out there...

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday March 18, 2006 09:18 PM

(Another comment too good for just a comment, this one by Tim D. -- MJS)

...One thing that attracts me to the left, especially the radical, socialist left, is that there is strong sense of internationalism. That is, there is a sense that we have a duty to fight for the well-being and rights of those outside our borders as well as inside, since their well-being is inextricably bound up with our own. I think Martin Luther King Jr. said something to the effect of "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Global poverty and inequality isn't just a moral outrage, it's a genuine threat to the lives of people everywhere as Mike Davis points out in an interview with Alan Maass. Having these massive ghettos stretching over vast expanses of the "Global South" is a recipe for disaster, for obvious reasons. Davis states, "1 billion people [are] living in slums in the cities of the South--unparalleled concentrations of poor people in unsanitary conditions, many of them with immune system disorders. It’s hard to imagine a more nightmarish disease scenario."

Aside from that, while so many people are living in penury in the Third World, it increases the global capitalist oligarchs' opportunities for exploitation and has a correlative effect of depressing the wages and deteriorating the working conditions of people all over the world. Michael Parenti wrote a provocative essay for CovertAction Quarterly back in 2002 which connects the fall of Communism with the global rollback of the rights and gains of workers everywhere that we saw throughout the 90s and which continues today unabated at breakneck speed.

However, global poverty and injustice is being exacerbated, if not institutionalized by institutions and agreements which Clinton openly and vociferously supported during his two terms; i.e. NAFTA, WTO, IMF, the World Bank, etc. I had absolutely no reason to believe that Kerry or Gore would have done it differently – (while we’re on the subject of poverty, Gore, as noted by Stephen Pimpare in his book The New Victorians,, was a key player in getting Clinton’s vicious welfare reform passed, which led to sharp increases in child poverty in the U.S. as Paul Street pointed out in a speech at the Work, Welfare and Families Annual Summit on Low-Income Families).

Global poverty and suffering did not decrease under Clinton (and we know it increased markedly in Iraq as he specifically intended) and we also know that they would not have decreased under a Gore or Kerry administration, given the irrefragable fact that they received (and still receive) millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the very industries and oligarchs who profit from this system (Ralph Nader pointed out during his debate with Howard Dean that Bush and Kerry's top 10 donors were more or less the same companies - primarily the banking and finance moguls).

Democrats and Republicans are indistinguishable in their desire to maintain the U.S.'s position as the world's economic core and to keep the countries of Africa, Asia and Central/South America in the periphery, functioning as extraction economies. (I still find Immanuel Wallerstein's World Systems Theory to be the best lens through which one can properly examine the capitalist system).

Aside: Consistent with Michael and JSP's Orthrian theory, one great example of how the Democrats actively promote their own demise, as well as the demise of informed citizenship, was demonstrated by John Kerry's active support for the further monopolization of the telecommunications industry ( his biggest donor during the 2004 campaign). Ironically, I still read tons of articles by liberals that decry the increasingly "right-wing" orientation of the media...

Comments (6)

I think this is one of your better writings. It also brings up something that I've noticed-namely a real loathing on many (but not all) supporters of the duopoly's part to actually look outside the United States and listen to what people virtually everywhere else have to say about their own political systems, or their own aspirations towards such.


The "bias" of the media is something that's worth discussing in greater detail. Democrats and Republicans each decry the same people and institutions as being heavily biased. So how can that work?


Bias of the media -- all Americans rely on the media, and all Americans (quite rightly) distrust the media. So it's a great polemical trick to bash the media.

The idea that there's a left bias in the media seems plainly laughable to me; and as far as the right is concerned, if there were no liberal bias it would be necessary to invent it. Goliath always wants to play David.

J. Alva Scruggs:

The media bias follies are poor sport anymore. As members of the politcal class, media people constantly second guess their slant in an effort to position themselves on the "winning side". They aim for the right degree of political correctness that will deliver readers to advertisers and fret over their ad revenue constantly. They're torn between a secretive guild sensibility and an urge to boast from their position as better informed than the herd. Hapless, anxious, ambitious corporate schlub is the dominant bias.

I think the Republicans get upset when journalists veer too close to drawing conclusions from reporting verifiable, factual information. The Dems are troubled that the hapless corporate schlub aspect is hauntingly familiar.

Tim D:

Sorry to deviate from our discussion of the media, but for anyone who didn't see it already, Jimmy Carter, growing ever bolder and more brazen in his old age, has actually done the unthinkable: publicly criticized Israel. If that wasn't shocking enough, Haaretz also recently featured an article about a new report by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Chicago, which found that U.S. Mideast policy motivated by pro-Israel lobby.

I suppose, however, that this still relates back to the issue of U.S. media bias, since I saw nothing about either in the mainstream press...

I wonder when the rest of the Democrats will pounce on Carter accordingly or disassociate themselves from him?

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