Month: August 2014

the Neo–Democratic Revolution

If we are interested in achieving policies that reflect our values and preserve our interests and welfare, the priority must be to develop ways of imposing accountability on private power.

Here we are talking about private power that transcends borders and nationalities, and which does not operate according to nationalistic loyalties.  We are talking about huge corporations and financial institutions, and those who own them. Their power dwarfs national governments, including western governments.

Al-Hamdulillah, this new power paradigm allows us greater opportunity than ever to deal directly with those who rule our societies, and to achieve positive reforms.

We just have reconcile ourselves with the reality that power will never cede to any demand just because it is demanded, but it will certainly cede to any demand which could bring intolerable consequences if it is refused.

In the traditional, and deceptive, democratic model, the maximum consequence a politician can suffer for refusing the demands of his constituency is merely to be voted out of office.  This leaves the population with almost no persuasive power whatsoever.

When we re-direct our mobilization towards private power, the consequences we can impose are far greater and more numerous.  This is particularly true due to the incredibly high concentration of control and ownership over a vast web of interconnected interests, any of which can be targeted to leverage power in our favor.

Call it Neo-Democratic Revolution

 

 

Scuttling Starbucks in Israel

There was a small but intense, brief  but effective campaign in the year 2000 in the United States to pressure Starbucks to not open any outlets in Israel.

This was during the second Intifada, and, as now, there were many disturbing images coming out of Gaza and the West Bank.

Activists basically plastered the windows of dozens of Starbucks locations in several cities with these pictures.  They included the Starbucks logo and a small slogan on each picture.  The images were  printed on each side of the paper, so it would be visible on both sides of the  window.  The adhesive they used made it impossible to completely remove the papers without hiring a maintenance company to chemically clean the glass, and some locations actually just replaced the windows.

This action was repeated over the course of a matter of days, increasing the number of outlets targeted, and activists also filled the keyholes of the entrances and exits with superglue.

These actions were very small and inexpensive, but the effect was significant.  Customers stayed away, opening of the shops was delayed, the costs of undoing the damage to the windows and doors, both in terms of direct expense, and in terms of loss of business due to inconvenience to customers, all added up to a persuasive impact. Furthermore, Starbucks had to consider the possibility of this campaign extending to more and more of their outlets, and the potential cost of increasing security to ensure that the same actions could not continue to be repeated day after day.

Everything that makes them Starbucks was used to their disadvantage: the ambiance of the cafes was spoiled, the efficiency of service was disrupted, the customer loyalty was used to reliably get the message to more people, and their vast number of locations made it possible to inflict loss on them from any number of points.  All of these factors were used to pressure them

Ultimately, Starbucks cancelled the plan to open in Israel, claiming it was due to a contractual dispute with the local franchiser.  And they have never opened an outlet in Israel until now.

Surgery and Psychos

Let me try to describe the energy crisis in Egypt through a metaphor…Surgery and Psychos

Imagine if you had to have some kind of surgery, but the doctor didn’t want to be paid with money and instead wanted to extract some of your organs during surgery to sell on the Black Market.

You say, “no,sorry, I need my organs.  Can’t I just pay you cash?”

He says, “OK fine.  But I am going to have to charge you according to the price for which I could have sold your organs on the open market…OR…You can let me take and sell the organs you have, and you can buy new organs from a friend of mine, at normal market prices of course, fair is fair after all.”

“How did your friend get the organs, may I ask?”

“Well, he is a bit of a psycho”

“So I selling you my organs to pay for the surgery, so you can sell them on the Black Market, and I will be replacing my sold organs by buying the organs of people killed by your psychotic friend?”

“Basically, yeah.  But, you are still going to have to pay for the surgery equipment in cash.  I suggest you get a loan.”

$225 million aid package for “Israel”

A couple points here…

 

First of all, this should provide us all with a reiteration of the basic truism of American military aid, lest we continue to imagine that we can deplete the security resources of militaristic regimes (like Sisi), and thereby cause their downfall: The US will always supply you with weapons, as long as you prove you will use them.

The other point to mention here, not mentioned by PBS, is that about half of that money is going directly to Raytheon, and a good proportion of the remainder is also going to be distributed among American defense companies.

It is not, strictly speaking, aid to Israel. It is aid to the highest spending and most actively lobbying industrial sector in the US; the defense and aerospace industries.

You can’t VOTE corporate power out

The globalization of capital has enabled massive corporations, which are among the largest economic entities in the world, to exert their influence over weaker entities, states that have less economic power, to essentially establish their rule over national governments.

Democracy, sovereignty, independence, all become meaningless in this scenario, and what exists is not different from imperialism, except that the control is far beyond any level of domination ever achieved by any imperial power in history.

The solution is not, and cannot be, to struggle for a democratically elected and representative national government, because that government will still not have sovereignty, will still not have independence, and will still be overpowered by multinational corporate and institutional private power.

You cannot vote the corporations out of power, they are unelected, and are not subject to democratic processes, rather, democratic processes are subverted for their sake.

What needs to happen is the democratization of corporate power, and that can only happen by developing mechanisms for imposing consequences to their profitability, operational efficiency, and the value of their share prices.