Militarist Obama and Corporate Nobel: Peaceful Partnership

By Saswat Pattanayak
(Written for publication in Radical Notes and VoxUnion)

There simply need not be any elements of surprise or shock at Barack Obama receiving Nobel Peace Prize. Almost every year, this award has been granted to neoliberal policy brokers otherwise known as liberals, social democrats, or simply the firm believers in Eurocentric democratic ethos that can be ruthlessly applied on lesser countries via doublespeaks. Obama joins Ahtisaari, Gore, Dae-jung, Trimble, Belo, Walesa, Robles, Esquivel, Begin, Sakharov, Sato, Cassin, Kissinger, Wilson, etc., as the latest torchbearer of the most overrated award in the human history.

Liberal media are attributing his win to moments in anticipation, while conservatives are yet to get over the shock. However, Obama is absolutely worthy of winning the prize and he must be congratulated for the same as a regular recipient of this insipid achievement. Even a cursory look at past few winners should indicate that Obama’s prize perfectly fits.

Last year’s winner, Martti Ahtisaari was almost a NATO agent who worked tirelessly as an anti-communist and aspired to end Finland’s neutrality through his fetishized versions of a corporate Finland as a prosperous Finland.

The year before, Al Gore – a dubious champion of environmental hanky-panky that has no pragmatic basis but plenty of populist boasts with an ability to marry corporate america with Zionist media lobby received the award. Gore’s multi-billion dollar campaigners have been chiefly free market champions who “reformed” Soviet Union and infamous money launderers such as Howard Glicken, Nate Landow and terrorist Rabbi Meir Kahane.

When Kim Dae-jung won the award, he was known as a firmly indoctrinated champion of capitalism, and a tireless communicator in the process of introducing “democracy” in North Korea, the kind of diplomatic talks which can bring down socialistic systems rather smoothly.

David Trimble, a Protestant leader from Ireland hell bent to punish Sinn Fein, the left-wing political wing of the IRA has also been an obvious choice. Comparable to him was a previous winner Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, a Roman Catholic bishop appointed to rid East Timor of the last of its radical strands. As though Portuguese occupation was not enough, an illegal encroachment of the country via NATO-backed Indonesia was to be done to eliminate the communists. After its successful atrocities, Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta have become the human face to the “peaceful” interventions in the lives of indigenous peoples through religious pacifications. The peoples can no more demand for reparations in a religious colony.

Lech Walesa, a pronounced reactionary leader in Poland organizing trade unions against the communists, received Nobel merely for such attempts. Alfonso García Robles collaborated with the nuclear powers in order to promote a non-nuclear zone for Latin America without demanding nuclear dismantling of the West. Nobel Peace Prize has traditionally been conferred upon non-agitating peaceniks who like much of social democrats, do not wish to alter the equation of the privileged while ensuring limitations for the oppressed. Dangerous tools are safe in the hands of the mafia, and very dangerous in the hands of the commoners. Nobel prize committees have year after year acknowledged this colonial notion.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, another product of Christian missionary position of effecting changes without revolutions- changes as feeble as conversion to a dogmatic religion, was an illustrious winner. Even as vocally opposed to wars and policies led down by the kinds of Bush, the Nobel Peace winners are not the ones who even address the root causes of wars – class conflicts – and have acutely selective memories when it comes to linking the Church with perpetuation of bourgeois wars.

Menachem Begin, a zionist militarist who launched massive attacks against Iraq and Lebanon even before anyone witnessed Gulf Wars was another perfect winner. One of the biggest war maniacs in recent history, he was the architect of Begin Doctrine, way more vicious than any unofficial Bush doctrines the peaceniks have resented.

Andrei Sakharov, an exaggerated dissident who in the peak of cold war was perhaps so oblivious of American expansions that he created a stir through his advocacy in support of the imperialistic intentions; and immediately was conferred Nobel Peace Prize.

Yet another winner was Eisaku Sato, a reactionary conservative collaborator of Japanese-American interests, the principal opponent to Communist China’s recognition as a UN member, and a prime donor to Taiwanese causes. Here was another classic example of a liberal crony of the routine violators of international sovereign policies.

In previous years, René Cassin, chief legal advisor to Charles de Gaulle has won this coveted award, as has George Marshall. Marshall, the post-war propagandist was instrumental in implanting market economies in communist Europe through bribing, investing and coercing.

Albert Schweitzer’s racist stances on African peoples were well known when he won the Nobel Peace for his White Man’s burdens. So was Woodrow Wilson, a racist, segregationist president whose life was marked by pursuance of the American doctrine of imperialism and global hegemony.

Lesser said the better it is about Henry Kissinger, his pronounced hatred for Third World solidarity movements and his war-mongering. If Cold War achieved demise of Communistic alliances globally, it was done through the only weapons the capitalists know of: money, diplomacy and religion. The role of Nobel Peace Committee in converting the interventionists to heroes and legitimizing their methods of covert propaganda operations is unparalleled.

If Dalai Lama through soothing words of peace and spirituality attempted to undermine a peoples’ republic and won the awards through relegating Tibet into ancient conservative times, then it should not surprise anyone why F.W. de Klerk also won on behalf of South Africa. “Non-violence” in our times of global capitalism translates to unconditional surrender on part of the agitating masses to a reformed society. The reforms must take place within the overarching designs of the former colonial masters. Aung San Suu Kyi is another instance of a revolutionary whose limits have been set by Washington DC.

Since the inception of Nobel Peace Prize, an overwhelming majority of the awards have gone to pronounced anti-communists, masquerading as “reformers”. Mikhail Gorbachev is the brightest instance. Second largest category is the Christian religious saints, bishops and preachers. Goes without saying, their roles have been exemplarily complimenting the “pacifist” reformers. Wherever there was communistic presence, the Christian values needed to be imported there to sabotage peoples’ movements. West Bengal in India is a case in point, where Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity had to deserve Nobel Peace Prize through its covert operations of religious conversion, selective care and influence upon CIA-backed dictators in Africa. Communists are bound to agitate the hungry against their class exploiters, but the Saints pacify the hungry through capitalistic charity funds. Who wins the Nobel Peace is anyone’s guess.

Around the time when revolutionary spirits in Latin America was sky-high and Che’s dreams of unifying the region was slowly gaining grounds, Nobel Committee chose Oscar Arias Sánchez who through smooth means, implemented neoliberal economic policies in Costa Rica.

The last category of Nobel Peace Prize winners have great affinity with Zionist causes. The brightest scholar here is Elie Wiesel – the man with the irresponsible claims on the “uniqueness of Holocaust” and one infamous for downplaying or flatly refusing to acknowledge that other genocides caused by the Nazis have any comparable significance. Speaking of Israelis, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin were certainly not the exceptions.

Deconstruction of “Peace” in Nobel Prize and Lenin Prize:

With so many hardcore militarists (Wilson, Kissinger, Begin, Sato, etc.,) winning Nobel Peace Prize, not to mention scores of illustrious supporters of the aggressive Euro-American bloc during Cold War, how exactly is “Peace” defined by the wise committee?

Nobel jurists further the Eurocentric views of the world and they should not be blamed for it. After all, the people of color, the oppressed people in majority of the world did not have the financial means to combat the advertorial impacts of the aura surrounding this prize. For instance, Lenin Peace Prizes have been awarded to freedom fighters against colonial masters in many African and Asian countries, but the relevance of that great award has never been highlighted as part of collective historical knowledge.
Lenin Peace Prize, that truly revolutionary recognition of the people who strived to bring peace among nations has been relegated to obscurity through sheer exhibitionism on part of the European capitalists disguising themselves under the banner of Nobel. The sheer magnitude of diversity among the winners of Lenin Peace Prize, their roles in dismantling of colonial powers, and their relentless struggles on the sides of the oppressed are testimony to the true acknowledgment of what constitutes peace.

There is a rejoice among people of color upon the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Barack Obama. That is just and proper. But what escapes media attention is the fact that Nobel Prizes have been racist awards ever since their inceptions. Not a single black person has won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Physics or Medicine. Out of a total of 789 Nobel Prizes conferred thus far, only 11 have been awarded to black people. Out of these 11, one was an economist, three were laureates, and as many as 8 were pacifists!
How does it so happen that whereas black accomplishments are overlooked in every field of life by the colonial powers, they happen to be so useful when it comes to recognizing their peaceful conducts? How is it that the oppressed are awarded not for their agitations, but for their accommodations?

Quite naturally so. Nobel Prizes have been Eurocentric mechanisms to brand those people as the greatest human beings on the planet, that dutifully submit to the whims of colonial and imperial powers. Those people who have put their acts together to intervene in revolutionary situations with their negotiating skills to prevent escalation of class wars. These are the people who have pronounced that the exploiters and the exploited can and must live together in harmony with the class divisions remaining intact. Nobel Prizes are granted to those chosen few among the minorities that have a greater impact over the masses compared to their revolutionary counterparts.

There should not be any surprises. Nobel Prizes are offered by the Royalists, the status quo upholders, the deniers of class society. Their construction of “peace” is determined through their worldview, which comprises the refusal for a replacement of unjust world order, and strong resentment at revolutionary forces. Barack Obama’s win is the most natural continuation of Nobel Peace Prize tradition. Peace in Nobel Prize tradition is capitalistic utopia. In the realist world, peace can prevail only through equitable redistribution of privileges. Capitalism simply cannot accept that. Hence, peace itself has to be redefined.
Contrasted to that, majority of Lenin Peace Prizes were granted to people of color, and a huge majority of them were agitators. These were true proponents of peace for the peoples in the world. Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Angela Davis (USA), Samora Machel (Mozambique), Agostinho Neto (Angola), Paul Robeson (USA), Ahmed Sékou Touré (Guinea), Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), W. E. B. Du Bois (USA) were some of the leading freedom fighters against colonialism. Lenin Peace Prizes were also awarded to Pablo Picasso (Spain), Brazil’s Jorge Amado, Saifuddin Kitchlew (India), Pablo Neruda (Chile), Bertolt Brecht (East Germany), Thakin Kodaw Hmaing of Burma, Nicolás Guillén of Cuba, Lázaro Cárdenas of Mexico, Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Modibo Keïta of Mali, Aruna Asaf Ali (India), Kamal Jumblatt of Lebanon, Salvador Allende of Chile, Lê Duẩn of Vietnam, Miguel Otero Silva of Venezuela, Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Mikis Theodorakis of Greece, and Abdul Sattar Edhi of Pakistan, among many other undisputed champions of human liberty. When Nelson Mandela was awarded Lenin Peace Prize in 1990, his legacy was not insulted by getting him to share the stage with F.W. de Clark.

In the world revolutionary histories, there are heroes, and there are sycophants. There are radical activists who march on without awaiting an award, and there are naive moderates that fall into grander schemes of manipulated dictums. In its truest sense, Nobel Peace Prize has never been awarded to peace activists barring on a couple of occasions. One worthy winner was Linus Pauling of the United States. The second one was Le Duc Tho of Vietnam. Like another radical Jean-Paul Sartre, Le Duc Tho too, had refused to accept Nobel Prize. Sartre refused to bring glory to racist France, and Le Duc refused to accept the prize at the same terms as Kissinger and to share the stage with him.

Nobel Peace Prize, in reality is an apologist for, and celebration of continued Eurocentric imperialism. Obama is the latest one to have been “humbled”. Amidst his militarist interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, through his announcements for larger US troops for invasions and bigger budget to feed the military-industrial complex, the Nobel committees have yet again perpetuated a reactionary definition of peace. In their world of successes and achievements, they have merely crowned their King.


David Letterman: Privileges produce Consensus

By Saswat Pattanayak

(Written for publication in Women’s Rights NY)

Contrary to mainstream media depictions, David Letterman did not have any affairs with his staff members. And contrary to liberal media apprehensions, the world does not need to be bothered about whether the incidents took place before or after his marriage. Letterman’s apologies to his wife on air are ridiculously unnecessary, and his failure to step down from his job after admission of guilt is soaked in implicit privileges.

What Letterman has done is sheer abuse of his economic power and gender privilege. His unabashed claim that any disclosure of the details would embarrass his women employees he had sex with, evidences blatant sexism. Its a great irony of our times that women continue to not only put up with sexual advances at workplaces, but also are expected to maintain silence in fear of their career prospects. And here is a liberal intellectual who advances this regressive theory in an effort to “protect” his victims.

If Letterman feels his acts with the female employees are not unethical, the same must hold true for the women too. Hence, he needs to announce the names of the staffers, and the judiciary system must ensure that nothing harms the women simply because they had a relationship with Letterman. If Letterman’s job is not being taken away despite his being the perpetrator, there is no reason why the women’s will be.

If, however, Letterman feels he has violated ethics and possibly laws, by acting unworthy of his stature by means of either sexually exploiting the employees or by indulging in “consensual” sex with employees with full knowledge of their otherwise social commitments, then Letterman should have already resigned long time back, and having failed to do so, he must set an example now.

However, as it turns out, the world came to know about Letterman’s abuse of power only following the blackmailing tactics, indicating Letterman had something to hide, and this something was clearly unethical.

Letterman’s statement is wrong at so many levels: “The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. Now, my response to that is, yes I have. I have had sex with women who work on this show. And would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would, perhaps it would. Especially for the women. But that’s a decision for them to make–if they want to come public and talk about the relationships, if I want to go public and talk about the relationships.”

First, Letterman’s dismissal of the employees as just “women” without names who “work for” him on the show clearly smacks of disrespect. Secondly, to assume that the onus must lie with the women to protect their character from being tarnished is the age-old excuse under which men have sexually exploited women all along. Letterman’s reasonings might be proper considering his tradition of making disparaging remarks about women (Sarah Palin and her daughter were verbally humiliated by Letterman solely based on their gender), but they are no grounds for escaping critical scrutiny. Thirdly, the race and gender blindness of powerful men have always assumed that it is entirely possible for the women victims to become public and talk about their relationships with the perpetrators, and that, in doing so, they just might be believed. Letterman assumes he and his victims are on the equal level, without taking into consideration the disparate social locations they belong to, the unequal power relationships they share, the economic class barriers among them and the gender equations prevailing in today’s sexist world.

Whether Letterman invites legal troubles or not is unimportant. At the crux of the issue are his responses and responsibilities as a media personality who has been accorded viewership. An abuse of power coupled with racial privileges cost Don Imus his job. Letterman’s is an instance of abuse of power coupled with gender privileges. Sexual harassment at workplaces are so rampant and complex in their stratifications that it is implicitly required for the employers and employees not to engage in sexual relationships. This is necessary not because it may or may not cost the employer a reputation or the lack of it, but because, more often than not, the women employees will be victimized to suffer as silent subjects without alternative recourses. The women employees usually have lesser choices to explore avenues when they are confronted with hostile or demanding employer. Not only as being men, but also as being economically superior, the male employers need to enforce codes of conduct where the assumed disadvantages of female employees are not violated by anyone at the office, least of all, by the bosses themselves.

Letterman has violated the workplace ethics by involving in sexual relationships – not just with one woman, but with several, while being an employer. He has also displayed disgusting attitudes towards women in understanding their limits and potential. And his making references to his “affairs” in jocular fashion only adds to his already established sexist image.

When legality follows, Letterman may face charges, or like another privileged creative professional brought to recent limelight, Polanski, may gather enough media support for his case so as to have himself pictured as the victim. But for now, American media do not need Letterman’s jokes and judgments, considering his sense of “creepy” is beyond reproach, and judge he must never again. Privileges produce consensus. Letterman is the brightest instance who abused his privileges.

Roman Polanski and Euro-American Privileges

By Saswat Pattanayak

It’s a deceitful media circulation which suggests that the American judiciary is going after Roman Polanski. The truth is it never has. Polanski is a filthy criminal who had raped a child and yet was allowed to let go by the American justice system for over three decades. And this time, he is merely a bone which Switzerland threw at the United States over its UBS catastrophe. As for Polanski, who has visited Zurich several times and never been arrested before, its going to be few wordplays around extradition treaties that will ensure his freedom while, corporate media, hollywood biggies, and opportunist feminists rally in his support.

Roman Polanski is not merely mentally sick, physically brutal, and powerfully abusive, but he is also a rapist of a minor without a sense of repentance. Had he any iota of regrets, he would have surrendered to the legal system on his own, not continued to evade arrests, and make movies, no matter how many awards they win. It is in the content of character, not in the counts of awards, that a person is to be judged. His affairs with his leading ladies should not have bothered us, but his brutal rape of a minor is not an act worthy of kind reviews, let alone of a solidarity march.

But precisely, drawing from his old boys networks, from the euro-centric privileges, from the elite film industries, from the corporate media friends, and from the liberal feminists, Polanski has succeeded in generating unprecedented solidarity today. His support base glorious and powerful beyond any recent recollections. And in it, lies the greatest irony of our times: the justice system in capitalistic societies.
Each country’s administration that let Polanski work on its land is guilty of abetting this criminal. Mainstream media’s claim that European countries are harboring him while American judicial system is seeking him is utterly misleading. Polanski was to be sentenced not only for rape of a minor, but also on charges of sodomy with drugs. During the 70’s when police dogs were being unleashed upon innocent black workers on the streets, when educated youths were being mercilessly shot at for their demands for racial equality, and poor people were being arrested for jaywalking in rich neighborhoods, Polanski was allowed to go shoot in foreign lands even after he pleaded guilty to the rape charges (in order to avoid harsher sentences associated with sodomy with drugs, he just preferred being sentenced as a rapist and as an European-American, get a bail for the rest of his celebrity life).

For more than three decades (32 years, to be precise), this man was not arrested by the American judiciary. He did not even have to abscond, or flee, as the media reports suggest. He remained in public limelight, continued making movies in Britain, France and Poland. The Oscar jury even shamelessly awarded him with the highest prizes. He could easily have been arrested within three weeks of his departure from the United States. Three decades made him mere immortal.

Disproportionately high number of poor people in America are imprisoned for crimes that are not remotely as heinous as Polanski’s. There is scarcely any demand for their unconditional release. And yet, the American elites have all the hearts for this scum of a man – a filmmaker powerful enough to evade law for such long periods. The man who could not have the courage to surrender before due processes of law, but always had the audacity to attend award ceremonies. Now that he is finally being held in Zurich, all kinds of extradition laws are being reviewed to have him released. What is even more interesting are his lawyers’ claims to their Zurich counterparts that they have evidence to suggest the California police were not very keen on his arrest. Following that, the efficient police department of Los Angeles immediately responds by saying they have been looking for Polanski for over thirty years now, and his arrest has nothing to do with diplomatic faux pas over UBS scandal!

How would have been an ordinary man treated while in position of Polanski is an easy guess. California court would not have taken so long to find a rapist, especially one who is visibly present everywhere, giving out interviews, and receiving awards. In place of an European like Polanski, what would have happened to an African-American celebrity had he been convicted of raping a minor, not to talk of drug possession charges accompanying it. It is worth noting that Michael Jackson was acquitted of all charges by the court, and yet he was damned as a pedophile by the media even after his death. No Hollywood elites signed petitions to attack the press or to convince President Obama that Jackson was a true American hero who deserved a tribute. But here is a man already confessed to have raped a child after drugging her and the media are all quoting his famous friends about his deeply troubled personal life!

Not just United States, even United Kingdom could have taken an action on Polanski. It could have easily handed over the criminal to California. But that did not take place. And the French, the self-proclaimed civilized, those that taught the Algerians how to behave as decent law-abiding citizens, of course preferred to twist their own laws when it came to treat a self-confessed rapist. French judicial system, instead of imprisoning a convicted and at-large criminal, decided to play word games of extradition treaties and harbored a pedophile rapist into emerging as a filmmaker of some repute. Not just that, this abominable piece of trash was even heralded as the pride of France, as one of the greatest of its sons! How does a rapist cease becoming one after crossing geographical borders is beyond amazement of human intellect of this century.

The Hollywood, the corporate media as well as renowned feminists have all come together to support Polanski and to demand his immediate release. Such hollow and reactionary are our current progressive movements that the world of films – that imaginative, creative society of free thinking professionals, has lost every sense of self-respect in their unquestioned support lent to a child predator.

Whoopi Goldberg claims she “does not believe, it was a rape-rape”. In her feminist sit-com show, “The View”, she thinks, “he’s sorry. I think he knows it was wrong. I don’t think he’s a danger to society.” Instead of using the opportunity to appeal to women of Hollywood and television industry to come out about the sexual exploitations women have continuously faced in film societies, resulting in phrases such as “casting couch”, and worse, rapes and humiliations by the veteran directors, producers and actors, Ms Goldberg decided to defend a child rapist and assumed he must be feeling sorry!

Debra Winger is also feeling sorry, apparently because according to her, the whole art world is going to suffer in the arrest of Polanski! Even as she knows, Polanski might at the most get a probation, or in the least likelihood, the highest of 16 months in prison. Which world will suffer for one year detention of a convicted rapist can only be left to Winger’s imagination.

Now comes, Peg Yorkin, the renowned feminist and chair of Feminist Majority Foundation, which she co-founded with Eleanor Smeal. Yorkin not only does clearly absolve Polanski, she even reverses the foundations of progressive feminism with her statements to LA Times: “My personal thoughts are let the guy go. It’s bad a person was raped. But that was so many years ago. The guy has been through so much in his life. It’s crazy to arrest him now. Let it go. The government could spend its money on other things.”
Its sad, but a true reflection of comfortable feminists throwing around millions of dollars in charitable causes meant to address issues concerning women, but in reality, sympathize with the perpetrator as a victim. Yorkin parrots, what the mainstream media does: Polanski has been through a lot in his personal life. But they do not ponder over for a bit as to how does that anyway relate to the specific criminal act? When no one objected to his winning awards despite his personal life, why would the law not apply to Polanski because of it? The logic of Yorkin, Winger and Goldberg, our contemporary women champions of feminism are victimized by the same sexist structural overarching they are trying to contest.

Not to mention of the powerful males in Hollywood who are busy drafting petitions in support of the rapist claiming that “filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision.” Someone needs to tell them that France is already in Europe, so that mention is redundant, and secondly, “around the world” has no empirical basis. The whole world is not as perverted and manipulative as these signatories: Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Michael Mann, Mike Nichols, Woody Allen, Neil Jordan, Harvey Weinstein, Pedro Almodóvar and Ethan Coen.

The final defense is in the assumption that raping of minors was commonplace in those days and Polanski being a man of his times, his arrest is an unfortunate exception. Such arguments lack validity since in those days, so many black men were being routinely arrested on entirely false charges of rapes. It is true that Hollywood was perhaps the place for the Anglo-American playboys. Woody Allen immediately comes to mind – a privileged liberal who exploited his adopted children and married his stepdaughter, without his image being tarnished in any manner.

What is more distressing is that this trend of relegating the invisibly exploited women by the powerful filmmakers of Hollywood to irrelevance continues to this day. The fact that over a hundred legendary filmmakers come together to suppress the significance of combating sexual exploitation in the world’s wealthiest film industries, speaks of their own contributions in silencing the victims to this day. Be their films be declared hollow, their messages sexist, and their positions unworthy.

Capitalism: A Democrat’s Love Story

By Saswat Pattanayak

Written for publication in VoxUnion

Capitalism: A Love Story, is just that.

As occurs in most love stories, there are depictions of mismatched expectations, conflicting situations, remorse and grief, cherished moments, rejoiced nostalgia, idealistic aspirations, and eventually a unilateral resolve to call it quits. Michael Moore’s disillusionment with capitalism is manifested in the current liberal crisis: a crisis that discovers resolve in invoking the founding fathers and preaching moral ethics, a crisis that must indulge in taxonomy of political correctness.

Wistful Days of Yore: Most liberal commentators are currently obsessed with the ‘good old days’ before Ronald Reagan spoilt it all. Michael Moore’s film parrots this narrative rather pronouncedly in the film. According to Moore, in the good old days, students were not dependent on loans and wealth flowed into economy from all quarters, and “we even sent a man to the moon”. A system was working until it was failed and hence, the liberal remorse. The truth, however, is that the American political-economic system has never worked for the majority of people, in its entire history. The happy images of the yore which the film so poignantly projects as exemplification of successful economy were at their best, racist, discriminatory and exclusionary. American infrastructure were built not with free spirits of democracy, but with susceptibly invisible slave labor. Its a myth that there ever was a system that had worked in the United States for the betterment of majority of its people, or of the world. The film perpetuates it through appeal to look kindly at the Fordist era.

Not only the industrial period following the Second World War, Moore has selectively quoted from the original American Constitution and the “Second Bill of Rights” as suggested by FDR to appeal to the humanistic roots of American hegemony. Liberal espousal of such brilliant documents, however, are soaked in sheer idealism than any planning around radical restructuring. Neither the makers of such documents had any designs to implement equal access to outcomes of such resolutions, going by the exclusion of oppressed minorities in affairs of the nation, nor were there any attempts to limit the access of the privileged in controlling of economic power. Even to this day, if the Universal Health Care, far from being a fundamental right, has not even been implemented at legislative level, it is because of a refusal on part of the powers to curtail the existing exuberance of the rich class. Mere declarations for “general welfare” (Constitution) or right for “decent home” (Second Bill of Rights) are wishful, and hence by virtue of that, reactionary.

The “Golden Days” of the past never had any scope to limit the free market, and the present days have no control. Moore avoids deliberating on the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment which proclaims that private property cannot be taken by the state for public use. Nor does he quote the Second Bill of Rights where FDR also suggests that every businessman – small, and large, is free to trade in an atmosphere of freedom.
Capitalism versus Democracy: The film’s main argument is that Capitalism is different from Democracy. Indeed, Moore says the other -ism is not Communism, but Democracy. Moore’s reliance on the glories of American proclamation of democracy enshrined in the Constitution has guided him to such idealistic and misleading conclusions. The truth is American democracy has worked just the way it was designed to work from the very beginning. In fact, American democracy has only improved over the years. Women suffrage was not part of what the Founding Fathers had decided upon. By their documents, even the people of color were not going to be active participants in the electoral processes. No matter how many times we quote the Constitution’s exalted words, they were not designed for all. And yet, the document was a result of democratic standards to which Moore looks upto. Likewise, every subsequent amendments have been democratically implemented and have only resulted in sustenance of the status quo. America has been the citadel of democracy, an exemplary nation that has resulted in election of President Obama through sheer voting power. To deny the democratic nature of American politics is to redefine political democracy.

Moore could have chosen to redefine political democracy, because in reality, democracy thus far has only been a constant ally of the capitalists. Election of President Obama is not the liberation of African-Americans from centuries of discrimination; it is yet another victory for the private bankers and militarist forces that profit from economic recession and wars on Pakistan/Afghanistan/Iraq. Through system of electoral voting, financial manipulations have invariably always taken over the propaganda mill and influenced political processes in most western countries. Capitalism is the political-economic system that demands democratic consensus for its prosperity. Moore does not need to be a Marxist to understand this. A critical perusal of societal bases of economic relationships should suffice. Even President Obama’s democratic mandate was materialized through capitalistic alliances. Capitalism is not opposed to democracy. Indeed, it requires democracy so as to be able to fund, and benefit from, it. A breakaway from feudal past was necessary for the prospective capitalists, and envisioning a proletarian dictatorship through communism would seem nightmarish. The safest bet for the proverbial Wall Street magnets is sustenance of multi-party democracy. Moore surely is acutely aware of it. Roger and Me was an outstanding exposition of status quo elements. But with passing years, and as a Democratic Party fanboy, he is now clouded with misplaced optimisms.

Desperate attempts to separate capitalism from democracy have gone nowhere in the film, because in real life, they are inseparable. Be it Italy, or India, Germany or England, America or Philippines – political democracy is a major hoax of our times – an euphemism for plutocracy. Money buys votes, and democracy is the best system money can buy. Obama was aware of it during his fund-raising campaign which resulted in highest amount of revenue collection in electoral history. In so many ways, it is impossible to differentiate between Reagan and Clinton or Bush and Obama. Because there are no fundamental differences. Each of their democratic triumphs are thanks to capitalistic lobbyists.

Holy Books and Capitalism: So who are the anti-capitalists? Not the communists, Moore declares. They are the anti-communists! The Church! Moore’s childhood love for the Catholic nuns (an exceptional child he must have been) and dreams of becoming a priest himself, and in the typically liberal fashion of distancing oneself from Communism, Moore turns to the Fathers. He quotes the holy books to suggest how the Bible must have been anti-capitalistic in content. The Christian God himself is for the poor and the oppressed. Certainly the atheists must be the capitalists.

Moore misleads not just in his attempts to posit democracy as contradictory to capitalism, but also introduces Christianity as the friend of the oppressed. Not surprising, considering the current liberal fascination of alluring the mainstream and giving them a sense of unity under the America as envisaged by the new president – a race-neutral country of the one-God. Moore goes so far as to interview three Christian priests, and to quote from the scriptures – all appears honky-dory, and everything Christianity is about divine love for the poor and the oppressed. The anti-Capitalists are the Catholics. Such vulgarly twisted interpretations of a religion that singularly led to emergence of capitalism’s assaultive powers speaks of the acute vacuum that exists in current liberal thoughts. Or, quite simply, the dissent camps of the Democrats have merely been converted to becoming apologists for Obama administration. A film such as this clearly absolves Obama of the charges of being a socialist, a “Muslim”, and a likely shareholder of the economic mess.

Hail Obama: Moore, to the cheer of his traditional devotees (myself, included) bashes Reagan and Bush for their dastardly lies about economic state of the nation. But I shall find myself outside of his sycophantic zone in hailing Obama as the man on a mission to correct the ills brought upon by corporate greed. It is not only factually inaccurate to suggest that President Obama has done anything thus far to punish Wall Street mongers, but it is also absolutely ridiculous to overlook the amount of damages the new presidency has caused since its acquisition of power. The fact is President Obama’s election campaign depended on Wall Street mercies and he must remain obliged to their interests. And by all admission, he has. The biggest corporate bailouts in American history were not declared by Bush. They have been authored by Obama. The largest acquittals of financial criminals were not conducted by Reagan administration. They are being done right now by Obama administration. Moore does not offer the slightest hint of how manipulatively the current administration is functioning. The reality is not the failure of capitalism. It is the success of capitalistic democracy. The anti-thesis of Moore’s assumptions.

The film clearly serves as a propaganda medium for Obama administration. But I shall not blame Moore for this myopic project completion. His is reflective of larger liberal opinions. The opinions which have suddenly fizzled out in thin air when it comes to anti-war movements. There is no Cindy Sheehan in this Michael Moore film. A critique of capitalism without mention of the military-industrial complex? Sure, because now, the liberals benefit from the wars. The restless anger and frustration characteristic of Moore has been replaced with Christian values of selective amnesia. Class wars are not done through comic orchestrations. “Hey, tell the CEO that I am Michael Moore and I am here to make a citizen’s arrest” spanks of both celebrity arrogance as well as a self-proclaimed sense of being a savior. Much as his boss Obama, Moore is on a trip: “Are you with me? Let’s go change the world” rhetoric is so seeped in liberal privileges that the commands become invisible to the protagonists.

Democratic Party has killed the anti-war movement in the United States. First by organizing few demonstrations to change the color of the cola in the election war, and then by withdrawing the funds to continue the movement, the party has done bigger damages to kill the spirits of the peaceniks than the Republicans could ever imagine. Progressive filmmakers like Moore no more link war with capitalism as long as Democrats are in power. Is it not a fact that the economic recession could have been better handled had the administration curtailed the enormous defense budgets? With President Obama pushing for more wars against more nations through recruitment of more armed forces than even before, the conservatives are not complaining, and the liberals have their feet in their mouth. This is the first major documentary made by Moore that does not deal with economics of war. He has no one to blame but himself. His constant hope that Obama would somehow stop the wars has been shattered. But he is in denial.

Just as Moore is in denial when it comes to Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. He constantly showcases them as the villains of Bush era. But entirely skips to mention that they were hand-picked by President Obama as well. So why are they serving in Washington? Moore says Obama has selected them because they know the rules of the game. It is smart in selecting the Mafia to control the drug dealings. And what leads Moore to believe that Summers and Geithner will listen to Obama more than they listened to Bush? Unless, of course they are closer to the former. Either way, these are dangerous people – policy makers and capitalists on behalf of the militarists. They are the gifts of the political democracy. Just as Goldman Sachs is. Or Secretary Paulson, the former chief of Goldman Sachs was. If Obama is the hope for the democracy, Goldman Sachs – his million dollar sponsor – must be the protector of democracy. Moore, like Obama, denies that capitalism is inseparable from political democracy. Like the politically savvy liberals, both of them claim a distance from the dirty mud while embracing the rejoicing pig.

Upon election of Obama, Moore declares it is a “Farewell to Old America” in his film. He cites a bread factory cooperative and a Bank of America employees protest as examples of rejuvenated country that is witnessing revolutions against corporate takeover. This is exactly the kind of myth which the current administration wants to spread in its attempts to strengthen base among its loyalists. Moore has unknowingly or knowingly fallen in that pit. Anti-corporate sloganeering are among the easiest of protests. Politicians love it when the public turns its ire against the corporates, and business houses do not mind much of the assault so long as the politicians honor their contracts. Both the sectors remain so cozy in their actual functioning as partners in crimes because by turning the public ire against the “corporate greed”, they ensure that the enemy will always be a faceless, unknown bunch of people whose progress are neither supposed to be monitored by the public nor are even noticed from close quarters.

Therefore when a few dozens of Bank of America employees express their anger at the company, President Obama declares his support for them and win huge approvals. And needless to predict, the bank then hands over few thousand dollars to the employees and the movement fizzles out. The protestors think they have won the battle, whereas in reality, the political party in power gains strength, makes greater friends with the company, and the company bosses find reciprocation from Washington. So when Ken Lewis masterplans takeover of Merrill Lynch at $50 billion, or contributes to fraudulent misappropriation of taxpayers’ money worth $700 billion, eyebrows are raised, but actions are not taken against him. In fact, the public anger is still against the “corporates”, but the closures are hardly in sight. The biggest vultures, like Citigroup and Bank of America continue to flourish when it comes to their board member salaries with public money. In fact, Citigroup has liabilities of $1.797 trillion! And yet, these company heads, instead of being imprisoned for fraudulent practices, predatory lending, and mismanagement of working class money, are rewarded by the administration in Washington DC without any clause for future auditing of their subsequent spendings.

Political democracy has always needed capitalistic economics. They swim and sink together. The odd examples of cooperatives that Moore provides are not only exceptions, but they are romanticized exceptions. Cooperatives, unless made universal and owned by the states themselves make no sense, and are merely to suffer from the maladies of health insurance status in the United States. The private enterprises through their carrot dangling tactics will continue to attract a select few and the rest will be subjected to their own fates. Mixed economy, like the “middle class”, is a misnomer. There are only haves, and the have-nots. A credit society is not a prosperous society. America is a prime example of a failed economy because of capitalism. And capitalism survives through the political system it has helped create. Contrary to Moore’s assumptions, capitalism did not start with Reagan. It started with the Constitution of political democracy where the voting is counted, candidates are selected, the public is normalized into believing that the system which opts for “change” as opposed to “replacement” is the system that works.

Handing over $6000 worth of checks to few employees at a bank is not called advent of revolution. Temporary pacification of agitated mass through token money and soothing words of religious priests are actually murders of revolution.

Brother Gil Scott Heron has appropriately described what is a revolution:

“NBC will not be able to predict the winner at 8:32 or report from 29 districts…There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock news and no pictures of hairy armed women liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose…The revolution will be no re-run brothers; The revolution will be live.”

Michael Moore has distorted the idea of revolution. Revolutions indeed, cannot be predicted through mainstream movies commercially distributed nationwide. Or through the collaboration of the Catholic Church. Certainly not spearheaded by the likes of Obama and his fundraiser Goldman Sachs. As always, the conservative critics have raised wrong questions. The question that is being asked today is why Michael Moore resents capitalism so much if he makes so much money. And Moore continues to be defensive about it by citing instances of how the privileged can make a difference. By that standard, Warren Buffet and George Soros and Bill Gates are all necessary elements for a better world. In reality, these are the scums of the earth, and the parasites that grow with their charities. Moore does not need to defend any of these guys, nor does he need to answer why he is collaborating with Sony Pictures for his films or Warner Books for his books.

Moore may also look at another critique of capitalism, and he might just discover then that individual consciousness is shaped by the political economic system, and not the other way around. Revolutions are not conducted by one man with a controversial name and an amplifier, nor are they done by a group of people crying in joy at being pacified by a populist president throwing around resounding words. Revolutions are not supported by multi-party voting systems founded by oligarchies, sustained by nationalists, funded by feudalists and flavored by capitalists. Moore’s intents at attacking capitalism is much appreciated, and most timely for him to win few more awards from the European jury. But his tools of deconstructing capitalism as necessarily antithetical to political democracy, his analysis of class relations from the standpoint of Bill of Rights, his reliance on Germany, England and Japan as model democracies, and his aspirations to offer the political democracy as a solution to the global economic crisis, instead of isolating it as one of the root causes are worth inspections all over again. Liberals will do well in expressing solidarity with international movements against capitalism based on their class status and class alliances. In their reaffirmed belief in overthrowing of existing structures of power in a sense that there will be no president that will be heralded by his race, nor be surrounded by the old treasury criminals as his advisers.

A political democracy that allows everyone a vote without first ensuring that everyone has equal access to the potential of the exercised power, is a sham. Its a political system that was a stark failure when the Greeks first implemented it for only the elites. Its a system that was a failure when the European landowners implemented while excluding the slaves and the women. Its a system that continues to be a failure when India as the world’s largest democracy goes to polls with people illiterate and hungry. Its a system that remains a failure in America where the candidate that is fielded is the one who must raise most funds by collaborating with the corporate houses. Western democracy has been an abject failure, more so because it gets away with ‘masks of consent’ rather than facing revolutionary forces of workers in solidarity. Such phony democracy is a system that has become the norm, a standard against which other systems are evaluated, a self-sustained yardstick that has no place for upheavals and certainly, no scopes to imagine revolutions. Such unsurpassed strength of an immoral political system is possible only through the massive presence of its base: Capitalism. It is inconceivable for the modern democracy to exist without capitalism. The sooner the masses realize it, the sooner they will find their paths of liberation. They will not wait for another four years. Nor for the next charitable rich for their strikes to be called off.

Revolutions are expressions of collective human emotions. Not their suppressions. Moore’s comic attempts to capture the essence of our times are certainly worthwhile, but their attempts to define revolutionary ethos are not. The Moore I knew from Roger and Me is a much evolved man now. He is not so much opposed to the types of the Pat Boones during economic crisis. Rather, he is way more subtle, more religious and less angry a man now. And so is his new film. Without a distinctive revolutionary tone, which we had all so grown to expect from an unquestionably remarkable filmmaker like him.