The Peace Resource

Writing, Organizing, & Creative Arts

“The Age of Austerity” by Jeff Nguyen

The Age of Austerity©

(Photo credit: Teacher Dude)

The parties with the most to gain never show up on the battlefield.

-Naomi Klein

It is springtime in the land of homogenized milk and processed honey. The birds are birding, the bees are beeing and the ruling class in America is doing what it does best…ruling. The days of Kings and Queens may seem like an antiquated notion in 2015 but make no mistake, as George Carlin wryly observed about the American nobility, “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.

Since the 2008 financial collapse that saw not one high ranking Wall Street executive cuffed and stuffed, the American peasants have naomi-klein-4264-kourosh-keshiri-cropendured the indignity of roboforeclosures, dozens of states refusing to provide health coverage to their poorest residents, and the encroachment of the private, corporate sector into the hallways of the nations’ public schools. The American people have been repeatedly taken to the breathless brink by the corporate media who tell us that the government will shut down if more social services aren’t slashed and burned. Yet, somehow, there is always enough money for the U.S. military to conduct unending wars in mostly brown and black lands while domestic law enforcement keeps the homeland secure from it’s own (mostly brown and black) huddled masses.

(Photo credit: Jerome Olivier)

What we have been living for three decades is frontier capitalism, with the frontier constantly shifting location from crisis to crisis, moving on as soon as the law catches up.”

-Naomi Klein

Our future lies in examining the lessons of the past and present. Naomi Klein has documented the origins of what is now known as disaster capitalism or the shock doctrine. The premise being that citizens in shock from a natural or manmade crisis are more susceptible to sweeping societal changes. In New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina was used as cover to dismantle public education and housing. From Latin America in the 1970’s to Europe in the 2000’s, the neoliberal policies of austerity have been characterized by deregulation, privatization and deep cuts in social spending. Free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership act as naked power grabs for corporate interests to be placed on par with the interests of the state. Here, fascism and feudalism intersect to meet the self-serving needs of the elite, where the public good is not even a consideration. Countries who find themselves in debt are given offers they can’t refuse by means of crippling, IMF-backed bailout packages that serve to introduce austerity to the people. Historically, as the full weight of austerity measures are applied, the public eventually reaches a tipping point where it mobilizes towards resistance, thereby, necessitating the need for the militarized, police state to step in to suppress dissent.

(photo credit: v3rbo.com)

Unquestionably, however, something else is at work, something that cuts deeper into the American psyche. We have a profound hatred of the weak and the poor, and a corresponding groveling terror before the rich and successful, and we’re building a bureaucracy to match those feelings.”

-Matt Taibbi

Austerity as economic theory conveniently masks the true ideology behind it’s cruel countenance. In America, the resistance to austerity repackaged as “The Sequester” has been minimal because we have been conditioned from the cradle to the grave to esteem the wealthy, rugged, “self-made” man and envy the lifestyle of the rich and famous. As long as our faces are turned in veneration to the rich, by necessity, our backs must be turned in contempt to the poor. Thus, the pot of orwellwater starts to boil for the middle class frogs who might have been warned to jump by the rapidly boiling pot of lower class frogs. So long as we tolerate austerity, or the severe life, for our prisoners, our black and brown citizens, our homeless, our mentally ill, our drug addicted, our migrant workers, our abused women, there won’t be anyone left to speak out when they finally come for the rest of us. For there to be hope, much less change, it will take a monumental shift in the way we value the dignity of each and every human life in this country. To be compassionate means to be a co-sufferer in another’s suffering, to turn our eyes to their struggle. After all, a watched pot never boils.
see more at: http://deconstructingmyths.com/2015/04/11/the-age-of-austerity/

Deconstructing Myths    Social justice is built one idea at a time…


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6 comments on ““The Age of Austerity” by Jeff Nguyen

  1. Jeff Nguyen
    April 15, 2015

    Thank you for sharing this post with your readers, it’s much appreciated.

    Like

  2. Pingback: No fear, no compromise and no surrender | The Wordsmith Collection

  3. Kendall
    April 11, 2015

    Brilliant article. Please contact me privately via email if you have time.

    Liked by 1 person

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