Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 5: I'm starting this very late - it'll be short and off the usual track.

I was watching a film about the American revolution. It was the usual malarkey about how the British were cruel, and Americans were nice, and Americans invented democracy and freedom and equality and all those good things.

British soldiers of the time  were often cruel. That's true. They were pretty much the scum of the earth, Glorious stories were written about them. But few women in Britain at the time would willingly marry a soldier. And American revolutionary soldiers and militias were pretty much cut from the same cloth. And democracy and freedom had been developing and even operating a good 2,000 years before the American revolution.

 And that reminded me of how much of our view of today's world is based on a picture of us that comes from the lies we are taught in school about history. It's not the fault of the teachers. It's the fault of school boards that don't know the difference between history and propaganda.

Canada's first overseas war was the Boer War of 1899 in South Africa. I remember my high school teacher telling me it was done out of a desire to help the "mother" country.  Bunk.

In fact, many Canadian were bitterly opposed to sending troops. But the newspapers fed Canadians constant propaganda about the glories of empire and our devotion to the monarchy. Why did they do that? Because the newspapers were    mostly owned by wealthy people who wanted Canada to go to war.

Why did wealthy Canadians want Canada to go to war? Because their investment connections were largely in Britain - and Britain's  wealthy wanted Canada to go to war.

Why did Britain's wealthy want Canada to go to war? Because they knew a war with Germany was coming - and they wanted a precedent for Canada to contribute troops when that happened. It did happen, of course. And Canada did send troops.

Then we got the story that after World War One, Canada was rewarded by giving up its colonial status and becoming independent. And that's another crock. The truth is Britain wanted to get rid of Canada.

As long as Canada was a colony, Britain was committed to defend it. But the only possible threat to Canada was the U.S.  And Britain had no intention ever of going to war with the U.S. Indeed, the British had been courting the U.S. to be an ally ever since the 1870s because Britain knew it was dying as an imperial power. It needed the U.S. It didn't need Canada. So it was that Canada was not made independent. It was simply abandoned because it could be a stumbling block in the way of Britain making nice with the U.S.

And forget the stuff about Canada fighting to defend freedom and democracy in World War One. In fact, freedom and democracy never even mentioned at the time - except by President Wilson, and he was lying because he had no intention of granting freedom to anybody.  World War One was fought to prevent Germany from becoming a threat to the British and French empires. In other words, it was fought to protect profits for big business.

And forget the stuff about the U.S. joining the war in 1917 to  help Britain. The U.S. joined because Britain and France owed U.S. bankers huge sums borrowed for the war. And if Britain and France had lost, those bankers would have lost hugely, as well.

We were taught that we  fought World War Two to bring equality and freedom to all peoples. Many of those who fought assumed that was what it was about. But that was another crock, and this time an obvious one.

The British empire covered much of the globe. The American empire covered most of Latin America and the Caribbean and The Philippines. The French had, among others, control of what is now Vietnam, Algeria, and a good deal of Africa. All of them had established dictators (or dictatorial governors) to make sure their colonies did not ever get freedom and equality. If they had been serious, they would have granted freedom to their colonies in 1945. But they didn't. Churchill and Roosevelt lied to us.

They lied because big business in Britain, the U.S. and France made big money out of brutally exploiting those colonies. There was no way they were going to let them go. (That's why it's amusing, if bitterly so, to hear Obama babble about how the US is improving relations with Cuba to develop freedom there. In fact, the U.S. controlled Cuba for many years before Castro; and it did it with some of the cruelest dictators in history. Cuba has nothing to learn from the U.S.)

Nor did anybody care about Hitler's politics or his treatment of Jews. In fact, North American big business generally admired Hitler - and it didn't give a damn about the Jews. Britain fought Germany for the same reason as World War One, to keep it from becoming an industrial competitor. The U.S. joined the war primarily because it hoped to pick up the old British Empire for itself - especially China. Take a look at American naval building after 1918. The emphasis was on ships with very long range - the kind one needs in the Pacific.

Offhand, I can't think of a single, major war that was fought for any reason but big money. And capitalism, throughout history, has not used its position to create jobs. On the contrary, the age of capitalism has been marked by the rise of extreme poverty as well as constant war.

And it's been getting worse for the last 40 years as capitalists have slipped almost all of their controls. That has meant war without end, mass murder, mass suffering, extreme opposition - and there is no end. We are not fighting terrorism. It's nonsense to suggest we are. Our side leads the world in terrorism. And, in any case, you can't stop terrorism by killing people. All that has done, for the last 15 years, is to create more terrorists.

Uncontrolled capitalism has never worked. But it's now become more destructive than ever. It has massively increased poverty around the world. Even in the U.S. very large numbers now live below the poverty line. Both the American and Canadian constitutional rights have been shredded. Equality of opportunity is a myth. And there is no end to this unless we stop it. Because capitalism - whether in the U.S. or Britain or Russia or China is not going to stop.

That's the reality.

Read the Irving press. How often do you see a story or commentary about the needs of people? I've seen almost none. It's all about money. And it's all about how most of us should get less of it - and how important it is that the rich should get more. You'll notice that's the drift of reports on Greece, as well. Corrupt bankers and politicians have made life in Greece almost impossible. But almost all the attention on the news is on helping the bankers get their money back - no matter what it does to the people of Greece.

Capitalism, never very good at spreading wealth,  has for the last forty years or so become a ravenous and murderous beast. We have to deal with it. We have to get it under control. And we have to do it soon. Very soon.

Nothing is being done for people. It's all being done for high profits for the already rich. We're not doing anything serious about climate change because oil billionaires don't want anything done. We're not doing anything to prevent wars because billionaires want wars.  They make huge profits out of weapons, our of looted resources, out of shattered people.

But we don't see it. We don't, because we live in a mythical world in which 'we' are good, and 'they' are evil. That's the message of our news media, of TV and movies. And of our history classes.

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