Kropotkin’s quotation puts me in mind of a purported Q and A with Mahatma Gandhi:
Q: ‘What do you think about Western civilization?’
A: ‘I think it would be a very good idea.’
But imagine that you’re in the Twilight Zone, or in a parallel universe, watching as the fading Western Empire goes full-tilt loose cannon and attempts to exert full command-and-control of the planet. A refusal to cede to the inevitability of a multi-polar world in trade, plus ridiculous nationalistic levels of imposed tariffs, killing sanctions, wars in 40% of the nations on the globe (Africom and re-purposed cold war 2.0 NATO), cyber-space, and more.
As you bear witness, you may be aghast at the hubris, and if not the amorality of it, then by the pragmatic blow-back of it all, as the Exceptional Hegemon is forcing the object of its ire (the Great Competitors) to create other trade and military alliances (<Pepe Escobar) in order to survive and thrive.
And as anatomy is said to be destiny, so is geopolitics in terms of Eurasian Heartland/ Rimland theory (MacKinder).
The alliances had been shifting earlier, of course, but under this administration they seem to hastening, from new development banks, to moving to alternative currencies than the petro-dollar, as well as alternatives to the Belgian SWIFT transaction system, in the case of Iran: INSTEX, set up by the EU, although it’s not fully operational yet. But it’s small wonder that Modi might prefer to join the “US-concocted Indo-Pacific alliance – a de facto containment mechanism against “China, China, China” as the Pentagon leadership openly admits it’, rather than the Belt and Road initiative.
Meanwhile, the head of DT’s gunboat diplomacy is in India courting the thug Narendra Modi; that’d be an interesting meet-up to witness.
But no, power and influence are zero-sum to the West: ‘We must have it all, although we may allow you to become our colonies’.
The Imperium must be allowed to decide who is allowed to have nuclear weapons, never mind that many nations have them as deterrents to threats from the West: Russia, North Korea, Iran (even as they have none, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says they will never produce them). The West must win all of the wars for resources, most especially by the re-colonization of Africa, so that Africom can come to the rescue and install puppet governments allied with the US.
Now you may be imagining what the world might look like if the nations of the world cooperated, rather than…competed, and yes, it’s a difficult thought experiment by now. Never mind that a new NATO Consolidation bill to further threaten Russia might pass into law; it’s alright, ma; Nato just lies and kills…mainly brown and black people…
Competition v. Cooperation in other spheres
The West loves winners, yes? And most especially the uber-wealthy like Gates, Soros, the Walton family, and the ways they treble, quadruple net worths by the way of their ‘philanthropic endeavors’. Hell, Gates even has his own tab at the Guardian his contributions to the ‘global common weal’ are so magnanimous!
And of course Wall Street does as well, most especially the biggest of the swingin’ dicks hedge funders like Jamie Dimon and the rest of ‘em, curse their names.
One might argue that Amerikan public schools have always created authoritarian colonized minds rather than encouraging critical thinking skills, discussing competing historical narratives, group projects, the humanities, and so on, but they’d also featured competition by way of social Darwinism: only the strongest and best succeed in life (i.e. make more moolah)! And that was the sole measure of success.
Yuppie parents often registered their toddlers for entrance to the bestest, brightest, private kindergartens…that they might succeed early, and let everyone know it! A degree from Yale, Harvard, and other Ivies opened doors everywhere, no matter how stupid the graduate was, no matter if he or she cheated on exams, never mind. Success is also being President, on multiple boards of directors, and above all: one’s net worth at age X. It’s just a toss o’ the coin: Heads I win, tails you still lose! I can still do a hostile takeover of your firm, strip its assets, fire the goobers…and win again!
But when Rahm’s school districts would be given bad scorecards, with the help of Bill Gates, the charter school movement flourished in earnest: hundreds of public schools were closed, then thousands, the staffs were ‘made redundant’, the buildings sold for an Amerikan dollar or so to: charter schools, some even as for-profit charters after a year or two.
…and Teach for America (hey, DeRay McK, hey, Ms Packyetti) teachers swooped in to fill the teacher gaps with their scant months of ‘education’, dreadfully unprepared, let’s say. Now under Betsy DeVos (Erik Prince’s sister) it’s arguably even worse now in terms of ‘mind colonization’, especially among the Christianist (fundamentalist) schools.
It’s nigh on to impossible that most of Generation Z will ever even think to question reified memes about ‘the Empire’s enemies’, isn’t it? Putin is a dictator who interfered in our sacred presidential elections, North Koreans are one-third shorter than South Koreans and should be nuked to smithereens, Iranians are evil, ruled by a dictatorship under Sharia Law, hell, nuke them, as well; sort it out later.
But you can bet yer bippy that they’re learnin’ how to game the system for Christ and Profit! ♫ Prosperity Doctrine tells them so…♫
But imagine if high schools had classes in collaborative, employee owned and operated business ventures with no bosses, funded by public banks at first, with protocols on highest-to-lowest hourly pay specified, profits to go to further the cooperative business…well, it would be a start, wouldn’t it? Or would it be teaching…socialism?
But it’s alright, ma: more and more schools are spyin’ on their kids’ social networking sites to find dissenters to the realm (AKA: domestic terr’ists’).
From Doug Martin, wsws.org, June 25, 2019:
“Despite popular concerns over the violation of civil liberties and the right to privacy, 63 school districts in at least 20 US states purchased social media monitoring software in 2018 up from only six districts in 2013, according to a report published in April by NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice.
The actual number of schools using social media surveillance tools or services to spy on their students, while unknown, is much greater than those represented by the study since districts self-report to the database of government purchases examined by the Brennan Center.”
Hell’s bells; our area schools got busted two decades ago for spyin’ on whole families of the students to whom they’d ‘lent’ laptops to (post Columbine, of course). Can’t be too careful, I always say.
Please feel free to weigh in with other exampled of cooperation v. competition; my brain hurts. But aha: the reason that this diary had come into creation is that I woke up yesterday morning hearing and seeing this great collaboration in my head. Hope you enjoy it. ; )
(cross-posted at caucu99percent.com)