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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
June 26, 2000


I finally understand why people are called socialists the minute they begin to question western civilization's cultural imperative to commodify and consume everything. Far from the cold war ideology of Uncle Sam versus the commies, it was easy to just write off those who would label me a communist, as clueless reactionaries. Tired of being called a Marxist, I decided it was time to read the Communist manifesto and find out what all the fuss was about.

Having now read Marx, I find myself in complete agreement with his assessment of capitalism. First translated into English in 1848, the words of Marx mirror the United States of today. "Modern bourgeois society with it's relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up with his spells." About now the image of Mickey Mouse and mops come to mind.

Karl Marx was equally adept at both social theory and prophecy. Which is why his writings are still an apt criticism. Sure of his convictions, it's doubtful Marx truly understood how far capitalism would go. How could he? Knee deep in Marx's rhetorical netherworld, most Americans are completely oblivious to the tempest swirling about them. Here in San Diego's North County we ignore the results of our conjuring in favor of the comfortable delusion we collectively refer to as the California dream.

This is not to say communism is the answer, history has shown it is not. What America needs is a Constitutional Amendment that insures for a separation of market and state. Much like the separation of church and state, this new protection would run the money changers from the Temples of Democracy. Both Federal and local governments are so corrupted by the bottom line nothing is beyond the reach of the market place.

As an environmentalist I am neither a Marxist or a Capitalist, as both require mass consumption and systematic destruction of natural resources to thrive. Environmentalists see both the bourgeoisie, and the proletariat as tools of the corporate class. Environmentalists look beyond the industrial propaganda to a see work is nothing more than a subtle slavery that leaves everyone asking for more.

It is time for cold warriors realize there is a new game in town. This game questions the validity of the work ethic, the need to breed, and the search for stuff. Slowly growing is a counterculture movement that desires nothing more than to get the consumption monkey off their back. Credit is not a convenience, far from it. Consumer credit is a gilded cage from which few escape. The system was designed so all of us were beholding to the company store. Perhaps it is the homeless who are the true revolutionaries.

To review. Contrary to speculation I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the communist party. Nor am I a fascist, Marxist, or Maoist. If a label must be assigned, misanthropic tree-hugging, environmentalist will suffice. Green consciousness rooted in Deep Ecology is far from the outdated anthropocentrism communism and capitalism represent. Those that fear environmental truth will need more than misplaced name calling, to drown out the chorus of voices asking for change. Mine is one of those voices.

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