Alienation, Despair and American Greatness



A good piece in Counterpunch by John Grant on the State of the Disunion.  In it he mentions a book by Franco Berardi that looks well worth reading for insights into  how our violence is spinning far out of control, Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide.

“Why did I write such a horrible book?” Berardi asks himself. Starting in 2012, he began researching a host of international mass murders and suicides. The vision he sketches out is, indeed, quite “horrible,” and the bad-guy tends to be the so-called neoliberal, free-market capitalist obsession with productivity and the demoralizing effects it has on many people around the world. When a person becomes alienated and reaches a condition of such despair–no matter where he or she lives–murder and/or suicide become real options. Berardi writes about incredible suicide rates among farmers in India in response to Monsanto’s monopoly control of seed production that has devastated their traditional, subsistence-based lives. Suicide is seen as a last-ditch effort at dignity and identity among workers of a massive Foxconn electronics plant in Shenzhen, China, where popular Apple iPhones and iPads are made. (Foxconn is owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry headquartered in Taiwan.) Foxconn’s 400,000 employees are heavily controlled by security. Skirts made of three million square meters of netting were put around dormitories rigged up bombs that killed themselves and burned down major buildings in the complex. Berardi links this with today’s youthful pop obsession with zombies, which were mythically rooted in brutal Haitian slave culture. According to Amy Wilentz, “Suicide was the slave’s only way to take control over his or her own body.” The zombie is a case of an incomplete-death–the walking dead. For Haitian slaves, becoming a zombie constituted a failure to fully escape the hell of the plantations, since many slaves came to associate death with a comforting return to the motherland. Slave owners saw suicide as theft of labor, Wilentz says. The zombie was “the scarecrow keeping slaves from killing themselves.” Overall, Berardi seems more similarities than differences among mass suicides, angry Arab Muslim terrorists, a right-wing mass killer in Norway and a couple of bullied kids in Columbine.

Note that the Foxconn plant driving its workers to suicide was owned by one of our national heroes, Steve Jobs.

Matthew 19:24: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Or Balzac:”Behind every great fortune is a great crime.”

The roller coaster ride to Banana Republic status with the able assistance of the mainstream media and the Corporation for Publicly Broadcast Propaganda.

“Goodbye Middle Class” from the Nation magazine:

…the Forbes 400–America’s richest 400 individuals–hold more wealth than the entire African- American, or Latino, US populations. The New York Times found that 158 families have given half of all donations in the 2016 cycle so far. 



About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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4 Responses to Alienation, Despair and American Greatness

  1. Martha Shepherd says:


    For u, my friend, here’s to you: “Ah… the joy of striking the right chord with another! A balm for a lonely planet.”

    Speaking of the roller coaster ride of Empire, here is a recent magical (for me) discussion describing it fairly well, by an insider. We seem to be on the last downward slope, finally!

    Abby Martin and Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson “Bush Military Official: The Empire’s Ship is Sinking // Empire”_File013

    we watch the collapse together – shep

    • trueoutsider says:

      Great interview, Shep. I really appreciate your sending it in. Wilkerson is a brilliant guy and quite courageous to come out and blow the whistle on this Potemkin country. I used to love to look at art but now when I go by art galleries I simply become nauseous. We’re in the final stages of collapse, just as you say. This is transparently obvious and the art community has nothing whatsoever to say about any of it.

      So good to hear that Congress and Obama and voting for tax breaks… Just put all this weaponry, soldiers pay, endless health costs for damaged vets, and military bases on the credit card. How dare Congress do anything but cut taxes for the Wars we’re solidly behind!!! Outrageous. More tax breaks for weapons manufacturers.

      Yes…. Downward and Downward we go. And where we’ll stop nobody knows.

      Narcissism is the order of the day, while we hurtle forward into the abyss.

  2. Martha Shepherd says:

    Also: This is stretching farce waaaaay beyond comprehension:

    “In June, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the US of encircling Russia with bioweapons labs, as well as obstructing international efforts to eradicate biological weapons.

    One of Russia’s particular concerns is the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public and Animal Health Research , a research facility for high-level biohazard agents, located near Tbilisi, Georgia, a CIS member and Russia’s neighbor.

    “American and Georgian authorities are trying to cover up the real nature of this US military unit, which studies highly dangerous infectious diseases. The Pentagon is trying to establish similar covert medico-biological facilities in other countries [in Russia’s neighborhood],” the Russian ministry said in June.

    At the time, Moscow also blamed the US for derailing “decades of international effort to strengthen” the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), a 1972 international treaty aimed at eradicating bioweapons worldwide.”

  3. trueoutsider says:

    Nobody paid a bit of attention to Eisenhower and now this Military and Congressional Industrial Complex is eating the earth alive. As the new Star Wars is being screened to the infantile NPR commentators burbling with excitement I offer this: “May the Farce Be with You!”

    I recommended the book “Dino” by Nick Tosches in another comment. You should really pick up a copy of that. Tosches goes back to the 50s and looks at the serious rot that set in with the vast power the US commanded having 50 percent of GDP.

    Even for somebody like myself, who considers himself pretty wised up about mafia/government/entertainment media interconnects this book had a sledgehammer impact. Brilliant written and researched. Reading about Dino really gets at the American capacity for endless self-delusion and fantasy.

    The City on the Hill didn’t go to seed over the last few decades. It was well on it’s way in the 1950s. The overhyping of the mediocre achievement of Abstract Expressionism was also part of the Las Vegas era where America decided that living a fantasy version of life was far preferable to living real lives. The TV life. Everyone a star of their own reality TV show.

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