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.