metablue.jpg (14625 bytes)


January 2006, Volume 13 Nr. 26, Issue 194

Rejection in the Free Marketplace of Ideas. 
Nuestras Américas hablan. 

Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

On December 18, 2005, Bolivians voted in their presidential election.  They chose Evo Morales, a socialist with close ties to and friendship with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Cuban president Fidel Castro, to be their president swinging the country hard to the left.  Contributing CNN correspondent, Lucia Newman, in her article, "Leftist claims Bolivia poll win" describes Morales as a candidate who "came to prominence blasting U.S. backed 'neo-liberal' economic policies that Bolivian leaders adopted in the 1980s..."  Newman puts the term neo-liberalism in quotes indicating that its use is somehow a grammatical aberration.  Just what does Ms. Newman think neo-liberalism is?  

Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo García in "What is Neo-Liberalism" writes, 

Neo-liberalism is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer....Around the world, neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank....the capitalist crisis over the last 25 years, with its shrinking profit rates, inspired the corporate elite to revive economic liberalism. That's what makes it 'neo' or new.

The fact that the term neo-liberalism is "rarely heard in the United States" does not warrant Newman/CNN's inference that it is inappropriate or incorrect.  That is, of course, unless the inference is intentional.  Few in Newman's audience understand the meaning of the term.  This offers the corporate media the opportunity to "educate" the public in a manner they deem appropriate.  As the term, neo-liberalism, inevitably becomes more prevalent in the United States, why not disparage it before the public catches on to its real meaning?  US ignorance of global terminology commonly in use worldwide is hardly new nor unexpected.  What is new is the openness of the manipulation of key phrases and phraseology within the media that orchestrate the public toward a predetermined acceptable internalization of the term's definition.  We are barraged by newspeak and doublespeak telling us what is happening in the world and what to think about it.  We are even told what words mean.  We, consumers of corporate media news, willingly self-incarcerate ourselves within the virtual corporate re-education camp called television.  

Newman goes on to quote Andres Oppenheimer, a Latin American analyst and columnist for the Miami Herald regarding Morales' electoral victory in Bolivia, "I think it would be the worst nightmare scenario for Washington, because right now you have a growing alliance between Venezuela and Cuba.  What is now a duo may become a trio."  Oppenheimer, a member of the Fourth Estate, apparently cares little about a people's democracy taking root in Bolivia.  When the people freely reject neo-liberalism in fair and open elections, neo-liberals reject the outcome chosen by them.  When neo-liberal ideas are soundly defeated in the marketplace of ideas, the neo-liberals turn to extreme measures to reverse the outcome.  Neo-liberalism does not tolerate rejection, even if it is democratically achieved.  To Oppenheimer, the corporate capitalists and imperialists, wet dreams are when the world's people accept their so-called free-market economic model.  Nightmares are when people reject it, and, worldwide, the people are rejecting it.  

Martinez and Garcia, from the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, summarize the main points of neo-liberalism as being the rule of the market which espouses:

  • Cutting public expenditure for social services.
  • Deregulation.
  • Privatization.
  • Eliminating the concept of "the public good" or "community" and replacing it with "individual responsibility."

Is it any wonder that one of the un-elected chief architects of Washington's K Street Project, the very powerful, Grover Norquist, said, "Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub."  Shrinking government to the K Street crowd means shrinking it for the working people while taking all the power and wealth for themselves.  Hurricane Katrina showed the world just who drowns as a result of neo-liberal policies and shrinking government.  When the times get tough for the rich, the rich get tough.  The working class, however, gets abandoned.  As Barbara Bush said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003. when describing the bodies coming home in boxes as result of yet another rich man's war (Iraq) fought with the canon fodder of the working class, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths...Oh, I mean, it's not relevant.  So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"  Indeed.  

In times of economic and other upheaval, the rich manage to bail out alive taking their assets with them.  They have the means to do so.  Often, they prosper through the tragedy of others.  But, there is a substantial problem with their neo-liberalism.  This can only go on for just so long.  John Acheson, writing in "The K Street Project.  The Silent Coup the Media Forgot: K Street versus Pennsylvania Avenue" puts it this way,  

Of course, no matter how much you screw the people, you can't afford to give rich people massive tax cuts while you give trillions to industry. So, the second part of their strategy is to simply pass on the inevitable bill to our children. If the K Street Consortium implements their policy agenda, in ten years, every child born in the US will "inherit" $36,000 of additional debt.

Acheson goes on to point out, "And that was before Katrina burst through levees weakened by budget cuts..."

What does this mean for Americans?  Well, if we're talking about South Americans, the Bolivians, Venezuelans, Brazilians, Argentineans, Cubans, etc., those of Jose Marti's "Our America", it means that they have had enough.  It means, "Ya basta".  As is typical of neo-liberalism, look for its response to be more military action, destruction and death.  Neo-liberalism fails, refuses, or is otherwise, incapable of realizing that killing and maiming people in the name of liberation and freedom makes them few friends.  Neo-liberalism also fails to realize that most of the world is conscious of what it is up to.  The world is aware that dictators have done and continue to do neo-liberalism's bidding.  So do puppet regimes put in place through overthrow and/or occupation.  The world is now well aware that neo-liberalism sees  preventive-war as a means to an end.  And, that the ends always justifies its means.  The world has awakened and is now conscious that any democracy installed through the barrel of a gun is not democracy at all.  

As the United States becomes more and more like the Soviet Union it loved to hate, or worse, it will become more and more rejected in the world marketplace of ideas.  In turn, the United States will further stifle the free marketplace of ideas as neo-liberalism sees itself at risk.  For neo-liberalism, democracy means never having to say it lost an election, a war, or power.  

The people of America, that is, those of Jose Marti's, Our America, are banding together and showing that indeed another world is indeed possible.  They believe that a world without exploitation and war is possible if the people want it.  Such a world without war can happen if war itself is made impossible.  Howard Zinn, historian and professor emeritus (Boston University), author of "The People's History of the United States", and many other books, in the January 2006 issue of the Progressive writes,

Should we begin to think, even before this shameful war is over, about ending our addiction to massive violence and instead using the enormous wealth of our country for human needs? That is, should we begin to speak about ending war—not just this war or that war, but war itself? Perhaps the time has come to bring an end to war, and turn the human race onto a path of health and healing.

That time will come only when the people demand it.  The people of Central and South America have started demanding it.  The people of North America have yet to wake up.

Like stones rolling down hills, fair ideas reach their objectives despite all obstacles and barriers. It may be possible to speed or hinder them, but impossible to stop them. -- Jose Marti

© 2006 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski
Return to Homepage