In truth, our times don’t just require a new movement. They require a new type of movement, because the old movements and ideologies and organizations are not achieving what are needed. Too many of them are artifacts of an archaic, fading order of economics and political action. Think about it: It’s been more than three decades since we first learned that science had confirmed the reality of climate change. The 2008 financial meltdown – 15 years ago! -- revealed the arrogant power of global finance and capitalism – and yet the liberal state still has not significantly reformed those financial structures.
Poverty in Puerto Rico, under US colonialism, is getting worse over time, not better. More than two-fifths of Puerto Ricans suffer from poverty, and nearly three-fifths of Puerto Rican children live in poor households. In 2022, the poverty rate in the colonized US “territory” grew from 40.5% to 41.7%, according to US Census Bureau data. A staggering 57.6% of Puerto Rican children live in poverty. And 38.8% of families are below the poverty line. Poverty has been growing in Puerto Rico even at a time when more people are working. The unemployment rate fell from 13.1% to 9.9% in 2022, while poverty got worse.
Murdoch has been wreaking all this damage ever since he inherited — way back in 1952 — his first media property, a daily Australian newspaper his daddy had owned. Over the years, especially those years since his Fox News became America’s premiere news network in 2001, no single individual anywhere on Earth has done more to make our world safe for grand fortunes. Could we realistically have expected anything even a bit more socially redeeming from a media mogul as powerful as Murdoch? Well, actually, history does offer up some models for media moguls interested in something besides maximizing their mega millions.
The 20th Century saw a great global uprising against European imperialism as the former colonial countries shook off their shackles and rose up for independence. More than a half century later, global inequality is sharper than ever before. To understand the current predicament of the vast majority of the world’s people, we must understand the intervening decades. Matt Kennard and Claire Provost‘s book, Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy, looks inside the international architecture of global corporate governance that exists to flout and crush any attempts by the former colonial world to enact development on their own terms. Matt Kennard joins The Chris Hedges Report for a look at this intriguing and essential history.
Amazon’s dominance of online retail means that businesses that make or sell products have little choice but to rely on its site to reach customers. Amazon exploits its power as a gatekeeper to pocket a growing cut of the revenue earned by these businesses. It does this by imposing ever-larger fees on them. In effect, Amazon controls a monopoly tollbooth that sits between businesses and the online market. Over the last few years, it has sharply raised the price of passing through it. In the first half of 2023, using a variety of fees, Amazon took 45 percent of sellers’ revenue in the U.S. That’s up from 35 percent in 2020, and 19 percent in 2014. These exorbitant fees make it nearly impossible for small businesses and other sellers to sustain a viable business online. Most fail.
The twentieth century saw the emergence of public funded universities and technical institutions, while technology development was concentrated in the R&D laboratories of large corporations. The age of the lone inventor Edison, Siemens, Westinghouse, Graham Bell had ended with the nineteenth century. The twentieth century was more about industry-based R&D laboratories, where corporations gathered together leading scientists and technologists to create the technologies of the future. In this phase, capital was still expanding production. Even though finance capital was already dominant over productive capital, the major capitalist countries still had a strong manufacturing base.
New York City mayor Eric Adams declared in August that there is “no room” in the city for hundreds of migrants being forced to sleep on the street because shelters are already crowded and in disrepair. The mayor initially encouraged those seeking shelter to “consider another city” as they struggled to survive. Adams announced plans to house as many as 2,000 in a tent complex on Randalls Island and later designated space on an airfield to house asylum seekers. These spaces are identified, as the claim goes, that the city simply doesn’t have housing space for those seeking asylum, especially because it is already difficult enough for residents to find adequate, affordable housing.
On August 26, a lone white gunman, 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, fired 11 rounds from his semi-automatic weapon into the windshield of a car parked outside a Jacksonville Dollar General, killing the African American driver. Then he walked into the discount store, and fatally shot two other African Americans before turning the gun on himself. Palmeter left behind a manifesto indicating his displeasure with African Americans, reminiscent of another 21-year-old white gunman, Dylan Roof, who eight years earlier sat outside the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. Finishing off a bottle of Smirnoff’s Ice, he pulled a Glock handgun from his waistband, walked into the church and opened fire, killing a pastor and eight of his parishioners, all of them Black.
In this fascinating article, first published in Liberation School, environmentalist and author Tina Landis explains the concept of sponge cities: what they are, why they are needed, and China’s leading role in developing them. Tina observes that “the majority of the world’s cities today were built for profit and speculation in mind, with little to no consideration given to negative impacts on either ecology or humanity.” “Vast hardscapes—sidewalks, roads, parking lots, buildings—and gray infrastructure that channels water away as it falls, places these urban centers at odds with biodiversity and the natural cycling of water through the landscape. Green spaces that are created within urban environments are often highly managed areas separate from the rest of the city, filled with non-native ornamental plants and thirsty grasses that require intensive irrigation, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides, while providing little to no benefit to native species of birds, insects, and others.”
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, the government opened its first major monopolization case in decades at the D.C. District Court with opening statements from both the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the defendant, Google. Despite the stakes of the trial, the remainder of the legal proceeding will take place in a near-total blackout, since requests for public audio have been denied by Judge Amit Mehta and even in-person attendants are restricted from digital access inside the courtroom. For nearly two decades, Google has served as the “on-ramp” and gatekeeper of the digital world through its dominance of search engine functions, which is the target of this case.
Private equity firms are increasingly profiting from cleaning up climate disasters in the US, while failing to better protect workers and often also investing in the fossil fuels that are causing the climate emergency, new research has found. The demand for skilled disaster restoration or resilience workers, who are mostly immigrants and refugees from Latin America and Asia, is soaring as greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels heat the planet, provoking more destructive storms, floods and wildfires. As the disaster industry has become more profitable, at least 72 companies that specialize in disaster cleanups and restoration have been acquired by private equity firms since 2020.
People in the United States pay the highest prices for pharmaceuticals, and Big Pharma spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year for lobbying to keep it that way. The United States is also experiencing a growing shortage of medications from antibiotics to cancer treatments and more despite being a wealthy country. Clearing the FOG speaks with Dana Brown of the Democracy Collaborative to understand what is behind the high prices and shortages. She also describes solutions to these crises and how states across the country are taking action to directly confront the stranglehold the pharmaceutical industry has over our lives.
Corporate capitalism, defined by the cult of the self and the ruthless exploitation of the natural world and all forms of life for profit, thrives on the fostering of chronic psychological and physical disorders. The diseases and pathologies of despair — alienation, high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, depression, morbid obesity, mass shootings (now almost two per day on average), domestic and sexual violence, drug overdoses (over 100,000 per year) and suicide (49,000 deaths in 2022) — are the consequences of a deeply traumatized society. The core traits of psychopaths — superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance, a need for constant stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception, manipulation and the inability to feel remorse or guilt — are celebrated.