Archive | February 15, 2013

Love Misplaced By Capitalism*

Jihad an nafs (struggle of the heart)Love Misplaced By Capitalism*

Capitalism gave our fantasy a blank check but it stole our reality.

By  Lynn Parramore

Love is older than capitalism. But the romantic variety, along with its peculiar pains, takes cultural center stage just as capitalism makes its debut. That’s no coincidence. Capitalism and romantic love have grown together, reinforcing and reflecting each other in ways that we hardly notice.

Our society’s organization has a lot to do with the way we understand our perceptions and experiences, including love. Depending on what values we emphasize and the way we imagine ourselves in relation to others, our expectations can bring us fulfillment or crash on the rocks of disappointment.

In the High Middle Ages, the tradition of courtly love among the nobility focused on a knight’s bond to his lady fair; a reflection of the relationship between vassal and lord. Reciprocity was a strong feature of this connection. Women like the powerful Eleanor of Aquitaine, who could often both inherit and manage property in the feudal system, found that courtly love offered them a way to freely express sexual desires outside of the conventions of patriarchy. They could put chastity aside, along with the need for the legitimacy of children. Feudal values, based on a system of private jurisdictions, fed the possibility of love for both men and women outside the bounds of marriage.

The Renaissance turned things in a somewhat different direction. In the 16th century, bourgeois writers like Thomas More (a major figure in the court of Henry VIII), didn’t have much use for female sexuality and influence. They were preoccupied with the emergence of the mercantile and manufacturing economy, and under the early capitalist model, sexuality was to be regulated, religious devotion encouraged, and public life circumscribed. Instead of reciprocity, hierarchy was the primary structure of relationships between king and subject, man and woman, and, eventually, employer and employee. Patriarchal family values were restored. For women, love had to lead to marriage and it had better not stray beyond that boundary. (Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, famously got caught in the crosshairs of this shift.)

As the ideal of love as mutuality and reciprocity among men and women declined, love became, in the words of historian Joan Kelly, a “narcissistic experience.” It also reflected a general shift in the conception of the self. In his book, The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Society, Anthony Giddens suggests that romantic love introduced the idea of a personal narrative, which is why it emerged along with the novel. Self-realization became the keynote of romantic love. As the Enlightenment loosened religious dominance, people turned to the inspiration of romance as a replacement for what had once been provided by religion. Romantic love became salvation.

By the 19th century, the decline in the belief in immortality sped the transformation in the way people saw themselves. If we don’t possess an immortal soul, then we have to elevate our sense of our temporary selves. If we can’t live forever, then we have to fulfill ourselves now. Our individual hopes and desires gain more significance. We don’t want to accept limits in our earthly life, and we are constantly reaching for more. Romantic love becomes the way we can expand, the place where we imagine ourselves heroic.

As capitalism matures, its emphasis on leaping toward the new and the original stands out. It thrives, as historian Joyce Appleby tells us, on “relentless revolution.” Novelty reigns supreme. The consumer is groomed for the ceaseless search for new sensations and new possibilities. Capitalism looks forward. It revels in future visions rather than reflection. As industrialization brings the demands of endless work, capitalism has to stimulate the desire for pleasure and consumption. The Puritan ethic of delayed gratification, based on the idea of scarcity, is pushed aside. Capitalism offers us the fantasy of abundance, where restraint is unnecessary.

Occupy Your Heart by Ian MacKenzieLasting love becomes constricting and banal. The bond of Ma and Pa Kettle, quietly sharing companionship on the front porch of the farm after decades of living, looks drab and uninspiring. Romantic love is not based on companionship, but on the feeling of being desired. This kind of love appears to give us the opportunity, just as money does, to constantly remake ourselves, to project new versions of our lives. It’s about longing, fleeting highs, the same stimulation we feel in buying a new car, a new wardrobe. As the married couple’s romantic attraction wanes, the need for stimulation is transferred to the next big purchase, the washing machine, the wide-screen TV. Capitalism goes humming along.

Until it doesn’t. The problem with capitalism is that it mostly pumps possibilites toward the top. The inequality it breeds results in the restriction of choices in so many areas of our lives – our work, our health, our retirement, even our love lives. We begin to see that capitalism gave our fantasy a blank check but it stole our reality.

Now, in its late stages, capitalism must offer more intense fantasies of romance to counterbalance the reality of those restrictions. As we become more insecure and uncertain, we reach more desperately to proof of the meaning of our existence. We want things we can touch and feel. The blockbuster pop romance, the Twilight series, starts out as a shy-girl-meets-boy story but builds toward a climactic orgy of material abundance as Bella and Edward frolic in the fantasy of endless supplies of helicopters, fancy homes, luxurious clothes, and exotic vacations (where do vampires invest?). This was carried even further by E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, who renamed the Twilight characters and set them down in high-tech Seattle, where Edward becomes the billionaire Christian Grey, whose quest for novel sensations captures the imagination of ingénue Anastasia. The dream of this diamond-studded romantic fulfilment promises to relieve us of our anxiety as we push aside the horror of our depleted savings, our pink-slip.

Capitalism and romantic love offer the ceaseless promise of escape to a better world over the rainbow. But a general sense of the lie inherent in that promise is growing. The system of promised rewards has broken down, and left us with too many broken hearts.


Related Topics:

Love and Time

Cosmic Love

The Power of Love: Four Women

Giving Birth to Unconditional Love

Occupying Love in Oakland

What is Love!

The Tale of Negativity

Self Love is a Journey

The Charity of Love

Belgian MP Exposes Neo-Colonial Plot*

Belgian MP Exposes Neo-Colonial Plot*

In this candid and charged speech to parliament, the Belgian MP condemns the West’s growing military interventions and regime destabilization under the pretext of preventive war on terror. The real agenda is capitalist plunder.

BELGIAN MP LAURENT LOUIS: Thank you, Mr President. Dear Ministers, dear colleagues

Belgium is indeed the land of surrealism.

This morning we learned in the media that the Belgian army is incapable of fighting some extremist soldiers having radical Islamist beliefs existing within its own ranks and who cannot be dismissed by lack of legal means. However, at the same time, we decided to help France in its war against “terror” by providing logistical support for its operation in Mali. What wouldn’t we do in order to fight against terrorism outside our borders?

I just hope we took care not to send for this anti-terrorist operation in Mali these much talked about Belgian Islamists soldiers! I seem to be joking, but what is going on in the world today does not make me laugh at all. It doesn’t make me laugh, because without any doubt, the leaders of our Western countries are taking the peoples for imbeciles with the help and support of the media which are nothing more today than an organ of propaganda of the ruling powers.

Around the world, military actions and regime destabilization are becoming more and more frequent. Preventive war has become the rule. And today, in the name of democracy and the fight against terrorism, our states grant themselves the right to violate the sovereignty of independent countries and to overthrow legitimate leaders.

There has been Iraq and Afghanistan, the wars of the American lie. Came later, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, where thanks to your decisions, our country has been “first in line” to participate in crimes against humanity, in each case to overthrow progressive and moderated regimes and to replace them with Islamist regimes, and – isn’t it weird? – their first will was to impose Shari’ah law.

This is exactly what is currently happening in Syria where Belgium is shamefully funding the arming of the Islamist rebels who are trying to overthrow Bashar Al Assad. Thus, in the midst of economic crisis, as more and more Belgians can no longer house themselves, feed, heat and cure themselves – Yeah, I can hear what a filthy populist I am – well, the Minister of Foreign Affairs decided to offer the Syrian rebels nine million Euros!

Of course, they’ll try to make us believe that this money will be used for humanitarian purposes … one more lie! And as you can see, for months, our country is only participating to put in place Islamic regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. So, when they come and pretend to go to war in order to fight against terrorism in Mali, well… I feel like laughing.

It’s false! Under the appearance of good actions, we only intervene to defend financial interests in a complete neo-colonialist mindset. It’s a real nonsense to go to help France in Mali in the name of the fighting against Islamic terrorism when at the same time we support in Syria the overthrow of Assad by Islamist rebels who want to impose Shari’ah Law, as was done in Tunisia and in Libya. It is about time we stopped lying to ourselves and treating people like imbeciles.

The time has come to tell the truth. Arming the Islamist Rebels, as Westerners have in the past armed Bin Laden, that friend of the Americans before they turned against him, well, the Western countries are taking the opportunity to place military bases in the newly conquered countries while favouring domestic companies. Everything is therefore strategic. In Iraq, our American allies have put their hands on the country’s oil wealth. In Afghanistan, it was its opium and drugs, always useful when it comes to make lots of money pretty quickly.

In Libya, in Tunisia, in Egypt, or then again in Syria, the aim was and is still today to overthrow moderate powers, to replace them by Islamist powers who very quickly will become troublesome and that we will shamelessly attack pretending once again to fight terrorism or protect Israel.

Thus, the next targets are already known. Within a few months, I bet that our eyes will turn to Algeria and eventually to Iran. To go to war, to free people from an outside aggressor, is noble. But go to war to defend the interests of USA, to go to war to defend the interests of big companies such as AREVA, to go to war to put our hands on gold mines, has nothing noble at all and it reveals our countries to be attackers and thugs!

No one dares to speak, but I will not shut up! And if my battle makes me look like an enemy of this system who flaunts human rights in the name of financial, geo-strategic and neo-colonialist interests, so be it! Flaunting and exposing this regime is a duty and makes me proud. And honestly, I apologise for my low class speech, but I f**k you all, the so-called do-gooders, both left and rightwingers or from the center who are today licking the boots of our corrupted powers and who will be pleased to ridicule me.

I f**k you all, leaders who are playing with your bombs as kids do in a playground!

I f**k you, you who pretend to be democrats while you are nothing more than low class criminals. I don’t have much respect either for the journalists who have the audacity to label the opponents as mentally retarded while basically, they know very well that these opponents are right.

Finally, I despise, at the highest point, those who believe they are the kings of the world and who are dictating their laws, because I am on the side of truth, the side of justice, the side of the innocent victims of looting at all cost. And it is for this reason that I have decided to clearly oppose this resolution that is sending our country to support France in its neo-colonialist operation.

Since the beginning of the French operation, the lie is organized. We are told that France is only answering the call for help from the Malian president. We almost forget that this president has no legitimacy and that he was put in place to ensure the transition following the coup of March 2012.

Who supported this coup d’état? Who started it? For whom is this president of transition actually working? This is the first lie! The French president, François Hollande, dares to pretend to wage this war to fight against the jihadists who threaten (oh do you realize!) the French and European territory! But what an ugly lie!

By taking this official argument, while taking the opportunity to frighten the population by increasing the terror alert level, implementing the Vigipirate plan, our leaders and media are demonstrating an un-imaginable outrage! How dare they use such a point while France and Belgium have not hesitated to arm and support Jihadists in Libya and that these same countries continue to support these jihadists in Syria?

This pretext hides strategic and economic purposes. Our countries are no longer fearing inconsistency because everything is done to hide it. But the inconsistency is well present. It is not tomorrow that you’ll see a Malian citizen commit an act of terrorism in Europe. No! Unless we’ll suddenly create one so we can justify this military operation.

Haven’t we created September 11th, after all, to justify the invasions, arbitrary arrest, torture and massacre of innocent populations? Thus, creating a Malian terrorist is no big deal! It must not be very complicated for our bloodthirsty leaders. Another pretext used these recent months to justify military operations is the protection of human rights.

Ah! This pretext is still used today to justify the war in Mali. But yes! We have to act, otherwise the evil Islamists will impose Shari’ah law in Mali, stoning women and cutting off the thugs’ hands. Oh! The intention is truly noble. Noble and salutary for sure!

But then why is it, Good Lord, why is it that our countries have contributed in Tunisia and Libya to the accession to power of Islamists who have decided to apply this Shari’ah Law in these countries which were still not so long ago modern and progressive? I invite you to ask the young Tunisians who have launched the revolution in Tunisia if they are happy with their current situation? This is all hypocrisy. The purpose of this war in Mali is very clear.

And since no one talks about it, I WILL. The purpose is to fight against China and allow our American ally to maintain its presence in Africa and the Middle East. This is what guides these neo-colonialists operations. And you will see, when the military operation will be over, France will, of course, keep its military bases in Mali.

These bases will be a benefit to the Americans as well. And at the same time, as has always been the case, Western corporates will put their hands on juicy contracts that will once again deprive re-colonized countries of their wealth and raw materials. So let’s be clear, the primary beneficiaries of this military operation will be the owners and shareholders of the French giant AREVA who have been trying for years to obtain a uranium mine in Falea, a town of 17,000 inhabitants located 350 km from Bamako.

And I don’t know why, but my little finger is telling me that it won’t take long before AREVA eventually exploits that mine! I don’t know. It’s an impression I have. It is therefore out of question that I would take part in this mining colonialism, this modern day colonialism. And for those who doubt my arguments, I sincerely invite them to learn about the wealth of Mali.

Mali is a major producer of gold, but recently it has been designated – recently, eh….- as being a country that offers a world-class environment for the exploitation of uranium. How strange! One step closer to a war against Iran, it is obvious. For all these reasons and in order to not fall into the traps of lies they are telling us, I’ve decided not to give my support to that intervention in Mali.

Therefore, I will vote against it.

And by doing so, I’m being consistent since I never supported in the past our criminal interventions in Libya or in Syria, and so I am the only MP in this country to defend the non-interference and the fight against obscure interests. I really think it is about time to put an end to our participation in the UN or NATO and get out of the EU if Europe, instead of providing peace, becomes a weapon of attack and destabilization of sovereign countries submissive to financial rather than human interests.

Finally, I can only urge our government to remind President Hollande the obligations resulting from the Geneva Conventions regarding the respect of prisoners of war. Indeed, I was shocked to hear on television from the mouth of the French President that his intention was to “destroy” – I say “destroy” – Islamist terrorists.

So, I do not want the qualification to be used to name the opponents to the Malian regime – it is always convenient today to talk about Islamic terrorists- to circumvent the obligations of any democratic state in terms of respecting the rights of prisoners of war. We expect such respect from the Fatherland of Human Rights. In conclusion, let me emphasize how lightly we decide to go to war. First, the government acts without any consent from the parliament. It appears that it has the right to. It sends equipment, men to Mali. Parliament subsequently reacts and when it responds, as today, well, this institution happens to be composed of only a third of its members.Much less if we speak of the French speaking MPs. It is therefore a guilty lightness which does not really surprise me, coming from a parliament of puppies, submitted to the dictates of political parties. Thank you.


Related Topics:

French Grab for Mali’s Gold*

U.S. Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere!

The New Middle East vs. the Arab Spring

The Black Block!

Qatar’s Agenda in Syria*

The US Razing Hell through 35 African Countries*

Saudi Admits to Collaborating with Syrian Armed Terrorists*

Another Shoe on Behalf of Iraq, but for Bremen*

Welcome to the New World Order