IDEOLOGICAL POISON PILLS! BEWARE!
by John Spritzler
October 10, 2023
The URL of this article for sharing it is https://www.pdrboston.org/ideological-poison-beware
There are some ideological poison pills that oppressive ruling classes make us swallow. These poison pills are basic concepts that, when incorporated into the body--the structure-- of our thinking, prevent us from thinking in a manner that enables us to understand how the ruling class gets away with oppressing us, the have-nots. These poison pills enable the ruling class to divide us against each other. They prevent us from conceiving the very idea of aiming at removing the oppressive ruling class from power.
POISON PILL #1: "When it comes to social/political discourse, the things that are good or bad, noble or evil, right or wrong, etc., are countries."
How it works:
Example 1. Those who swallow this poison pill interpret somebody describing the evil cruelty of chattel slavery in American history as if they were saying that all Americans then were evil. Why? Because the poison pill says that what is evil or not evil can only be an entire country: either the entire population of the United States was evil during the time of chattel slavery, or it was not evil. Thus saying chattel slavery was evil means, to those who swallowed the poison pill, that the entire population of the United States was evil then.
This is why many people who hear somebody talking about the evil of chattel slavery angrily tell them to "stop attacking my country." The poison pill prevents the discourse from distinguishing between evil people--such as the slave-owners--and non-evil people--such as most of the population--in a country.
The poison pill makes white working class people identify with upper class slave-owners, and prevents them from even conceiving the fact that chattel slavery (and current systemic racial discrimination against non-whites) HARMED/HARMS white working class people, and did not/does not benefit them (as I discuss here.)
Example 2. Those who swallow this poison pill think about the conflict in Israel/Palestine as a conflict between Israelis versus Palestinians. The pill says that you can support "the Palestinians" or you can support "Israel," period.
Whichever side you support means you oppose the other side. If you support the Palestinians then you must be antisemitic. If you support Israel then you support violent ethnic cleansing. If you support the Palestinians then you support HAMAS's violent terrorism against non-combatant Israeli civilians. If you support Israel then you support the Israeli massacre of civilians in Gaza.
The poison pill prevents people from even conceiving of the fact (as I prove here and here) that the Israeli ruling billionaire class funds Hamas and works to keep it in power BECAUSE Hamas commits terrorism against Israeli civilians; that the Israeli ruling class does this in order to ensure that the bogeyman enemy--Palestinians--that it uses to frighten Israeli Jews into submission to the Israeli government will be maximally frightening; that by pretending to protect Israeli working class Jews against "their real enemy," it is able to dominate and control them and horribly oppress them economically.
POISON PILL #2: "The only way for the economy to work is on the basis of buying and selling things and using some form of money to do it; this is true be it a capitalist or a socialist economy."
How it works:
Example 1. Those who swallow this pill are severely constrained in how they can think about reparations for slavery and Jim Crow and genocide against American Indians. The pill only allows thinking of reparations as some form of transfer of money from one group of people to another group, to enable the former to buy less and the latter to buy more stuff. As I show here, there is no way of doing this transfer of wealth that is both sufficient in magnitude to count as genuine reparations AND ALSO not enormously divisive of the have-nots. The poison pill ensures that the ruling class can float all sorts of reparations schemes, confident that they will be either extremely divisive or transfer too little wealth to count as genuine reparations.
The poison pill makes it impossible for people who have swallowed it even to conceive of the proposal (discussed here [same link as above]) that the vast majority of people of all races would LOVE: egalitarian revolution so that everybody who contributed reasonably according to ability would be able to take for free what they needed or reasonably desired with scarce things equitably rationed according to need (and there would be no rich and no poor.)
Example 2. Those who swallow this pill can think of economic work only as producing something to be sold to somebody. Even in a socialist economy this means producing something to be sold for a profit to somebody. It means, even in Communist China (as I show here), that workers are wage-slaves, merely the "hired help," and are not engaged in democratically deciding as full equals in society how and what to produce to share with others on the egalitarian basis of "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need" (as discussed here and here.)
The poison pill prevents even thinking about what genuine democracy on the job looks like, such as how workers in egalitarian Spain (1936-9) did it, as discussed here.
The poison pill prevents even thinking about actually removing the rich from power because that would mean having a completely different kind of society, an egalitarian one not based on money. The poison pill thus makes people think that the best that can be done to make society more equal is to tax the billionaire a bit more (and Bernie Sanders doesn't even want to tax them as much as Eisenhower did in the past.)
POISON PILL #3: "The way to make society better is to win an election or elections to get a good leader or leaders in office."
How it works:
Example 1. In the United States people who swallow this poison pill get cause and effect backwards. They think that the reason Americans in the 1930s got the New Deal (Social Security, the right to form a union, etc.) was because they elected the "good" president, FDR, to office. Read here how it was ONLY the non-electoral movement "in the streets" that forced FDR unwillingly to institute the New Deal.
Likewise, people who swallowed this poison pill think that the reason Jim Crow was abolished is because people elected the 'good' president, LBJ, to office. Read here how it was, again, ONLY the non-electoral movement "in the streets" that forced a very racist LBJ to ensure the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that abolished (overt) Jim Crow.
This poison pill prevents people from understanding WHY oppressive rulers hold elections in the first place, that it is to control the have-nots and certainly not in order to allow the have-nots to remove the rich from power! Read about this here and here and here.
Example 2. There was a non-electoral movement in South Africa to abolish apartheid, which it succeeded in doing. But very quickly the movement turned into one that defined success in electoral terms, specifically in electing a black person--initially Nelson Mandela--as the President of South Africa. As a result of limiting its goal to replacing white with black politicians, the conditions of life for ordinary working class South Africans is arguably now even worse than back in the days of apartheid, as you can read about here (PDF, give it some time to load).
Example 3. We clearly need an egalitarian revolutionary movement that can be built the way I discuss here, but it is not happening yet, and this is because of the poisonous effect of this poison pill.
POISON PILL #4: "If the laws are written by representatives fairly elected by all the citizens, then that is democracy and one is morally obliged to obey the laws."
How it works:
Examples 1 thru 100+. In many nations today, including the United States, the laws are written by representatives fairly (more or less) elected by all of the citizens, and yet the laws in every such nation enforce class inequality: the existence of a rich upper class that treats the have-nots like dirt and indeed must do so in order to remain a rich, privileged powerful upper class, as I discuss here. These nations are thus fake, not real, democracies because the egalitarian values of the majority do not in fact shape society; contrary values do.
Democracy is a way for people to cooperate and resolve their disagreements peaceably with a decision rule that gives all adult citizens an equal say. When some people in the United States wanted slavery and others wanted to abolish it, and when neither side would back down, thereby making a peaceful resolution of the conflict impossible despite the trappings of a democracy, an important fact was revealed. When people differ on an issue over which they will fight violently to prevail, then there cannot be a democracy among all such people. A democracy can only exist among people who share fundamental values, i.e., who do not differ over any issue about which they will refuse to compromise peaceably; I call such an issue a "fundamental" conflict. This is why the state of Missouri after the Civil War rightfully banned those who supported slavery from voting and holding civic offices, as I discuss here.
Today, whether or not to have class inequality is a fundamental conflict. Only among those who want to abolish class inequality (i.e., egalitarians) can there be a genuine and desirable democracy. In such a democracy the only laws that people in a local community must obey are laws written by the Local Assembly of Egalitarians, at which all adult egalitarians in the local community, and ONLY they, are welcome to participate as equals. Read about this here and here.