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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  July 2011

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE July 2011

Subject:

Re: Opposition to Proposed Anthrax Vaccine Trial in Children

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 11 Jul 2011 10:16:27 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (111 lines)

On 7/10/2011 11:35 PM, Michael H Goldhaber wrote: [clip] Thus, the value of
an anthrax vaccine for children is likely to be quite small. Thus even
though the vaccine is probably safer than AHRP suggests, why do it, and ,
also, why test it? 

.******** 

There is a political reason (going back to LBJ's administration), which in
turn is grounded in a fundamental feature of all capitalist societies. 

One can begin with the final chapter of Marx's "Wages, Price and Profit":
There he argues that capitalists (regardless of individual motives)
systematically strive to reduce wages. It is almost part of the very
definition of capitalism. And unless workers attempt, whenever possible, to
raise wages or at least strongly resist downward pressure, they will be
reduced, Marx says, to one miserable mass of wretches, incapable of any
higher goals. That's step 1 as it were of the analysis. 

Next, those old enough to remember the early '70s may remember a delightful
popular song, "Take This Job and Shove it." I do not kow of any other time
in capitalist history when such a song would have been possible. In the
early '70s an economist pointed out that, given two yung men, one of whom
went to college, the other taking a job in a unionized food chain (Kroger,
etc), the latter would have greater lifetime earnings. The larger salaries
of the former never being sufficient to overcome the 4-year head start of
the latter. That steady increase in prosperity was, in fact, a greater
threat to the very survival of capitalism than half a dozen Great
Depressions. The fundamental disciplining force in capitalism is the threat
of the future; that threat removed, the future more or less assured, men and
women begin to desire real democracy, real freedom (free time) The Golden
Age of Capitalism was raising the menace of a struggle for democracy! The
first signs of that looming threat had been noted by C.L.R. James back in
the late '40s: there had been a steady rise for several years in the
membership of local NAACP chapters, and on that basis he predicted the
coming of an age of social change! Now when the core disciplinary force, the
built-in mode of capitalist dominance begins to fail, 'artificial' ones
(essentially: police power) need to be invoked. In a capitalist 'democracy'
that requires some popular support: the police must be seen as the friend
rather than the enemy they are of human freedom. Those whose memory goes
back another decade may remember that besides the famous missile gap the
other threat against which JFK and his brothr vowed to protect us was The
Mafia! The Ominous Child Molestor lurking inevery neighborhood also soon
made his appearance. (The resistance to the Vietnam War presaged the falling
effectiveness of the The Big Red Monster.) The War on Drugs became the
central pillar of capitalist politics (it not only justified repression at
home, but was also central in maintaing discipline over Latin America. The
U.S. has troops in Paraguay, near the Bolivian border: part of the war on
drugs.) 

An unrelenting attack on wages began in the early '70s, and this was
accompanied by a growing repressive force (far in excess of anything
needed). The first assault was of course on the Black Community --  hence
the murder of Fred Hampton and other Panthrs. There is amemo from J. Edgar
Hoover who saw the Panther Breakfast program as a serious threat to national
security and on that basis decided that the Panthers had to be criminalized.


One more little detail from the even more distant past: the movies made in
the '40s and '50s set in Occupied Europe. The central metaphor organizing
those moview, the Terror that loomed over everyone, was "May I see your
papers, please." Nothing was more foreign to the experience of ordinary
citizens in the U.S. than this demand. Show yur papers. That was the very
essence of tyranny. 

Papers, please." Today one cannot even get a room in many hotels unless you
show your "papers" (which now must include a photograph). And the War on
Terror has become the central rationale for the growth of police power.
(Eliminating Homeland Security would be a huge step towards solving the
alleged "fiscal crisis.") 

Now the main ideological support for the war on crime is not the existence
of crime,  as the main ideological support for the War on Terror is not
actual acts of terror. It operates rather through the old superstistion,
"Where there's smoke, there's fire." It is all the hullabaloo about fighting
crime and all the hullabaloo about fighting terror that is the chief visible
evidence of the existence of these threats. A public program to justify
giving everyone an anthrax vaccine would be vivid evidence of the terrible
threats against which Homeland Security labors to protect us. (No need to
actually give anyone the vaccine: just the campaign for it.) We can be quite
confident that in the years to come there will be billions spent in
developing protection against other purely imaginary threats. (No need for
comic-book conspiracies such as the alleged 9/11 conspiracy; there are much
simpler methods available.) 

And this is perhaps the place to mention a crucial book published last year,
which I think every leftists ought to become acquainted with: Edward Morgan,
_What Really Happened in the 1960s: How Mass Media Culture Failed American
Democracy_. I've exchanged e-mail with Ted Morgan, and he tells me that that
word "failed" was pushed on him by his publisher (University Press of
Kansas) and that he is regretting more and moe that he did not put up more
resistance on that. The word suggests that the book is just another book on
the '60s. but it is radically different. About half the book deals directly
with the movements of the '60s and the immediate response in TV & press to
those events; the other half is a documentdd account of what Ted calls the
"Corporate Backlash," which began in the mid-60s and went into high gear in
the early '70s. It is an account of "how we got from there to here" (and
"Take this Jopb and Sove It" is an exellecnt icon for where we were then.
Merely to read the passages referring to the activities of future Supreme
Cour Justice Lewis Powell is eye-opening. I had no idea myself, despite
knowing much of the material, how systematic indeed was the campaign,
fiancned by corporate cash,  to   crush the spectre of democracy which ahd
reared up in the 1960s. I urge everyone to read the book. It is not just
another book on the '60s: it is vital political information for us in this
Age of Wisconsin. Since I can no longer read myself I paid a grad student
$22 an hour to read it to me. It was worth every penny. 

Carrol

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