Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ranting on William Blake's AMERICA: A PROPHECY

Death Depicted as the Grim Reaper on Top of the World from The Raven
Gustave Doré

Orc is the red-eyed, hairy spirit of rebellion and freedom. He is the inflaming passion that encourages the American colonists to break the chains of oppression – both royal and clerical. As a universalist, Blake envisions America as a vast land of utopian, egalitarian promise. He applauds the formula “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Desire and joy, which animate much of his poetry, are free energies that should range unchecked. Repression will eventually explode in a bloody unshackling. Britain is defeated, and a new nation born. It is born, as Blake would have it, from the raging, lustful union of Orc with the female principle of potentiality – “the shadowy daughter of Urthona.”

I wish Blake had lived a couple centuries more, long enough to write a sequel. What would he have thought about that new nation emerging over decades?...built on the enslaved misery of black men and women, expanded via the obliteration of native peoples, frothed into psychoses of revivalism, normalized into patriarchal suppression of females? The spirit of freedom – the passion of Orc – was very short-lived. In fact, Orc suffered a very premature death and peremptory burial.

Seventy years after a final rebuke of Britain, after a putative New World order was gaining momentum, a quiet demonic birth took place in the shadows behind a Supreme Court bench: corporate personhood was unleashed on the world. The Earth would now begin to tremble before a dark spirit more insidious than the East India Company and more powerful than Orc. Blake's mad, shaggy god is a poetic abstraction. “Corp,” by contrast, is a real-life legal entity. It is very mean. And it is very hungry. It is much worse than the madness of King George III.

Blake was a universalist. His soul was boundless, thus he resented borders, whether geographical or spiritual. Well, the new beast Corp is also sort of a universalist – it burst the bounds of the USA and now tramps heavily across the globe as an international, bloodthirsty pirate. He is greedy, rapacious. With an iron boot, he snaps the neck of any recalcitrant country. He wields the sword of armies to puncture the heart of decency and peace. And he loves to gamble with extremely loaded dice.

We can easily examine Corp's footprint left last year on this country – on Blake's America. Hundreds of billions of bail-out dollars flushed into the Wall Street cesspool, especially Goldman Sachs. And thanks to the corporate lackeys who make up all aspects of the federal government, there is no oversight, no accountability. As the economy remains staggered, with unemployment personal and small-business loans remain elusive...Goldman Sachs and other corporate vultures pay themselves vertiginous bonuses. As misery continues apace among the People (real people), as more children go hungry, Wall Street enjoys record profits. Republicans (and many Democrats) are enemies of the People, are best friends of the arch-demon Corp, who inflicts his fiscal poisons on this country and the world.

The Armed Services are a subsidiary of Corp. They go where he commands. They are not reserved or deployed to protect the citizenry. They are available to protect and enhance the far-flung interests of Corp. Many people join the military branches out of a noble sense of duty, but they are being duped. Not one American soldier or Marine should have been killed in Iraq. Not one. And Afghanistan? A cluster of rat-brained zealots scampering around the Pakistan border logically required an international police effort to ferret them out. A huge military invasion by us? Absurd...until one realizes that a standing army needs an excuse to justify itself, to keep munitions and war-techno corporations going strong.

I have always suspected such a thing – the military as corporate bodyguard and advance legion – but the health care debate in Congress really confirms something basic and essential.

The Defense Department is annually swollen with unquestioning hundreds of billions of dollars. More money than the next several countries combined. And this is done ostensibly to protect the citizenry. You know, Colonel Jack Nicholson's “We're on the wall so you don't have to be.” The truth is that Republicans wish to stamp American power into the world. So Corp will thrive globally. Mealy-mouthed Democrats go along with this malignant nonsense. Very twisted people. Republicans and Democrats don't hesitate to glut the military with gold. And call that glutting "protection of the citizenry."


If protecting the citizenry from harm was truly an essential tax-dollar investment, then protecting the citizenry from the catastrophic effects of disease would be a no-brainer. Congress does not give a damn about protecting you. Your representatives and senators are in place to protect their jobs by protecting Corp., ensuring his profit. This is a logical, algorithmic extrapolation of what happened in 1886 – when corporate personhood was given the green light by the Supreme Court.

Prior to that date, corporations were subservient to the People. Since then, the People are here to serve Corp. Earlier, strict behavioral controls kept corporations subdued: they must be grounded to the licensing state; they must not have holdings in other corporations, they must be punished severely if they operate against the Commonweal. All that changed when they became “people,” when they gained access to our Bill of Rights, when they became Corp.

So, what more logical result could be expected than this: your biological life as a market strategy for medicine and insurance? You are nothing but slabs of Solyent Green to be run through the financial digestive system of Corp. And the harder you work (work until your expendable self drops) and the less you make (stop whining about that untreated broken leg), the wider the toothy smile of Corp.

The ravages of illness are a more insidious threat than the Talibanis, the Iranians, and the North Koreans. But Corp is making too much money off your misery. Health Care Reform: what a silly mirage. Congress is only a puppet show.

William Blake's prophetic voice sang the new Folk Song, lifting the deeds of free, fiery men into mythic verse. America, with its fires of freedom and higher justice, was, in his mind's eye, an example to the world, soon to spread its inspiring flames to France. But that voice, that Folk Song has been forgotten and drowned out in the cacophonous shriek of Corp's greed. Let us remember at least one stanza of that Folk Song and lift it against the cold iron soul of Wall Street:

But all rush together in the night in wrath and raging fire.
The red fires rag'd! The plagues recoil'd! then
rolld they back with fury.

Oh...and Joe Lieberman...well, he can investigate my sphincter with a headlamp and hiking boots.


  1. Well, essentially, you've nailed it.

    And as I've watched our president who stood for change sprint to the right as fast as he can, my sense of hopelessness has deepened.

    We can act locally to make things better for those we come in contact with, but change the world? I fear it's too late. We will, as someone has said, be the first species to watch ourselves go extinct on HDTV.