Conclusions about Satyagraha (1) - Jeff Knaebel

"Moral hypothses and conclusions" is chapter 4 of Experiments in Moral Sovereignty, The Diamond Printing Press, Jaipur, 2006 by Jeff Knaebel.

"Satyagraha" was used by Mahatma Gandhi. The word means the search for truth, a non-violent practice of resistance.

A necessary prerequisite for a nonviolent society is justice in all aspects of life: food, shelter, clothing work, education, health, opportunity for self-realization. Justice requires freedom, together with open access to livelihood and trade without legal barriers operating through the State’s power of monopoly.

Humanity is One and harmony must be worldwide. A proper rule of law requires that human rights of all be equally protected. When a body of law is created which tramples the rights of minorities and the weak, such as Bretton Woods agreements, IMF, GATT and WTO, such law is repugnant to the conscience and must be resisted by nonviolent means. If we do not find nonviolent methods to resist imperialism in all its different forms, including corporate imperialism, the suppressed races of the world appear to have little hope.

A prerequisite for peace is radical limitation of corporate power, a redefining of the corporation as a legal entity. We must reject lifestyles based upon creation of artificial needs, the fulfillment of which harms others. Only that economy is good which conduces to the long term good of all.

The modern science of political economy is false science because it promotes exploitation of man by man. True science is concerned with the welfare and destiny of all men. This is the science taught by the sages: Buddha, Christ, Confucious, Heraclitus, Lao Tse, Mahavir, Gandhi, Schweitzer, U Ba Khin, and the Dalai Lama. That economics is untrue which ignores or disregards moral values. An economics which enables the strong to exploit the weak is dismal as well as fake. This is the economics of the Corporate Warfare State.

In 1981, fifty three Nobel Prize winners warned of an unprecedented holocaust, encompassing the horrors of mass exterminations and extending the frontiers of barbarism and death. In 1980, while tens of millions of people were on the verge of starvation, the global war machine engaging 60 million people was squandering nearly a million dollars per minute towards our universal extermination. Today the level of violence is even higher. It is incomprehensible.

The most fundamental of human rights is the right to life. It is morally wrong to support a group of states in their quest for the power to destroy all life. A righteous person, intent upon spiritual evolution, must resist this. Immoral means employed by the State or its corporate licensees result in doing harm and failing to achieve a good end. It is the inevitable result of the Law of Cause and Effect. Any perceived success will be only temporary, while the evil will be long lasting. The lie of the State at war cannot lead to Truth, just as war cannot lead to peace.

Immoral means predict and determine the ends. Modern science and technology have bestowed upon States power beyond limits. This power is being used in a moral vacuum. Unlimited power of the soulless state machine and its corporate licensees, fostered by large scale mechanization, automation and massive concentration of wealth and power leads to disintegration of society. This is manifest in the erosion of human values we see all around. Such a milieu deprives man of his right to self actualization. If the price of “progress” is corruption, how can a person be happy?

State corporate governance has failed because it lacks a moral code based on true human values. We live in a disintegrating culture. That which is best and noblest in humanity is not nourished. The corporate culture does not cultivate generosity, compassion, charity, morality, cooperation, tolerance, wisdom, self sacrifice, service to others. It does not encourage gentleness and community, mutual support or harmony. "The capitalist technocratic state system has become a monstrous destroyer of what is loving and life affirming in the human soul." (Miller,1999).

In a traditional society, the family and community constituted the basis of morality. Stealing from one’s neighbor would be morally shocking. Now, in public institutions, all manner of corruption is expected. The consequences are huge, because the corruption involves doing violence to entire cultures. Millions of people are made to suffer. This radical separation of ethics from politics, foreshadowed in the long ago writings of Machiavelli, appears to be a generic feature of the corporate state structure.

A corporation has no heart, no soul, no conscience, no morals. It is not a living being. It cannot feel pain, sorrow, remorse shame, and compassion because it is intrinsically unable to do so. It cannot laugh or cry, enjoy the world, or suffer with it. Most of all, it cannot love. This is because it is a legal fiction. Its "body" is a judicial construct. It is a process, a machine designed for one purpose: to generate maximum revenue at least cost. It is not connected to earth or its creatures, to pleasures and responsibilities that derive from being human, made of earth. When it hurts people or destroys ecology, it feels nothing. It is incapable of feeling. Yet, under law, it is deemed a "natural person" with all the legal and political rights of a person except for actual voting. This is why corporations are so dangerous: they act in human affairs without feeling and with wholly selfish motives. They have become very powerful, in some cases more powerful than the host government of which they are a parasite.

Not only does the corporation have the rights of a citizen (such as free speech, right to sue for slander, libel, injury), but it has been granted special protection over property rights. Rate of return on investment has been declared a "property" immune to interference by citizens or their elected representatives. Under U.S. law they are also granted "eminent domain," pursuant to which jury trials were eliminated for determining whether corporate practices cause harm or injury, and if so, the assessment of damages.

The fatal moral flaw which makes these corporations so dangerous to the social body upon which they feed like a cancer is an ethical design error. Their owners, the shareholders are protected by law from legal and personal liability for corporate harm to humanity or damage to ecology. This is an attempt by men to create a shield that protects them from consequences of their actions. It is an attempt to violate the Law of Cause and Effect, the law of moral causation. There is no personal accountability of the owners to society. The corporation has no social responsibility. Yet it has legal and political rights by legislative construct. It is a dangerous entity, pursuing only its "genetic’’ program to generate profit without concern for long term consequences to humanity. Can you imagine the outrage that would land on the heads of individuals had they committed some of the crimes of corporations which are now so commonplace in the news as to have become routine?

"The special status of corporations has placed them in a position to control vast economic power by which they may dominate not only the economy but also the very heart of our democracy, the electoral process. The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the state it itself. That, in essence, is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, a group, or any controlling private power." (Franklin D. Roosevelt).

President Abraham Lincoln opined: "I see a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned. An era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed."

The 500 largest corporations in the world now (1999) control 25% of the entire world economic output. The largest 300 corporations own 25% of the world’s productive assets. The 50 largest commercial banks and diversified financial companies control nearly 60% of all global capital.

According to Paul Hellyer, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, "Globalization is not about trade. It is about power and control. It is reshaping the world into one without borders ruled by a dictatorship of the world’s most powerful central banks, commercial banks and multinational companies.”

The prime role of government has been usurped by corporations in order to provide a secure legal environment for profitable transnational investment and competition. This usurpation provides security for capital, property, and investors but not for ordinary citizens. The erroneous premise of this role for government is that corporate property rights are senior to human rights, and that the earth and its biological life can be owned and exploited by non-human entities, rather than nurtured and shared among human beings.

The issue of taxation without representation was at the core of the American Revolution. Beginning with the Bretton Woods international agreements in 1944, followed by the Trilateral Commission of David Rockefeller and other efforts organized by elite power brokers, control of representative government has been systematically transferred from the people to corporations. As shown in the preceding paragraphs, it is not possible for corporations to have an unbiased interest in the public welfare. Documented instances of corporate abuse of the public and the environment are too numerous to list. Campaign contributions and the lobbying arms of huge businesses control elections, legislation and public policy. Powerful men hold in "revolving door" rotation high public office and directorships of MNCs which are members of the military-industrial-political complex. This is an unholy and incestuous relationship of regulator and regulated. Reality on the ground is that American "democratic government’’ and both of its major political parties are controlled by corporations, not citizens. It is a false moral premise that in a democracy these entities should have political rights and political voice. It is not possible for corporations to represent the will of the people. Thus we the people are de facto taxed without representation. We have no effective voice in a government controlled by corporations.

Now, through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, General Agreement on Trade & Tariffs (GATT), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) at policy level - coordinated through the unholy marriage of governments, central banks and multinational corporations at the operational level - sovereignty of politically constituted governments has been usurped by MNCs. The WTO has created an "Economic Constitution" of the world. Economic exchange is at the core of human action and affects every aspect of life: environment, education, health, labor and political rights, war and peace. The scale of corporate activity has become so large that it affects the most fundamental right: the right to life itself. Millions of the world’s poorest people are deprived of adequate livelihood and health by corporate actions which destroy their ecology and local economies. As in constitutions, trade agreements set forth rights of their constituents. But these "constitutions" have been negotiated behind closed doors with input only from corporations. Under WTO, only corporations are the beneficiaries of the rights it creates. The interests of others in society are nowhere to be found.

An international agency of corporate constituents has the power to veto parliamentary decisions made by sovereign governments wherever these decisions are ruled "trade restrictive." At risk are environmental protection, labor and health law, consumer protection law, control of foreign exchange and the massive flows of speculative capital which can completely disrupt local economies. Witness the recent Asian economic crisis which did untold damage to the lives of millions of poor people. Proceedings of the WTO are closed: trade unions, consumer, health and environmental groups are barred. Details of rulings are not published. Membership of decision-making bodies is not disclosed to the public. Everything is anonymous and there is no public accountability.

MNCs which have substantial control over legislation as well as executive branch policy are subsidized directly and indirectly with public finance. Consider global transport and communications infrastructure, scientific research and development, corporate agriculture, all of which are subsidized by public funds generated through taxation of individuals. Yet these MNC’s operate clandestinely and are not accountable to the public. This is truly abusive taxation without representation. Having gained control of political parties and the electoral process, corporations have usurped the government of the people and have created a tyranny. We the people have no effective voice, yet we subsidize these entities with our taxes.

There are other issues with respect to taxation without representation. In 1776 the American tyrant was the British King. Today it is an institutionalized structural tyranny of rule by corporations masquerading as democracy. The people vote each 2 to 4 years for, usually (if you ask them), the lesser of two evils, both of whom were put in place by corporate money. It is a sham democracy. Corporations are the real power. They form a collective dictatorship. The "nominees" that we elect are not only beholden to the corporations which finance and control the electoral outcome, but they may also be shareholders of the same corporations which will come under their regulatory and policy purview. It is incestuous.

Foreign policy is made by people who own banks and corporations which profit from preparing for war, marketing the war machine, and waging war. To find the roots of war, follow the money. War may be couched in terms of freedom, democracy, justice, religion, but if you follow the money, it leads to powerful decision makers whose constituents in banking and industry profit from war or the exploitation which leads to war. Wars are fought with money borrowed from the public, the employment of which enriches bankers and owners of the military industrial complex. Only a morally flawed structure permits these owners to influence decisions of war and peace.

The recent Afghan situation is one example of many. It is widely known that Big Oil, the US government and Pakistan coordinated early support of Taliban in order to secure access for Big Oil to the fields of Central Asia. Subsequently they destroyed their creation. Now they will rebuild Afghanistan without having lost sight of the original objective: access to oil of Central Asia. It has been reported in the press that families of high US officials own shares in, among others, Halliburton, Unocal and Carlyle (oil and defense). These companies stand to profit from operations related to the war. A political structure which permits State decision makers to benefit financially from activities of the State over which they have influence is morally wrong. The set up is such that MNCs benefit from war while it is being marketed and waged and again profit from post war reconstruction. It is like a meat grinder with human beings the raw feed.

Killing is never justified, but certainly its lowest threshold is self defense. There can be no justification for killing in the name of some "national interest," invariably an economic interest determined by power brokers and not ordinary citizens. No villager is justified in murdering members of another village for their grain. How can US government be justified in murdering for oil?

The sheer size and worldwide pervasive presence of the U.S. military establishment - emplaced to protect corporate interests - is attestation to an incomprehensible level of violence. This worldwide projection of power is used to facilitate and expedite economic and ecological exploitation of weaker and poorer people. On the basis of what wisdom has the US government determined that its wasteful, destructive, death-dealing culture is superior to others?

True rationality must involve both freedom and foresight. The rationale of unbridled corporate economics is unable to foresee and calculate future costs in terms of human displacement and disenfranchisement. Class hatred and violence inevitably arise from the agony of lost culture and livelihood. What gives the US government the moral authority to impose its way of life upon others? Together with imperial arrogance to defend it at any cost - including nuclear holocaust - against the feeble efforts of hapless millions struggling for mere survival? Through economic power and leverage the US exploits wherever possible. When economic power is insufficient to the purpose, it uses armed force.

What was the moral basis for US government destruction of millions of lives in Vietnam? Under whose code of ethics did USG rain napalm bombs on noncombatant Cambodia, incinerating thatched hut villages along with women and children? This led to the destabilization that subsequently spawned the "killing fields." Whose killing fields are they, really? The list of incomprehensible atrocities could fill a book. It turns the stomach.

The human mind has become brutalized by all pervasive violence, often gratuitous as "entertainment" viewed by small children. We seem to have become de-sensitized to the point of having lost all sense of moral outrage. We are morally passive in the face of atrocity. The moral scale of society has shrunk to the point that destructiveness and wanton waste of life are "normal."

Tax dollars directly finance not only the military machine. Through direct and indirect subsidy the ecologically destructive operations of MNCs are financed by taxation of individuals. The huge infrastructures of transportation, electric power, communications, media, global trade, research and development for chemicals, pesticides, agriculture and biotech enjoy massive public finance. Taxes are subsidizing corporations which stand accused in the judicial system of criminal activities, child abuse, and crimes against humanity (Tobacco and Big Oil). Taxes subsidize alliances between Big Oil and brutal military regimes in Africa anti Burma.

In the 1960s, the USG organized a military overthrow of Brazilian President Jose Goulart. He had instituted capital and land reforms to take back control from MNCs of Brazil’s natural resources. He had defied the IMF. An alliance of the CIA with US investors and Brazil’s landowning elite organized a coup and installed a military junta which overturned Goulart’s reforms. This is but one example of a list that could fill a library.

A military infrastructure is needed to keep the structure of globalization in place and to guarantee access to natural resources on which the model depends. The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnel Douglas to build the Stealth Bomber. The hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is the US Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps. Keeping the world "safe" for global corporations does not come cheap. Just ensuring the steady supply of oil is costing US taxpayers $57 billion annually (circa 1998). Including the infrastructure of military power worldwide, the costs of globalization are much higher.

Taxes subsidize increasing international trade which means ever-increasing pollution and destruction. Corporations control the political system which grants these subsidies: they are the driving force behind both the nation state and globalization. Tax dollars finance crimes against humanity. The same entities which commit the crimes have control of the political system. It is tyranny.

In summary, our planetary ecosystem is being shredded by the violence of greed to fulfill artificial needs, its species genetically engineered, poisoned and displaced, a majority of the world’s peoples (the gentlest ones) impoverished, disenfranchised, displaced. Society is devolving into violence and debauchery. Life is being destroyed by corporations on all fronts: commercial, military, political, and social. Nowhere is there silence. The air is fouled, the waters poisoned. This vast interconnected killing machine is being financed with tax dollars paid by people who have no effective voice. We have become slaves to an inhuman machine of heartless corporate components. We the people created this monster. We the people must peacefully, nonviolently reprogram it.

The text is published here with courtesy of the author.

Jeff Knaebel manages three websites :
Free of state
Trees of tomorrow
Gandhi Padyatra

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