Categories
Non Fiction

The Overlord: Bitter Fruit and the Corporate Oligarchy

The Cold War was well under way in the 1950’s and the two belligerents: the United States and the Soviet Union, longed to expand their respective spheres of influences- with the U.S. focusing on Latin America, while the U.S.S.R. aimed to solidify its “iron curtain” in order to retain influence over Eastern Europe.  For the American government, this meant supporting domestic companies that held monopolies in smaller Latin American countries, and especially undergirding a corporation that represented “a fable of American capitalism”.  United Fruit Company was the standard bearer for how a small capitalist venture in 1870, started by Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker,  could be transformed from a simple fruit trade into a huge trans-national corporate entity which held almost absolute political and economic power first and foremost in Guatemala (and still substantial, but less so in other Central American countries) through backdoor deals with complacent, inept and thoroughly corrupt dictators. General Jorge Ubico was the last of the old dictators before the democratic revolution that went under the name of “The Guatemalan Spring” in 1944, however, before he fell, Ubico was able to deal a fatal blow to Guatemala’s economic sovereignty by signing a ninety-nine-year agreement for an UFCO Pacific coast plantation and granting “the company the kind of concessions to which it had been accustomed: total exemption from internal taxation, duty-free importation of all necessary goods… Ubico, in fact, insisted that laborers be paid a daily wage of no more than fifty cents in order to keep other Guatemalan workers from demanding better pay”(pg. 70).

In Bitter Fruit, Schlesinger and Kinzer thoroughly hammer the point that United Fruit Company held high stakes in Guatemala. UFCO invested immense amounts of money and manpower in public relations stunts so that the American people and government would be concerned with the corporation’s Latin American interests as a nationwide issue that needed the public’s attention and the Truman (then Eisenhower) administration’s protection.  Once democratically elected Guatemalan president Arevalo announced future land reforms in order to benefit impoverished peasants, UFCO hired Edward Bernays as a spokesperson for the company.  The “PR” expert subsequently led mostly liberal American journalists on a carefully orchestrated trip to Guatemala so he could show off the company’s paternalistic, supposed benefits to locals and make a point that increasing communist subversive activity in the country was responsible for labor antagonisms, not legitimate union concerns. Schlesinger and Kinzer focused on the fact that some officials both in the U.S. State Department and the CIA had owned stock in UFCO holdings and how some even moved on to work for the company after they had left government positions. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge from Massachusetts (UFCO’s home state) instigated congressional concern for the company when the congressman “whose family owned stock in United Fruit, strode onto the Senate Floor in 1949 and denounced the [Guatemalan legislated] Labor Code for discriminating against United Fruit and forcing the corporation into a ‘serious economic breakdown’ through labor unrest”(pg. 83).  Bitter Fruit’s focus on the correlation between United Fruit’s lobbying to hold onto economic power in Guatemala and U.S. government interest in preventing the spread of Communism in its “backyard” is thematic in that by 1954 the two interests became one and the same.

Schlesinger and Kinzer were able to uncover corporate and government collaboration through mostly domestic sources with only some Guatemalan participation that was necessarily anonymous due to continuing internal strife throughout the war stricken country; even while they were writing Bitter Fruit in the late 1970’s. Howard Hunt was the CIA director of misinformation during the U.S. backed “Liberation” coup against Arbenz in 1954, and he was an important source for the authors: since propaganda played a major role in Castillo Armas successfully carrying out the coup.  In particular, Hunt was insistent on UFCO’s involvement as the catalyst for the CIA funded and organized endeavor, and Schlesinger and Kinzer’s thesis was that if UFCO had not existed, then the American government would have had less interest in toppling the democratically elected revolutionary government in Guatemala. However, the situation was aggravated by Arbenz’s tolerance of, and minimal influence from Communist party members, and Bitter Fruit implicated that the Truman administration had no interest in directly intervening in Guatemalan affairs for United Fruit. But the authors explicitly stated that once the Eisenhower administration took power (along with the advent of McCarthyism) the death knell for democracy in the Central American country grew significantly louder until “the North’s” intervention was imminent.  Overall, Bitter Fruit focused on the American perceived communistic outlook in Guatemala as the justification for the eventual coup, yet argued that this perception was started by United Fruit’s propaganda and Schlesinger and Kinzer verified their point by unveiling the American government’s involvement with UFCO representatives through sources revealed by the Freedom of Information Act.

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President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Dulles was adamant about “containing the spread of communism”.
Categories
Non Fiction

Night of the World, Morning of the Universe: A Gleam of Hope in a Vapid Global Society

It appears that a superficial orientation to any subject is rampantly extant as a buyer’s catalog/introductory for masses of consumers that are indeed introduced, yet are never fully immersed. Yes, they buy, but purchasing negates understanding.

If you can hear someone’s headache going away, what does that signify?

-Absolutely nothing, it is nearly impossible to observe objectivity while immersed in meaningless buzzing.

However, when your ear drums are infected, your brain does not have to rot, conversely, let it grow in spite of the drone. One may ask, how can you not experience ambivalence in relation to society? You must realize that this conflict stems from a general concern: apathy and zealotry are two sides of the same coin.

It is true that life is purgatorial, and that is why people are attracted to extremes, black and white, when in reality ambiguity pervades. The irrelevant word is not spoken just for the sake of it, it is given in order to create an image. When this does not pertain to anything of substance, with the sole purpose of maintaining an illusion, then it is un-genuine, deliberately subversive, and utterly unbearable. Societal norms are based upon this idea, especially in recent times, when humans are not judged, but their hopelessly fake self-reflections represented by (sometimes singular, oftentimes multiple) internet persona[s] are… Thus, undue credit to the self is too often pitifully given as a seemingly transparent contradiction.

However, there are cases when confusion abounds, or that words are misunderstood as meaningless because of a chasm between subjective experiences. This is not contradictory, as subjectivity and objectivity are also two sides of the same coin. In truth, you are familiar with the concept that is expressed but it is just presented in a completely alien way.

These proverbial children are degenerating in mass-produced shells, and like Agamemnon, are quick to wrath because of expected societal reactions. People think that they have experienced the objective simply because they exist, at least in some sense, when in reality they are merely another clone in their own self-absorbed world. It is foolish to think that solipsism (whether conscious or not)  and freedom can coexist. When regarding others, the subject must always revolve back to the problems that they cannot perceive. Intentions may be justified in their own mind, which is why they can never be wrong: inherently and ironically, they are perfect.

The ability to bear the perfectly imperfect fades and then dies. Sensing the motives and desires of others is ruinous for the self. There is pointlessness, there is an oversimplification of everything based on experiencing and wading through mounds of bullshit, no, humanshit. Yes, there are vast differences between individuals, and it is understandable that no one can understand one another. Yet it is apparent that the masses are indeed clones, and that worthlessness is paramount. This harks back to the idea of an online entity representing the self. It has become an epidemic in that it no longer represents the self, it has become the self. Humans are influenced by what they perceive as their own creation, when it is only a cloned construction dictated by the oligarchs that have been successfully pacifying the masses for centuries.

For a brief instant, Anonymous seemingly destroyed this oppressive tool by shedding the idea of having a false personality. This was unfortunately reversed, however when Anonymous was given a face, specifically: Guy Fawkes. This phenomenon was hijacked by capitalism, and it should have been unsurprising considering the Che Guevara t-shirt precedent.

Is this struggle orchestrated, or is it organic? Neoliberalism’s best defense is true in that most conspiracy theories are ludicrous, but it is the greatest shame that these fears are not baseless.

This is the decade of dreaming dangerously, yet will emancipation from this wretched, disorderly order come to fruition anytime soon?

Freedom will be realized once humanity settles the final frontier. Only then: when communities are protected from corporations and governments by the vacuum and enormousness of space, will there be peace.

Categories
Sol

Sol, Chapter 1: Non-Consentual Machine Sex

It was time for Daniel to lose his virginity. His mother shoved him into the cramped room with Diamond- the family pleasure machine. Daniel’s family, his immediate one, numbered over two dozen colonists. His family were Neo-Christians. As soon as boys hit puberty they were forced to practice dominance. Although there was not that much of a need for coercion. The urge for dominance was thought to have naturally occurred in adolescent males.

It didn’t happen to him. There was no “natural” presence in his genetic makeup determining his want for power over the opposite sex, let alone other males. Daniel was not the only one. His feelings have been found in all free people. He wasn’t a little boy, he was a very lanky boy, and he didn’t feel the desire rising inside. He felt the pain he had seen in the faces of his sisters, suffocated by plastic, violated by flesh with his father behind them in constant control. Diamond was hard, Daniel was not. He would be weeded out because of this. This was the rite of passage. This was how colonies on Luna functioned: authoritarian environments with patriarchal families operating Oil 2 synthesizing farms.

Daniel had never heard of the space communes way away from the moon that he had always known as his one and only home. The colonies that weren’t really colonies at all, but just places where people lived together. Not necessarily in total harmony, but what they constituted their mutual existences on operated independently of corporate controlled Earth.

We were once trapped and now we are free, but the time for rejoicing is finished, it is now time to build this alternate civilization- a human one once again. We are not zealots because we are individuals. However, we must still evangelize…

Daniel was done with the toy.

I’m out now mother.

Have you done the deed?

Do you know how it hurts me inside, how it tears my guts apart, every time I am forced to feel the touch of plastic mother? I know you can feel the disgust as I do towards this insulated life. Every day you dream of being on Earth. I know it. Tell me mother, does feeling the natural beauty, humanity’s ancient home, does that give you an affection for plastic? Do the synthetic mountain ranges, all of the corp clouds and the green water bubbling in the steaming seas, does that make you impervious to plastic? Does home make you love being malleable?

Blaspheme in this dome once more and I will throw you into the vacuum.

If the patriarch-

If loving Father, His grace, knew that you could not bear the touch of plastic, he would liquidize you instantly and rightfully so- you have shamed your family with this abomination you call freedom. You have no idea what it is. Those animals up there with their lesbian orgies are a disgrace, and they think they are the future. Stop thinking about this, I am saving you- now go have sex with the machine Daniel. Make Father proud.

See what they have done to themselves, these cultists? They are the remnants of authoritarian religion and capitalism. It is not wrong to pity them, but they cannot easily be freed. They are too entrenched in their ideology. At least they serve as a reminder, and a warning, of what we once were back on Earth.