The Cult of Capitalism Exposed

The Cult of Capitalism holds us captive by threatening economic and social ruin if we should step outside its structures. Unlike other cults that are considered outside the norm, it has claimed center stage, and its propaganda appears to be unquestioned reality.

But this house of cards is built on one primary myth; that humans own the earth and have dominion over all its inhabitants.

These are the strategies that reinforce the myth:

First, it is necessary to isolate potential disciples of the cult from family and friends — in this case, the indigenous peoples of the earth and all other species. This disconnection is the key that keeps us locked inside the cult, which serves as our new family.

Second, the cult’s leaders create total dependency: to survive in this cult, we must serve the leaders who dangle the dream that one day we, too, may ascend the ladder of hierarchy to experience wealth and power.

Third, we are afraid to leave the cult because there is a belief that only poverty and isolation await us outside the group. To leave the group is to be stigmatized, criminalized and often institutionalized, or face homelessness and worse.

Isolated, dependent and afraid, we walk the streets of the walled city, buying temporary tastes of pleasure in the form of products that the cult claims makes us sexy, powerful and successful.

In the pursuit of “happiness” we are like dogs chasing a stick. Arriving is not an option. Freedom of choice exists as the freedom to choose between one brand and another, one job or another. Meaningful work and a meaningful life have been severed from our supposed needs of survival within this cult.

But Occupy broke the taboo of speaking against what rules this Empire, and named the true nature of the cult: A select few are sucking dry the life force of the rest of us and of nature Herself.

Photo: jamie nyc/Flickr

Now everyday people are gathering, unashamed that they have lost their jobs, or owe thousands in student loans, or have been foreclosed on. We are shedding our shame and loneliness and a false belief that individuality-as-consumers is the ultimate freedom. We are marching arm-in-arm and bringing our creativity, joie de vivre and critical thinking out in the open.

Occupation means that people are finding common ground and common purpose; that they refuse to be held down by a system that exploits them for labor and uses them as consumers. Maximum profit and endless growth are now being seen for what they are: the rape of the earth and the theft of all her gifts.

Not only that, Occupiers have turned the very concept of Occupation on its head: by taking the lie on which America was founded – the right to absolute ownership of a land which was never ours – and proclaiming a new truth: that people have a right to common space, a right to organize, to occupy and to challenge the lie of ownership itself.

Let us remember: invaders from European monarchies and oligarchies built this country, while churches served as co-conspirators in this power grab for the “New World.” To them, the indigenous people of the earth were considered savages: stupid, dangerous and sub-human, which became the rationale for killing them in the name of God and decency.

Since then, terms of ownership are what have enabled our capitalist system, like all capitalist systems before it, to flourish, giving owners the “right” to police and militarily protect themselves and their property. Indeed, the Bill of Rights, which sounded righteous then and still does today, rarely rescues the rights of people – to make no mention of the rights of Earth – before the almighty rights of private property.

When fear is at the core of our responses to situations and choices, logic alone cannot save us. Fear is the trigger of our survival mechanism and narrows our vision and our ability to think our way out of a situation. Many activists, filled with good intentions, use only logical arguments to convince others of the transformation our society must now undertake.

But the fear generated by talk of climate change or nuclear disaster usually garners only a temporary reaction of outrage and more often denial and numbness set it in.

Fear turns members of the cult to the default setting offered by the promises of the system.

What we need to do now is to help each other, listen to each other and stand together in public; we need to stop fearing the members of the cult, and start belonging to the earth and all our relations.

Photo: Fog City Journal

An example: in Berkeley, Occupy the Farm showed how quickly we can re-root ourselves in nature while reclaiming so-called private land for the people. By enacting community gardens like this, we are planting and laughing and dancing in the face of a monolith. We are putting our bodies on the line through non-violent actions to stop the machine – and replenishing the Earth’s ability to feed us.

Now our challenge is to break the unconscious agreements we have made to prop up the disastrous, soulless, capitalist cult that is still dictating our daily lives in so many ways.

Even after Occupy turned the light on, the cult’s leaders – in finance, politics, media, the courts – persist in calling us back inside the lie; enticing us, during an election year, to believe we still have a democracy while we give up our power to a government run by corporations.

At this evolutionary cusp, the leap across the chasm of disaster capitalism can only be taken by those who are willing to govern themselves through collectives, cooperatives and community agreements that delineate how we can share, not own: space.

We, as a movement and an increasingly aware culture, will not go back inside the lie. We, as a Movement, are going beyond rebellion into a love for our common family. As we feel this reconnection—this regeneration—with one another, we begin to see and utilize nature’s own methods of regeneration, its strength in diversity, its miraculous beauty that feeds our souls and revives our courage. We are seeing the earth not as a resource, but as Source itself.

Together we are rediscovering the importance of our human family and our Earth, and this will break the stranglehold of fear. Together we can pledge allegiance to the earth on which we stand, one planet indivisible with clean air, water, soil, food, shelter, justice, and respect for all beings.

Photo: danilo

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  • Babak Golshahi

    Richard Wolff.

    Nuff Said.

    • Ell Ess

      That’s cult talk…

  • Cuban_link78dc

    For all you brainwashed sheeple out there, our current economic system is so far away from REAL free market capitalism, it is not even funny!!!Please learn REAL economics!!In our fake system that we call capitalism, yes we do need regulations and a little bit of wealth transfer, etc.. just to keep our fake fascist system run by a plutocracy from rapping every poor and middle class person an even bigger asshole than the one we already have!!!In our fake system we have republicans/conservitives and democrats/liberls are both right because one group(the republicans) is operating from the assumption that our current system is capitalism, so technically if this assumption were to be true, they would be right. However, when the otherside says we need more taxing, they are right too, because they don’t even have a clue what real capitalism even looks like or smells like, so they are right in that they want to protect the unfortunate people who are not part the plutocracy!!!Please wake america and learn about REAL economics and REAL monetary economics!!!In our FAKE system both sides are right but wrong at the same time because our current system is NOT capitalism!!

    • Jaime Flores

      Capitalism is a cult, and it doesn’t work. Systems evolve that’s why we don’t have a capitalist system you vision. It will collapse.

      • Ell Ess

        I think it’s current state arises from an attempt at preservation, more or less architectural or emergent, inevitably a homeostatic that begets further crisis. International capitalism is now truly absurd, and as my remarks suggest, a complete territory requiring of description that includes its detractions and critics. Vulgar reformism, the “compromise politics” of state capitalism and its public relations and neoliberal destinations, have helped construct this condition. Yes, it is crisis bound, but more wring is its inability to properly describe itself internally, and there generate solution, akin to driving blind (regardless of actual rule, however mystified).

  • BrewFranklin

    Thank you for your awesome article on capitalism. My question is, what can replace it? What can replace a system where people sell commodities with our current technology?

    I am a huge nerd and thus I love Star Trek. In Star Trek, (which takes place 400 years in the future), humans have moved beyond capitalism. There is no money in Star Trek, no poverty, no crime, and no hunger. This was largely accomplished by a machine called a “replicator.” A replicator can make food, clothes, water, and anything really out of free energy. Therefore, all materials basically became free. There was no need to buy anything anymore, since you could replicate it for free.

    So without a replicator, how are we going to get rid of buying and selling commodities? Will people really do the hard work of cleaning a sewer or the back breaking work of picking vegetables without an incentive that goes beyond altruism? Who will make computers and poetry and art? Won’t everyone want to go for the good jobs while others are stuck with less pleasant work? Some work is more pleasant than other work. Just an honest question and I look forward to any responses.

    • Jules_bpool

      Technology will lead the way. Technology would be even further advanced today if it wasn’t for all technology first being checked for use by the military. I believe we would have free energy by now if it wasn’t for the oil companies. Computers and tech will deal with the dirty jobs people don’t want to do. People would be free to pursue their dreams and life in peace. After all isn’t that what we all want.

    • Bangtango

      we have a replicator in nature. The Earth gives us everything we need and it can be a paradise garden of eden if we care for it. Imagine a world where food just magically grows on trees… the very air you breathe cleanses your body… every drop of water washes away disease and dirt while providing minerals and life… medicine is a plant…

    • Sammy Twotone

      I may be 3 years too late but you’re looking for a social-valued democratic free market but as far as I read, a scientific theory of such an economic balance is still needed.

      Here’s my take. By replacing capital value with “social value” (as determined solely by group vote online), we can rate all products, programs, songs, services, resources, etc. properly according to the consensus view of social benefit, which is the *genuine* wealth of humankind.

      In such a system, all leaders have been replaced by self-organization, all closing voting polls of yore have been replaced by a 24-hour internet, and all capitalist corporations and socialist unions have been replaced by contributionist collectives.

      Social welfare is a necessary part of this system, responsibly balancing social obligation to the individual with wealth incentive to drive individual obligation to society. This touches directly on our desperate need for a “dynamic chaos” theory for systems design, but I truly think that direct online democracy (replacing the scam of “representative” democracy) is a necessary part of this answer. No leaders should have the right to govern others on any level of the organization because they aren’t really as necessary as we think. Throw the ring into the fire of Mordor.

    • Ell Ess

      How about an economic system based on American sitcoms?

  • Pat

    “Together we can pledge allegiance to the earth on which we stand, one planet indivisible with clean air, water, soil, food, shelter, justice, and respect for all beings.” I would like to have seen health care included in the above. I will assume justice does cover healthcare. Great article!

    • Ell Ess

      Healthcare – in the UK – is as easily the instrument of state power, bent to the requirements of circulatory capital, as law; via psychiatry it resembles an extra-judicial system, and an operative paradigm built, like representative party democracy, for industrial class societies. While the NHS is in crisis in Britain, under threat from the freemarket, to considerable politicization, it is the site of an internalized contradiction of state capitalist politics (ascribed by a commentator here to most Americans, neither socialist nor capitalist), which have also made it the defender of state and commercial interests. The political censorship indicates the duplicity, thereby the real problem.

  • Jose Miguel Garcia

    Because the writing and the ideas exposed are so seamless, I say, Yeah, let’s do it! And while we’re at it let’s send a special invitation to the working classes to come and join us!

  • Laurie

    I agree with this! First Step; ‘OWN OUR BANKS’ and issue our own currency. And it is being done other places with some if not complete success. There is one state that does and has not suffered the exigencies of desperate economics. 2. Create alternative fuel/energy system. FOCUS ON THE VISION.
    hasta La Victoria!

  • labman57

    Capitalist: Someone who, if given the means and opportunity, would take control of the global atmospheric oxygen supply … and then charge humanity usage fees for breathing.

    Reality check — most Americans are neither pure capitalists nor pure socialists, but rather a hybrid of the two.

    Capitalism is an important component of our economic structure, because it promotes competition which leads to innovation. But the inherent danger of unbridled, unregulated capitalism is that it leaves the consumer open to abuse by a self-regulating private sector in which the only protection available is the motto: buyer beware.

    • Jaime Flores

      “Capitalism is an important component of our economic structure, because it promotes competition which leads to innovation.” On can say the same for war. The Nazi invented a lot of things not for the sake for money but for the sake of their race. Everything can be cult driven, A true innovator doesn’t care about the competition in my eyes, he just cares for the mystical unraveling discovery processes which makes him feel his doing something mystical. The point of government in a capitalist society for me is to make sure everyone is playing by the rules. Investor also are not willing to gamble, were they know they can lose it all. So they want some form of insurance or protection. Things evolve, systems evolve. I’m also against intellectual property. Capitalism is a cult, socialism can also be a cult driven, everything is a cult, everything is brainwashing. The thing is that people have extreme views on capitalism and socialism and some views that have been going around since the beginning of time are still use as examples too prove one system is better than another. At the end people really just care about status.

    • Ell Ess

      Capitalism – free market economics – surely crushes innovation: it is vastly wasteful of resources that include human life and its horribly constrained possibilities, life which factors into its own final survivability; and it periodically decimates small commerce during cyclic crises, akin to periodic decimation in diverse conditions in ecology. The appalling whole is of course erroneously pitched as Darwinian by the Rands and Strangeloves of political economics.

  • Cassandra

    It is true that the cult of capitalism isolates us from family and friends. Someone once said that you can judge the values of a culture based on their tallest buildings. First, it was churches, then it was banks, and now it is office space – what does that say about us? The disciples of capitalism work long hours, go shopping in their free time, AND when they do spend time with their family and friends, they primarily talk about work. This entire lifestyle serves the cult, while keeping the disciple isolated. We all know these people – they make up the majority of America.

    They think they’re working to provide for their families and secure their retirement. But at the end of their lives, they realize they have given their sweat and blood to a cause that has given them nothing back. Ultimately, by the end of your life you want to look back and have some meaning. But if you spent your life in an office, in a cubicle – giving your life to, what? Post it notes? Or some other tiny convenience of modern day living?

    • Ell Ess

      How about finding the toil of two or three generations squandered on what makes billions in profit and an excuse to print ideological money and pays less than nothing?

      • Ell Ess

        I also object, profusely, to the paradigm of the family, for capitalism the structural fundament of social and ideological reproduction and control, and one zone of its bizarre social illusions (ie. a violent competitive class system built on alleged communities, familial sites of proper socialization, etc., of their own noted rupture and crises, for conservatives and liberals alike). Noticeable has been the projection of the family onto the most bizarre and obscene of commerce and population, better clarifying its social meaning. Free association of the social kind is sadly abolished in the grey present.

  • Barb The Artist and www,

    To learn about the resource based economy.

  • comet

    In response to Brew Franklin’s comment “will people really do the hard work…?” I would say
    yes. When you live collectively, all the responsibilities are divided
    and shared. It’s a constant give and take. It would not be one person
    working as a sewage cleaner, it would be the sewage that needs cleaning,
    and people share different roles. People that want to fix computers
    will fix computers, and the “dirty work” is shared among everyone. We would do things ourselves or as a group- we would HAVE to- that’s how a self-sufficient community is formed. One
    day I would clean the toilets, another day I would cook dinner for 20
    people, ect!

    There is a motto, “take what you need, contribute what you can” that I
    know has been put into practice on various farm projects (and I’m sure
    elsewhere in life) People participating do not work the exact number of
    hours, or take the exact number of vegetables. But using this motto,
    everyone is satisfied and giving to the best of their ability.

  • Jaime Flores

    In a capitalist society the government works for the rich. In other societies the government works for the majority.

    • Jose Villavicencio

      Dude if you think that the system we have is free market capitalism, a.k.a capitalism you are EXTREMELY misinformed in your knowledge of REAL economics!!Go read economics in one lesson and then come back and we can chat!

      • Josh

        There is no such thing as “real economics,” you dolt. “Economics” isn’t even a social science. Least of all the sort of “economics” one encounters in an entry-level course. There, the pseudo-science is at its most blatant. In fact, “economics,” as you so naively call it, is nothing more than a body of apologetic for the worst excesses of capital. This is to be expected, since the majority of its theoretical underpinnings come not from sound rationalist philosophy, nor any sort of empirical observation whatsoever; rather, they come from the bare, unqualified assertions from a bunch of well-to-do Victorian plutocrats like David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus.

        Stop talking out your arse.

  • Ell Ess

    Your comments, in subtly, your image and its author, suggest you ate a propagandist in the most direct sense. The cult of D and a blinded so-called left are a disease. Behind that, as other elements of your remarks suggest, is a left as cultish, mystified, familial, creepy, fervent, weird, self-censoring, as it claims capitalism is itself. I now believe this to be true, after over a decade of experience. Nutter.

  • Ell Ess

    It’s also par for the course that you are either dictated to by mass media and the mainstream, to the kind of astounding levels I have seen in populations overall, or literally an agent of mainstream media monopoly of social media that made it such an illusion to hoards of meme gabblers, of ideas and life, that I have also been exposed to, researched and documented; Russel Brand and the luvvies and darlings of criminal media and money are just its visible popular absurdity. The ideological control of society is the foundation of the grandest illusions of our age, and has made of leftism that must begin with its sight something assimilated, an occupant of a locus to be described.
    For my part I am a radical survivor of the grandest ideological machine on the planet, personally, in a crime as apparently threatening to the so-called left as it is to the right, I remain so at my end of tether and days. What a strange leftism that reveals as co-censorship, version branding, a schizoid moral family, if not state collaboration, sweatshop brand fashion, and a vicious new lost generation raised on the giant religion, however spun. Thereby a lost future, in my view.

    • Ell Ess

      Media and police control, subversion and infiltration of protest politics and wider media is weakly documented and well-exposed, though commercial media subversion has received far less attention, for obvious reasons, than covert policing, with vast gaping holes (or an asteroid impact site); the latter has seen considerable exposure in the UK, but the situation is unsurprisingly collaborative. The question is to what extent literal active participation of private interests and state and information control are required; received information economies run themselves with a far more convincing illusion of democracy than the vote.

  • Ell Ess

    “That wasn’t what I wrote.”
    “You must have mistaken me for someone who cares.”
    - Journalist from The Sun in response to guest writer from BBC woman’s hour in documentary work exchange.

    (In no way is this intended as an endorsement of either the Murdock press or the BBC or its associated political commentators.)

  • Ell Ess

    Hollywood’s sign is fairly vertiginous, if you cut away the turf to sea level. You could also stack press and broadcast buildings and get a whopper.