Scottish Independence: A few thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2014 by jtoddring

I hope the people of Scotland vote yes in the referendum on independence. And I further hope that they will avoid the fate of other countries that won independence politically, only to be subjugated by economic means – for example, South Africa and Poland, after Apartheid and Communism, respectively, where the bankers, IMF and international corporate sharks essentially shackled and devoured these nations. (See Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine.) If the people of Scotland are to gain true independence, they will have to be bold in both economic as well as political terms, and take cues from Iceland and Argentina, who told the neoliberals and the IMF to take a hike. Otherwise, even a “yes” vote will be only a paper victory. I’m hoping for the best. We will see.

I think Scottish independence would be a good thing; but I think it will require more than a referendum vote for independence from the UK. It will require a sovereign currency, for example. It will require leaving the EU. And it will require a total rebuke of the IMF and corporate-driven neo-liberal policies. Once again, it will take, in short, considerable boldness on the economic front, as well as the political.

September 11, 2014

Raise the minimum wage

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2014 by jtoddring


$21/hour should be the minimum wage – as it is in Denmark – if there is universal public health care, adequate pensions, subsidized child care and free universal education from pre-school through graduate school, as there exists in the Nordic countries. If these things are lacking, then the minimum wage needs to be even higher – much higher. We are far below the standards required for a decent society, even in Canada, where the quality of life is ranked as being among the highest in the world. The US, of course, is on a race to the bottom; and with repeated, ever-deepening funding cuts and austerity measures, Canada and most of Europe are racing to follow along on the same path. It is the corporatization of society, and the creation of a new feudal age. The current direction is bleak. Time to reverse the tide.

When CEOs “earn” up to $50,000 an hour or more, when the richest 1% pay little or no tax, and when large profitable corporations typically pay less tax than their lowest paid employees – and at the same time, governments give away hundreds of billions, and in the case of the US government, trillions of dollars in subsidies and bailouts to the biggest banks and corporations, then two things are clear: one, our present socio-economic system is radically unjust, and favours the richest few at the expense of the vast majority, who are being driven systematically into the growing underclass; and two, there is enough money available to make the minimum wage a living wage, and not merely a slave wage.

Make the richest 1% and the large corporations pay their fair share of tax; tax pollution and end payroll taxes which create a disincentive to hiring and employment; reduce or eliminate taxes on employment-generating small and medium size businesses, the poor and the middle class; and raise the minimum wage now. There are no more excuses.

September 11, 2014

ISIS and The Real Terrorist Powers

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2014 by jtoddring


The biggest terrorist powers in the world are located in Washington and London, as Chomsky and others have pointed out repeatedly. Millions were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, to say nothing of the even more massive global death toll from the intensifying economic apartheid that is being imposed by the ruling corporate elite upon the other 99.99% of the world, with the aid and abetting of the world’s most powerful states and the political whores who run them. If the Nuremburg trials were held today, the political “leadership” of the US and UK would be hung. These are the stark facts. Yet, the media presstitutes scream about ISIS as if it were the Fourth Reich – and the people swallow the propaganda, and forget about the real terrorists at home, who make ISIS look as they really are: mere petty thugs in comparison to the Godfather.

September 9, 2014

On hummingbirds and genocide

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 25, 2014 by jtoddring


I was going to write a short thought on seeing an amazing little creature in my garden just now – a humming bird no bigger than a bumblebee, which made me almost shudder with joy at the sight. But then I read more on the genocide being waged against the people of Gaza by the Israeli military, and my heart is filled with pain. So much joy and beauty, and so much horror and suffering in one world – the contradictions are extreme, and dizzying.

Yesterday, the Israeli military shelled a refugee centre in Gaza – the only remaining place that had seemed safe. It was a UN school. They shelled the school and the playground. Women and children were the primary casualties, with over 200 wounded and 17 dead, blood covering the playground.

“UN school attacked in North Gaza. 13 at least killed. Bloody desks. Blood on ground. Terrified children.”

- Richard Engle, NBC News correspondent on the scene yesterday, via twitter

This was the fourth UN school to be shelled or bombed by the Israeli military in the past four days. The people of Gaza are being hunted down, even inside of UN refugee shelters. There are no words strong enough to condemn these acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“There were approximately 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza before the current siege of Gaza and 750+ have been slaughtered in the last few days. A Palestinian child has died every hour, and with the death of the children goes the future of the Palestinian people. The children who survive are traumatized with PTSD. A six year old child will have already experienced three wars in his or her lifetime. Unlike other people who flee war, Gazans are trapped. They have nowhere to go. And Palestinians in the West Bank, if they are able to leave, have no right of return.

- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)

“The incursion and bombardment of Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel. It is not about achieving peace. The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battle field on a largely defenseless civilian population is the final phase in the decades long campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.” – Chris Hedges

“The US-Israeli assault on Gaza escalated in January 2006, a few months after the formal withdrawal, when Palestinians committed a truly heinous crime: they voted “the wrong way” in a free election. Like others, Palestinians learned that one does not disobey with impunity the commands of the master, who never cease to orate about his “yearning for democracy” without eliciting ridicule from the educated classes, another impressive achievement.

Since the terms “aggression” and “terrorism” are inadequate, some new term is needed for the sadistic and cowardly torture of people caged with no possibility of escape, while they are being pounded to dust by the most sophisticated products of US military technology – used in violation of international and even US law, but for self-declared outlaw states that is just another minor technicality.”

- Noam Chomsky

The Israeli government of course rationalizes its actions, as all aggressors do. The Israeli aggression is rationalized by invoking the claim of self-defence. But it was the Israeli government who annexed, which is to say, stole Palestinian lands by military force and aggression. Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian people tried to defend themselves, and a few fought back, with what tiny means they had. And when the victims try to defend themselves, then the aggressors claim they are only acting in self-defence. Every aggressor from Stalin to Hitler has invoked the same self-deceiving, Orwellian logic – and it has no end. We attacked; they acted in self-defence: now we have the right to escalate our attacks and our aggression.

When some of the European settlers in America decided that the continent was theirs by divine right, and decided to push out the native peoples who happened to already be living there, and to kill those who refused to leave, it was not surprising that some of the native peoples decided to defend themselves. The acts of native self-defence were then taken as justification for a policy of extermination and genocide. The same pattern is playing out now in Gaza. And the aggressors are always delusional, mired in self-deceit and double-think, as Orwell so aptly called it.

“When Israel, in the occupied territories now, claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population that they’re crushing.” – Noam Chomsky

How does Israel get away with such blatant, long-standing violations of international law and human rights, and such acts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and flagrant aggression, which have now clearly escalated to the level of genocide? The answer is that Israel is a US client state. The US government views control over the Middle East as strategically critical to the maintenance of the American empire and its corporate interests – oil being the most obvious one. So the US in turn needs client states in the region, vassals to the Empire. For decades, Israel and Turkey have been the two leading US client states in the region, and have been massively provided with military backing. So when Israel defies international law, breaches human rights on a grotesque and recurring scale and manner, and commits war crimes and crimes against humanity, this cannot be criticized. Israel is our thug, and our thugs are always in the right. Our thugs are above the law, and above criticism.

When Saddam Hussein was a loyal puppet of Washington, he was our friend. When he disobeyed orders, he had to be taken out. But so long as the hired goons remain subservient to the master, they are beyond questioning – whatever they do is good and right.

It has to end somewhere. Even the pawns to empire are treated as expendable, we should bear in mind. Stalin made that lesson vividly clear, and it is the same with every empire.

The people of Israel, Palestine and the entire region are suffering and paying a high price for the imperial hubris and meddling of Washington, with increasing international blowback that is now global in its ramifications.

The madness has to stop. This is a beautiful world. Let us stop destroying it, and stop tormenting and killing one another. Let us live in peace. And if we are going to do that, we will need every ounce of our courage to stand up, speak out, and make peace, justice, freedom and ecological sanity a reality.

Stand now. Speak up for the people of Gaza, and for anyone, anywhere, who is under attack.

Listen, for a moment, to the words of one courageous Jewish woman, whom I admire greatly:

“Challenged below for why I am mourning genocide in Gaza. I mourn genocide in Gaza because I am the granddaughter of a family half wiped out in a holocaust and I know genocide when I see it. People are asking why I am taking this ‘side’. There are no sides. I mourn all victims. But every law of war and international law is being broken in the targeting of civilians in Gaza. I stand with the people of Gaza exactly because things might have turned out differently if more people… had stood with the Jews in Germany. I stand with the people of Gaza because no one stood with us. I went to synagogue last Friday night and had to leave because I kept waiting for the massacre of Gaza to be addressed. ..nothing. where is god? God is only ever where we stand with our neighbor in trouble and against injustice. I turn in my card of faith as of now because of our overwhelming silence as Jews…I don’t mean Israelis, a separate issue…about the genocide now in Gaza.. I want no other religion than this, that is, seeing rather than denying my neighbor under fire and embracing rather than dismissing those targeted with annihilation and ethnic cleansing.”

- Naomi Wolf

In Gaza, the children, women and men do not have the luxury of admiring a beautiful bird in a beautiful little garden. They are facing bombs and machine gun blasts, and are barely hanging on. We need to stand with them, and speak out now.


J. Todd Ring,
July 25, 2015

UK Jewish MP Decries Israeli Government For Behaving Like Nazis:




What matters?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2014 by jtoddring

I am not impressed by wealth. I am not impressed by material possessions, or by the gathering up and hording of baubles and trinkets and bits of shiny things. I am not impressed by the size of your house, or your wallet or bank account, or by what kind of car you drive or where you buy your shirts – although I may be deeply impressed if you give the shirt off your back to someone who needs it more than you do, or if you simply share what you have with others, whether you have a little or a lot.

I am not impressed by social status, nor by career-climbing. The king of the world would not make me feel the impulse to bow down to him, any more than I would to any other human being – and quite possibly, even probably, less. Status is meaningless to me, and vanity is simply repulsive.

I am not impressed by popularity or by fame, nor by how well you conform to a dangerously myopic and profoundly abnormal norm – a norm which, by the way, should be rejected by any sensible, mature human being.

I am not impressed by worldly power, certainly. I am also not impressed by academic degrees, by how many books you have read, or what authors you can cite. I am not even impressed by knowledge, though I value it highly.

I am not impressed by intelligence alone, or in itself, since it is simply a tool, and it is what you do with that tool that counts, and not how well you keep it sharpened. Fancy tools that are put to no good use are quite useless in themselves: and if they are put to no good use, then they are generally put to bad use, which is more often the case; and in any event, if they are over-esteemed, then their true use will be forgotten, in which case, the tool becomes the master, and the source of sheer befuddlement and confusion.

I am certainly not impressed by aggression, posturing, pretense, egotism, control complexes or domineering behaviour, all of which speak to me of a childish attitude, and of spiritual infancy. You can huff and you can puff, but you cannot blow my house down with such hollow vapours. They are mere smoke and mirrors, and they are easily seen through.

I am impressed only by three things: compassion, courage, and wisdom. Show me one of these three great treasures, and I will be well and duly impressed. The rest means nothing, or next to nothing to me, by comparison. They are mere window dressing, at best, and at worst, positive distractions from what truly matters.

April 30, 2014

Corporatism, capitalism and real alternatives: On the power to choose our destiny

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2014 by jtoddring

Corporatism is simply a more virulent form of capitalism – or a late stage of capitalism: it is what happens when capitalism is left unchecked, to run its own course. First comes the tendency towards ever-increasing concentrations of money, resources and economic power under a capitalist economy, as Marx rightly predicted; then comes crony capitalism, as politicians are corrupted by big money interests; then comes the merger of business and the state, which is corporatism, and which is the very definition of fascism, as Mussolini himself said, which is the final culmination of unchecked capitalism, as the business elite or oligarchs simply co-opt or take over the government and the state, turning the capitalist economy and nominally democratic societies into a neo-feudal order of brutal and anti-democratic, tyrannical oligarchy, or rule by the business elite.

This latter stage of capitalism, by the way, the merger of business and the state, or the birth of corporate fascism, is what we are now entering, and that will be our dreadful fate if we do not act to change it, and now.

In either case, it is fair to say that either capitalism or corporatism are bad ideas; and yes, there are not only theoretically possible alternatives, but proven alternatives that offer far better results in terms of human well-being, actual functioning democracy, economic prosperity and stability, real freedom, empowerment of the people, justice, equality, peace and environmental sanity.

One example is the Mondragon co-op, which is a network, federation, or co-op of co-ops, where the workers own the businesses directly – not the state, under the control of mandarins, bureaucrats or political elites, and not corporate oligarchs or shareholder elites, but the workers directly, at the local level – and where the workers elect their managers and directors at an annual general meeting, and decide democratically what will be produced and how, and where the profits and revenues will be allocated. It’s not a perfect system, but it is vastly superior by every reasonable standard or measure, to any form of capitalism or corporatism, and it is vastly superior to what we have now.

Is there an alternative to capitalism? Of course there is. In fact, there are a number of alternatives which are not only theoretically possible, but already proven. The Mondragon Co-op has proven one successful alternative to an economy and a society run essentially by and for the rich.

And as an aside, if anyone wants to know what left libertarianism, or libertarian socialism, means or might look like, here is one version or example of it – Mondragon. And it has not only worked, but thrived, for over fifty years now.

We do not have to be daft. We can simply lift our heads and look around. Yes, there alternatives. Are they perfect? Not likely. Are they better than the system or regime we currently live under? Unquestionably, and by a wide margin.

But before anyone gets their knickers in a knot because we have gone too far in challenging the ruling orthodoxy and presumptions of our time, let us say that we have perhaps gotten a bit ahead of ourselves in discussing alternatives to our currently reigning social order. The immediate challenge we face is the take-over by big business of politics, the global economy, the financial system, the media, and effectively, the world. You can be pro-capitalist if you like, although I would not recommend it; but if we are at all sane, if we have any idea as to what is going on, then we must, in all cases, oppose and resist and actively challenge the corporate take-over of human society.

Oligarchy is not freedom, and oligarchy is not democracy. The most immediate and urgent question facing human beings today, is whether we prefer freedom and democracy, or whether prefer rule by a global business elite, and a neo-feudal order. Everyone of sound mind should find this question easy to answer. The next question is, of course, what are we going to do about it.

The question is, whether we will drift along with the current trajectory, and be led, or rather, pushed and corralled, into a kind of neo-Dickensian, neo-feudal global corporatist order, where a handful of billionaires rule the world, the middle class is destroyed and liquidated, and the vast majority of the people are reduced to peasants, serfs or slaves, with a very bleak future in a very dark age; or whether the people will reclaim their power and change course, and make the world anew.

The power is in our hands to choose. But if we choose not to choose – that is, if the people continue to drift with the tide – then our choices will be made for us, and our future will be nothing short of a nightmare.

Stand now. The power is in our hands. And we most definitely do have alternatives to choose from. Only the ignorant and the deceitful will tell you otherwise.

J. Todd Ring,
April 29, 2014

- For more thoughts on this and other subjects, see my newly released book, Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium, available world-wide now on

Earth Day, corporatism, fascism and the saving of our future and our home

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2014 by jtoddring

The only thing worse than capitalism is corporatism: which we have now, and which is a kind of neo-feudal oligarchy in which business and the state are merged – which, as Mussolini himself defined it, is the proper term for fascism. And to make matters worse, not only is our present global regime of neo-feudal corporatism, or corporate fascism, brutal, inhumane, radically unjust, parasitic, imperialistic, warlike, megalomaniacal, deranged, sociopathic, anti-democratic and tyrannical, but it is also ecocidal: which means, it is suicidal and it is destroying the planet and our future. Stand now.

On Earth Day, and until the people win, we must rise and stand, and we must, and will, defeat the currently ruling regime of global corporate rule. Now is the time. The fate of the world is in our hands. And the people have the power.

J. Todd Ring,
April 22, 2014



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