Frame Capitalism not the Earth

We in the west think that Darfur was torn apart due to ethnic conflict, while according to David Morse it was a resource war. He writes in an insightful article on Alternet,

“The most sophisticated technologies deployed are, on the one hand, the helicopters used by the Sudanese government to support the militias when they attack black African villages, and on the other hand, quite a different weapon: the seismographs used by foreign oil companies to map oil deposits hundreds of feet below the surface.”

Why are the dots never connected between the wars in Darfur and exploitation by the oil industry? Morse points to the undeniable subsidies provided to media by the automobile industry… think of the slickest and most fantasy driven ads: the car ads.

The ideology that dominates our media is so strong that alternative narratives are taken with a minimum of seriousness, as Slavoj Zizek points out, without the necessity of the kind of prohibition of films dealing with time travel and alternate history as happened in China in April 2011 where even a fantasy escape into an alternate reality is considered too dangerous. But — try to imagine another system here in the US? Zizek again:

“It is easy for us to imagine the end of the world – see numerous apocalyptic films, but not end of capitalism.”

Meanwhile, in Durban, the climate talks are once again lumbering towards failure, while those protesting outside the talks seem to have a good understanding of the criticality of ideological framing. Democracy Now reported that Pablo Salon, former ambassador to the UN from Bolivia and chief climate negotiator for Bolivia, who had been on the inside of the talks at both Copenhagen and Cancun said,

“And I’m here in the outside because I think the only way that we are going to be able to change the course of these negotiations is here in the outside. If people mobilize like we are seeing now in all countries, in a broader perspective, that’s the only way we are going to be able to have deep cuts of emissions, because what they are now promoting is a new mandate to do nothing until 2020, while the world is going to burn and Africa is going to be cooked for an increase in the temperature of more than four to six degrees Celsius.”

When asked how the US fits into this he answered:

“Oh, the U.S., I would say, it’s really a shame, because their proposal on the table is only an emission reduction of 3 percent, 3 percent, of the levels of emissions of 1990, and to do that until 2020. So that is mainly “let’s do nothing in relation to climate change,” when it comes to emission reductions of the country that historically has the biggest emission reductions during the past 250 years.”

Given the manipulation of the Copenhagen climate talks by the US State department as reported by John Vidal on Democracy Now last year, we should be seeing some more progressive re-framing of the issues by Vidal as he has just traveled to Durban “from Africa’s poorest nations, Malawi; its newest, Southern Sudan; its hungriest, Ethiopia” as Amy Goodman put it.

Since the right wing in the US always wants everything to be “paid for” I was marginally heartened to find Vidal telling Goodman this weekend this in answer to her question why he thinks “it would serve the U.S. economy, as opposed to why so many in the United States are saying we can’t do anything about a global climate fund because we are dealing with a broken economy in the United States?:

“This is not going to cost America anything at all, actually. It’s going to—America could take the world lead very, very easily. It could switch just like that. It could become absolutely the hero of these talks. It’s chosen not to. It hasn’t changed its position in three years.”

But – here in the US, it is business as usual. In fact, Fox Business blames the new Muppet movie and its predecessors for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Huffington Post reported that Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center said,

“Whether it was ‘Captain Planet’ or Nickelodeon’s ‘Big Green Help,’ or ‘The Day After Tomorrow,’ the Al Gore-influenced movie, all of that is what they’re teaching, is that corporations is bad, the oil industry is bad, and ultimately what they’re telling kids is what they told you in the movie ‘The Matrix’: that mankind is a virus on poor old mother Earth.”


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