Bertolt Brecht, the 20th century German playwright and poet, wrote, “The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”
We live in a nation of political illiterates. Not just people that don’t know whoe their state senators are, or who the vice-president is, or that the Supreme Court is packed with conservatives & creating policies rather than interpreting points of law. I mean illiterate insofar as they remain (sometimes proudly) ignorant of the fact that *EVERY* aspect of our individual lives is impacted by political decisions, which grow from the economic laws necessarily followed in order to maintain the consumerist-financial-military-industrial-narcotics complex that is the current stage of decaying capitalism, the system under which we sweat & toil & under the yoke of which the global environment is ravaged, much l[ike the hours of our very lives. Politics is the realm where power operates, where people we truly have very little control over, whether in government or in the workplace, decide what will be done with the *socially* produced wealth & nature-given resources they have under their control. Politics, a very *un-democratic* politics, is the realm where the decisions over what to do with the surplus value (profits) extracted from those who actually produce society’s wealth are made. What to produce, how much to produce, how to produce & distribute, what prices to charge, how to market whatever to the world in a manner that convinces the majority that whatever it is is something that can’t be lived without, how to shape laws that make the process even more profitable, what amount to set aside for future research & development, what amount to set aside for lawsuits if the item is potentially dangerous, who gets what – and all with the only guiding principle being profitability for those making the *political* decisions in the inherently un-democratic hierarchies that are characteristic of both governments & corporations.