Can We Save Ourselves from The Lords of Capital at Davos While They ‘Save the World™...for Their Predations?

davos

(I’m sorry it’s so long; I’m not even sure I’d read it if I hadn’t had to…)

The Mission Statement of the World Economic Forum, in part (my bolds):

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.

Ho de ho ho and lol:  As my grandpappy used to say: ‘Lord love a duck, what utter codswallop’.  But at least this part of their mission statement happens to be true:

The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.”

The 2500strong Titans of Finance Tweets from the Klosters show luxury fashion show videos, ‘hes for Shes’ (parity for women, ha ha), equestrian events, Hollywood Star Power♥! writ large, schmoozing for ‘investments’ (Tsipras  and others).  This cartoon is one way of looking at WEF, another is that they just meeting and greeting one another, and praising one another for being at the top of the Capitalist Pyramind due to their own merit, whose duty should be the Deciders, Innovators, and Prognosticators.

davos-inequality-zapiro

But my spidey senses are telling me that this year is different.  Given that as neoliberal austerity oppression and capitalism itself are causing more and more of us around the earth to begin to imagine that there’s nothing left to lose, especially as just ahead of Davos Oxfam released their annual report stating that the richest 1% now own more than the rest of the people in the world combined.  Sure, as a group they’ve engaged in the pretense of caring about The Rabble, while reporting that they Sincerely Get It, and are about to send forth their fleet of Davos Fargo Wagons down the track to help.  Oh yes, they’ve hatched a few plans…

The Plans seem to me to be centered around the fact that the global economy has faltered, continues to falter, peak oil has passed, commodity prices are falling, and tra la la, and even the Lords and Lordettes of Capital aren’t filling their pockets quickly enough.  So: enters the scheme to rule essentially by WEF corporate fiat, bypassing over that messy, inefficient ‘democracy’ stuff.  More about that soon, but think: privatization and plunder….

On WEF’s ‘what are the top global risks for 2016?’ page, under: Which Panic Buttons to Push is:

Income disparity, which was highlighted by the report in 2014, is this year reflected in the growing interconnections involving profound social instability and both structural unemployment and underemployment and adverse consequences of technological advances.”

Note: ‘income disparity’: quite different from ‘wealth disparity’, no? Well, sure, they show world map graphics noting which nations are just too doggoned unstable and risky to conduct business in, see?  A useful designation for…NATO and Africom…and deep state NGOs to…plunder while ‘helping’.

Neil Clark, writing for RT, maintains that ‘Davos is the problem, not the solution’.  Well, yes indeed.  For instance, some of the charts of the rankings assigned by Davos attendees:

 “The number one risk in 2016 in terms of likelihood, meanwhile, is large-scale involuntary migration, followed by extreme weather events (2nd), failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation (3rd), interstate conflict with regional consequences (4th) and major natural catastrophes (5th).

Such a broad risk landscape is unprecedented in the 11 years the report has been measuring global risks. For the first time, four out of five categories – environmental, geopolitical, societal and economic – feature among the top five most impactful risks. The only category not to feature is technological risk, where the highest ranking risk is cyberattack, in 11th position in both likelihood and impact.”

Well, yeah, but cyber attack was mentioned a whale of a lot of times, and there was poll on their official Twitter account wondering if Robotic War would be less prone to ‘error’ than human war (drones, I imagine).

Except for ‘major natural catastrophes’ (whatever their definition is) are most of them not authored by the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe?  Trillions in profits from US and UK quantitative went into the coffers of the Davos Plutocrats; trillions of theirs are in off-shore tax havens; and according to the Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez, between 2009 and 2012 the top 1% of American households took 91 cents out of each extra dollar that the country earned. The other 99% of Americans had to share the remaining 9 cents between them.

Neil Clark’s coverage included: the gathering was mainly North Americans and Europeans, gazillionaire George Soros blamed Putin for the massive involuntary emigration in hopes of ‘collapsing the EU’.  He hoped Soros of the ‘Open Society’ plan  bumped into attendee Paul Kagame (not too many PoC there by the look of it, maybe One Token on the adjunct board).  He embedded a Tweet by Lindsey German saying ‘Refugees are not destabilising Europe. Europe is destabilising them; noted the French PM’s claim that refugees could destroy the EU refuses to accept the fact that Europe helped cause the crisis”.  He embedded a Tony ‘Bush’s Poodle’ Blair interview containing maximum hypocrisy overload, then gazed for a few moments at the world both pre- and post-1971 Klaus Schwab ‘European Management Forum’ in the US.  Ah well, we all know only too well that the Kleptocratic Klass Predators are the not the solution to anything, but how much longer will we allow them to squeeze us to death from On High?

Now let’s look at the plan they hatched some time ago at Davos.  From Nick Buxton at TNI.org (Transnational Institute), whose stated mission is: ‘TNI envisions a world of peace, equity and democracy on a sustainable planet brought about and sustained by an informed and engaged citizenry’:

“2500 corporate executives, politicians and a few Hollywood stars are expected to descend this week on Davos to discuss both the growing jitters about the faltering global economy as well as pontificate on the official theme of the conference, namely the “fourth industrial revolution” (Think robots, AI and self-driving cars).

The real concern about the WEF, however, is not the personal hypocrisy of its privileged delegates. It is rather that this unaccountable invitation-only gathering is increasingly where global decisions are being taken and moreover is becoming the default form of global governance. There is considerable evidence that past WEFs have stimulated free trade agreements such as NAFTA as well helped rein in regulation of Wall Street in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Less well known is the fact that WEF since 2009 has been working on an ambitious project called the Global Redesign Initiative, (GRI), which effectively proposes a transition away from intergovernmental decision-making towards a system of multi-stakeholder governance.   In other words, by stealth, they are marginalising a recognised model where we vote in governments who then negotiate treaties which are then ratified by our elected representatives with a model where a self-selected group of ‘stakeholders’ make decisions on our behalf.

Advocates of multi-stakeholder governance argue that governments and intergovernmental forums, such as the UN, are no longer efficient places for tackling increasingly complex global crises. The founder of WEF Klaus Schwab says “the sovereign state has become obsolete”. WEF has created 40 Global Agenda Councils and industry-sector bodies, with the belief these are the best groups of people to develop proposals and ultimately decisions related to a whole gamut of global issues from climate change to cybersecurity.

Corporations are put at the heart of this model, because they provide in the view of Klaus Schwab and corporate elites, the possibilities of “agile” governance, drawing on the private sector’s experience of “adapting to a new, fast-changing environment”. Governments are encouraged to tackle every issue by allying with private sector in public-private partnerships. And a few carefully selected civil society representatives are invited in to legitimise the process. Questions of how issues are framed, who is chosen, from what sectors, for whose benefit, and accountable to whom are brushed under the carpet.” [snip]

“…when you look at the careers of the Board members that the real driving force behind this model is clear. While half of the Board (12) are currently corporate executives, if you look at their career history, this rises to two-thirds. Only one member can be said to represent civil society (Peter Maurer of Red Cross). There are no representatives of trade unions, public sector organisations, human rights groups, peasant or indigenous organisations, students and youth.

The quotes from the board members could be misconstrued as self-parody easily: lauding themselves for being bright enough to know when to corner markets and resources and seize the day!  The CEO of Nestle (bottled water) is magnificent in his hubris.

Buxton then chooses as one model for the ‘multi-stakeholder governance’ instead of multilateralism  was COP21 exactly that: no promises made, just ‘voluntary promises’, greater private/public collaboration (my term, not his), and promises to revisit the issue in five years.  Their notion of ’collaboration’ being “we’ll make money from pretending to mitigate climate change with all our glorious upcoming technologies or Green Capitalism rubbish, etc..  He recites the list of NGO programs ostensibly designed to address the issue of food scarcity, rightly noting that they liberalize trade, engage in industrial agriculture (one of the two largest contributors of greenhouse gases, though he doesn’t mention it), corporate control of food and seed itself, and totally ignores food distribution, democratic access to land and food sovereignty.

Small wonder, then, that he notes at the end that:

 “…the result is that we are increasingly entering a world where gatherings such as Davos are not laughable billionaire playgrounds, but rather the future of global governance. It is nothing less than a silent global coup d’etat.”

Now there are quite a few rivals for my least favorite Kleptocrats posing as Noble Philanthropists (fauxlanthropists), but let’s see what Bill Gates had to say from Davos, and why we should be happy (especially due to his programs) in 2016, then look at a whopping chunk of the reality:

Contrast with ‘Spearheading the Neo-liberal Plunder of African Agriculture’ by Colin Todhunter; some snippets:

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is dangerously and unaccountably distorting the direction of international development, according to a new report by the campaign group Global Justice Now. With assets of $43.5 billion, the BMGF is the largest charitable foundation in the world. It actually distributes more aid for global health than any government. As a result, it has a major influence on issues of global health and agriculture. [snip]

According to the report, the foundation’s strategy is intended to deepen the role of multinational companies in global health and agriculture especially, even though these corporations are responsible for much of the poverty and injustice that already plagues the global south.”

The report concludes that the foundation’s programmes have a specific ideological strategy that promotes neo-liberal economic policies, corporate globalisation, the technology this brings (such as GMOs) and an outdated view of the centrality of aid in ‘helping’ the poor.” Then some bullet points about Microsoft’s tax-avoidance offshore subsidiaries, pushing private health ‘care’ and education, bio-wrecking Africa with industrial agriculture, toxic chemicals and GMOs that undermine sustainable agriculture and sovereign food security, and more.

Below are a few #WEF Tweets I’ve hyperlinked.

Ah yes, the myth of the Noblesse Oblige by the Lords of Capital is actually ‘philanthrocapitalist neocolonialism’, much like the Clinton Foundation’s.
Just before she headed to Davos, the Queen of Neoliberal Capitalism went on an African tour to help distressed nations out and boogied with these darling children.

Just before that she’d visited with our partners in peace in the KSA, and noted that ‘Saudi Arabia has performed strongly; now needs to adjust to low oil prices’.  ‘Strongly’, hoo, boy.  She’s also touting #IslamicFinance, whatever that means.

This struck me as just too sad: ‘will.i.am on the 21st Century Dream’ from Davos:

‘Stop Demonizing Fossil Fuel Companies, Whines Global Bank Chief’ (HSBC CEO)

One of the voices of sanity in Davos: ‘”You Can Have Stronger Growth If You Reduce the Extremes Of Inequality’ Joseph Stiglitz on Soundcloud.  (At least he’s trying to show ‘trickle up economics‘ ain’t even workin’ for them )

‘Another great depression!’ (satiric jibe)

Now if I were on the Twitter Machine, I’d embed this on their account:

and highlight these lyrics:

This house is on fire

Kick off your boots, come and sit a spell
Listen to me worry, come and listen well
All you better best come and lean in boys
‘Cause I don’t dare to raise my voice

I’ve been sitting here for the longest time
Reading all the warning and the danger signs
I don’t have the gift of the prophecy
Telling everybody how it’s gonna be

Soon come, soon come the day
This tinderbox is gonna blow in your face
I don’t have the gift of the prophecy
Telling everybody how it’s gonna be

You go passing wrong for right and right for wrong
People only stand for that for just so long
It’s all gonna catch like a house on fire
Spark an evil blaze and burn higher…

 We serfs are many, you Feudal Lords are few…beware of our quest for a just world for all.

(cross-posted at Café Babylon)

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Pluto's Republic's picture

…is the most stable form of banking; the kind of banks that don't need bailouts. One might call it an early form of crowd sourced funding. Banking is more a matter of profit sharing in Islamic finance; borrowers are more like IPOs. Depositors are more like shareholders.

There was a time when the three ME all-star religions, Jews, Christians, and Muslims had one major social principle in common — interest on money must never be charged nor received. Interest contaminated finance and harmed individuals and society. Making money off of money, which is how the one percent makes a living, was shunned. In fact, charging interest was the reason Jesus went all postal in the temple that one time. Over time, the Jews broke that fundamental law, which has more than a little to do with "what went wrong" for them. Then the Christians became money-sinners. The interest business was especially embraced by the Anglo Christians, which is part of "what went wrong" with them, (see Charles Dickens).

Islam stayed the course with no-interest finance and bent everyone else to their will. As a result, a number of US banks accommodate Islam finance. US Treasuries can even be purchased that use principles of Islam finance.

Harvard is the major academic center for Islamic Finance in the US. Investopedia provides a concise explanation for USians. Amazon sells Islamic Banking for Dummies. Keeping in mind that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States, it should not come as a surprise that Sharia-compliant banking is also widely available. One does not need to be a Muslim to use their products. For example, University Islamic Financial has branches in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. In these states, UIF offers sharia home financing that can be very attractive and affordable for home-owners compared to western-style mortgages.

I really enjoyed your red-meat article. I always pay attention to Davos. As for lighter observations, I thought their speakers and panelists were younger than ever before. (Probably the result of the tech gap. No one under 55 years-old gets their news from cable or newspapers, anymore. And that's a gap matters.) Plus, Kevin Spacey attended, just sayin'.

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____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

wendy davis's picture

It makes even less sense to me that Madame Lagarde DeFarge was touting it. On the hashtag, one Dubai banker's avatar seemed to be himself with her.

I expect you're right about the reason attendees seemed to be younger on average. Well, Spacey did slay me with his little talk that included loving the idea that school kids could benefit immensely from virtual reality modules, and that 'America usually gets it right in the end.

The couplet you put on the Varoufakis diary? Could you explain what you'd meant about Bernie bending to the rod? I reckon I know, but I'd rather be sure. (I'm more curious now since a major Sanders fan was just at the Café, laughing about this WSJ interview with the head of Blackstone.)

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Pluto's Republic's picture

...to the empire-seeking Neocons who control the profitable US war machine. In other words, Geopolitics.

Bernie will easily bend to the rod,
but Trump is walking dead if he gets the nod.

Sanders is not a threat to them. He is predisposed to totally surrender to the rule of the CFR. No doubt he's an Israel-firster, he never declared otherwise and has never criticized that deplorable ideology that has Congress in its grip. Voting against a war is not a core position that reverses US murder and mayhem throughout the world.

Trump is too dumb, I suspect, to save his own life. He wants to charge nations for US protection. Make a little profit off the US military. He wants the world to pay the US for patrolling the sea lanes to facilitate trade. He has no loyalty to any other country; he has no ideology for empire-seeking that require US international murder sprees. Really, he will not be allowed to survive any electoral success.

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____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

wendy davis's picture

Mr. wd and I have wondered if the MIC wouldn't feel fine about his being prez, as he might be a perfect Trojan Horse like Obama. I care so little about electoral politics, I've written just one, but at the heart of it was this part of an interview he did with the war hawk Martha Raddatz. Seems to me that as he wants the strongest military in the world, one could surmise it would have to be taken on walks like NATO, and he allows for a number of situations that would require war...R2Ps, for instance, he's just a lesser Imperialist. His riff on drones appalled me, to say the truth. Was this the one he said that the Saudis should get their hands dirty to bomb ISIS? Ah, well, I've forgotten.

Now the commentariat at Naked Capitalism are down with the Bern, and two schools of thought they present on why Bern won't make war. One is that he'll be too busy enacting his domestic policies to do so, and the other is that his many domestic policies will require him to cut the military budget (that was Yves Smith's). Both seem almost funny to me, especially given that Nick Turse discovered a few years ago...that the Shadow Military budget almost rivaled the official one.

His Zionism seems to be weighted by who's narrating his record. Clinton at AIPAC has been a sight to behold, though. Brrrrr.

But I ended the diary with this, because I'd have to say that it's my largest issue, and contains the elements of so many evils of the Empire.

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LapsedLawyer's picture

finance agreements -- TPP (a.k.a. Total Plutocrat Pre-eminence) and TTIP (Total Transformation Into Plutocracy).

Davos -- the new Laputa.

And with but a change in one letter, Davos becomes this guy.

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"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."
-- John Lennon

wendy davis's picture

And sincerely worthy acronym translations; good on you. Well, plus your insane John Lennon quote self-identifier, smile.

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LapsedLawyer's picture

the latest prior to this being from Martin Luther King, Jr., but as soon as I saw this quote, all I could think was, "Yup. That's my attitude."

Thanks for the kind words on the acronyms.

Cheers

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"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."
-- John Lennon

wendy davis's picture

I went to make sure that Obama and the other 'leaders' of the TPP will be signing it in NZ on Feb. 4, and yes. Of course, then ratification must happen in most of the nations.

But I looked further for more evidence that the 'flush the ttp folks' say major protests are on tap for the 4th. But oh, my, looking for evidence of the Kiwis who ain't too keen on the deal, I found: '‘New Zealand Police Intimidate Anti-TPP Activists in Their Homes', plus Peru, and I'm sure others. But Joseph Stiglitz did Tweet a few things castigating both TTP and TAFTA (ttip) from Davos.

His 'inequality' soundcloud sadly was about Extreme inequality, and focused on its inhibiting economic growth, but yes...he was in Davos. I wonder if his book by that name speaks to the insane immorality of it, as well.

But DHS has deemed all dissenters (eco, animal rights, etc) as Terrorists, save for the sort in Malheure wildlife refuge, I guess.

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LapsedLawyer's picture

Here in my grubby little state they passed an anti-BDS bill just a couple days ago. Likely to be passed by the Senate and sent on to the governor for approval.

(And just fyi, whenever I write the word "governor" I think of the word "governor".)

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"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."
-- John Lennon

wendy davis's picture

"The Indiana bill states that the effort to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel is “antithetical and deeply damaging to the cause of peace, justice, equality, democracy and human rights for all people in the Middle East” says exactly who matters...and who doesn't. My stars.

Ooof; from now I'll be seeing that 'governor'. Lots of power in governorship; think of Walkerstan. One commenter at the Café is in WI and keeps us up on his assaults on the Commons and The Rabble class in aid of 'bidness'. Non-toxic water is becoming a thing of the past in many areas. The outrages keep piling up, don't they? We're left wondering why USians are so complacent in the main.

I'm unused to tag lines, but your Johnny one I can sure relate to!

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wendy davis's picture

It's almost unbelievable what lengths I went to in order for it to format without the Tweets, arrgh.

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hecate's picture

from the Lords of Capital:

We are now embarking on a new mission of forging a global order. That is why I am now visiting all our friends to tell them to move in step with the world. To everything its season, says the preacher. There was a time when slavery was good. It did its work, and when it finished creating capital, it withered and died a natural death. Colonialism was good. It spread industrial culture of shared resources and markets. But to revive colonialism would now be an error. There was a time when the cold war dictated our every calculation in domestic and international relations. It is over. We are in the post-cold war era, and our calculations are affected by the laws and needs of globalization. The history of capital can be summed up in one phrase: in search of freedom. Freedom to expand, and now it has a chance at the entire globe for its theater. It needs a democratic space to move as its own logic demands. So I have been sent to urge you to start thinking about turning your country into a democracy. Who knows? Maybe with your blessings, some of your ministers might even want to form opposition parties.

Let me make our position clear. We cannot build a global economy under the old politics of the cold war. What we are saying is this: many parties, one aim—a free and stable world where our money can move across borders without barriers erected by the misguided nationalism of the outmoded nation-state. The goal is to free up the resources and energies of the globe.

The Global Bank and the Global Ministry of Finance are clearly looking to privatize countries, nations, and states. They argue that the modern world was created by private capital. The subcontinent of India, for instance, was owned by the British East India Company, Indonesia by the Dutch East India Company, our neighbors by the British East Africa Company, and the Congo Free State by a one-man corporation. Corporate capital was aided by missionary societies. What private capital did then it can do again: own and reshape the Third World in the image of the West without the slightest blot, blemish, or blotch. NGOs will do what the missionary charities did in the past. The world will no longer be composed of the outmoded twentieth-century divisions of East, West, and a directionless Third. The world will become one corporate globe divided into the incorporating and the incorporated. We should volunteer Aburiria to be the first to be wholly managed by private capital, to become the first voluntary corporate colony, a corpolony, the first in the new global order. With the privatization of Aburiria, and with the NGOs relieving us of social services, the country becomes your real estate. You will be collecting land rent in addition to the commission fee for managing the corpolonial army and police force. The corpolonial powers will reward you as a modern visionary.

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wendy davis's picture

Capital = Freedom™

Fascinating that he included missionary charities as having done what NGOs now do. 'voluntary corpolony'; and whooosh on the final two sentences. I don't reckon 'beyond Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'oian' would catch on, but oh, we do require a new metric. Some Marxists claim that he never imagined capitalism burgeoning unimpeded to this horrific level. They also say that it will collapse of its own weight...but they never say when. (smile)

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hecate's picture

was reading last night: "For the weak point in the judgement of intellectuals is that they tend to be right about the course of events, but wrong about their tempo." ; )

Cyril Connolly. Who also said: "Truth is a river that is always splitting up into arms that reunite. Islanded between the arms, the inhabitants argue for a lifetime as to which is the main river."

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wendy davis's picture

and leave one musing and imagining and picturing to widen their message further.

Would you mind if I took the Wizard of Crow quotes over to the Café (h/t hecade)...which name I confess I'd had to look up. Very Kewl goddess. This is a link that briefly conjures up the Key forces and characters.

One of my favorite novelists, Barbara Kingsolver, lived in, and has written about Africa, both in 'The Poisonwood Bible' and in essays in compilations. But both pinged for me at 'missionary charities'. Never mind, my unruly mind just goes...where it goes.

Thank you for those excerpts, my stars.

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hecate's picture

do. It's a wonderful book, and he's a good man.

Here's another one:

Why did Africa let Europe cart away millions of Africa’s souls from the continent to the four corners of the wind? How could Europe lord it over a continent ten times its size? Why does needy Africa continue to let its wealth meet the needs of those outside its borders and then follow behind with hands outstretched for a loan of the very wealth it let go? How did we arrive at this, that the best leader is the one who knows how to beg for a share of what he has already given away at the price of a broken tool? Where is the future of Africa?

I saw this: Around the seventeenth century, Europe impregnated some in Africa with its evil. These pregnancies gave birth to the slave driver of the slave plantation, who mutated into the colonial driver of the colonial plantation, who years later mutated into the neocolonial pilots of the postcolonial plantation. Is he now mutating into a modern driver and pilot of a global plantation?

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wendy davis's picture

One of the genre tags Goodreads gave it was: magical realism. Isabel Allende, mmmm. That last quote is almost too poignant, but it makes me think of how many African compradors there were in some areas of the south. They were permitted to own slaves, and apparently quite a number did. And of course we see that in the 'black misleadership' class in this country in spades.

2006 and his first novel in twenty years. Imprisoned for a time...yes, he deserves our love, respect, and further inquiry. But thank you, I'll take them over soon.

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