Political Prisoners

Business Sense

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

If there is an overarching ideology at work in America today, it’s the ubiquity of the market.

On TV, stars shred every last fig leaf of privacy to sell alleged “reality.”

Everyday folks join the shows in a realm of entertainment that might best be called “Indignity for Dollars.”

Politicians and press people are virtually for hire to the biggest corporate bidder.

Thus politics and media news outlets become multi-billion dollar industries. Moreover, they become industries that feed on each other, as politicians buy millions of dollars worth of commercials, and of course, TV and cable outlets make big bucks by selling ads.

Meanwhile, the everyday economy—of food, fuel, housing and education—goes from bad to worse.

To the average network anchor who pulls in millions per year in fees, this is decidedly under the radar.

His (or her) job is to protect the status quo.

From this convergence we get the present political structure, where accepted political debate is that which doesn’t ruffle the feathers of Wall Street or the corporate elite.

When’s the last time you’ve seen or read (in the corporate media) about the sub-prime lending debacle as a crime—as truly the most premeditated of crimes designed to steal the wealth of millions? Not lately, I’d bet.

It’s a straight news story, no “B” roll (or background video).

It’s usually an anchor reading a script, dry as day-old bread.

Because it happens primarily to people who are Black and Latino, it’s not a news leader nor headliner, even though it represents the biggest loss of Black wealth in history.

According to the group United for a Fair Economy, such people lost between $164 and $213 billion dollars.

If it weren’t so tragic, it would remind one of the silly character popularized by comedian Mike Myers in his Austin Powers movies—the nefarious Dr. Evil. (y’know— “$213 billion dollars!”)

But this is no joke.

It is the root of the current foreclosure crisis, which in turn has sent the Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)—the federally insured mortgage assistance agencies to the brink of bankruptcy.

How does the government respond to this crisis?

It has thrown a life preserver to the agencies (and through them the banks and traders who hustled the sub-primes), and turned its back on the people who got swindled.


What we are seeing is the perverse logic of the market, or in a tighter phrase, “business sense.”

Anything goes to get money, and if you fail, don’t worry, for the fake free traders in government will bail you out, but only if you’re big enough., July 20, 2008