COVID-19 as a Lesson in Humility: Gilbert Mercier on Radio Free Sunroot
This is a partial transcript of an interview of Gilbert Mercier with Kollibri Terre Sonnenblum, host of Radio Free Sunroot, on May 5, 2020. The following excerpt was transcribed by Kollibri.
Kollibri: We’re at a point now with this pandemic where capitalism is facing a crisis, perhaps an existential crisis.
Gilbert: To me, this is excellent and it’s an opportunity for people like you and me, and a bunch of other people worldwide, to raise the consciousness level of the population… What people do not realize in Europe is that in the US — as revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic because of the levels of victims — there is a third world country within what is supposed to be the number one power in the world. Which is only the number one power in the world because it’s an empire and because of its military. So we need to do some serious thinking.
The economy is completely shot. It’s only surviving because there was a massive injection of money that doesn’t exist. Money that is printed. Money that is not backed by anything… The US is in the hole another $6 trillion, to be added on to what was already $22 trillion. Now that’s some serious money. China is doing the same thing. Japan is doing the same thing. Europe just announced that they’re going to go up to the tune of of 2 trillion euros. That is a lot of money. And it’s money that’s not there…
There is the billionaire class, and they are very specific people. The list is given every year by Forbes and Fortune magazines. Right now, maybe it has changed, maybe some of them have lost some of their money. It’s 2,019 people worldwide. Those are the people that are holding 60 percent of the wealth of humanity. So people in the middle class or slightly upper middle class, unfortunately for them, have their retirements in the stock market as a 401k. And there are countries that have their pension plans on the stock market, like the UK and Canada and other countries. They are going to be the victims. But they still think it’s a good system. Why? It’s completely irrational.
In 2016, I overheard a little conversation between a hillbilly redneck in the Trumpistan part of the country where I live at the moment. The conversation went as follows. They were laughing, and they said, “well, we wouldn’t want that b-word, Clinton, to win, but at least we will not have an n-word president in the White House anymore.” And they thought that was hilarious.
There’s a lot of very poor white folks who, in order to make ends meet, need to have two or three minimum wage jobs. So you see, to me, it’s a subterfuge. To me, there’s a lot more in common between Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Bezos, than between ordinary people, in terms of wealth. The real divide is really wealth. It’s a capitalist divide.
There’s something very stale, unfortunately, about Karl Marx. But there’s something extremely valid in a socialist approach to things, in terms of social organization, which of course has to be done in terms of the climate crisis, which is still very much around. Last month was the warmest April on record worldwide. The ice caps are still melting. We have the COVID-19 crisis, but that’s only one aspect of things. To me, what is valuable about this COVID-19 problem and the lockdown is that it gives people time to reflect on the way they want their life to go, the kind of world that their children might have to deal with. It’s interesting and hopefully some good things will come out of it.
Capitalism going at a speed that has been so destructive…
eco-socialist manifesto… The Green New Deal is completely bogus. It mimics the New Deal of WWII: FDR was no socialist. Also, it echoes the absurdity of Jeremy Corbyn, who is supposed to be a Marxist but is not. He talks about a Green Industrial Revolution. Talk about an oxymoron. It cannot be industrial… We need a global movement… We need a combination of red, which is socialist, and green, which is ecological, as a real green movement. The principles are really simple. As a matter of fact, the motto of the French Revolution of 1789 is liberté, égalité, fraternité, which is easy to understand. In English, it is is liberty, equality, brotherhood. To me, those three principles are completely valid.
military in the world, invest in health care, and give free health care to all? Why can’t we invest money in education: not only high school level, but also university education? Free, like it is in France! Why can’t we do that?
globalization and global capitalism. But the good news is, right now, COVID-19 has put a really nasty wrench into this….
The Orwellian Empire. This partial transcript courtesy of Kollibri Terre Sonnenblume was originally published on his website Macska Moksha. Photographs one, two, five and six by Jeanne Menjoulet; photograph three from the archive of Chris Devers; photograph four by Adam Cohn; and photograph seven by Gilbert Mercier.
Listen to the full interview below.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.