Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mind Numbing Muppets: Bono is a fucking tool (of Imperialism)

Presenting the fifth in a series of Mind Numbing Muppets - a Soundtracksforthem response from the underbelly of the keyboard to the kaleidoscope of dazzlingly silly cahnts who impose themselves on us via their access to the media.

Number 5: Bono..again

Like so many, I too have suffered the end of innocence with respect to my childhood heroes letting me down. A long time ago I came to terms that the late cyclist Marco Pantani, a cougar in the mountain stages to whom I dedicated many an adolescent afternoon in front of the TV, had become a drug cheat. Ditto Shaun Ryder after he told me to “fuck off” in Dublin airport when I approached him for an autograph - though now when I think of it that was very rock’n’roll.

While Bono was a childhood hero to many on the left, I always wished the Earth would open up underneath him and he would disappear into Hades, where there would be a special lake of fire reserved for him, the Dalai Lama, Televangelists and New Age Hippies. For one thing, U2’s music is so sedative that if you allow yourself to listen to it for more than a few minutes there is a serious danger your brain will turn into pate. But more seriously, Bono’s ethical posturing, egomania and de facto support for imperialist institutions such as the IMF and World Bank demonstrate why this man is below contempt.

Now Bono, the new messiah for the world’s disenfranchised, has become embroiled in controversy over his investment in a computer game called “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames”, which depicts the virtual invasion and destruction of Venezuela in order to check a national movement of the oppressed challenging US Imperialist hegemony in the region. The video game simulates the overthrow of the government, the destruction of major Venezuelan cities and rural areas, and the takeover of the oil industry in scenes redolent of the brutal reality facing people in occupied Iraq.

Elevation Partners is the investment firm established by Bono that has to date invested $300 million dollars into the game’s creator, Pandemic Studios. Responding to criticism, Pandemic insists that “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames” is a work of fictional entertainment. Perhaps like “Command and Conquer: Red Alert”, the well known military strategy game, where watching Red Army tanks rolling into London was always heart-warming. But whereas Westwood Studios produce games like “Command and Conquer” for strategists enthused by imaginary warfare (chess is based on the concept), Pandemic Studios is a subcontractor for the US Army and CIA funded Institute for Creative Technologies, which mount war simulations in California's high desert in order to conduct military training.

So far Bono has failed to respond to concerns raised by Venezuelan solidarity groups - the manufacture of a game advocating the violent overthrow of Hugo Chavez, by a company which collaborates with the US military, in the current context of relentless threats against Venezuela by the Bush administration.

This controversy has displayed the nauseating hypocrisy of Bono. He has invested in a project exploiting the Venezuelan masses who were resolutely shat upon until Chavez was elected to power. Since then, schools have been upgraded in urban and rural areas and are required to offer free breakfasts and lunches, arts, music and after-school activities. In poor communities, federally-subsidised stores called "mercals" sell food at half the market price and across the country, new housing is being built to replace shantytown "ranchos" that so many Venezuelans live in. Thousands of free medical clinics have been built inside neighbourhoods that never had doctors before. These are staffed largely by doctors from Cuba, and in return, Cuba receives Venezuelan oil. The Venezuelan state oil company even started a program that provided discounted home-heating oil to low-income families in the US.

The Imperialists fear the Bolivarian spirit of the Venezuelan revolution will become contagious to the rest of the Third World. As Lenin wrote, “Revolutions are festivals of the oppressed”. That is why the US are so keen on overthrowing Chavez and, along with the rest of the G8, felt pressurised into cancelling multilateral debts owed by 18 mainly African countries last year in an attempt to diffuse a growing sentiment against the imperialist plunder of the continent’s massive mineral and oil resources. They then drafted in Bono for moral legitimacy and photo shoots to soften their image.

Yet last year, Mozambique defied an IMF-imposed cap on government wages spending by hiring a further 5000 teachers. Tanzania repudiated the water privatisation contract led by British company Biwater and Mali has delayed the final privatisation of its cotton industry, against World Bank orders, until 2008. In most instances, these states have acted responding to struggles waged by trade unions and social movements on the ground.

Of course, Bono is only too happy to serenade Bush and Blair with pleas for “more and better aid”, perpetuating a culture of charity that leads to the stunting of political consciousness and an inability to constructively engage with the very real problems we face. Revolutionaries and anti-imperialists need to take this debate into the broader social movement and to tackle the social democratic tendency that wants to preserve the capitalist system by softening the abysmal social contradictions. You cannot put a happy face on capitalism. What is necessary is a revolutionary change in the world economic structure.

Last month, addressing the Frente Francisco de Miranda, Venezuela’s leading organisation mobilising youth in support of the revolutionary process, Chavez proclaimed, “the ideological battle against destructive capitalism, for socialism, must deepen. Only socialism will save the planet, will save the human species ... We must develop consciousness.”

Venceremos! (We will win!)

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Comments:
What in gods name are you blathering about.

And why a picture of Pirate. The man was a bigger fraud than Bono.

--Conor JAY.

p.s. You prompted my first post back on UCDSU for months. I wont be heading back there. Time to cut the chord. Think positive, as Noel Edmonds would say.
 
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Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to antropheatgmail.com

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