We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Wall Street: The Trump-China missing link [commentary: part 1 of 2?]
I am posting this article for two reasons: it explains in simple language the reality of some major economic events, and describes the surrealist spectacle of US election campaigns that are presented as a crucial feature of democratic rule. The former needs little elaboration on my part. So I will confine my comments to the latter because unlike Escobar, I don't take this election for president or for most other major candidates seriously.
Since the founding of our nation, election campaigns have mostly transformed from direct capitalist class restrictions on who gets to participate in their elections to an increasing control over the knowledge of important economic and political issues due to the concentration of media in ever smaller capitalist hands. Nowadays these issues are carefully shaped by corporate authorities (probably in collaboration at times with their agents in government secret services) to serve capitalist interests of profit and power to such an extent that such issues have been transformed into something that is indistinguishable from mythology. In his rather simple, vulgar mind Donald Trump has sensed that the elections are rigged, and he is much more right than he knows. Even the perceptive and informed Escobar seems to take the campaigns far more seriously than they deserve.
Because I have devoted my website over the past nearly seven years to unraveling the many mysteries of capitalist rule, I will not offer here a comprehensive presentation of what I have learned--only a summary of what I have learned. And because this article relates mostly to the US and because US capitalists furnish the basis of the US-led Empire, I will concentrate my comments accordingly.
Because capitalist class rule so grossly favors people who "own" major portions of our economy, they must deceive people about what they are doing in order to maintain their extreme wealth and power. This deception first started with the rise of the capitalist class in western Europe mostly in the 18th and 19th centuries during which time they took control of feudal kingdoms and transformed and consolidated them into the states that we see today. To do this they had to get the allegiance of common people in their battles against monarchies and aristocracies by presenting themselves as exponents of "democracy"--the rule of the people as described in such documents as the Declaration of Independence here in the US.
Once this new American class wrested control from Britain, they were saddled with this democratic mythology and somehow had to integrate the appearance of democracy in their new government and Constitution. They designed their new government to protect their rule from people who lived off their labor in order to protect the interests of their class of people--those who owned substantial economic property. Hence only such people could vote. The three components of their government--Congress, the Executive, and the Supreme Court all served to protect their class from workers who at that time were free labor (small farmers and various skilled and semi-skilled workers ("mechanics"), many indentured laborers (temporary semi-slaves), and African slaves who they imported in large numbers to transform the natural wealth in the North American continent into their wealth.
Since then this capitalist class has acquired tremendous wealth and power through their exploitation of both nature and the common people. To appease the ever yearning popular desire for more democracy, they gradually permitted more and more people to vote as they consolidated their ownership of economic property, control of money (Federal Reserve), political parties and the media. This sketch of history brings us up to approximately the 1930s.
The roots of a fascist tendency in this ruling class can be traced to the era of the Gilded Age when the capitalist class consolidated so much wealth and power (think John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, etc) and when this class also went abroad to obtain more wealth in imperial ventures. However in the 1930s this hyper-aggressive fascist faction most aggressively reared their ugly heads. This took various forms--the most dramatic were the funding of the Nazi Party in Germany as a weapon to be used against their nemesis the Soviet Union. Soviet workers were fully employed in the midst of a depression and widespread unemployment in Western capitalist countries. The fact of US workers looking to any kind of ideas relating to public ownership and control of the economy provoked great fear among many capitalists. Thus many were very sympathetic to fascist ideas. Because they didn't like to pay taxes that supported FDR's New Deal policies, they secretly schemed to engineer a coup to replace Franklin Roosevelt with someone to promote their agenda. After that they resisted any efforts by the US government to intervene against the rise of Nazi Germany (they hid under the cover of "isolationism"), and funded many fascist front groups in the US like The American Liberty League, America First Committee, and the American Legion. They also funded many right wing radio broadcasts which spewed anti-New Deal and FDR hate propaganda. I remember hearing such broadcasts by Fulton Lewis Jr.
After WWII when the US reigned nearly supreme with an intact industrial structure, a huge army, and the new atomic bomb, this faction of the capitalist ruling class launched their first war--an invasion of Korea which was threatening to throw out their US occupiers and former Japanese colonial collaborators. (Read The Origins of the Korean War by Bruce Cumings) They had largely infiltrated the US State Department, the Pentagon, and especially the embryonic agency that became the CIA under Allen Dulles. (I strongly advise you to read the recently published book The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government, by David Talbot.)
The next signature event was the assassination of President John Kennedy. This event served notice to every political person that there was an invisible government that was now in charge of the official government. No such person now dares to cross them. As Obama recently said in a brief moment of candor: "the CIA usually gets what it wants." The CIA is only a part of this secret government apparatus (or deep state) along with all the other secret and unaccountable agencies, the National Security Council, and most especially the major think tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, etc.
So elections don't matter. I think Donald Trump was permitted to run in the election because the deep state wants their carefully groomed candidate Hillary Clinton to be president. By presenting the vulgar, racist, simple-minded Trump as the opposing candidate, they are sure that Americans will have no choice but to elect their candidate. The only real choice we have is to continue to put up with this system of government or to begin to think about organizing a revolution to establish a new kind of society that is free of classes, exploitation, wars, and inequality, and that can live in harmony with the environment.