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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Breaks and broken

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.

Combining his own research with that of Oxfam, this economist concludes the following:
Those breaks indicate that not only is the U.S. tax system broken; so, too, is the political system.

Except, of course, for U.S. corporations.
His data also adds more ammunition to the charge that the US government is ruled by a class that is aligned with the interests of corporations that are owned by people known as a capitalist class. This class lives off of the profits from productive activities that workers engage in while working in these corporation. Capitalists do not produce or create anything themselves. They justify this exploitative relationship with workers because of their devotion to property rights which they have built into a cornerstone of their legal system that supports capitalist class rule. 

The meaning of property has been extended far beyond the common notion of personal property into the "ownership" of things ranging from tools and machines that workers use in their daily productive activities to ideas and to life forms (DNA) created by scientists. With these rights of property capitalists justify their right of appropriation of all profits from economic enterprises that use such property, and nearly absolute control over how, when, and where the enterprises operate.

To provide cover for this exploitative relationship and to make it more appealing to workers, the capitalist ruling classes often lay on their legal structure a rather thin veneer of civil rights for its citizens, sponsor political elections to simulate a "democracy", and provide minimal social safety nets. But the reality is this: one must have money to assert these civil rights effectively, capitalists exercise total control over the election machinery, and the safety nets are limited--they are only designed to contain major dissent (this is why they were expanded in the Great Depression). These are only the key features. To be a true ruling class, they had to take control over not only the government, but all institutions of society--media, education, entertainment, etc.

The capitalist class when threatened often resort to an iron fist type of authoritarian rule (often depicted as "fascism") that have these basic features: a dictatorship or centralized rule, extreme promotion and protection of private property especially of major capitalists, a suspension of all civil liberties, and a visceral hatred and violent crackdown of any anti-capitalist political movements.

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