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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, March 3, 2017

Big Brother Capitalism Strikes Back

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch.

What the title refers to is how the capitalist ruled state fights government laws that serve worker interests while promoting and accomplishing support for the interests of capitalists. 

Social democracy, a euphemism formulated by capitalist intellectuals, was heavily promoted by US-led Empire capitalists in Europe following WWII as an antidote to popular interest in communist and worker-oriented ideas, and their organizations that threatened the rule of capitalists. Meanwhile Operation Gladio, under the direction of the CIA, was setup to counter this threat by force whenever necessary. The social democratic strategy permitted European governments to enact policies that provided workers with generous benefits. Thus, affected workers in these countries were lavished with long vacations, medical coverage, retirement benefits, representation on corporate boards of directors, etc.  These carrot and stick strategies worked very successfully to prevent socialist movements from taking control of governments that were under the military control of the Empire. Nowadays these benefits enjoyed by European workers are increasingly under attack.

Frequently ordinary Americans have been confused about the meaning of the term "social democracy". They often confuse this with socialism. We saw how Bernie Sanders added to this confusion by identifying himself as a socialist in the recent election campaign. This is a deliberate policy by the ruling class to distract ordinary people away from any thoughts of another social-economic system. And the gains of benefits by European workers under social democratic policies were always kept quiet in US media for fear that American workers would demand similar benefits.

Street in this article reviews the dedicated efforts by US capitalists to suppress benefits for American workers and implement policies that serve capitalist interests.
U.S. Big Business has long opposed social democratic governance in no small part because it knows that such state policy would enhance the workplace, marketplace, and political power of the working-class majority.  Naturally enough, it has waged a long war against government rules that used to support workers right to organize unions and bargain collectively. Darkly enough, workers unifying to enhance their collective marketplace bargaining power does not qualify as legitimate “free market” behavior as far as capital is concerned.

Beneath all its “free market” talk, capital isn’t opposed to “big government” as such.  It’s opposed to what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called “the left hand of the state” – the parts of the public sector that serve the social and democratic needs of the non-affluent majority.

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