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, September 15, 2010

How Corporations Own the US Congress

by Shamus Cooke from Global Research

Most of his observations may seem obvious to followers of this blog and a lot of other people.  Indeed, the author seems to suggest this in his opening paragraph:
With the November elections quickly approaching, the majority of Americans will be thinking one thing: "Who cares?” This apathy isn't due to ignorance, as some accuse. Rather, working people's disinterest in the two party system implies intelligence: millions of people understand that both the Democrats and Republicans will not represent their interests in Congress.  
Nevertheless, it is important to keep spelling it out to those whose attention span might be a bit short and, as election time comes around, fall under the spell of campaign ads and propaganda disguised as news in the mainstream media.

It might be helpful to think of the electoral contests this way. Imagine two football teams owned by the same group of people. The players on these teams and wannabe players all compete vigorously in their games to attract the biggest salaries. The owners don't really care who wins, because they always win. 

Now if we leave this metaphor and get back to reality, we can see that this game is played on the American people, and many others, to create and maintain the illusion of "democracy", that people have a choice.

Unfortunately, his concluding paragraph is not very useful:
To get out of this vicious, dead-end cycle, unions could unite their strength to form coalitions that promote independent labor candidates: 100 percent funded by labor to govern 100 percent in the interest of working people.   All other roads lead back to the corporate lobbyists. 
Labor unions in the US are only a shell of what they use to be in the 1930s. After WWII the ruling class unleashed a right wing attack on so-called "Commies" (comparable to today's "terrorists") lead by a mentally unbalanced Sen. Joe McCarthy and others to attack labor and anyone who supported policies that benefited working people. As a result all the militant leadership were replaced by a much tamer sort. 

You see, such policies as Worker's Compensation, the eight hour day, laws giving rights to organized labor interfered with the profits of corporations and maintained taxes on the rich that were unacceptable to them.

Once they crippled the labor unions, they called off the right wing "dogs" and corporations could grow their power to the place where they are today--the owners of the political institutions.

The capitalist ruling classes have always had their right wing "dogs" ready to attack anybody that gets in their way. (In the late 19th and early 20th centuries they used armed thugs, Pinkerton and other private police forces to beat up and assassinate union people.)  Today you can see this in the Tea Party organization and Fox News to divert attention away from the criminal conduct of the banking and finance elites and direct anger toward migrant workers and Muslims, and to reduce any public expenditures (see Contract from America) except, of course, military spending.