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, November 17, 2010

When Fascism Masquerades as Populism

by Richard Posner from Dissident Voice

This is an excellent essay on the devolution of American capitalism, under the influence of neo-liberalist theology, into fascism. 
Capitalism does not empower people; it gives primacy to capital. Like the corporation, money is a legal fiction that allows bankers and financial institutions to create phantom wealth from nothing. It gives rise to privatized banking cartels and to the Federal Reserve which controls the money supply and loans it at interest to the government and to people. In effect, this gives bankers control of the government and our cultural institutions. 
My only quibble is that he seems to have a positive regard for traditional American liberalism. 
This is the agenda of the right-wing extremists of the two major political parties who have ascended to power by adhering to, and promulgating, the theocracy of free market fundamentalism. Traditional liberalism has always acted as a bulwark against this and other regressive ideologies. But now it is politically extinct. Traditional liberalism has given way to the ultra-conservative philosophy of neoliberalism.
Traditional liberalism functioned only to protect the system that laid the golden eggs of wealth and power for the capitalist ruling class. It only offered promises of better economic times for working people, and only delivered on these promises when it felt threatened and needed working people to keep their rule intact. As capitalists increasingly bump up against the limits of resource exhaustion and the threats of an unstable climate, they have only working people left to exploit.