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, February 23, 2011

Wisconsin, power, unions, and oligarchy

by Jim O’Reilly from his blog, Comments on Global Political Economy.

Even someone who retired from a career in banking and finance, like this astute blogger, can see this simple, but widely obscured, truth:
Unions were a great threat to business power in the early 20th century but the sad fact is they’ve been co-opted.  Since the end of World War II, unions have consistently acted to put down worker militancy and thereby assure the smooth operation of a capitalist system which puts near complete power in the hands of business.  It’s a serious mistake to think of unions as an institutional counterweight to oligarchy.