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 Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Power of Plutocracy

Click here to access article by Rob Urie from CounterPunch. 

The author provides a good assessment of the current reign of the plutocrats, and the broad reforms they could enact if they were at all serious about turning our economy around. But then he errors fundamentally by proposing a set of more specific reforms that should be instituted to start the process of "undoing the existing economic / political order that has created current conditions...." 

This is a liberal prescription for change. It assumes 1) a rational ruling class (plutocrats) that could be interested in strengthening the US economy, and it assumes 2) the possibility of creating fundamental change within their existing system. These are profoundly wrong assumptions, and they are assumptions which retard any progress toward changing the system and preventing it from devolving into a dystopia for most people and the destruction of the planet.

The error in number one is that the ruling class has, or could have, any interest in improving the US economy. They are globalists. Capitalism, in case you haven't noticed, has gone global. They don't need American workers any more to reap their profits and associated power. American workers are more expensive and more organized than workers in countries such as Bangladesh, China, and Indonesia. Also, the latter countries have much less in the way of environmental regulations that hamper the pursuit of profit. From their limited perspective informed by their addiction to power and profits, plutocrats are acting rationally in the pursuit of their interests. Hence, for them pursuing our interests is irrational.

They find such efforts at reforming the system laughable. They heap scorn on, and mock the recent efforts of the Occupy movement to change political-economic arrangements. The following commercial running almost hourly on Bloomberg TV illustrates this attitude of smug arrogance and scorn:

Publicly they like to voice their affirmation of "democracy" and "human rights", but behind closed doors they frankly boast about their newly created "plutonomy" as revealed in leaked documents such as the following from Citigroup:
Regarding the author's 2nd assumption, only a fool would think that the ruling One Percent will permit any such reforms to the existing arrangements. Around election time they sometimes allude to such reforms, but they are completely forgotten afterwards. In fact, what we have seen after elections are accelerated efforts by the One Percent to attack Medicare, Social Security, any efforts to increase taxes on the wealthy while they pursue more foreign wars and military interventions abroad.

Only an organized, inclusive, grassroots movement such as the Occupy movement has the potential to force fundamental changes on our nation and other nations of the world. Because capitalism, and the Empire which enforces the system on the world, is global, we, as working people, must organize globally in order to fight effectively for new classless societies in which we can live in harmony with each other and with nature.