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
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Redefining "We the People" - SCOTUS and the PlutocRATS
Wolf gives us a history starting in the 1970s of methods used by the capitalist ruling class to gradually make it more convenient for them to use their vast wealth to fund candidates as well as other means of using their money to influence the outcome of elections. However, the entire history of the US can be seen as a period in which all kinds of legal and other maneuvers were used to go around any democratic impediments to use wealth to pursue their interests. Their success in implementing these methods since the beginning of the US corresponds well with the expansion of voting rights from a narrow segment of male property owners to nearly all citizens. The refinement of such methods along with the indoctrination agencies of media and education made universal suffrage no longer a threat to capitalist interests.
If you only consult Wikipedia on this matter, you will learn that this ruling class dominance over the political process goes all the way back to 1819 when the ruling class's Supreme Court decided that corporations, which created huge concentrations of wealth and power, could assume some of the same rights as natural persons. Remember that corporations were originally granted rights only on an ad hoc basis, but the 1819 decision opened the door for their rights to be conflated with the rights of individual citizens. Thus began the process of sliding down the slippery slope where we have landed today. Over the years this has been expanded to include all of the rights under the Constitution up to the very recent McCutcheon decision by the Supreme Court to further liberalize direct corporate contributions to political candidates.
The history of the US provides an excellent illustration of a country founded on egalitarian political principles that disguised the real nature of power that ownership of property gave to one small section of citizens who became a ruling class. The political principles were promulgated precisely to disguise this power. All institutions of society were used to reinforce these delusions of "democracy" to prevent ordinary people from seeing the hoax and to accept this order of rule.