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

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The End Of Democracy As We Knew It

Click here to access article by Bernd Hamm from Information Clearing House.

Bio on Bernd Hamm:
Bernd Hamm, born 1945 in Germany, Professor of Sociology, Jean Monnet Professor of European Studies, and UNESCO Chair in Europe in a Global Perspective at the University of Trier, Germany. 
Bernd Hamm is a professor emeritus of sociology, living in Berlin, Germany.
This lengthy article packs a lot about what I refer to as the "Empire", or the US-led Empire. You might consider it a condensed version of many articles I have posted on this website for nearly five years. Hamm offers a rich, concentrated tour of the Empire, its hidden features, its operations, leadership figures and organizations, and the use of fear campaigns to induce compliant citizens. 

The title he gives this piece and the substance of the article suggests to me that his political orientation is likely that of a social democrat: someone who favors strong social supports for the working class and civil liberties within a capitalist system with some vague notion of reforming it to socialism. He refers to such regimes as "democracy as we knew it". In other words, a kinder, gentler form of capitalism that existed in the immediate post-war years in Europe. Of course, this type of government was no accident. 

After the devastation of the inter-capitalist war of WWII there were large numbers of radicalized people and militant unions in Europe. Thus, the ruling capitalist classes were forced to offer this type of government to gain time to consolidate their control. I think Hamm is appalled at what I regard as the ultimate natural development of capitalism: the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a very rich few, a plutocracy.