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

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Inequality and Liberal Democracy: A Disturbing Association

Click here to access article by Walden Bello from TeleSur

I think that this is a very important essay by a scholar whose focus as a sociologist has been on the social-economic arrangements of capitalist society. He has also the experience of serving in a "liberal democratic" institution, the Philippine Congress. 

Notice that I put "liberal democratic" in quotes. I absolutely hate the terms used by capitalist authorities to describe their system. This is because all of their so-called "democratic" forms have been used only to hide the actual realities of capitalist class rule, and one important reality is the inequality that the system creates as recently exposed by another sociologist, Piketty. They must of necessity hide these realities behind a huge facade which consists of such verbiage, false ideas, and capitalist values. These are inculcated in all of us by comprehensive indoctrination in their educational institutions and reinforced daily by their corporate media coverage of information, and even experienced in a more subtle form in our entertainment

For example, let us consider only one important component of this brainwashing--consumerism. This emphasis is because capitalism's main focus is about the accumulation of wealth and its concomitant power through the compulsive production of goods for consumption. The production of goods to meet material needs has becomes irrelevant. Hence, the institution of advertising to drive consumption. Have you noticed the ubiquitous messages urging you to shop? Shopping has become a requirement of being a good citizen especially during this time of year. 

Of course, another way to create demand for goods is to destroy those already produced through war. We have seen, and are now seeing plenty of that in this age of never-ending wars.

In this essay Bello has clearly demonstrated that he has transcended this brainwashing experience. The rest of us must also, if we are to prevent the coming holocaust of humanity.
...liberal democratic systems are ideal for the economic elites, for they are programmed with periodic electoral exercises that promote the illusion of equality, thus granting the system an aura of legitimacy, while subverting equality in practice, through money politics, the law, and the workings of the market.  The old Marxist term “bourgeois democracy” is still the best description for this democratic regime. [my emphasis]

To reverse the process requires not just an alternative economic program based on justice, equity, and ecological stability but a new democratic regime to replace the liberal democratic regime that has become so vulnerable to elite and foreign capture.
So, I don't understand why he, and others like him, continue to use capitalist terms which hide the realities which he now recognizes. Part of the process of overcoming our brainwashing is to use terms that reveal these realities rather than hide them.