...the McCutcheon decision, which makes it easier for the corporate and financial elite to buy elections and candidates, is a serious ruling that conveys a devastatingly simple message: that the furtherance of the neoliberal project and the maintenance of the U.S. Empire require the evisceration of democracy.His very accurate description of the founding of the US government and its constitution makes clear that from the very beginning the nascent capitalist class who at that time consisted of land speculators like George Washington, slave owners like Thomas Jefferson, bankers like Alexander Hamilton, and merchants like Robert Morris (traded with both sides during the Revolutionary War) successfully established a nation based on capitalism and its sacred component of private ownership of the economy. They looked at the continent, on which they occupied a small part, and saw the huge potential for exploitation of its riches. Only "savages" and the British government stood in their way.
That message has always been clear to those of us on the margins who have never had the luxury of embracing illusion as a way of life. For us, democracy in the U.S. has always been a “zombie democracy”—a rotten facsimile that looked a little like democracy, sounded like democracy and even had some democratic forms, but was never the real thing, never really alive.
Capitalist historians like to refer reverently to "the Founding Fathers", but this brief article sets the record straight. The democratic themes they wrote in the Declaration of Independence before the revolution were quickly forgotten once the Founding Fathers succeeded in separating the colonies from Britain. They merely used these themes to induce many ordinary Americans to support their project of establishing a nation under their control. Once this was accomplished, they then secretly conspired to secure their control by writing a new constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation.
The possibility of democracy was aborted by Thomas Jefferson and the white, male, property-owning, settler “revolutionaries” who declared their independence in 1776. It was aborted by the first American coup in Philadelphia in 1787, when men of property ignored the mandate from their state legislatures to strengthen the Articles of Confederation and instead met in secret to produce a document that would solidify their power. The resulting Constitution consolidated a white, male, property-owning republic that reduced black people to 3/5th of a person, marked the indigenous for genocide and did not mention democracy anywhere in its text.Likewise, the European capitalist classes first supported these democratic themes in their battle against the land-owning aristocracy. The success of the US revolutionary movement inspired the French bourgeoisie to use the same strategy in the 1789 French revolution.
The rising capitalist classes of both countries used people like Thomas Paine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to spread ideas of equality; but after their revolutions were accomplished, their ideas were continued only in their propaganda and indoctrination programs. They held elections to choose leaders, but only property owners were allowed to participate. Since then they have gradually expanded the voting franchise as they perfected their control of the political machinery of elections, instituted indoctrination into education, and spread their propaganda throughout their media.