The Democrats Must Attack Democracy to Serve the Corporate Power

13652514_10154450274692873_713090278_n

This article also appeared in Counterpunch

Insatiable

You might think that pervasive election fraud, the conversion of mass media into propaganda, and the already insignificant role that everyday people play in federal government would be enough to satisfy the elite’s lust for power.

Or, that record corporate profits, legal and illegal tax evasion, billions in tax-payer funded subsidies, unprecedented global bailouts and the resulting poverty of billions of human beings would appease the Goldman Sachs of the world and their demand for unlimited wealth.

Or, that endless war on multiple fronts, 650 major military bases,  $600 billion annual budgets, the most lucrative world-wide arms trade, a $trillion more to update our nuclear arsenal and the ritual incantation of American Exceptionalism by Democrats and Republicans alike — even in the face of military failure and environmental disaster — would satisfy the souls of the most ambitious imperialist. But no.

The corporate power is nothing if not relentless. It knows no limits except those we can impose on it. And that is why the managers of corporate power must attack what remains of representational democracy.

Colorado on the Cutting Edge

Colorado is contested turf. It is a battleground between local folks who want to drink clean water, breath clean air, live freely and exercise democracy against the fossil fuel companies that call the shots in both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Clinton’s choice of Ken Salazar, former US Senator from Colorado and Secretary of the Interior, to lead her transition team, “means the oil and gas industry just hit a political gusher.” But, even with their unlimited funding and political control, the elites are worried about the people of Colorado.  The people have legalized marijuana and now take aim at raising the minimum wage, creating a universal healthcare system and ending the modern slavery of prison labor.

Colorado’s constitution is just too democratic so establishment Democrats have joined forces with Republicans — both bankrolled by big oil and gas — to create proposition 71.  71 is an attempt to “protect” the state constitution from citizen activism. The main media argument is that the current arrangements are far too “messy” and allows “special interests” to amend the constitution. The Democrats plan on “raising the bar” by making constitutional revisions far more difficult and expensive to enact.  In effect, the only special interest that will be prevented from revising the constitution is “We the People.”  There is good evidence that the main goal is to stop the movement against fracking.

Democratic Governor Hickenlooper, Democratic Senator Bennett and media corporations have sided with insurance companies, Republicans and the Clinton machine, to hold the line against universal health care.

It’s not just the bad example of real health care that has Democrats worried. “Amendment T” abolishing prison labor would strike at one of the pillars of profit and social control. The Colorado Constitution, just like the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, allows for slavery — yes slavery — for people convicted of a crime.

The US currently puts nearly 1 million such slaves to task. These prison workers generate at least $2 billion a year and produce military gear. Unlike slavery of old, the new slave masters, often large corporations, do not even have to provide for food, shelter or clothing; all that is done with our tax dollars. And all this publicly subsidized slave labor depresses the labor market for every other worker.

The current Colorado constitution allows citizens seeking justice, but holding little cash, to pursue the unfinished agenda of the civil rights and labor movements.  And that worries Democrats.

So worried are they about democracy that Hickenlooper, once considered for the Vice Presidency under Clinton, and all superdelegates from Colorado maintained their allegiance to Clinton even though Sanders won Colorado’s caucus by a nearly 2 to 1 landslide.

So worried are they about democracy that top Democrats joined forces with the oil and gas lobby to oppose citizen initiatives to empower local communities to resist fracking.  The measure failed to make the ballot because the gas and oil industry spent $15 million in opposition and the Colorado Secretary of State determined that too many petition signatures were invalid. This determination was made after a 5% sample of the 107,000 signatures were evaluated. Why not count the other 95%? Too messy for sure, and too expensive since “we are broke” in the richest county in the history of the world.

And now, Hickenlooper threatens to punish any municipality that bans fracking.

Yet, the people of Colorado tend to be an independent-minded lot. Both Jill Stein and Gary Johnson are polling well. Arn Menconi, the Green Party candidate for US Senator is making a serious run against corporate Democrat Bennett who, like his role model Hillary Clinton, has support and funding from elite Republicans.

The attack on local democracy is particularly revealing given that Colorado is a so-called swing state.  We can give up any hope that the Democrats will offer anything to the millions of Bernie voters beside fear and look instead to the small slice of moderate Republicans disgusted with Trump.

The only “incremental change” will be the incremental growth of Corporate Power and the scaling back of what is left of state and local democracy. Perhaps they learned from the Koch brothers who pioneered the use of big money in small places.

What is the Corporate Power?

Most critiques of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton machine focus on the idea of corruption and scandal. True enough, but the Clintons’ corporate worldview goes far beyond greed, corruption and “pay to play.”

The deeper conflict is between a new form of corporate governance — in full command of all three branches of national government — and the remnants of the older legal and political structure. Violations of the now outmoded functions of government — individual rights, free elections, checks and balances, rule of law and the national interest itself — are called out as corruption but are in fact the “new normal.”

The managers of the new system must be above the law and the Constitution to do their job. These corruptions are but evidence of a Corporate Power that must burst the remaining shell of democracy to complete its ascendancy.

The Corporate Power fuses the corporation with the state. This new relationship — a century in the making — was formally recognized by “Citizens United” and is currently managed by the global political corporation known as the Clinton Foundation.

The boundaries between what was once “private,” such as wealth created by economic activity, and what was once “public,” such as governments, are no longer meaningful.  Corporations were born political actors that must commandeer government to claim and control the wealth created by nature and produced by all the people

The seamless interactions between the “public” State Department and the “private” Clinton Foundation exemplifies corporate rule and is the shape of things to come; unless we revolt.

And revolt we must because profit and power are also governed by the same principles.  Just as earlier forms of free-market capitalism, with its more limited profit motive, have been replaced by the corporate order and the drive for the maximum possible profit; the maximum possible power now moves the Corporate Power beyond the limits of representational democracy. There is no role for democracy in the corporate state, except as an obstacle to it supremacy.

And if you believe that democracy remains a vital part of government in the US, I challenge you to provide evidence for where it exist and how it functions.

Today, the only form of democracy worth a damn is the many growing social movements and our electoral wings: the Green Party, the local activists continuing the work of Bernie Sanders under the banner of Our Revolution and Brand New Congress and the independent Left Elect.

If only this were a simple matter of greed or bad men, but it is not. It’s a system in which each corporation must grow or die; even if ecocide is the outcome of collective corporate growth.   The world is so sick because the Corporate Power has learned to thrive even in disaster, war and chaos.

Perhaps it will die as it has lived. But that is up to us.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.[1]

Enough abuses and usurpations for you? When will revolution stop being for other times and other people and instead become the best way to recover the greatest of American traditions? Whatever happens in November we must organzine like our lives, our security and our democracy depend on it. After all, they do.


[1] US Declaration of Independence

 

About Richard Moser

Richard Moser has 40 years experience as an organizer and activist in the labor, student, peace, and community movements. Moser is author of "New Winter Soldiers: GI and Veteran Dissent During the Vietnam Era," and co-editor with Van Gosse of "The World the Sixties Made: Politics and Culture in Recent America." Moser lives in Colorado.
This entry was posted in American Culture, Electoral Strategy for 2016, Movement Culture, Organizing Strategy, revolutionary strategy, Strategy, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s