November 21, 2009

Some Thoughts on What We’re Up Against


Our basic situation is that the political system and the MSM have been corrupted and captured by a domestic enemy, entrenched corporations, led by the banks.
What is the food these things live on? What do they need to survive? Corporations, including media outlets, must attain profitable revenue. Politicians need votes, and in the broader sense government needs the tacit support of a significant proportion of the populace.
But it’s equally true that politicians need revenue in the form of campaign contributions, while corporations need the vote of the marketplace and the tacit support or negligent tolerance of the people. The MSM especially depends upon the people’s trust.
So in principle the government and the corporate world need large money flows (a rapid “velocity of money”), the active acquiescence of enough of the people, and enough inertia on the part of the rest, such that any active attempt by the people to reclaim their country cannot gain enough traction to cause the oppressive bulge to “break through to its opposite”, as Alinsky would say.
The major refinement in the system from the corporate point of view is that once the government becomes its tool, corporate feudalism can absolve itself of any responsibility for seeking any kind of marketplace vote whatsoever. It can instead lobby government to serve as its hired goon, rigging the system so that the revenue automatically flows regardless of anyone’s consent while only at election time does anyone need to seek any kind of vote. The health racket bailout bill is a prime example. Thanks to rising costs and incipient depression, it will no longer be possible for large numbers of people to afford private health insurance. The solution? An Orwellian “reform” bill which will not restrain costs but will use government force to mandate that every cent available be squeezed out of the people for the benefit of the rackets.
(Meanwhile corporations extend their power to buy elections, while the electoral system is rigged to prevent grassroots organization and bottom up activism from having any effect. Everything is coordinated from the top down so that even what looks like a people’s action, like the Obama campaign grassroots, is little more than an Astroturf.
Here unfortunately the Constitution itself was poorly designed. The electoral college and the Senate itself were anti-democratic in principle and didn’t need much distortion from their inception to become the radically anti-public institutions and mechanisms they are today.
So here we need a revisionist political line but also, eventually, the change the Constitution.)
The result of corporatism is to render aggressively antisocial and purely parasitic and destructive corporate activities prosperous. I said earlier that if the public can be divided into active, willing consumers, the inertial mass, and the resistance, then corporate revenue and existence depend upon maintaining a preponderance of the first two groups to outweigh the third.
But as corporate activity is revealed to be purely destructive, as in the case of Walmartization, or parasitic, like the health insurance racket, or both, as in the case of speculative casino banking, the window of public participation moves in an anti-corporate direction. The pool of gung ho consumers shrinks, while the inertial mass has a gradual shift in its inertia away from toleration of the corporate parasite, while the activist portion gets bigger, stronger, calls out in a louder, more clear voice. (This process is reinforced by the deteriorating economic position of more and more people. As consumers they undergo “demand destruction” as it’s called among oil wonks.)
As this process develops, the corporations need more aggressive government action to extract and convey revenue, and to enforce through intimidation and violence the people’s “consent” to the corporate order.
(Only the MSM seems to still need the direct support of the people for its revenue, though here too the system is trying to figure out a way to prop them up as a public utility. Needless to say, activists must oppose this. There can only be one reason the corporate system would want to use public revenue to support the media, and it ain’t because they’ll stop being pro-corporate.) 
Deregulation, fire sale privatization, sweetheart government contracting, the bank bailouts, pro-monopoly Orwellian “regulation” in agriculture, the looming health insurance stickup and bailout in the form of mandates, are all examples of the loot conveyance.
The assault on civil liberties, the militarization of the police, the hijacking of the law, the Catch-22 legal offensive to deny the people access to the law itself, are examples of enforced consent.
The Global War on Terror, the security- and prison-industrial complexes, the rise of corporatized fascist militias like Blackwater, are examples of both.
So getting back to my original question, what’s the weak point in all of this? The most direct but expensive line of attack is to try to run pro-public candidates against the existing corrupt politicians, or to try to get laws changed directly through initiative and referendum. In many states the system is rigged against this.
The MSM is the most institutionally cowardly. Part of how they were corrupted has been the success of the preposterous “liberal media” propaganda campaign. It was always ridiculous to call this corporate, pro-war media “liberal”, but the Right plugged away at it, and the MSM caved in. By now they’re scared of their own shadows and strive among themselves to appease even the most scabrous, fascist Fox News phantoms.
So in principle it should be possible to achieve the same effect but in the opposite direction using the same aggressive tactics. We’ve seen (infrequent) examples of how the media can be embarrassed by activist attacks, like where it was accused of appeasing climate change deniers. So if the same anti-media attack, the MSM as a lying corporate stooge, was kept up as a constant rhythmic element of our general communication, it may force another shift with the wind by this craven pack of stenographers. (Especially since no amount of whoring on their part seems able to resuscitate their ad revenues. So their corporatist propaganda has not earned them the return they expected. It’s definitely not going to save them.)
Finally we have the corporations themselves. Some may be vulnerable to focused PR assaults, protests, calls for boycotts. We also need, as an absolute socioeconomic and political imperative, a revitalized union movement.
But the most obvious and vulnerable aspect of the corporate system is the complete dependence on large, fast money flow itself. The system needs this active consumer mass which it has nevertheless systematically impoverished and politically antagonized.
So it seems that the clearest route of attack is to organize anti-consumer, anti-debt tactics and campaigns.


  1. Yes, the money spigot is the wellspring of the evils you describe. And that is why American Revolution Today has advocated vastly shortened election seasons. Nothing like a two to three month campaign to reduce the outsized influence of the money peddlers, or so “we” think.

    But, what if the problem is a bit more complicated.
    What I have in mind comes in the form of a question? Why have campaigns for higher office become so *&^%$ long? In answering that we are, to my mind, confronted with the existential problem of the junkie? Most of us are inclined to believe that if only the junkie could kick his habit, he would be on the road to recovery. In strict terms this is absolutely true, yet we know that the real issue is that the junkie will not, indeed, can not conceive of living any other way.

    Applying this logic to politicians, in the present, they have become creatures who, despite their protestations, live for, exist for, the campaign. To the extent that we are culture of narcissism, this makes perfect sense since campaigns are to politicians what movie roles are to actors, a chance to be center stage.

    Sorry to be so long winded, and you probably wondering what, exactly, I am getting at. Boycotts, protests, and strikes are a marvelous idea, and the question that has plagued me of late is WHY AREN’T THEY ALREADY IN FULL FLOWER! DON’T WE HAVE ENOUGH MOTIVATION TO BE PROTESTING AND PERHAPS ENGAGING IN A DOWNRIGHT OVERTHROW OF THE PTB?

    I think we do, and yet…

    We need “NEW PEOPLE” whose values and pressure points are such that they would be inclined to, not just to engage in, protests, boycotts and strikes, but to either rise up against “The System” or, opt out in a major way.

    Comment by Edwardo — November 21, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  2. I don’t know why I had all those question marks where they shouldn’t have been, but to put it crudely, shit happens. Ditto for the various missing articles in the rest of my rambling response to your excellent post.

    Comment by Edwardo — November 21, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  3. I share your frustration over the lassitude of the people.

    Events, events, gradually change attitudes.

    Meanwhile for the activist: time and effort, lots of time and effort, and waiting for the big changes.

    As for the permanent campaign, I guess it’s easier and, for many pols, more fun than governing.

    And we know how the MSM prefers horse race reporting to actual analysis. The more governing is done, the more danger of the media’s actually having to do its real job!
    So they reward campaign-style behavior and discourage substantive behavior.

    And I guess the more money that sloshes into these campaigns, the more of a financial arms race it becomes, the more incentive there is for whomever thinks he has the war chest advantage to get started first, and therefore earlier.

    The media will reward that too.

    In general, for politicians, media, and the people, campaigns are a kind of escapism. Entertainment with the twist that you can pretend something worthwhile is getting done even when it’s not, like when someone gives a rousing speech full of proud principle and creative reform promises.

    More fun than actual legislative and executive processes, which by now are invariably depressing, often enraging, and which show nothing worth pride or gratitude, but on the contrary only a window into the fundamental rot and ugliness this system has become.

    So people rush into campaign mode with great relief.

    Comment by Russ — November 21, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  4. The process you describe has been going on since 1945. What has changed is only the capacity of the public to consume and service the govt debt. Up to 1973, the public had earnings, generally one breadwinner per family. After 1973 it acquired another in the name of women’s liberation. After 1980 it acquired credit cards. After 1994 it got home equity loans and cheap mortgages.

    It is easy to understand why the public failed to complain for sixty years. It was paid off with shoddy goods and trashy entertainment and the promise of upward mobility for the children through education, one of the scams you have left out of your analysis, but a very important one.

    Today the consumer is tapped out. The factories are long gone. The country produces meat and grain and weapons and treasury securities. It imports most everything else. Take away the weapons and you have Argentina.

    Looking forward, the only real potential for employment is in military/security occupations. So long as we have the weapons technology, the country will be a force internationally, but it may not be a pleasant place in which to live.

    The idea that we can ‘solve’ this problem is ridiculous. Countries do not go broke quitetly and painlessly. You may want to stop writing and start packing.

    Comment by jake chase — November 23, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  5. Nobody thinks anything is going to be quiet and painless, except maybe suicide.

    I didn’t leave the mid-century oil-fueled co-optation of the worker out of my analysis. (I’ve written about it quite a few times.) But it’s ancient history. The point now is to tell people how the country has been stolen from them since the 70s.

    As for packing, I’ve given it some thought. Although I’m still obscure, it’s crossed my mind that the time might come where I have to get out or else. That’s probably true of lots of us who have profiles on these comment threads, let alone our own blogs. I wonder sometimes if anyone else thinks about that.

    Judging by how even most people who are reasonably educated about this stuff still think about it in terms of normal politics, probably not many.

    History teaches, it’s no joke.

    Comment by Russ — November 23, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: