February 23, 2010

Corporatist Party “Politics”: An Antecedent

Filed under: Corporatism — Russ @ 5:54 am


What’s the clearest link between today’s corporatist parties and the 19th century antisemitic parties? Each aspires to rule as a one-party state. Arendt identified this aspiration to one-party rule as an “origin of totalitarianism.”
Historically, the political parties in a nation-state frankly represented the interests of their voters. The antisemitic parties were the first to declare themselves parties “above all parties.” Today in America we’re so used to bromides like “post-partisan” and “bipartisan” and “beyond parties” that we forget (or never knew) the sinister history behind this pretension, and how the implications are just as sinister today.
Previously only governments had claimed to stand above parties and to rule with the goal of a balance of interests. When the antisemitic parties called themselves above all parties, they signaled their aspiration to complete power over the state, but to exercise that power as a special interest party. So in the same words they expressed their contempt for the very idea of the nation-state, which implied different interest parties together comprising a balance. The old antisemitic parties of Europe, like today’s corporatist parties, want no balance.
The party-above-parties rhetoric was similar to the equally bogus imperialist propaganda of the imperial interest being “truly” national and therefore above all parties. The antisemite parties also contradicted the nationalist trend of the age and instead established international cooperation among their parties, convening congresses which tried to coordinate national policies in the interest of the shared international party goal. We can compare this to the shared neoliberal ideology of corporatists everywhere, whether they call themselves Republicans in America or Communists in China or anything in between. Globalization is the true ideology and policy of every corporatist, and every national society, economy, and government are intended to be nothing but mines, tools, weapons toward the goal of the elite neoliberal plot.  
Contrary to today’s media mythology, it’s not “bipartisanship” or “post-partisanship” which would represent real compromise, real give and take; on the contrary it’s moderate, reasonable partisanship which leads to real coexistence.
But the worshipped terms of today mean no such thing. On the contrary bipartisanship is code for the “two” parties agreeing on how to plunder the people on behalf of the corporations, while the people have no representation at all. No one is partisan on the public’s behalf. That’s what’s really behind the media’s demonization of “partisanship.” The political sound of phony democracy, of the phony “partisan” clash among a truly nonpartisan because completely captured polity, of the inverted totalitarianism (Wolin) of the corporatist system, is the sound of one hand clapping.
Just as with the old antisemites, the corporatists want to liquidate the body politic of the country as a whole. They want to take over the state and use it for the party, which in this case really means the corporate, interest.
Today, post-partisanship is just boilerplate. Both parties consistently sell out their “base” (although the Republicans do a better job of pretending to deliver something; it helps that their voters are more easily misdirected by culture war “issues”). Neither governs on behalf of those who are allegedly its special interests – for the Reps, non-rich whites, small business, the religiously-motivated (and the only reason gun rights activists get what they want is because they fight for it as a bottom-up bloc, and not because the Reps would otherwise deliver for them); for the Dems, minorities, women, environmentalists, union members, gays, identity-politics activists, and others. In either case none of these are ever satisfied except once in awhile by accident.
The main reason for this isn’t gridlock, as if two conscientious interest parties were constantly fighting one another to a draw. The gridlock is largely a sham. What’s really happening is an identity of corporate-interest looting. Any jockeying is on account of how each party wants to get credit for the more politically salable corporate pandering while foisting the more disreputable stuff onto the opposite party. (Although in 2009 Obama and the Dems have shown a bizarre willingness to take the complete opprobrium of disgusting piracy like the Bailout and the health racketeering bill completely upon themselves while letting the Reps off scot-free with their obstructionism and refusal to provide any cover and share the political risk. And we’re seeing how the corporate elites repay them – Wall St is already shifting resources to the Reps. Exactly what we’d expect when we’re dealing with such a combination of malevolence, fecklessness, and incompetence as the Democratic party. On some days it’s almost enough to make me wish I were a Republican. Oh, the fun I’d be having these days, the whole past year, really.)
The Republicans have in fact declared their goal of achieving a de facto one-party dictatorship with their “permanent majority” slogan. If it weren’t for their cowardice and myopia I suppose the Dems would seek the same thing. One thing both fervently seek is a monopoly on corporate bribes. They’re hoping the “supreme court” decision on Citizens United will really open the floodgates.
By now the Reps and the Dems are nothing but two big Astroturfs, and their non-rich voters are all teabaggers in the sense of voting against their own interests.


  1. Where is that spirit that got fed up with the King’s shit & loaded everything on that Mayflower & took off for God knows where?

    Comment by chas — February 23, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  2. On a treacherous journey for……….

    Comment by chas — February 23, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

  3. We’ll see if we can find it, Chas.

    Comment by Russ — February 24, 2010 @ 3:26 am

  4. I have a sinking feeling that anywhere worth going to wouldn’t want us…

    Comment by jimmy james — February 24, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  5. That makes me think of the Calvin and Hobbes where they “go to Mars” because they’re sick of the earth.

    They’re nonplussed when a Martian is scared of them. After all, as Calvin says, “We’re not weirdos from outer space like he is.”

    Eventually they figure it out.

    Comment by Russ — February 24, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

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