Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Corporate Rule

¡Hola! Everybody…
Whew! Yesterday’s revelation about a foiled assassination attempt on Obama really threw me for a loop. By the time I got home, after arguing with a co-worker about its significance, I was in attack mode.

Whatever the merit of my stance, however, it doesn’t justify my hurling words intended to hurt and causing division. So today, I take a deep breath and get back on the wave… my apologies to D for coming out the side of neck with her on Black Hornet’s blog.

* * *

-=[ Fascism ]=-

“Fascism should be more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

-- Giovanni Gentile

It amazes me to no end to continue to hear (without challenge from print and TV media) the ridiculous assumption that we should continue to give mind-boggling tax breaks to corporate elites (welfare for the rich). Even more confounding is the fact that a significant portion of the American electorate will vote against their economic interests.

However, it shouldn’t be so confounding; we are halfway towards becoming a fascist state. You might say I’m being dramatic, or that I have lost my bearings and I would respond that you’ve had your head stuck in the sand too long. Take the blinders off for a moment and let’s look at the sate of our democracy for a moment. Pretend this isn’t America and you tell me if I’m off…

First, let me establish, and I think most sane people will agree, that corporations today wield an enormous amount of influence over our government. It’s evident in the way elections are run and how our economic and social policies are created. Bankruptcy laws were written by credit card companies, signed into law as is. Corporations influence our environmental policies for the most part. We spend more on our military than the ten next countries combined, a policy results in billions of profits for corporations (more welfare). The list goes on. Everywhere we look today, we see the handiwork of corporations, of the mindset of profits before people.

That is not a democracy. This is not what people have fought and died for all these hundreds of years.

Roosevelt’s government came to power in the 1930s in the wake of the Great Depression. While he couldn’t know he was going to fight a war in Europe, he did know and planned to fight a war in America -- a war on what he called the “economic royalists.” In his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia in 1936, Roosevelt uttered the following words:

Philadelphia is a good city in which to write American history. This is fitting ground on which to reaffirm the faith of our fathers; to pledge ourselves to restore to the people a wider freedom; to give to 1936 as the founders gave to 1776 - an American way of life.

“That very word freedom, in itself and of necessity, suggests freedom from some restraining power. In 1776, we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy - from the eighteenth-century royalists who held special privileges from the crown… ”

“And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought. That victory gave the business of governing into the hands of the average man, who won the right with his neighbors to make and order his own destiny through his own government. Political tyranny was wiped out at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.”

“Since that struggle, however, man’s inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution - all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.

“For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital -- all undreamed of by the Fathers -- the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

“There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.”

I encourage you to read the speech in full (click here) because FDR’s speech is as relevant today as it was then. We have come full circle where the power of the corporations -- of FDR’s “economic royalists” -- has eclipsed the power of government “by and for the people.”

So when you hear ridiculous talk about giving tax breaks to the wealthy and how it is in our best interests to cede our money and our power to those interests, raise your head from the sand and dare to speak truth to power.

If you don’t, who will?



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