Guest blog by Steven Miller
(The following is an brilliant essay in 6 parts about the takeover of democracy by monopoly capitalism – that includes solutions.)
“Capitalism in the 21st Century is no longer based largely on profits resulting from a real economy productive process, windfall financial gains are acquired through large scale speculative operations, without the occurrence of real economy activity, at the touch of a mouse button.” Michel Chussodovsky
Part I – Summary
It is a statement of fact, not ideology, that a class of billionaires, principally based in finance and speculation, control the levers of society. Since the Crash of 2008, the 1% has been waging a war against society that drives the 99% further towards disaster and ruin. Their End Game is the complete privatization of everything that is today owned by the public. This process is inevitable as long as political power remains in their hands. The question is: can this system be reformed? Another is: If not, can we fight and win? If so, how? These are strategic questions.
There are decisive moments in the history of capitalism when one form of wealth, one kind of property, becomes the most lucrative. The capitalists that control this property often become the dominant sector of the capitalist class and take control of the state, dictating policy to society. Marx writes, “The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” (1)
The ruling class – call them the 1%, call them capitalists – commonly wages war against itself to seize markets and articulate the strategic view that makes the most profit, especially for them. They call this “the free market”. It is rigged and completely stacked in favor of the billionaires.
When the most profit-making form of labor was slavery, the slave owners ran the government and the state. They were succeeded, after the Civil War, by the railroad barons, industrialists, who owned property in factories, coal, and iron. Slave production was replaced by industrial production. Human slavery was replaced by the far more productive wage-slavery. Early bankers played an enormous role in this transition. Industrial production predominated into the 1950s. It didn’t disappear, but the control of capital passed to banks, investors and finance.
Now it’s all changing again. The tools themselves, the technology, determine which sector of capitalists comes out on top. Today the most revolutionary tools are the vast array of digital, electronic and communication technologies. This revolution is transforming society in ways unforeseen just a decade ago. When Obama was elected in 2008 – the same year as the great economic Meltdown – there was no such thing as social media, no apps, no data in the cloud, no viral videos. The IPhone was only a few months old. The tools are changing fast, driven by constantly evolving hardware and software.
As you read through this essay and examine the evidence, please keep the bigger question in mind. Can this system actually be changed in some sort of meaningful way? What would it take? How do we fight and win?
The growing electronic production of almost everything demonstrates what Karl Marx was referring to when he said, “capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction.” But it was Adam Smith, not Marx, who first proved that the real source of profit is human labor.
References and Resources
Lead quote – Michel Chussodovsky. “The Speculative Endgame: The ‘Government Shutdown’ and Debt Default’, a Multibillion Bonanza for Wall Street”, Center for Global Research
1) Communist Manifesto. Chapter 1
To be continued.
Steven Miller has taught science for 25 years in Oakland’s Flatland high schools. He has been actively engaged in public school reform since the early 1990s. When the state seized control of Oakland public schools in 2003, they immediately implemented policies of corporatization and privatization that are advocated by the Broad Institute. Since that time Steve has written extensively against the privatization of public education, water and other public resources. You can email him at email@example.com
photo credit: Adbusters Culturejammers HQ via photopin cc
Originally posted at Daily Censored
I’ve bolded the crucial message in this introduction. The 1% intend to privatize everything that’s publicly owned if we leave political power in their hands. What we need to decide is if the system can be reformed. If it’s not, are we willing to fight to restore American democracy.
My two cents…I think we fall into a trap whenever we frame the discourse around reform as it implies something was once working properly. For the indigenous people of N. America and descendants of the slave trade not to mention millions of poor, disenfranchised and marginalized Americans, democracy by plutocracy has never worked in their favor. The public education system provides one of the few paths left to upward economic mobility but has always been tiered vis a vis public vs. private, elite schools. If people do not have access to quality, affordable healthcare, education and housing no amount of reforming is going to change people’s lives. Capitalism in it’s current incarnation will never allow this so reform isn’t possible and circular reasoning will ensue. A new system must be built that shuts out all of the old, money players and they will not go gently into the night. I don’t know what this will look like but it will, by necessity, involve language not already defined by the dominant/power culture. We have to stop allowing the elite to define the terms of acceptable discourse. A brave new world, indeed…
That being said, many of the alternatives you have shared here and at other’s blogs are important steps to redefining the discourse and thinking completely and unequivocally “outside the box”. Who made this infamous box anyway?
Well put, Jeff. I think you have said it all.
Looking forward to further reading. I’m with Jeff. I have my doubts about our ability to change anything. And I don’ t think the populace will fight or at least resist unless the situation becomes much, much worse.
I’m glad I’m old. Regards