The global struggle for real democracy has reached a precious moment of truth: In Egypt, the Tahrir Uprising has morphed into an unpopular Presidential election where neither candidate represents the youth who sparked the revolution. In Wisconsin, a vibrant bottom-up insurgency has resulted in a humiliating electoral defeat. Meanwhile in Greece, an openly fascistic party is gaining momentum. And then there is Occupy which has thus far been unable to recapture the magic we created last year.
Who has the vision? Who has the memes? We’re at a fork in the road … a tipping point moment in the global meme war and we on the Left have a lot of soul searching to do.
Here is an inspiring article by Chris Hedges from Adbusters #102 to set the tone for the days ahead:
What was left of electoral politics in the United States gasped and sputtered to its extinction with the 2010 Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United. At that point the game was over. Legalized bribery now defines the political process. The most retrograde elements of corporate capitalism, such as the Koch brothers, are the undisputed king makers. They decide who gets elected by anonymously pouring hundreds of millions into campaigns. They hang with their SuperPACs like vultures over the heads of every federal and state legislator. Any politician who dares to challenge corporate demands and unregulated corporate capitalism knows they will be thrust from political life as well as their highly paid corporate jobs once they leave office. Politicians, including Barack Obama, are corporate employees. And they know it.
Corporate money had corrupted the American political system even before the 2010 Citizens United ruling. We had 35,000 corporate lobbyists in Washington by 2010 writing legislation and funneling corporate donations to compliant politicians. But the ruling snuffed out even tepid and marginal resistance. It transformed us into an oligarchic, corporate state. It marked, in essence, the culmination of the corporate coup d’état that has slowly been established over the past few decades. We can identify our individuality through brands or choices in lifestyle, but political freedom does not exist.
Our highly choreographed campaigns are bizarre spectacles, sterile and empty acts of political theater. The personal narrative of candidates is the central point of debate, not issues, programs or policies. The rhetoric and style is different – in short the brands are different– between Republicans and Democrats, but the substance is the same. It is impossible within the political system in the United States to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil. Political debate is dominated by opinion rather than fact. Lies are true.
The right-wing Heritage Foundation, for example, designed Obama’s healthcare bill. It was first put into practice by then-Governor Mitt Romney in 2006 in Massachusetts. Barack Obama adopted it, after corporate lobbyists for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries rewrote it to include $447 billion in subsidies. Romneycare is Obamacare. It forces consumers to buy a default corporate product. The insurance companies can raise co-payments and premiums, including for the elderly and those on fixed income. They are exempted from providing coverage to chronically ill children. Once you get sick you can be priced out of the market. Of the one million Americans who go bankrupt every year because they cannot pay their medical bills, 80 percent are insured. This abuse will remain untouched. The healthy will pay. The sick will be pushed aside.
The debate on the airwaves between Republicans and Democrats over the healthcare bill, now before the Supreme Court, is part of the vast dumb show. And this is true for every piece of legislation pushed through Congress. The corporate media exists not to illuminate but to perpetuate the mirage. Coke or Pepsi. Take your pick. As if there is a difference.
The capturing of the legislature, executive and judiciary by corporate power, however, is only the first stage. We have now entered the second. The corporate state, led by Congress and the Supreme Court, is rapidly criminalizing dissent. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was a bipartisan bill signed into law on New Year’s Eve by Obama, permits the US government to employ the military as a domestic police force that can detain citizens accused of supporting terrorist groups or “associated forces” without due process until, in the language of the law, the end of hostilities. Obama has employed the Espionage Act against government officials who have leaked information about war crimes to the press, virtually shutting down investigative reporting. Only the official narrative now prevails. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment Act (FISA) retroactively made legal what under our Constitution was illegal, the warrantless wiretapping, monitoring and eavesdropping on citizens. And the Supreme Court, utterly inverting the concept of the rule of law, recently ruled that those who are strip-searched by police or corrections officers, even if they are innocent of a crime, couldn’t challenge the measures in a court of law. In short, there is no legal recourse to the abuse of power.
The corporations will disembowel, or in the language of business schools “harvest,” what is left of the country. The security and surveillance apparatus will lock up those who resist. This is the future. The iron circle will be shut tight.