Tuesday, June 03, 2008

American Fascism and The Corporate State

While you’re waiting patiently for the official announcement that our Primary ordeal is over, let me suggest some reading: “America’s Democratic Collapse,” by Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges.

Here are some excerpts:

We have watched over the past few decades the rise of a powerful web of interlocking corporate entities, a network of arrangements within subsectors, industries, or other partial jurisdictions to diminish and often abolish outside control and oversight. These corporations have neutralized national, state and judicial authority. They dominate, for example, a bloated and wasteful defense industry, which has become sacrosanct and beyond the reach of politicians, most of whom are left defending military projects in their districts, no matter how redundant, because they provide jobs. This has permitted a military-industrial complex, which contributes lavishly to political campaigns, to spread across the country with virtual impunity.

The corporate state, begun under Ronald Reagan and pushed forward by every president since, has destroyed the public and private institutions that protected workers and safeguarded citizens. Only 7.8 percent of workers in the private sector are unionized. This is about the same percentage as in the early 1900s. There are 50 million Americans in real poverty and tens of millions of Americans in a category called "near poverty." Our health care system is broken. Eighteen thousand people die in this country, according to the Institute of Medicine, every year because they can't afford health care. That is six times the number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks, and these unnecessary deaths continue year after year. But we do not hear these stories of pain and dislocation. We are diverted by bread and circus. News reports do little more than report on trivia and celebrity gossip. The FCC, in an example of how far our standards have fallen, defines shows like Fox's celebrity gossip program "TMZ" and the Christian Broadcast Network's "700 Club" as "bona fide newscasts." The economist Charlotte Twight calls this vast corporate system of spectacle and democratic collapse "participatory fascism."

How did we get here? How did this happen? In a word, deregulation -- the systematic dismantling of the managed capitalism that was the hallmark of the American democratic state. Our political decline came about because of deregulation, the repeal of antitrust laws, and the radical transformation from a manufacturing economy to a capital economy.

End excerpts

We are the victims of a slow motion coup d’etat.


x4mr said...

That pretty much says it, and it's far more eloquent than a tirade about the GOP Corporate Whores.

I don't know how or if we ever get the country back. It will not be easy to recover what has been taken away.

Anonymous said...

This is why I supported John Edwards who, I believed, was the only candidate with the skill and the will to bring the corporations to heel. I am happy to support Obama who has said his first act on becoming President would be to rescind all of Bush's actions to establish the unitary executive. That is a promising beginning to bringing the corporations to heel!