Let no man claim that the United States is not a representative government.
There is no greater representative government on earth. The trouble is that
the U.S. represents the interests of wealthy Plutocrats and multinational corporations,
rather than the people. The vast majority of the citizens are essentially without
representation. The government has fallen so completely under the spell of the
corporations that it is virtually indistinguishable from them. The people have
been shut out of the process and are left to fend for themselves, much like
the victims of Hurricane Katrina last year.
The government was once the only power capable of reining in the corporations
and holding them accountable to the people. That is why the corporations have
invested such enormous capital in taking over the government. Now there are
few servants of the people but many who are willing to prostitute themselves
and the constitution to the will of capital.
Capital knows neither loyalty nor nationality. Its sole motivation is to maximize
profits while minimizing costs by any means necessary. Thus capital seeks the
cheapest labor with the least restrictions anywhere in the world. Capital has
no qualms about outsourcing jobs and leaving economically devastated communities
in its wake. It pits worker against worker to increase production while simultaneously
driving down wages worldwide. Although it was not widely reported in the American
press, during World War Two General Motors and the Ford Motor Company simultaneously
built armored vehicles for both the U.S. and the Nazis. Alcoa supplied aluminum
to both sides, with plants operating in both countries.
Not only did these companies realize enormous profits on the spoils of war,
they received huge windfall takings from the U.S. taxpayer for reparations to
their bombed out production facilities in Germany at the close of the war. In
reality, there is no such entity as an ‘American’ company. Capital
does not care where its wealth is produced or who produces it.
The above example, by no means out of the ordinary, demonstrates how corporations
reap the profits of war without incurring risk. War is good for business, a
win-win for the profiteers of capitalism. It is hell for everyone else. Virtually
every military intervention undertaken by the U.S. throughout the world during
the past sixty years was to protect corporate investments and to expand markets.
None of these interventions were undertaken to spread democracy or to liberate
oppressed people. They often did just the opposite. The U.S. has a long and
brutal history of oppressing Democratic Republics—a list too extensive
to site here (see William Blum’s insightful book “Killing Hope”).
Democracy is the enemy of capital, as witnessed by our own bloody labor and
civil rights history.
Thus it should come as no surprise to anyone that a hundred and fifty U.S.
based corporations are reaping obscene profits on the plunder and destruction
of Iraq. The U.S. military is the iron fist of capitalism that oppresses workers
at home, and kills millions of innocent people in other parts of the world.
We have troops in 135 of the world’s 192 recognized nations. And we are
not sowing democracy. We leave devastated landscapes, misery, and abject poverty
in our wake. We set up puppet regimes willing to sell out their own people in
exchange for making the world safe for corporate plunder; and we call it democracy.
The saber rattling over Iran is another case and point, another opportunity
to prop up the anemic U.S. dollar, extend U.S. hegemony in the region and to
secure more stolen oil for affluent multinational corporations with familiar
names. The specter of permanent war, as promised by the governing neocon cabal,
guarantee obscene profits to the wealthiest corporations and the richest families
on earth. Meanwhile, thousands more young women and men will needlessly die
in the mistaken belief that they are defending America from foreign enemies.
Millions of innocent Iranian citizens will also likely die as their peaceful
nation is dismantled in a huge corporate fire sale like the one occurring in
Iraq. It is easy money to be divided among the wealthiest one percent of the
population. Capital does not care how its bread is buttered, so long as it is
A Plutocratic government that does not represent the interests of the people
does not deserve the allegiance of the people. It is the moral duty of all citizens
to resist unjust government, to overthrow it, and replace it with a form of
government that serves them—a representative democracy in which all citizens
For the first time in history the highest political offices in the land are
occupied by executives from the oil industry. President Bush, Vice President
Cheney, and Secretary of State Rice, are all rolling in oil money. They represent
Big Oil, not ordinary Americans. Their every policy provides more wealth to
the rich and less for lower income families. Every government office, every
cabinet level position is likewise stocked with former industry executives.
Even the judiciary is peopled with pro business judges, leaving the people with
few viable options within the bounds of the law.
Capital is responsible for the class warfare that has utterly destroyed America.
There is only one super power capable of reigning in corporate power and emancipating
the people—the rebellion of millions of ordinary but socially conscious
working class Americans, regardless of party affiliation. America has suffered
well over two centuries of capitalism. One or two percent of the population
have benefited while the rest have toiled in virtual slavery. We need to go
in another direction. Latin America provides a shinning example of governments
that serve the public interest rather than private capital.
The government knows and understands that the people possess enormous power—a
muscle they rarely choose to exercise. It is in the interest of capital to keep
the power of the citizenry latent. Giving life to latent power requires arousal,
an awakening to reality. Every institution of capital spends enormous sums of
energy and capital keeping the masses dormant and disengaged from the public
welfare. Much of their capital is necessarily invested in controlling the people
and purveying propaganda. If ever the people become aroused, as has happened
in the past, capital will again turn violent and brutal in its suppression of
populist movements. Witness the lessons of history from the Chicago Haymarket
riot of 1886 and numerous other incidents of social unrest (see James Green’s
book “Death in the Haymarket”). It is only when massive civil unrest
occurs that the brutal and violent oppression of the people is openly revealed
on the domestic front, even as it is continually enacted on foreign soils under
the pretext of spreading democracy.
To the capitalists, democracy is nothing more than public relations hype for
their hidden agenda of global domination. Their policies bear no more resemblance
to democracy than war bears to peace or hate to love.
Social agitation is important and necessary to expose the lies fostered by
capital in its ravenous lust for wealth and power. Dissent is about awakening
the slumbering masses to how they are being exploited by capital and by a corrupt
system that does not serve their interests. Without a great awakening and social
conscience there is no power other than corrupt power. We need people who understand
the issues, women and men willing to run the risk of ridicule and imprisonment,
to fan the flames of dissent and to spark a revolution one person at a time
(see my earlier essay “Revolutionary Movements and Leadership” published
on this site).
Given that they own the media in its various incarnations and are financed
by the wealthiest people and institutions in the world, it is a wonder that
the neocons (radical capitalists) are not faring better than they are. Despite
enjoying every advantage they are teetering on the brink of self annihilation.
Insatiable greed is the Achilles heel of capital. For them, enough is never
enough. They want it all and they yearn for absolute dictatorial power in the
fashion of the slave holders of the pre civil war south who kept all the profits
produced by slave labor to themselves, while building vast financial empires
that drive southern politics and national policy to this day. Capital seeks
free labor and an inexhaustible supply of cannon fodder to expand global markets
for the rich to continue their long ride of privilege upon the backs of the
working class. That is why the outsourcing of jobs is occurring in a mad race
to drive down wages as close to zero as possible.
What hope is there for equality in a culture that values capital above the
lives of striving human beings? That has always been the goal of capitalism—to
subdue the will of the workers to serve those of privilege. That is why Bush
and Rumsfeld and the others can go before the people and lie so easily. They
have no respect for anyone but the elite. They disdain the privations and struggles
of ordinary working people who play by the rules but have no chance in a corrupt
system that is hopelessly arrayed against them. Our lives, our hopes and dreams,
mean nothing to them. They have no qualms about sending us to places like Iraq
to die for capital; they never have.
America will never fulfill its promise to the world until the issue
of class inequity is finally resolved. It will go on festering beneath the exterior,
an angry infection that will again boil to the surface as an open sore with
every injustice. Revolution is the only medicine that can cleanse the wound
and bring about healing. Revolution does not occur at the ballot box; it happens
in the streets. What form the coming revolution will take is anyone’s
guess. But it will come as long as there is injustice and inequality. The recent
May Day strikes were a sign of hope, a harbinger of things to come. Let us build
upon that foundation. The strike is our greatest weapon. Let us use it to greater
Charles Sullivan is a free lance writer, photographer
and social activist residing somewhere in the hinterland of West Virginia. Contact
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.