Ownership of the commanding heights of the economy is what gives the rich their power to get richer at the expense of workers. That’s been the Marxist or socialist view since Das Kapital was published. (1)
The rich outright own The Democrats and Republicans and the political prostitutes who run them who, if they weren’t rich when entered office, soon find ways to get rich. That’s why the term ‘Congressional ethics” has become a sick joke and why approval rates for Congress declined from 84% in 2002 to 10% in 2012. (2) There is no way to defeat the twin parties of the rich in the political arena of modern capitalist ‘democracies’ because they control the media and write the laws that limit the political process to events and outcomes they have absolute control over.
The US is a banana republic – bigger, richer and more successful than most, but a banana republic in every sense of the word.
Corporate looting of the economy by multinationals depends on the inventiveness of CEO’s in refining looting practices and busting unions. (3) They’re the highest paid corporate workers but even with bloated salaries and golden parachutes their wealth, except for certain family run corporations, doesn’t even begin to approach the wealth of the .01%. For example “Walmart CEO Michael Duke’s $35 million salary, when converted to an hourly wage, worked out to $16,826.92. By comparison, at a Walmart store planned for the Windy City’s Pullman neighborhood, new employees to be paid $8.75 an hour would gross $13,650 a year.” (4)
By contrast “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, tweeted a startling statistic to his followers on July 22, 2012: “Today the Walton family of Walmart own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of America. … Six members of the Walton family appear on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. Christy Walton, widow of the late John Walton, leads the clan at No. 6 with a net worth of <b>$25.3 billion</b> as of March 2012. She is also the richest woman in the world for the seventh year in a row, according to Forbes. Here are the other five:
No. 9: Jim Walton, $23.7 billion
No. 10: Alice Walton, $23.3 billion
No. 11: S. Robson Walton, oldest son of Sam Walton, <b>$23.1 billion
No. 103: Ann Walton Kroenke, $3.9 billion
No. 139: Nancy Walton Laurie, $3.4 billion
That’s a grand total of $102.7 billion for the whole family.” (5)
That, $35 million vs $23 billion, is the difference between being a very highly paid employee and a member the looting class, the ruling class.
The best strategy for the left is to help organize the two newly radicalized layers of working people represented by the growing left wing of unions and radicalized, unemployed or underemployed and marginalized workers represented by the Occupier movements. Many of the Occupiers are people who once supported but now reject Obama and the Democrats.
The two main parties, in spite of all their anti-democratic laws, beginning with the Electoral College, their control of the media and their access to unlimited funds from the looter classes are in trouble. They’re splintering internally and the level partisan rancor they exhibit makes it difficult for them to rule. Both, in my opinion, should change their names to the Whig Party. Like the Hapsburg’s and the Romanov’s, they no longer possess the ability to rule effectively in the sense of solving questions like war and prosperity. That fact will doom not only them but the looter class they serve.
(1) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ (everyone has to read Das Kapital at least once if they want to have a clue).