6:16 pm in Uncategorized by welshTerrier2
We are trapped by a self-perpetuating cycle of concentrated wealth and concentrated power. As wealth concentrates, power concentrates. As power concentrates, wealth concentrates.
To quote the eminently quotable Mr. Chomsky:
Concentration of wealth yields concentration of political power. And concentration of political power gives rise to legislation that increases and accelerates the cycle. The legislation, essentially bipartisan, drives new fiscal policies and tax changes, as well as the rules of corporate governance and deregulation. Alongside this began a sharp rise in the costs of elections, which drove the political parties even deeper into the pockets of the corporate sector.
We waste our days highlighting the latest injustice… the latest madness. We are skilled observers and see most of them all too clearly. In the beginning, perhaps, labeling these symptoms could boast a small degree of educational value. Perhaps, even today, it helps build our community. The payback for such pursuits is small at best.
The risk is that we see these outrages as ends in themselves. We see them as requiring case-by-case solutions.
So, we speak about Obama’s crimes. We speak about the injustice of war and the lies and the money and the greed and the broken electoral promises.
We skewer the religious right and the Republicans or the corporatized media who do their bidding.
We align ourselves with a parade of identity groups… blacks, women, the elderly.
We speak of the need for third parties and we throw our support to one candidate or another.
We cannot get there from here… not with this approach.
To build the world we seek, power must be democratically distributed. And to achieve that, wealth, not just income, must also be democratically distributed. Any electoral success you might seek that fails to honor that vision is no electoral success at all. If you are campaigning for candidates or parties, they must, at their core, ascribe to the view that concentrated wealth, whether earned “legally” or otherwise, cannot be allowed to stand. Absent that, all other electoral activity is bankrupt. It is utter folly to believe you can effect change electorally without this prerequisite firmly ingrained in the population.
The mission also must not be to defend at any and all costs the ever-more-necessary social safety net. To be sure, until we are able to install a just government, such pursuits are honorable… and necessary. Charity, though, is best when the need for charity is least. If wealth were less concentrated, more of us would have more wealth to begin with. If power were less concentrated, we could build a society that serves all instead of serving just a few. Don’t make the safety net the ultimate goal. As wealth and power become more concentrated, as they have, the demands on the safety net coupled with decreased funding create an unsustainable situation. You cannot prevent the coming “austerity measures” until you democratize wealth and power. For those who would counter with the very recent elections in Greece and France, allow me to say that the jury is still out. You can win elections and still lose the game.
The first sparkle in a very, very long time was Occupy. Although news coverage was painfully slow in the beginning, there were a few months last year where Occupy was in the news almost everyday. That is clearly not the case now. While many are still deeply committed and very active, the level of activity, and press coverage, is nothing like it had been. Perhaps the “spring offensive” has yet to take off. Perhaps the flashy occupations have settled into a more mature form of movement building. Or perhaps the kindling burned up before it caught the big logs.
Some seem to believe that when things get really bad, the public will join together to topple the power structure. It often seems this is more likely to happen in countries outside the US. In the US, i.e. inside the heart of the beast, perhaps we have grown too soft and lazy or fearful of losing our creature comforts. Or perhaps we face the most sophisticated propaganda machine the world has ever known. Or perhaps, burning in each one of us is a passion for justice that will sooner or later take to the streets to demand change. Things still look painfully quiet inside my crystal ball.
You cannot regulate the undemocratic abuses of highly concentrated wealth and power because you have neither wealth nor power. You cannot swim against the tide of media indoctrination because you do not control the media… but someone does. There are certainly no easy answers here. The path to change can only occur through massive public education and, eventually, through revolution… hopefully peaceful. Such change is nowhere on the horizon.
I wonder how many of you would ascribe to the view that we must directly confiscate wealth to begin the process of building a truly egalitarian society. I see no other viable path to change. For those who agree, I wonder exactly how you think we should go about it.