cj#550> THE FATEFUL DANCE OF DEMOCRACY AND CAPITALISM

1996-07-23

Richard Moore

Dear CJ,

        Sorry for being dormant for so long.  I've been launching into some
offline projects, wanting to find ways to reach larger audiences.  A
project is coming together to create a travelling cabaret troupe, to focus
on political satire/education.  Wexford has an abundance of under-employed
theater talent of all kinds, so the idea is to collaborate with writers,
staging experts etc., to create some humorous vingettes/songs/puppet-shows
etc., and tie them together to tell historical/political stories.

        The first story I want to tell is "The Saga of the Modern Age", in
parable form.  The underlying message will be along the lines of cj#547
"The Rise & Fall of Democracy".  FYI, attached below is an expanded version
of that article, as published yesterday in American Reporter, and as to be
published in New Dawn magazine.


Yours,
rkm


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Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996
From: Joe Shea <•••@••.•••>
Subject: The American Reporter, No. 336W

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                        HUMOR AND OPINION

COMMENTARY:  CAPITALISM & DEMOCRACY
+
Richard K. Moore
American Reporter Correspondent
Wexford, Ireland
7/20/96
democracy
2100/$21.00

               THE FATEFUL DANCE OF DEMOCRACY AND CAPITALISM
                            by Richard K. Moore
                      American Reporter Correspondent

                        "All around the mulberry bush,
                            the monkey chased the weasel.
                        The monkey thought it was all in fun,
                            Pop! goes the weasel."

                                        -English nursery rhyme

        WEXFORD, Ireland -- Consider the dance that has been been going on
between what I would call the elite and the people since the middle of the
18th century. As the feudal era was ending, the elites included royalty,
the churches, the land-aristocracy, and the business-wealthy -- and their
hold over the people was essentially total.  This is the context out of
which democracy arose.

        What happened is that certain elites were out to re-divide the
elite pie, cutting themselves the lion's share, and cutting out others
altogether.  Essentially, the emerging business-wealthy were tired of
butting up against the older hierarchies, and began to favor republics as
a better environment for the further development of capitalism.  But this
business-oriented sub-elite needed allies in order to make a grab for
power.

        They turned to the people themselves, and offered them a
partnership in a new regime.  The people provided the manpower to
overthrow the old regimes, and received in return the promise of a
democratic republic -- liberty, equality, fraternity, and all that.

        The United States and France led the way, and demonstrated two
quite-different paths to a modern republic.  Eventually, the rest of the
Western world followed suit, and the modern "democracy" has become a
seemingly permanent -- and dominant -- political structure.

        Once the other elites were ousted, what remained was an uneasy and
unequal partnership between the business-elite and the people.  It was
this surviving elite which drafted the new constitutions, and provided
most of the political and economic leaders of the new republics.  They
indeed made sure royalty, nobility, and the church were dislodged from
power -- by the pen in the States, and by the guillotine in France.  But
their commitment to democracy has been more questionable.

        The adversarial nature of the partnership became clear right away
-- when the U.S. Constitution was first drafted in 1789 without the Bill
of Rights.  The elite had already betrayed the people, and the people had
to rise up to demand their promised democratic guarantees. Ever since,
there's been a tug-of-war for control.  Sometimes the elite reigns
supreme, as in mid-19th Century America.  Other times people managed to
elect effective representatives, as in Britain during the 1950's.

                       The Age of Development

        The age of democratic republics has been the great age of modern
"progress," or more accurately, development -- the development of new
technologies, products, organizational structures, transport systems, etc.
Development has provided benefits to both people and capitalism: people
have experienced rising prosperity while capitalism has realized
astronomical growth in wealth.  Nonetheless, the partnership has not been
an equal one.

        While some of the people in the larger countries have found this
to be an age of prosperity, many others, especially in the Third World,
have experienced it as involuntary exploitation and poverty.  And while
some benefits have been shared around the table, ownership and control
have been concentrated in the hands of the elite.

        With the aid of technology, the elite has steadily increased its
level of ownership and control.  There are three technologies, in
particular, whose development has been the most useful to the elite:
propaganda, corruption, and the corporation.

        Propaganda permits popular opinion to be managed, hence
controlling the democratic process at its roots, where candidates and
issues are debated.

        Corruption permits politicians and government officials to be
controlled, which undermines the democratic process at its head, where
decisions are made and action is taken.

        The corporation is the ultimate money-multiplying machine: a
legally sanctioned entity whose only guiding value is greed, and whose
only purpose is to generate wealth -- not for its managers or workers, but
for its (limited liability) owners.

        Thus modern "democracies" have served as the vehicles supporting
the growth of capitalism.  Controlled via propaganda and corruption, the
nation state has been harnessed to expand investment opportunities, while
the corporation has evolved to exploit those opportunities.

        Western nations have been the fortresses of the corporate elite,
and imperialism has been the means of expanding investment opportunities
abroad.  Warfare has been the "jockeying for imperial turf" among the
nation-fortresses, on behalf of their resident capitalists.  It is a
tribute to the power of propaganda (including the "educational" system)
that most of us think of these modern wars as having had other causes.

        But competition among growing powers for finite territory cannot
go on forever.  By the end of World War Two the inevitable finally
happened -- one nation achieved military and economic dominance of the
globe.  By skillfully playing off one power against another, and bringing
to bear its own industrial might at just the right moments, the United
States managed to emerge from the conflagration perceived as the "Savior
of Democracy," with its economy and infrastructure intact, in control of
the seas, and in a position to reshape the world according to its own
designs.

        As usual, events proceeded at both a real level and a propaganda
level.  According to the propaganda line, the post-war era has been one of
emerging independent nations, increased international cooperation
(symbolized by the U.N.), and the dismantlement of prewar empires ... a
flowering of democracy.

        The reality has been the installation of a new system of
collective imperialism, under the aegis of a nuclear-tipped Pax Americana
-- a new world order in which national-rivalry capitalism has been
replaced by globalized capitalism operating in a corporate-managed "free
world" economy.

        "Free world" is the propaganda term; "free-to-invest realm" would
be the capitalist perspective, and the more descriptive term, given that
democratic freedom is hardly characteristic of most countries which
operate under this system.

        Now that the "communist" block is being digested into the greater
scheme of things, we can see that the whole Cold War was a distracting
side-show.  The main effect of the cold war, in the end, was to provide an
excuse for a large U.S. military.

        The actual purpose of the U.S. military has been to act as the
police force to expand and protect the extent of the free-investment
world, and to insure that all the little "free" nations remain hospitable
to corporate investments.  That most of these nations are not democratic
is of no consequence to the elite, except that it makes the world easier
to manage.

                      The Rise of Globalism

        Thus arose a de facto corporate globalist regime, with Uncle Sam
as the volunteer vigilante enforcer of a semi-open world-market system.
This regime has matured and evolved over the past 50 years, and is now in
the process of incorporating the last hold-out countries into its fold.
During this period, all three primary technologies have been globalized:
propaganda, corruption, and the corporation.

        Global corporations, or multinationals, are familiar to everyone.
They are of immense size -- of the top 50 world economies, nearly half are
corporations, not nations -- and they increasingly have no loyalty to any
"home" country.

        Propaganda -- including Hollywood productions and mass-media
"news" -- is increasingly global in scope, presenting a centrally-
manufactured corporate party line to the world's people.

        Corruption -- the elite corporate domination of public
institutions -- focuses more and more at the international level, setting
up institutions (NAFTA, GATT, IMF, NATO, Brussels) which are designed to
serve corporate objectives and which operate outside the dominion of
national states.

        One more primary technology -- weaponry -- deserves mention at
this point.  Until recently, enforcement of elite globalist schemes
required massive armed forces, and involved wars which might take years to
carry out.  As was demonstrated in Iraq (following rehearsals in Grenada
and Panama), it is now possible for a relatively small force, equipped
with modern high-tech weapons, to devastate an entire modern nation in a
short time.  This reduces the effort that must be put into propaganda and
minimizes the number of people who need to be convinced or coerced into
participating in the policing effort.

        The voluntary Uncle Sam vigilante role is being rapidly converted
into an internationally-sanctioned strike force.  With the help of stealth
weaponry, cruise missiles, and satellite intelligence -- backed up by
well-crafted propaganda/news management -- policing of the globalist
regime is to be carried out by an elite-controlled, Judge Dredd death
machine.  Any nation which proves inconvenient to the elite will be
demonized by the media, brought to its knees by the strike force,
re-organized by international commissions, and then reintegrated into the
globalist "community."

                   Destabilizing The Nation State

        By means of these developments, the de facto globalist regime, run
unilaterally by the U.S., is being solidified into a formal globalist
regime.  This historic global transformation is being heralded by an
intense propaganda campaign, launched by Reagan and Thatcher, and selling
the imaginary virtues of "market forces," "competitiveness,"
"privatization," and "reform."  By focusing the propaganda spotlight on
economic issues, the more significant political changes receive relatively
little public notice.

        The true significance of the globalization campaign is no less
than an historic political revolution -- the strong nation state is being
discarded, to be replaced by smaller, weaker states with more and more of
their sovereign powers taken over by the corporate elite and their
technocrat commissions.  Since the nation state no longer serves its
function as the fortress of capitalism, the democracy-based partnership
between people and capitalism is being dissolved, leading to a new era of
global corporate feudalism.

        The strong nation state has become more of a hindrance than a
benefit to the modern mega-corporation.  It is the dominant nations which
advance the standards in environmental protection, worker's rights, and
other such "emotional" and "inefficient" measures.  Small, weak nations
are more amenable to rape and pillage by corporate developers, and the
Third World is the elite's prototype of how they'd like the whole world to
operate.

                    Death Knell of Democracy

        Maastricht, Scottish independence, ethnic or regional autonomy,
stronger international "peace" arrangements -- these are all developments
which might have much to be said for them taken in isolation, or if
implemented within a democratic framework.  But within the context of the
corporate elite storming the Bastille of democracy, it is necessary to
re-examine all changes and "reforms" from the perspective of whether they
strengthen or weaken our fundamental democratic institutions.  If we don't
look at the big picture, then we'll be like the frog who submits to being
cooked -- the victim of a sneaky slow-boiling policy.

        The fact is that the modern nation state is the most effective
democratic institution mankind has been able to come up with since
outgrowing the small-scale city-state.  With all its defects and
corruptions, this gift from the Age of Enlightenment -- the national
republic -- is the only effective channel the people have to power-
sharing with the elites.

        If the strong nation-state withers away, we will not -- be assured
-- enter an era of freedom and prosperity, with the "shackles of wasteful
governments off our backs."  No, indeed.  If you want to see the future --
in which weak nations must deal as-best-they-can with mega-corporations --
then look at the Third World.

        The last thing you see in Third-World countries is freedom and
prosperity.  What you in fact see are governments which increasingly
specialize in two functions: suppressing the population, on the one hand,
while on the other hand they negotiate with the international financial
community and corporate investors.

        When all nations have been whittled down and made weak, then the
world will have become essentially a patchwork of plantation-states. We'll
have a neo-feudal system where the corporate elite act as a kind of global
royalty, extracting tribute from all the little competing nation-fiefdoms.

        There is a brief window of opportunity -- while modern democracies
continue to survive -- in which the people can wake up and peacefully
seize control of their governments.  After those governments have been
devolved/downsized, it will be too late.  And with modern weaponry under
the command of the elite, there will be no possibility of the people
arising anew in revolution.

        If the people in any of the little fiefdoms try it, they'll be
dealt with as Iraq has been in the Gulf War and its aftermath.  It won't
be nice to mess with Earth Inc!  Preservation of strong national
sovereignty in the modern democracies is the rock-bottom foundation needed
by the people -- without it democracy will without doubt disappear from
the world.

                                -30-

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    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib
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