cj#759> wsn dialog re: “revolution & democracy”


Richard Moore

Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998
From: •••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore)
Subject: Re: responses to "revolution & democracy"

dear wsn,

I very much appreciate your taking the time to review and comment on this

As must be obvious to everyone, both of the "models" I've presented are
essentially lists of conclusions I have reached, without substaniating

In fact, the "models" are outlines for portions of the book "Globalization
and the New World Order", and I don't expect this book to be an easy one to
write.  We're making strong and controversial claims and we anticipate
considerable research and painstaking exposition for the book to enjoy any
public or critical acceptance.

But there is considerable value in discussing the model at this high level
of abstraction, for those audiences who are able to deal with it.  If we
can get past some of the piecemeal objections, at least for the sake of
argument, then we can ask whether the flow of the models work: IF each
statement were to be individually proven, THEN does the flow of the model
provide a logical sequence leading to useful insights and perspectives?  I
hope we can get to that stage of discussion.

I appreciate this opportunity to offer focused elaborations for the topics
that have been specifically challenged.



the model>
    >> (1.a) There is, today, an elite who benefit from and ultimately
    >>control the overall direction of global events and who determine
    >>the basic framework of public propaganda, namely (surprise) the
    >>_capitalist_ elite.  The megacorp (TNC) is the fundamental tool of
    >>capitalist operations: the ship-of-the-line of the elite fleet.

Andrew Wayne Austin wrote:
  >I think one of the big problems with Moore's argument is his claim that
  >there is an elite who "ultimately control the overall direction of global
  >events.  I think this is simplistic.

Indeed this is a very controversial claim on my part, and special care will
be necessary in developing this point.  I've been practicing for this task,
having published nine articles in various periodicals and journals which
attempt to establish the claim from various perspectives.  For those who
like to argue via references, I can suggest looking at the various articles
(mine and others) posted in Cyberlib on my website:

As I currently envision it, the line of argument will include...
        - Respected historical works will be cited regarding the existence
and role of elites, especially over the past 200 years in the West.  Some
of the scenarios are sufficiently well established by evidence that the
"logical possibility" of coherent and effective elite behavior must be
admitted: the question is merely one of identifying where it does and
doesn't occur.
        - In particular, the Council on Foreign Relations will be examined
in some detail, especially its long track record in articulating policy
well in advance of it being adopted by the USA and other Western powers.
The fluidity of personnel between elite circles, the CFR, and government
will be examined, and the case will be made that the CFR is one obvious
emobdiment of elite consciousness, and that it directly sets US policy on
many primary geopolitical matters.
        - We will present the analysis that the postwar pax-americana
regime created fundamentally different circumstances for capitalism, and
that a shift of capitalist focus away from the nation state and toward a
global perspective was all but inevitable.
        - We will trace the evolution of the IMF, WTO, et al, including
insider statements about their goals and functioning, and show that they
are very clearly elite-dominated institutions, beholden directly to the
inner circles of international banking, finance, and the capitalist elite
generally.  We will present the scope of power that is being vested in
these institutions, and show that national sovereignty is even already more
facade than reality.

There is more, but that should give some idea of how seriously we take this
"Claim 1.a".  The claim is admittedly "simplistic" as stated in the
"model", but the thesis is not one that was reached easily,  nor will it be
presented simplistically.

  >And here's why. If this elite had
  >ultimate control then why couldn't they prevent regional crises, such as
  >the deterioration of Asian financial markets? Because they can't prevent
  >it. Even their interventions have not worked. Where is this "ultimate
  >control"? It simply isn't there. The argument isn't plausible given
  >situations like Asia. Moore is stuck with saying that the elite who
  >control the overall direction of global events caused the Asian crisis for
  >some sort of beneficial reason to elites. Rather, I think it is that there
  >are elites who have some capacity to steer events and shape certain
  >outcomes, but that generally global development is objective and emergent.
  >Rather than doing the necessary historical analysis, Moore opts for
  >simplistic conspiracy theory. (cont. at bottom of post)

The Asian meltdown is worth some considerable debate.  I didn't feel
"stuck" with my 23 Dec posting at all: I don't deny the possibility of
crises due to unforseen panics; I don't claim elite ominipotence.  I
_chose_ to raise the possibility of elite manipulation in the meltdown
because I see it as a likely scenario that deserves closer examination.
There was OPPORTUNITY, there was MOTIVE, there were a whole host of
consequent elite BENEFITS, and elite institutions are now running wild
re-engineering the region according to their globlist recipe book, far
beyond any relevance to the crisis and what might have caused it.
Circumstantially it looks very much like a well-engineered take-over of the
reigns of the erstwhile tiger, stealing its substance and forcing it to
undergo a course of globlist re-conditioning.

I have no argument with the point that "generally global development is
objective and emergent".  And presumably you would agree that elite
elements attempt to guide and influence the parameters of this process when
they can.  For example, the IMF has considerable influence over where
capital does and doesn't "flow", thus regulating, to some extent, the
dynamics of "emergent" investment behavior.  The question is one of degree:
just how much functional influence do elites have?  I intend to do the
historical analysis that seems necessary to me (and my collaborators) in
attempting to address this question of degree.

Again you insist on using the word "simplistic".  Is _all_ emphasis on
"agency" considered inherently simplistic by materialism, as you understand


the model>
    >> (1.b) Globalization is a two-level political transformation: a
    >>centralized world government is being set up, while simultaneously
    >>nation states are being aggressively undermined by a whole range of
    >>assaults from privatization to engineered currency crises to massive
    >>anti-government propaganda.  National sovereignty and democracy are
    >>being replaced by global bureaucracies under direct elite control,
    >>thus officially and permanently institutionalizing absolute elite

Vunch wrote:
  >     Allow me to pick this apart.  Globalization is happening only in the
  >sense of capitalist exploitation of labor markets.  Otherwise, you can't
  >really expect people to believe that a unity of humans is actually being
  >installed politically.  The apathy of the US public starkly contradicts
  >the terrorism found in most 3rd world countries, a terror that is often
  >created by local injustices.  To even think that there is a global
  >bureaucracy and that such an organization is controlled by an
  >'elite' is to beg questions of where is it and who are they?  The fact
  >that money talks is not relevant to most people who struggle just to pay
  >rent.  I think you are overestimating the general intelligence of the
  >masses, the reality of the so-called elite, and the unreachableness of
  >authority within organizations.

Globalization is much, much more than the "exploitation of labor markets".
Just to pick one small example among dozens, there is CODEX, which is the
name of an elite-dominated commmission with the charter to set down
eventually-binding global rules for drugs and pharmaceuticals: the likes of
EJ Lilly and Bayer are right-now deciding what will be "safe" (eg,
expensive and inadequately tested drugs and biotech products) and "unsafe"
(eg, non-prescription vitamins and health foods).  This is a matter of
record, even if it doesn't make the evening news.  It all adds up to
political power, even though it is always called "economic reform".

There _is_ a "global bureaucracy", primarily the IMF and WTO; it is
definitely controlled by the capitalist elite; and it is being "installed
politically", although that fact is consistently downplayed by media spin
and official rhetoric (itself evidence of pervasive elite control).
Regardless of what caused the Asian meltdown, the IMF is now implementing
_political_ policy in the region: forcing it down everyone's throats
because the IMF has the power to do so.

As for over-estimating the general intelligence of the masses, I can only
say ignorance rather than stupidity is the problem of the masses, unless
all my life I've only met atypical people.


the model>
    >>  (2.f) Only a major political revolution which changes the
    >>basis of leadership and power on a global scale can shift the
    >>direction of global society.  In order for such a revolution to
    >>succeed, the USA must either be in the forefront or not far behind:
    >>it single-handedly has the power and influence to make or break the
    >>revolution, as its geopolitical track record over the past 50 years
    >>has amply demonstrated.

Dennis R Redmond wrote:
  >Most of your post looks fine to me, but I wonder about this point.
  >This may have been true in the Cold War era, but nowadays, the USA is a
  >small, declining economy amidst a very large world-system. The EU is a
  >bigger market, and Japan and the East Asian countries haven't exactly been
  >resting on their laurels since 1989 (though of course now they have to
  >deal with an Eastern European-style meltdown of their peripheries). Put it
  >another way: reaction in the USA has put the hurt on many Latin
  >American Left projects, but our control over the world-system has,
  >thankfully, declined considerably since the Eighties.

Thank for your support re/ the overall model.

I dispute your characterization "small, declining economy" for the USA; it
is still the largest single market, the dollar is still the favorite
reserve currency, and the Fed still has more clout than any other central
bank.  The "Global Trap" is informative in this regard.  But the US economy
is declining relatively, and cannot exert decisive influence based on its
economic arm-twisting forever.  That's one reason for shifting power to
globalist institutions.

But the main point is that US geopolitical power is not proportional to its
GDP: it is much greater.  The US military, with its nukes, hi-tech systems,
satellites, and carrier groups is globaly hegemonous.  And US military
planners, as a matter of stated policy, have no intention of allowing that
to change.  Yes this hegemony is being internationalized, as NATO is being
prodded into more activism, but this is happening under elite control.

  >Nowadays, when
  >economic crises break out in the Czech Republic or South Korea, it's Japan
  >and the EU which seem to be doing the bailouts. This suggests that a canny
  >resistance movement might find new, post-American sources of leverage in
  >the decades to come.

I don't think we have decades available to wait; the consolidation of power
in elite institutions is proceeding more rapidly than that.  I do agree
that "canny resistance movements" should be encouraged everywhere - every
little bit helps - but while the USA remains firmly under elite control,
the odds against success are very high.

The bailout roles being played by Japan and the EU deplete their reserves
instead of Uncle Sam's; those governments are simply volunteering their
taxpayers money to be spent according to elite-IMF dictates.


the model>
    >> (4.b) The very process by which the movement can be built up is the
    >>same process by which it can be dynamically maintained: mediation
    >>among a growing circle of constituencies, promotion of mutual
    >>education and understanding across constituency boundaries, the
    >>establishment of consensus agendas, and the negotiation of
    >>coordinated programs of policy and action.  So as to maximize
    >>grass-roots responsiveness and minimize bureaucratic self-aggrandizing
    >>tendencies, the coalition itself should remain an umbrella organization
    >>of constituencies - a lean mediating agency, not a power brokerage
    >>nor an "institution".  Checks-and-balances mechanisms will be necessary
    >>to guarantee on-going grass-roots orientation in coalition operations.

Dennis R Redmond wrote:
  >Very much like the ideal (if not the practice) of the Greens. What's your
  >impression of the Green movement generally, and especially the
  >well-organized German Green Party? What can and should the Greens in less
  >organized, Anglo-Saxon countries be doing to generate these kinds of
  >radical umbrella groups?

The Greens is one organization among others that I intend to learn a lot
more about in the course of research for the book.  They could well be the
single most important "constituency" in the European context, to be
recruited to a more comprehensive anti-systemic coalition movement.  They
may also be a good source of organizational methods.  But one will need
Workers plus Greens, speaking in broad terms, before a majority coalition
can begin to materialize.  To bring in workers, and others, one needs a
more comprehensive and radical analysis than the Greens are likely to come
up with - at least that's my suspicion based on limited observation so far.
As for what Greens, or other organizations, can do to encourage radical
umbrella groups... they can give a high priority to building bridges to
other organizations; they can seek consensus agendas with sister movements;
they can start the ball rolling re/ broader solidarity.


Adam K. Webb wrote:
  >        This model is the most complete you have presented to date, but it
  >still seems rather amorphous.  You keep saying that there is potential for
  >a broad coalition, consensus, mobilisation, and so on.  But can you offer
  >a more concrete analysis, even in retrospect from a hypothetical
  >postrevolutionary vantage point, of how the relevant social forces and
  >institutions are supposed to interact?  What would be the chapter headings
  >of a history book written five years after victory?  Any revolutionary
  >history involves specific social sectors, crises, exploitation of
  >particular cleavages, framing of appeals to political subcultures,
  >dynamics of relative group leverage, elite splits and defections, ranking
  >of priorities, issue linkages, constituency side-payments, capture or
  >incapacitation of the coercive apparatus, negotiated settlement pacts,
  >phases of coalition formation and disintegration, empowerment of
  >counterelites, management of reactionary insurgency, etc.  My apologies if
  >I sound too much like a social scientist, but I doubt that any movement is
  >going to succeed simply by taking the most inclusive, optimistic, and
  >aggregative of views.  Can you sketch out for me even one scenario of how
  >this revolutionary process is supposed to work?  At times it seems that
  >you are resting all hopes on appealing to public opinion and winning
  >elections, after which the whole system magically responds to the popular
  >will.  It sounds like a cross between Perot's United We Stand America and
  >Allende's Unidad Popular, neither of which figure in history as great
  >successes. Frankly I doubt the hypothetical movement could even win
  >Congressional representation, given the political culture and structure of
  >electoral incentives in the United States or anywhere else in the G7, much
  >less majority power for long enough to undertake irreversible changes.
  >One plausible scenario, that's all I ask--and from whatever theoretical
  >(or atheoretical) perspective you like....

There are four stages relevant to your question: (1) activists building the
coalition; (2) the coalition getting its slates elected; (3) the elected
officials following through with effective programs that legitimately
embody the coalition agenda; (3) the ongoing relationship between the
coalition, its constituencies, and the governmental process.  Each of these
has its own immense challenges, and you may want to clarify which stage is
the context for each of your questions.

As regards (1), the use of the consensus process is of strategic
importance, and is radically different in its operation than "factions
competing for influence". Greens don't try to convince workers that the
environment is more important than prosperity: the two together seek  a
path to prosperity AND a healthy Earth, and so on for other constituencies.
Some of your issues, such as "constituency side-payments", should be
clarified by this.

The coalition process becomes the societal democratic process: government
is the policy-implementing bureaucracy.  Today the government is the
policy-implementing bureaucracy for an agenda set by political parties.  In
the US and UK, where both parties are elite dominated (at least since
Blair), that means the agenda is set by the elite.  But even in European
countries, where more pluralistic parties persist, the party-competitive
system is inherently less effective in embodying democracy than is a
coalition-based process.  Divide-and-conquer tactics of the elite
effectively exploit the party-competitive process to elite advantage.

This is why the title says "model of revolution _and_ democracy".

The phrase "public opinion" becomes quaint and inappropriate in this
scenario.  Public opinion is a Madison-avenue term, referring to passive
responses to opinion polls.  Under a functioning democratic system, one is
more interested in "popular will" and "popular understanding" as expressed
through grass-roots organizations.

I hope these comments provide some clarification.   As for Allende, my
understanding is that he was very successful on many grounds, embarrasingly
so to the anti-socialist elite; he was a bigger Castro, and that is why he
was taken out by the CIA.  It was his successes that did him in, not his


Andrew Wayne Austin wrote:
  >What he found in all cases
  >was that US and transnational elites in subverting popular movements had
  >to rely on organic movements that emerged rather than creating a faux
  >popular movement. ... The US's role was
  >*shaping* the outcome, ...

My interpretation of this material is that the elite learn from their
mistakes, take full advantage of opportunities that arise, and use what I
would call wise jujitsu martial tactics, along with ever-present

  >Elites sometimes foster conflicts for the purpose of destabilization. But
  >the question here is the soundness of Moore's argument that this is an
  >on-going strategy at the global level. Moore has never presented any
  >evidence to support this claim.

Destabilization has been one purpose; another has been to shift boundaries
of spheres of influence; another to capture national territory; and there
have been others.  I _have_ presented evidence that chronic conflicts are
part of intended globalist policy.  Among other evidence, I've discussed
Huntingtons's "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, and his follow-up pieces in
Foreign Affairs, all of which point to the promotion of cultural
factionalism.  The history of such intentional practices in the Arab world
(keeping the Arabs from unifying) is I think very well established.  These
and other cases will be rigorously developed in the book.

  >Moore's arguments are deeply contradictory. He argues that capitalism has
  >"outlived its utility as a primary economic organizational paradigm." But
  >in previous posts he advances a corporatist model still predictated on
  >capital logic. Indeed, he goes on in his last post to talk in glittering
  >terms about entrepreneurs, prosperity, etc.. Entrepreneurs, he argues,
  >should be permitted to "reap rewards," for example. Moore, it seems, has
  >not grasped the fundamental contradiction in capitalism.

I claim a fundamental distinction between entrepreneurial enterprise and
capitalism.  If a couple saves money and buys and operates a retail shop,
for example, that is a fundamentally different economic event than
MacDonalds opening up another franchise.  I see many gradations between the
extremes of laissez-fair capitalism and universal state ownership of

  >PS--By the way, if a "revolution" does not disrupt societal systems then
  >it is not a revolution. If it does not redesign governments it is not a

My American Heritage Dictinary states:

        revolution: ... 3. a. A sudden political overthrow of seizure of
        power brought about from within a given system.  b. Activities
        directed toward bringing about basic changes in the socioeconoimic
        structure, as of a minority or cultural segment of the population.

There is no requirement in (a) that a seizure process be systemically
disruptive, nor in (b) that the "basic  changes" be implemented in a
disruptive manner.  The American Revolution was singularly non-disruptive
of societal systems, because the goal of revolution in that case was
independence, not social transformation.  Initially there wasn't even a
government redesign, the assemblies that had functioned in colonial days
simply assumed sovereignty.  The later decision to form the Union, and
design a new government, was again carried out non-disruptively.

The democratic processes in the West permit non-disruptive "seizures of
power" to occur.  In the event, reactionary intrigue will presumably manage
to create violent incidents, which is unfortunate, but if that doesn't
happen it would still be a revolution.

In the case of the USA, I see no reason for wanting to redesign the basic
governmental structure or the Constitution.  It is the office-holders that
have been the problem, not the structure of the government.  There are some
amendments that are necessary, especially regarding corporate "personhood".
And there are cases where the government has been ignoring the
Constitution, and better safeguards need to be implemented, especially
regarding government secrecy and "presidential orders".



Posted by Richard K. Moore - •••@••.••• -  PO Box 26, Wexford, Ireland
         www.iol.ie/~rkmoore/cyberjournal                   (USA Citizen)
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