Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

History lesson: Who rules Washington?

 


Many contemporary authors have characterized current conditions in the United States as being oligarchic in nature. 

Simon Johnson wrote that "the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent", a structure which he delineated as being the "most advanced" in the world. Jeffrey A. Winters argues that "oligarchy and democracy operate within a single system, and American politics is a daily display of their interplay." 

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) opined in a 2010 The Nation article that an "upper-crust of extremely wealthy families are hell-bent on destroying the democratic vision of a strong middle-class which has made the United States the envy of the world. In its place they are determined to create an oligarchy in which a small number of families control the economic and political life of our country."

US political and finance industry leadership has recently been dominated by people associated with Harvard and Yale.

A well-known fictional oligarchy is represented by the Party in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The socialists in the Jack London novel The Iron Heel fight a rebellion against the oligarchy ruling in the United States. 

Corporatocracy is a term used as an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests. It is a generally pejorative term often used by critics of the current economic situation in a particular country, especially the United States. Economist Jeffrey Sachs described the United States as a corporatocracy in his book The Price of Civilization. He suggested that it arose from four trends: weak national parties and strong political representation of individual districts, the large U.S. military establishment after World War II, big corporate money financing election campaigns, and globalization tilting the balance away from workers.

The term was used by author John Perkins in his 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, where he claimed that a "corporatocracy" exists, involving tacitly coordinated corporations, banks, and governments. This collective is known as what sociologist C. Wright Mills would call the Power Elite.

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