The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?

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    • #280810
      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 21,777

      Excellent if lengthy Marxian essay from Chuck Churchill, no relation to the more famous British imperialist, from Counterpunch:

      Elites have ruled over people and commanded the surplus produced by their labor for many millennia. It is this long history we have to contend with in today’s crisis of capitalism that has produced endless wars and environmental catastrophes as corporate billionaire rulers continue to promote business as usual while preparing to fight each other with armed forces and nuclear weapons. This has all been “normalized.” Concentrated elite power ends up massively distorting people’s understanding of the nature of big business rule. Their highly paid spokes people even shamelessly deploy concepts like “freedom” and “liberty” to rationalize the enslaving and killing of millions for profits in resource wars. But we also need to understand that despite this long reign of (t)error, human beings lived for most of their evolutionary history (a much longer period of time than that during which elites have ruled) in nomadic hunter-gatherer societies where life conditions produced a rough equality among the Paleolithic family groups. If there was anything that could be called freedom here, it was a consequence of a primitive subsistence level that demanded participation from all in obtaining the means of survival while providing minimal incentives for large-scale social conflicts. Cooperation was primary; it is what made human societies — not competition. These conditions also kept the human populations low and in balance with available resources, while as some anthropologists speculate (see Marshall Sahlins), providing significant amounts of free time for cultivating social ties.

      (big skip)

      Elite rule thus continues in the monopoly phase of capitalism that has concentrated power into fewer hands worldwide than in all previous history. Elites have now had centuries of ruling experience, and they have the same enemies – the world’s working classes. They are in possession of the instruments of control (such as mass media) through which they deploy a complex of old and new ideologies on every imaginable front, much of which is designed to divide workers by race, gender, age, and any other categories our rulers can come up with to pit one group of working people against another. All of this is, of course, always backed up by their monopoly of state violence, which we can see in action virtually every day. Look to France for just one of many examples.

      Nor is class struggle their only war front. Today’s endless wars are waged for control of the world’s increasingly shrinking resources (oil, water, cheap labor, markets) sought after by monopoly capitalist interests led by big finance that has profited most from the production and encouragement of inflated debt bubbles like the real estate market that collapsed in 2007-8. The US has of course been the leader in this process, the “hegemon” whose post-World War II military supremacy allowed it to ride roughshod over the world, with the major exceptions of Russia and China. This has included enormously destructive wars in Korea and Vietnam, where the US wanted to set an example of what can happen to small, peripheral countries who try to control their own resources and destinies. Now, with the momentary defeat of communism, the rise of China to a global state-capitalist rival power, the recovery of a now-capitalist Russia from the US efforts to turn it into a neo-liberal colony after 1989, and the incipient alliance of these two former communist powers, the imperialist prospects of the US have taken a turn for the worst. A new cold war is upon us that portends another major conflict of imperialist powers like what overtook the world in 1914 and 1939. Today’s rulers have available and have consistently used “weapons of mass destruction” unimaginable during the previous timespan of elite rule. Nuclear arms treaties are being ripped up and new nuclear weapons, with hypersonic delivery systems are being devised. If this were not enough to bring into being a world mass movement against capitalism, indeed against any further continuation of elite rule, the prospect of continued man-made global climate change has also stepped with frightening consequences onto the current stage of human history. Climate scientists like Ian Angus are even labeling it a new epoch, the Anthropocene, marked by the increasingly out of control production of carbon by the burning of fossil fuels that is wreaking havoc with the weather, the world’s oceans and supply of fresh water as well as unprecedented mass extinctions that are likely to include that of humanity itself. In the face of this, it is crystal clear that our elites are determined to do nothing about this situation created by their own economic practices, nothing that would cut into their profits. These conditions will add to the pressures for more resource wars up to and including the existential danger of another imperialist war now facing humanity as a whole.

      So where does this leave us? Here comes the hard part that nobody seems to want to take in, and indeed it is the toughest nut to be cracked. Lots of people are pointing out the problems, even fingering capitalism as the main source of them. And there has been plenty of fight back everywhere. But few are confronting the political import of Lenin’s timely question: What is to be done? This is not surprising given the power of big capital to shape what people think. Worldwide collective democratic decision-making processes must replace the constant destructive competition of elite rule. The people who actually do the work should control the economy and operate it for the long-term sustainable benefit of everyone, not the profits of a few. And this program needs to be on the agenda everywhere; it needs to be an international movement of the world’s working classes, operated by and for the workers themselves. But it should also be clear that capitalist opposition to this will stop at nothing. Witness the record, just in England and the US, of massacres of workers who were resisting capitalist power, mostly in efforts to win recognition for their unions, not to mention the ferocious opposition to socialist and especially revolutionary communist movements that sought to do away with capitalism in favor of the collective power of the working class. Winston Churchill (no relation) recognized the rise of fascism in the ‘twenties as an antidote to Bolshevism, and today’s rulers have few qualms about reviving this genocidal monstrosity to protect their system. Add to the physical repression the almost constant drumbeat of anti-communism emanating from the top that has been a long and almost completely successful elite effort to demonize, distort, and suppress workers’ opportunities and efforts to even think about overthrowing capitalism and revolutionizing the way we exist. The capitalist-owned media, institutionalized politics and government, police and the army are all major players in protecting and preserving the capitalist status quo, and will continue to be so. Yet we seem to be running out of time to build the kind of mass international movement that can transform the dire situation we find ourselves in.

      Full article here. 

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

    • #280844
      • Total Posts: 384

      Thanks OB. American’s need to get over their fears of labels and titles and face the Truth, Do or Die.

      Our Democracy has been hijacked by authoritarian capitalists lead by oligarchic puppets since Reagan (at least) and is no more. You can’t have a Democracy without citizen participation. You can’t have such participation if every means to participate is thwarted by the oligarchs. Twenty+ years of Diebold voting booths simulating participation is a joke.

      Bernie is not offering anything new, but a return to the Democratic Socialist programs of FDR and Henry Wallace, the basis of those Scandanvian Democratic Socialist governments that Bernie uses as a benchmark.

      “Go and tell Alexander that God the Supreme King is never the Author of insolent wrong, but is the Creator of light, of peace, of life, of water, of the body of man and of souls;...what Alexander offers and the gifts he promises are things to me utterly useless;..." Dandamis, a great sannyasi of Taxila.Excerpt From: Yogananda, Paramahansa. “Autobiography of a Yogi.”

      • #280881
        Utopian Leftist
        • Total Posts: 646

        The people have not been so poor since the Great Depression. Forty-four percent of Americans get by on less than $18,000 per year. That is roughly what a one bedroom apartment will cost you in a big city now, if you’re lucky.

        How do they expect us to survive? They just don’t.

        "All fascism is a result of a failure of the left to provide a viable alternative." ~ Trotsky
        “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Krishnamurti

    • #280987
      • Total Posts: 2,996

      History contains little beyond a list of people who have accommodated themselves with other people’s property.


      The problem is that when the “have-nots” become “haves” they immediately try to keep what they now have from the new have-nots.

      Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites

    • #281015
      • Total Posts: 2,996

      Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”

      ― Mark Twain

      Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites

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