You Down With O.P.P.?

Imagine falling in love with someone who is already in another relationship.  They tell you how bad that relationship is.  They tell you earnestly how it’s you they really love, not the other person.  They promise you that soon the two of you will be together forever. 

But they say can’t leave that relationship right now.  They tell you it’s financial, or for the children, or because they are afraid.  So they sneak out and come see you, enjoy some good hot nasty lovin’ and whisper sweet nothings in your ear.  Then they leave.

They keep saying soon, maybe next month, but next month never comes.  There is always some new excuse, some new reason, some new broken promise.  If you have ever been in this situation, you know how much it hurts.  But if you have ever had a friend in this situation, you would tell them the obvious truth:

“They’re just screwing you!”

How long has the Democratic party been coming by, sweet talking and schmoozing you, taking your money and votes, and then going back home to their real love?  How long have they been promising you the sun, the moon and the stars, but delivering nada planada?  Too long.  Way too too long.

Right now this country is controlled by an elite ruling class.  This class consists of life-time and charter members.  The life-time members are the wealthy, the rich and shameless.  They own or control the corporations and most of the wealth.  Some of them aren’t even Americans.  The charter members are the politicians and media.

Let’s jump in the wayback machine and go back to our nation’s founding.  The Democratic party is sometimes called the “Party of Jefferson” because we can trace it’s origins to Thomas Jefferson, our third President and one of the greatest political philosophers in history.  Jefferson is most famous for writing the Declaration of Independence and for making the Louisiana Purchase, but he did something else of great significance.

In 1776, as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, he authored and helped enact a law abolishing primogeniture.  Primogeniture is the common law right of the firstborn son to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings.  It is the tradition brought by the Norman Invasion to England in 1066. 

In feudal Europe, all the land was owned by the aristocracy.  Commoners worked on the land, but didn’t own it.  The more land you owned, the more status you had.  Most of our laws concerning property, water rights, landlords and tenants, trespass and inheritance derive from this system.

If you were the firstborn son and lived long enough, you got everything.  If you had male heirs, your siblings got nothing.  Your younger brothers had few options.  They could join the priesthood, where family connections could hopefully propel them to the status of Bishop or higher (the leaders of the Catholic church were very connected to politics, that’s why the game of chess has “bishops”.)  Your siblings could engage in intrigue and try to poison your food, thus moving into the line of succession.  Or they could participate in military ventures in hope of winning and being awarded captured lands.

Many of these younger sons of aristocracy were given land grants in the colonies that became the southern United States.  The goal of these settlers was to become landed gentry like their relatives back in Europe.  They wanted to own the land, not work on it.  “Gentlemen” didn’t work, they studied the arts and sciences, and lived lives of leisure.   They established plantations, and because they needed laborers to replace feudal serfs, they imported African slaves.

The North, on the other hand, was settled by non-aristocrats seeking religious freedom.  These people, who would become the “Yankees,” were small farmers, traders, and craftsman.  They became manufacturers, sailors, and businessmen.  Their goal was wealth, not land.  This is why slavery never caught on in the North, even though the Yankee sailors participated and profited in the slave trade.

In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville argued that the abolition of the laws of primogeniture caused the death of the landed aristocracy and also brought a shift to democracy.  This was Jefferson’s goal, to eliminate aristocracy in America.  It wasn’t immediate, and it was a violent transition, but eventually the old system ended.

But it was replaced by something else that is just as much a threat to democracy as the aristocracy.  It was replaced by the corporatists.  Those Yankees were very successful at business, and the Industrial Revolution made many of them fabulously wealthy.  Chattle slavery was replaced with wage slavery.  And the Supreme Court of the United States even declared that corporations were “persons” under the law.

You can actually look at the Civil War as the point when the corporatists overthrew the old aristocrats.  The industrialized North versus that agragarian South.  The “good guys” won, right?  Maybe, or maybe not.  It was more like “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”  We traded one set of masters for another.

Frederick Jackson Turner wrote “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” in which he argued that the frontier shaped the American identity.  That has some truth to it, but the frontier also provided a safety-valve for discontent.  Anyone unhappy with their economic situation could head west in search of greener pastures.  But the frontier closed long ago.

With few exceptions, both parties have supported the corporatist aristocracy for generations.  Once upon a time the power was held by the railroads, the trusts, and big industrialists.  These were the capitalists that Socialism rose up in opposition against.  The workers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries may not have had televison or the internet, but they knew they were being screwed.

They tried to fight back, and many were killed or imprisoned by our government.  There are numerous instances where police and military forces were sent to break-up strikes by killing, beating and/or arresting the striking workers.  It was a long and bloody struggle for economic freedom and democracy.

Not all politicians sided with the elites, and when the people were able to organize effectively they were successful in making changes.  Theodore Roosevelt was an early champion of the people.  He is known as a “trust-buster” and help break up monopolies.  He enforced regulation of the railroad industry and enacted the first laws on food safety and purity.  He also enacted the first environmental conservation laws.

The corporatists hated him.  As governor of New York he was so effective fighting corruption and “machine” politics that he was made William McKinley’s Vice-President in order to get him out of the way.  But then McKinley was assassinated.  Upon hearing the news of McKinley’s death, Senator Mark Hanna, then one of the most powerful politicians in the country, said “That damned cowboy is president now.”

Teddy Roosevelt was part of the Progressive Movement, which lasted from about 1890 until 1920.  Many changes were enacted during that era, including Women’s Suffrage, the direct election of Senators, Prohibition, and the passage of electoral reforms at the state level, including secret ballots, the initiative and the recall.

The corporatists fought back, and regained power during the 1920’s.  Much like the conservative ascendency that reached its peak under George W. Bush, the Republican Ascendancy of the “Roaring Twenties” was so successful is led to a complete repudiation by the voters in the 1930’s.

The liberal administration of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal began a long dark age for the corporatists.  The liberal movement continued to make gains until the 1960’s and early 1970’s, and the last great acheivements were the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and SCOTUS decisions on abortion and the death penalty.  

The defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment marked the end of liberal gains, but it was nearly 50 years after FDR that the corporatists were finally successful in beginning to rollback the New Deal under Ronald Reagan.  Since then it has been a battle by liberals to hold on to the gains made by their parents and grandparents.  The entire 8 years of the Clinton administration was spent defending against the corporatists.

Bill and Hillary Clinton, like Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, are not part of the corporatist aristocracy.  In fact, they are hated by those malefactors of great wealth.  Bill Clinton was elected on a promise to provide comprehensive health care reform.  He tried to keep that promise.  He appointed Hillary to lead the effort, and she did her best.  They were defeated, not by the Republican party, but by traitors in the Democratic party that sided with the corporatists.

These treasonous Democrats in Congress and the media have been posing as liberals and progressives for decades, but they are owned body and soul by the corporatists.  They  say they love us, but they are just screwing us.  They undermined Hillary’s health care reform, and forced Bill to settle for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” instead of lifting the ban on gays in the military.

For years now they have been playing a kabuki dance with George Bush, making speeches but not providing any effective opposition.  In 2006, a disgusted electorate repudiated the GOP and elected a Democratic Congressional majority.  But that victory was basically in spite of the Democratic leadership, not because of it.  

People wanted an end to the war and the lawless behavior of the Bush Administration.  Many of us wanted Bush and Cheney impeached.  So what did the new Democratic majority do?  Not a goddamn thing.  Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss.

One of new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s first acts was to declare that impeachment was “off the table.”  There has been no effective attempt to end the war in Iraq, and continued funding for the war passes with little debate.  Congressional oversight into the activities of the Bush administration is a joke.

We now know that our government kidnaps and tortures people, operates secret prisons, and keeps people locked up without due process or the benefit of habeas corpus.  The Department of Justice has been politicized to the point of prosecuting political opponents and screening attorneys for partisan loyalty.

The administration lies, obfuscates and stonewalls, and all the Congressional Democrats do is write sternly worded letters.  They don’t even attempt to block the appointment of radical conservatives to the federal bench.  The latest outrage is the FISA bill, which among other bad things provides immunity to telecommunications giants that participated in illegal domestic spying.

The voters don’t want it, and it is anathema to liberal ideology.  It is in clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, and the immunity provisions will foreclose any independent inquiry of illegal domestic spying by the Bush Administration.  Not only is the Democratic Congressional leadership making no effort to oppose the bill, they are eager to get it passed with as little debate or publicity as possible.

This is why the Democratic leadership selected Barack Obama to be the nominee, in opposition to the will of the majority of the Democratic Party.  This is why the corporatist-owned media has pushed Obama’s candidacy and shrilly opposed Hillary.  Obama is one of them, while Hillary is not.

You don’t really think the Village hates the Clintons because they are redneck hillbillies, do you?  Bill and Hillary are both Ivy League educated lawyers, smart and sophisticated.  They are hated because they are loyal to us, not the corporatists.  That’s why the Democratic leadership wants to purge them from the party and discredit Bill’s legacy.

Senator Obama is a product of the corrupt Chicago machine.   His relationship with William Ayers isn’t about radical Sixties’ politics, it’s about Ayers’ family connection to Commonwealth Edison and Exelon.  Obama’s campaign manager, David Axelrod, is a former lobbyist and astroturfer for Exelon.  Rev. Wright and Tony Rezko are just more pieces of the puzzle that shows the shape of political corruption in Illinois. 

Despite what the media claims, Obama is and has been the “establishment” candidate.  He had their money and support from the beginning, despite his empty resume.    We were supposed to listen to the media, we were supposed to fall for the “hope” and “change” slogans, and believe he was a grassroots candidate.  We were supposed to believe that Hillary is an evil, corrupt racist.  We were supposed to believe that she was “divisive” but that Obama was going to bring “unity.”  We were supposed to be stupid, low-information voters. 

But they miscalculated.  They underestimated Hillary, and they underestimated us.  They didn’t expect her to fight so well or so long.  They didn’t expect her to win our loyalty, respect and love.  They didn’t expect her to inspire us to rise in opposition to them.

They didn’t expect PUMA


3 Responses to You Down With O.P.P.?

  1. Linda says:

    Wow. This is some post. And yes, they didn’t think we would love her. That is it in a nutshell. This primary season really was like seeing all of the things that move after you pick up a garbage can. I look at the Dem party with totally different eyes now. Your capture of the long history of all of this really helped me understand how we got here. I better go clean off my pitchfork and put a torch together.

  2. hipparchia says:

    i’ve been hoping someone would do this, lay out a concise, readable hstory of the coporatocracy. nicely done, and thank you.

    i have long thought that the clintons were corporatists too, something along the lines of your northern industrialists vs southern agrarians, and that with the coming of obama, the northerners have found their figurehead.

    i have to admit that hillary, toward the end of the primary season, was beginning to lean populist enough that i was favorably impressed. not to mention that as a rabid feminist, i was really looking forward to hearing people say madam president… .

  3. eebaltimore says:

    I am late reading this post & replying (7/8), but SO glad I was directed to it by the Ed Rendell posting on Confluence. I just wish more people could be directed to your post. What an intelligent, scholarly piece! Thank you so much.

    Another PUMA hoping to see Hillary restored as the nominee…

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