Sunday, 27 November 2011

Big Government No! Big Election Campaign Yes!

The past two weeks have been alarming if not enlightening ones for those of us whose only option is to remain firmly rooted in the 'reality based community', now also increasingly described as the 'Precariat'.
From a safe distance, the rest of the world watches the televised Republican presidential candidate debates playing out across the US with a sense of mounting dread.
The candidates themselves are typical presidential material; one is an alleged sexual predator in the Clinton tradition, some are ignorant of basic history and geography, a few even appear to possess the intellectual prowess of George W Bush.
One candidate is a good Christian mother who claims that the Soviet Union presently represents a major threat to the US, and that Hezbollah is building missile sites and training camps in Cuba. The Governor of Texas says that if he becomes president he will close down three major departments of federal government altogether, but when asked can only remember what two of them actually are.
Yet another candidate, the maverick 'popular outsider' Ron Paul's brutal solutions to the deficit crises includes abolishing social welfare programmes such as Social Security and Medicare. That such actions would be highly damaging to the majority of the country's poor and working people has so far merited little comment.
Ron Paul's popularity can be largely explained by the fact that he is the only candidate advocating for an end to the US empire, and a return to those halcyon days when the US was a republic. In the US political lexicon, this makes him the anti war, 'peace' candidate, and thus the most attuned to the position of the people themselves, a majority of whom continue to be opposed to the wars that the US is waging across the globe.
His is a world view however which can only be sustained so long as many fundamental realities about the country are ignored, and while myths remain elevated to truisms. Without exception the candidates all maintain the Reaganite dogma of 'big government bad, small government good.'

'Big election campaign good, small election campaign bad.'

The Citizens United bill ratified by the US Supreme Court in January 2010 gave corporations the right to buy elections. A two billion dollar 2012 Presidential election campaign obviously excludes the interests of all but the very wealthy, hence the peoples assemblies currently springing up across the US.
Over the past thirty years the political landscape has been refashioned everywhere to conform to the interests of the new centres of power: the private constituencies of the Trans-National Corporations, mainly US owned, and the private financial institutions.
Both elements remain entirely unaccountable and notably undemocratic.
The shift of power from the public to the private was established with the historic handing over of responsibility of national interest rates to the central banks. With this single action, the governments of the OECD countries, Canada, Japan and the US abrogated control of national interest rates and destroyed traditional lines of protection between international and domestic markets. Ulrich Beck's description of politicians jumping on this bandwagon as an act of 'jubilant mass suicide' has also proven to have been an accurate prediction.
As the present crises of the democratic and public finance deficit deepens, the fate of the next president of the United States may well be that of the most recently elected Greek and Italian heads of state, namely to be removed from office and replaced by a banker.
In Greece and Italy this has just happened without any consultation involving the voters themselves.
In Italy, the newly unelected Premier and Economic Minister 'Two Jobs' Mario Monti has put together a cabinet comprising bankers, Vatican historians and business executives, all without a single politician being included.
In Greece the new Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is a former European central banker, who replaces the disgraced Papandreous.
Papandreous's fall from grace occurred after he declared a people's referendum on whether to accept conditions included in a new austerity package about to imposed on the country. The referendum was banned and the Prime Minister dismissed.
Doubtless the personal financial remuneration offered to the two deposed heads of state will be sufficient to keep them jubilantly happy in their retirement, but there is to be no remuneration for the people themselves. They remain saddled with the huge debts derived from the collapse of the casino economy.
Elected sock puppets then are evidently of little importance, other than at election times when citizens are asked to suspend rational thought and invest all their 'hope' in fictional 'change' that will be delivered with the outcome decided at the polling booth.
The inconvenient realities of an economy that increasingly functions only to serve very narrow and private interests can no longer be brushed aside however. This is why the Occupy Wall Street movement has gone rapidly global. It is the dangerous idea whose time has finally arrived.
Michael Perry November 27