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The situation gets more bizare by the day and I have to wonder. about what is really going on.  Do the plutocrats who run this country believe they can repeat what they pulled off with the shrub?  It begins to look that way.  Florida is flaunting its wiping off the voter rolls everyone they want to ahead of the election.  Election day should be quite a scene in that state.  Romney is unbelievable as a candidate yet do you see signs that the plutocrats are worried?This thing smells to high heaven and I suspect that once again the Dems are impotent to deal with it as they were in 2000.  I hope I am wrong.  Meanwhile we continue to project an substantial Obama victory in the electoral college.  Why can I not feel good about this?  I sense something is being overlooked by the optimists.  Again I hope I am wrong.  Meanwhile I listened to something that made lots of sense today and want to share it below the break.

The context for this speech is controversial here at the least.  I still think the man makes sense and want to share it.  We can easily adapt his words to our own context if we wish.  The speech was the keynote speech for the Green Party byGar Alperovitz

Gar Alperovitz, a professor of political economy at the University of Maryland and co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative. Alperovitz is the author of, "America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy." In his remarks, Alperovitz  spoke of "Systems in history are defined above all by who controls the wealth," Alperovitz says. "The top 400 people own more wealth now than the bottom 185 million Americans taken together. That is a medieval structure."
 Those words alone seem to define where we are better than most, even my hero Bernie Sanders.  The word "medieval"  is not used casually here.  This man is a historian and chose the word deliberately.  The level of consciousness we are dealing with is far short of that kind of identification.

Let us just look at a few of the points he made:

Very briefly, all too briefly, in the 19th century when you ran into problems, you threw land at it, and took more and more land when there was a problem until you’d taken the whole continent, killing a lot of Indians and others on the way, but managing a system that was a tiny sea-board colony and then took over a continent as it tried to solve problems, and they ran out of land at the end of the 19th century. In this century, not by design, in the first quarter of the century there was the beginning of a major recession, probably a depression in 1914 and World War II solved the problem in the first quarter of the century. I am not offering a conspiracy theory, that is just what happened. In the second quarter of this century, it collapsed again, and World War II bailed out the system but not by design. That is how it worked in the second quarter of the century. And in the third quarter of the century, having defeated the Germans, having defeated the Japanese and having lost the productive power of many other corporate competitors plus the Cold War, plus the Korean War, plus the Vietnam War, plus high defense expenditures, that boom third quarter of the century was run that way. We are in a different era. Think about it this way. It is all but impossible to have massive industrial scale war like the first and second world wars, land wars, 42% of the economy spending on war expenditures, and the reason is, nuclear weapons now make that impossible. It isn’t going happen that way, we my blow ourselves up. But, we’re not going to have that massive injection of economic power into the economy to solve the problems. In fact, big/small wars are also getting less and less powerful; people don’t like them, they don’t like sending their kids, they don’t like spending money on that. It isn’t just us. And if you look at those expenditures, they are very big. But, as a percentage of the economy, they are declining to 3% already and going down. A lot of waste there. But you are not solving economic problems that way. I could go into great detail, but I won’t; globalization, etc., competitors, of all sorts of problems coming up that are economic. The bottom line is, you cannot solve the problem any more by throwing land at it, and we are running out of war, which means lots of problems grow because the political system can’t manage it the way it is structured, and the opposition that can’t get themselves together to make things happen, and the Republicans stopping and Tea Party stopping and you know all the contradictions, but the bottom line is, you can’t solve problems. That is obvious.
He goes on to say:
Most people know Washington is broken. They have not quite realized that the systemic problems are coming to the surface, that it’s a systemic crisis. You may get ripples of increased gain and jobs and so forth, but you can’t deal with climate change, you can’t deal with unemployment, you can’t deal with poverty, and we keep getting more and more decay. That’s light bulb time. That’s when people begin to asking very serious questions. Now, remember, when I say that I come at it as a historian. You got to throw a couple of decades of your life on the table, not a couple of weeks and not a couple elections. But, there is growing sentiment on all sides that either we transform the system or profound difficulties, violence, probably repression, possibly something like fascism when the violence begins, there is great danger. But lots of folks sense something is wrong. The first in my adult life that you find millions of people responding. Listen to the response; Occupy. Occupy was critical, far more important. The American people responded to Occupy. They got it, they know, they know who runs this game. It’s no secret, and it’s a new kind of awareness that something is going on with those big banks and something’s going on with these corporations that don’t quite know how to get a handle on it, but it is not like if we just elect a Democrat it’s all going to be fine and the progressive era will start again. There is a sense that is very deep, and in my view, given the inability to solve the problems, that’s going to be worse, and the pain is going to increase and the number of people saying, there has got to be a better way, something different has got to happen, somehow we’ve got to start in a different place, somehow either we build something new or this thing is a sham. That’s a big deal in history. That’s a big deal when people begin asking those kinds of questions. Now, it takes a long, painful process, but notice this system probably does not reform in the old liberal way for all the reasons we know including the labor movement has collapsed from 35% to down to 7% in the private sector. But, probably it doesn’t have a classic revolution, because government is 30% of the big floor under the economy. You get decay and stagnation, pain and difficulty. That is a very unusual moment in history because it goes on and gives time for people to be aware and to build democratically from the bottom up. If it collapsed tomorrow, the right wing would take over. And if it collapsed to the left, we wouldn’t be prepared. And above all, we wouldn’t know from the bottom of our own experience how to build and run and change and transform the system. This is an era where things are beginning to open up over time.
I don't know if people here can actually hear what he is saying.  I have been saying similar things here for a long time and few hear me.  That is why he is talking to a "Third party".  We all know the futility of third parties in this system.  However his words go beyond that limited context.  He took time to show how change is happening.  He related many examples of people doing things that are laying down the foundations for the new order.  It won't come from the Third party he spoke to and he was well aware of that.  He is also aware that it won't come from who we elect in November.  It will come from people who understand the gravity of the situation and who are willing to build the new society now.

Originally posted to don mikulecky on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:39 PM PDT.

Also republished by Systems Thinking, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and Postcapitalism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:39:54 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, that's pretty much it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, HeyMikey, Larsstephens

    Here, buy another HDTV to keep you all entertained and misinformed, and have another Big Mac. It's the Romans 'bread and circuses', updated.

    Remember, Roman slaves enjoyed 100% employment.

    Romney 2012 - When in doubt, lie. (Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #266)

    by Fordmandalay on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:47:14 PM PDT

  •  I've thought many times that the R's are (5+ / 0-)

    letting this get way too far out of control without Mitt's handlers reining him in or any true strategy from the Kings of Messaging, which is the R party. My thinking is that they are so relaxed because of your premise, exactly. They plan to use voter suppression and vote theft to steal it. You are the only other person I've read who is thinking this way. The R's are not a complacent party. Something stinks to high heaven. I hate to be negative too but it seems obvious to me that they are not even a little bit worried when they should be very worried.

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:50:29 PM PDT

    •  I'm even more worried about the integrity of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky, rubyr, Larsstephens

      voting machines and the distinct possibility of vote flipping.  The fact that a handful of partisan Republican, super-rich Corporatists control 80% of the vote counts in the United States is VERY troubling...what could go wrong?!

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:38:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with both of you (3+ / 0-)

        The powers that be are going all out this time around and they do not seem worried about the outcome. Time and again we have seen that neither corporate America nor their purchased representatives recognize abstract concepts such as right or wrong, good or bad, just or fair. They honor only results. The vote is being rigged as we type, the onslaught of messaging and manipulation is being planned and the power brokers are designing the next iteration of the U.S. "By the people" will not be a prominent feature.

        They have found the inherent weaknesses of the system: money = control, and most people are stupid.

        Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

        by ricklewsive on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:58:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  why should they fear prosecution? That's just for (7+ / 0-)

          medical marijuana dispensaries, and the odd scapegoat like Madoff...if  they include the rich in their cheating schemes.

          We have people that ordered torture, and someone who destroyed evidence of it doing book tours.

          We have Banksters a Senate committee found (as did AG's across the country) had committed massive fraud living a life of luxury and facing no prosecution.

          In short, we have a a two tiered system of Justice in this Country and the top tier ain't going to jail regardless of the laws they break and they know it.

          without the ants the rainforest dies

          by aliasalias on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 06:59:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Wisconsin Recall elections revealed multiple (4+ / 0-)

            instances where political groups and operatives broke WI elections laws (ex.: robo-calls telling those who signed  recall petitions that they did not need to vote because their signatures meant they had already voted against ThugGov Walker).  Someone ordered those call, someone paid for them, and someone made them.  No one has been arrested or even investigated.  

            Those kinds of actions MUST be vilified in the "public square" and jail-time imposed state-by-state-by-state..forget the petty fine crap!  Karl Rove's dirty tricks campaigns  and others who emulate his "success" have continued because NOTHING meaningful happens to punish the breaking of election laws. I am sick of "the end justifies the means"...it is killing our democratic system.

            Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

            by ranton on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:51:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Vote theft = Vote flipping. n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky, Larsstephens

        "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

        by rubyr on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:05:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Much of Our Situation Came From Dismantling (6+ / 0-)

    systems that prevented today's medieval wealth concentration: compressive individual taxation, anti-trust regs on both business and media, financial regulation and protected trade.

    We would still be facing global warming, we would still be out of land, we'd still be running short on supplies of water. But the concentration of wealth and power would not be anything like what it is today, the rich would still be dependent on the welfare of the nation, so we would be far more able to address the more basic elements of our system.

    I don't know if ownership saw all this coming in the mid 60's when the rightwing revolution got underway, but they surely saw it all by the time of Reagan or so. I've been describing the behavior of ownership and its representatives as beyond greed to the extent of looking exactly to me like survivalism.

    The one political solution proven in our system to support revolutionary change in the absence of major collapse (the crash & Depression enabling the New Deal semi revolution) was the rightwing's takeover of the Republican Party.

    That's probably the place to start on November 7th.

    But I also have been calling for climate science to quit pissing around with democracy and put together a mission fact to face to billionaires of the world who aren't permanently dependent on dirty energy. The success or failure of such a mission would tell us two things we need to know as soon as possible, the one about response to climate, and if the news is bad there, our political fate.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 05:05:44 PM PDT

  •  They have total confidence in advertising (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, Larsstephens

    I believe that the small group of billionaires (who are the only ones who really really love Mitt) have total confidence in the power of their advertising dollar to make anyone do anything.

    Maybe they learn something.

    •  Advertising works (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky

      Like it or not, that's reality.  National political discourse in this country has devolved into who can shout the loudest and the most often at the slack-jawed populace doped up on "American Idol" and "Keeping Up with the Kardashians".  

      The small group of billionaires has every right to feel confident in the power of their advertising dollar.  It's worked before and it will work this time.

       I wish it were otherwise.

  •  Link for 400 > 185 million? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, don mikulecky

    That's a juicy statistic. I'd love to verify it and hit various GOPers over the head with it. I've done a little googling and can't find the basis for it (other than the Green dude's speech). Do you have details?

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:14:53 PM PDT

    •  Some discussion- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, don mikulecky
      We also want to add one cautionary note, from Mitchell of the Cato Institute, about Moore’s methodology: The Federal Reserve uses hard numbers to calculate the net worth of all households, but Forbes uses assumptions and interviews along with hard numbers in estimating the net worth of the Forbes 400.

      There’s no way to know how the differences between the two affect the net worth numbers, but Moore used the data that are available and there’s no indication he "cherry-picked" figures for a desired result, Mitchell said.

      With that caveat, our assessment indicates that as of 2009, the net worth of the nation’s 400 wealthiest individuals exceeds the net worth of half of all American households.

      From here.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:25:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just his speech................n/t (0+ / 0-)

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 07:08:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the revolution is permanent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    okay, so i'm a trotskyist, who likes to remind people that he was a visionary, as well as a practical person who was able to keep the soviet society from being immolated by the west, the whites, etc., until that revolution was betrayed by stalin and his minions, most of which he then murdered

    until and unless the common people of the world have enough to eat, security against violence, a roof over their heads, medical care, and education,

    the revolution will go on, only sometimes openly, but always

    until either equity is achieved or we manage to bring about the end of the planet as a place where humans can live

    •  struggle on! in solidarity...n/t (0+ / 0-)

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 01:24:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Trotsky's rev: Slaughter 20,000 workers (0+ / 0-)

      at Kronstadt, round up the SRs and Anarchists, support a coup d'etat via procedure against the Petrograd Soviet, start a secret police force... Stalinism is just an extension of Leninism, which Trotsky was directly involved in.  

      Death to ALL tyrants.

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