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This piece from a Columbia U. professor eloquently argues that national democracies are under assault from global capital.

http://www.aljazeera.com/...

This is a basic description of the electoral field and the projected situation. But what is especially important is the broader social and historical context of these elections. The collapse of credibility in the entire political system underlies the essential paradox of these elections: a bankrupt country, whose population is profoundly disaffected with the political system, gathers to exercise its democratic right to elect officials that are to preside over a national terrain that has effectively lost its sovereignty.

We are witnessing a dramatic articulation of the essential contradiction between democracy and capitalism. More than ever, this is the essential political problem of our times. While the nation-state still remains the requisite form of society's self-determination, the pillar of integrity of the nation-form since the advent of modernity - namely, national economy - is now thoroughly dismantled by the dynamics of a globalised economy that could care less about national boundaries, cultural particularities, social histories, or even more, societies themselves as self-recognised collectives of real men and women whose very conditions of life are at stake.

The idea is that when governments are beholden to the exigent demands of global capitalists (as when our government cowers in the face of those who would otherwise lend to us), then politics becomes debased to such an extent that people go to the voting booths to elect representatives who have no power to effectively fight for the well-being of those they represent. Soon enough, the national ethos becomes so muddled and confused that people can't even figure out what they are voting for, since there is no effective representation of their wishes. In a desperate attempt to assert themselves democratically, people gravitate toward all sorts of debased ideologies and political parties simply because there is a vacuum of power and possibility at the top. In such times, the parties of hatred take hold of the nation.

The writer diagnosis that it's not so much politicians who lead the voters down this dead-end street, but rather it's the capture of the national economy which gives rise to hateful politicians.

Essentially, he argues that democracy is for now one grand puppet show. The key battle is in disentangling ourselves from those who have captured our national economy. Ironically, this is maybe the one thing the vast majority of voters can all agree on.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:05:19 AM PDT

  •  Not theory but practice...tipped & rec'ed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, cotterperson

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:12:10 AM PDT

  •  One grand puppet show it is. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbou, cotterperson, Renee, marina

    And disentangling ourselves is absolutely the thing to do.

    Good post. Thanks.

  •  I drive by... (7+ / 0-)

    abandoned factories in the old mill towns here in Massachusetts and I wonder what it would take to transform those factories into plants that produce goods for consumption here in Massachusetts only. I wonder what it would take to grow food just for the people in the state, to produce goods and services just for people in the state. I wonder just what it would take to become a self sustained unit.

    I don't know.

    As a nation, the U.S. consumes the most hot dogs per capita. So you'd be wise to never underestimate our powers of denial.

    by jbou on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:20:45 AM PDT

  •  Welcome to the Grand Illusion. (6+ / 0-)

    Now, how to disentangle.   I like that word.  This is exactly why we have the Occupy movement.  Really, it's as simple as saying, "the banks run the place".  Start with the Federal Reserve System, as undemocratic an institution as we have in this country, that happens to control monetary supply and policy.  

    •  I agree with criticism of the Fed but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt, native

      the bigger problem for me is that the Fed has been captured by the very forces I'm describing. Again, a Fed. run by people beholden to the people is simply an institution that works with the treasury, and might even be folded into the treasury.

      As to how we disentangle, the question of the Fed is important in the sense that each nation would simply take hold of its own economy by funding itself (controlling currency and investing) to the best of its abilities.

      Most people don't realize the degree to which our own governments are hampered by laws instilling capitalism and neoliberalism at the core. The EU is much worse than the USA even as it totally prevents in the laws national holdings. In fact, there are laws that say that the ECB, for instance, is not allowed to purchase sovereign bonds. But it is allowed to purchase private bonds in the secondary markets. So, we have gov't institutions that can feed money to private entities, but they are prevented from doing so with public institutions.

      When you have distressed bonds, as in the case of Greece, the ECB can't buy them up at a pittance (20% of value), shore them up by saying it will backstop the bonds (thereby raising the value to 50% at least) then sell them and make a killing for the bank!

      But we see other sovereign countries doing such things: http://ftalphaville.ft.com/...

      The Swiss will make sure the national economy works for them, and don't you dare attack them if you're an investor, because they will defend themselves, and you will lose.

      The national banks make the rules. Unless they are captured. If the fed reserve worked the way the Swiss Central Bank does, then there would be a lot less criticism.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:53:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt

        won't the national banks move against anyone who dares to challenge them? if an individual denouces the banks they find some obscure remark on tape or written down somewhere (van jones?) and ruin them with it. how do we the people counter that?

        •  As long as we have currency, we have banks. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          native

          The national banks simply work for the people--unless of course they are captured and work for only the richest people--who are not fans of inflation and things like that.

          It's just another tool, in other words, a necessary tool if you're going to have currency. No matter the type of economy.

          The national banks should move against anyone who challenges them, IMO, because the attackers are aligned against the people that the national bank represents.

          Our Federal Reserve is conflicted since most of its policies protect our richest globalist citizens, but it also undertakes certain measures which protect the people. If you compare our federal reserve, however, to the ECB which effectively rolls up the functions of our fed reserve into itself, then you see that ours protects more of the people with its policies, even if it is mostly detrimental to our well being.

          In other words, national banks are neutral institutions. In Sweden and Switzerland, they work for the nation and its people. In the USA, they work mostly for the rich. In the eurozone, the ECB seems to work ONLY for the rich.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:05:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Is it really capitalism's fault (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, BigAlinWashSt

        that we don't have democracy?  Or that our country is bankrupt?  I don't think that a tenet of capitalism is the ability to purchase laws for self benefit, nor escape scrutiny by the nation's judicial system, nor manipulate the Fed Reserve.  I contend that these are perversions of our political system that end both democracy and capitalism.

        •  I think it's capitalism's fault (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          katiec, marina

          The manipulation of our political system is just a symptom. As long as you rely on supranational investors engaged in a global economy, which is the state of today's capitalism, then you can't reinforce national borders and politics.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:28:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Manipulation of political system is symptom (0+ / 0-)

            of capitalism?  Do you think that we can use the powers we still have under our disappearing democracy to change our political system?  Don't tell me that you have lost any hope for separating our political system from the influence of money!

            •  No, the distinction I'm making is the same as the (0+ / 0-)

              author's. The national economy is the main force that enables modern nations to have such things as democracies. As we see, the economy is so tied now to global capitalism that our very democracy is threatened. This isn't a political choice (i.e. something you could vote out of office) inasmuch as it is an exigency of the economic system we're involved with. If you vote the people representing the banks and the monopolists out of power, if the nation were entirely governed by 435 Barack Obama's, you would still have the same problem of having to reach out to global investment entities (many of which have bigger warchests than some European nations) to fund your national economy.

              The only way to reverse this is to change your economic system.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:13:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The funding of the national economy (0+ / 0-)

                is probably the link that I am missing to understand the point you are making.  I guess I've never viewed the political system as being beholden to global investment entities unless the individual players (ie. 435 members) are beholden to them.  So my rationale followed that once the political system was 'freed', then it would hold 'control'.  I appreciate your perspective and will stay vigilant about learning more.

                •  The funding question is paramount here (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  marina

                  because the national paradigm is that we need to sell bonds to private investors, which was fine back when such investors were nationally rooted and they knew that investment in America meant more profits, and so lending to the nation-state was simply a good part of doing business.

                  Once capital went global, however, that paradigm died, so investment in the USA through lending to the gov't at decent rates is no longer a part of doing good business.

                  So, the vacuum must be met by a whole new paradigm. Think microfinancing. We invest in ourselves and reap the profits. This would require the fed and the treasury to enter areas they haven't entered before, schemes more common in Sweden than in the USA.

                  Nobel Laureate Stieglitz has been up front from the start about what would be needed.

                  There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                  by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:19:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Why do we need them to fund our economy? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BigAlinWashSt
        •  What do you mean we're bankrupt? Has the fed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BigAlinWashSt

          run out of computer key strokes?

  •  How to disentangle (6+ / 0-)

    ourselves from those who have captured our national economy is indeed the question.  And yes, our democracy is no more than a puppet show.  Our nation is not hijacked by just global capitalists, but also by our 'representatives'.  Think about it, why don't you run as a US House Rep?  Is it because you don't have $1M+ to run an election campaign?  Is it because you don't want to promise what you would have to promise to those who have $1M+ to get you elected?  Is it because you don't want to do what you would have to do as an elected official to continue to receive the flow of money that you need to get re-elected?  Our election system essentially 'screens' candidates for their manipulatability by money and weeds out those who won't play by these rules.  This is a great starting point for the disentanglement!

  •  Old news. (0+ / 0-)

    Jefferson: "the end of democracy and the defeat of the American  Revolution will occur when the government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed corporations." Democrats have traditionally been skeptical about the philosophy of Columbia grad Hamilton. Seemingly minimal tweaks in constitutional interpretation by an unelected Court, can suddenly end it all. Hence the safety valve of Congress's exceptions clause at Art III Sec. 2, or Montana's approach to CU, distinguished as inapplicable. Some who have looked at the problem, say that the First Amendment jurisprudence of Nixon appointee Powell brought us to the current crisis. The imposition of unfettered corporate propaganda, lobbying and control has ended democacy in the Jeffersonian sense. But then, that's why Jefferson, Jackson, etc., adopted partisanship as a strategy for preserving democacy. The Democratic Party's inability to remember its founding mission invites the current impasse.

    •  I don't think it's old news as we've never had (0+ / 0-)

      global capital in those days. This is new news. The difference is this. Jefferson was referring to the capture of government by lending institutions and moneyed corporations.

      Even if we totally got rid of that possibility, the author points out that the way global capitalism works itself is inimical to national democracy.

      in other words, you have to opt out of our chosen economic system, and that's much much further out than what Jefferson is writing about.

      In the arguments of this author, the problem is systemic.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:09:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Still old news (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Musial

      In the sense that the it is always might vs right whether it's the global economy or a gang of thieves at the village market.  We just let down the castle gate and dismantled the moat.

      •  How can we not let down the gate? (0+ / 0-)

        If we participate in the very economy we've taken advantage of for years?

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:29:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The US became fantastically rich inflicting its (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          upstate NY, katiec

          crony capitalism on the world. It has now pillaged third world countries for a hundred years, taking over from the British which took over from the Spanish.

          Now that the multinational corporations fly no flag, they are attacking and consuming their own. Many of the huge corporations and banks are so large they are, in effect, sovereign entities unto themselves and cannot be touched. The only thing that will bring them down is internal rot or a globalized storming of their gates.

          The world desperately needs a new financial paradigm under which to function. Capitalism is incapable of integrating external, social costs in its accounting. These externalities are destroying the world. The only way to do this is with progressive taxation and strong regulation with effective oversight.

          Milton Friedman's policies have completely failed around the world other than as a mechanism to transfer wealth to the select few in control of the power structure that governs nations.

          Friedman's acolytes have long argued that unfettered capitalism will automatically create democracy and "freedom". A cursory look at many countries around the world shows the fallacy of that belief system. If anything, unfettered capitalism gone wild has created countries where the governments are democratic in name only.

          The largest and most powerful example of this is the United States of America.

  •  As people we have little power (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shelly Bernal, Nisi Prius, upstate NY

    Great diary.  As individuals we don't possess the power to significantly influence the financial system.  Even bonded together by political parties, we can effect changes in Congress or elect a President who promises change but in reality the titans of capitalism will direct how and where capital is used.  The financial system really is bigger than government both globally and nationally and it would probably require nothing short of unprecedented civil protest / rebellion to restore Democracy as most of us believe it should exist.

    We live in such troubled times; orchestrated, I believe, by the 0.1% precisely to facilitate the transition of Democracy by and for the people to Democracy by and for elite practitioners of predatory capitalism.

    They'll allow us to have our elections but clearly they feel comfortable enough with their ability to rig the elections, or they know that regardless of the outcomes they will still retain the real power.

    Typically I try to refrain from using "they" since it opens a counterargument to strawman references but I truly believe that "they" are a real entity with a real agenda.

    •  Lost hope in the power of people? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike RinRI

      Please don't tell me this is so!  I totally agree with your comment, but please, don't tell me that we no longer have any power to make positive change in our political system!

      •  I'm saying we do have the power to make change (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike RinRI

        but that this won't necessarily come through the ballot box. The author is showing that the Greeks, for instance, have no real choices.

        In this sense, an Occupy Wall Street event is no different than Election Day. Both may serve to enunciate voices of discontent but neither seems to have immediate impact. The question is, how do we reach out and make our institutions work for us in a national economy which does not pit us against the poorest of the poor in other nations? Capitalism simply can't do that.

        If I were a religious person, I might even say that America is simply getting what it deserves. There was a time (from 1945 to 1975) when the USA was a beneficent force for the world economy, but once we lost our surpluses, we turned toward creating economic destruction and havoc in other nations as a means of preserving our hegemony. The USA was no longer king of the world economy by 1975, but somehow we preserved that throne for ourselves simply because we had no other chief rival (not the USSR, not China, not the EU). This is why Wall Street was so important to every American. Even though we no longer produced as we used to to make ourselves wealthier and to improve our standard of living, the world still trusted the American financial system most, so all the world's surpluses were recycled through Wall Street, and we all benefited.

        Many on the left don't want to admit this but we've been coasting on the financialization of the world economy for over three decades now. The run appears to be over. We will be a country in retrograde for the foreseeable future unless we employ a new economic system that works best for us.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:20:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but (0+ / 0-)

          we did'nt "lose" our surplus it was wasted by design. and there are plenty of people(democrats) that went along who should have known better. i'm all for a new economic system, i just don't want the ones that ruined the old one involved.

          •  Well, I don't necessarily believe this (0+ / 0-)

            as your currency becomes too strong, then eventually you will lose your surpluses, but the question then becomes (as in Sweden and Switzerland and such countries) how do you reorganize your economy. If you do it to benefit the rich, you will chiefly set your sights on maintaining the hegemony of your position through economic malfeasance elsewhere or with your military.

            The Euros portrayed themselves as the world's great hope against the USA, but they are even more craven than we ever were.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:48:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  again... (0+ / 0-)

              ...i agree. but we don't have to make an either/or choice. the more succesful nations like germany, france, canada, operate under a mixed economic system. a blend of some socialism with some capitalism. china has a mix of authoritarian communism and capitalism. we do have options. our problem is that the people are only given one choice: what we have done in the past, what we are doing right now, and what we are going to do in the future. same old, same old. challenge that and the elite will crush you.

              •  But even there, Germany is doing exactly what (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Claudius Bombarnac

                the USA did in the 70s. They've adopted a beggar-thy-neighbor approach to trade where they suppress demand at home, refuse to recycle their surpluses (instead giving them to their CEOs) and adopt vendor-financing scams which pump up exports. Germany is very much like us.

                There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:16:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  true (0+ / 0-)

                  that should help us avoid the same mistakes. the eu is having it's share of problems but look at the overall picture. let's go back to germany. they have higher taxes, higher rates of union membership, a much more generous social safety net, higher wages and yet they have prospered. we have gone the other way and we are staggering to a collapse. again it  does not have to be an either/or choice.

                  •  Well, the problem is that they can only (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Claudius Bombarnac

                    do that by making others suffer. Just as we did post 1975. Germany is in a symbiotic relationship that requires misery elsewhere. Germany doesn't work otherwise because it is organized to suppress demand locally and to pump it up elsewhere through any means possible (bribery, vendor-financing, etc.).

                    This gets back to my original premise, whether the type of beggar-thy-neighbor policies adopted by capitalists are really good for us. When people say that Europe has a better social safety net and working conditions, they are only looking at rich Europe, because the periphery is poorer and has much worse social services than we have.

                    But you can only look at Europe as a whole precisely because of the common currency. Think about it this way: in Europe, the banking system is not unified. So even though they share a common currency, you're better off parking your money at a bank in a rich country. Primarily because there is less risk in the event of a euro collapse. If the euro collapses, your money in a German bank will be converted to DM which will appreciate and make you richer. The reverse is true for a bank in a poorer country. This means that people in poor countries have an incentive to send their money to banks in richer countries, which allows those banks the greater leverage with which to invest in those richer countries.

                    These are capitalist schemes mean to defray and defraud one's neighbor. They are not in any sense reciprocal.

                    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                    by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:37:36 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i don't disagree (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      upstate NY, Claudius Bombarnac

                      and i'm not saying we should do what the eu is doing. there is a way out of this financial cul-de-sac. it's called the New Deal. look at the US from the end of WW2 to reagan. higher marginal tax rates, higher rates of unionized workers, higher rates of goverment spending etc. the result was the greatest period of economic growth in our history. of course things were not perfect but our way of life has gotten worse the further we move away from the New Deal and deeper into the supply side pool. we have the past as a guide and a framework for the future. how about we update the New Deal fot the 21st century. lets organize ourselves around what we know works and stop governing based on wishful thinking.

                      •  I agree with that... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...but how do you finance that?

                        Even with higher taxes, it won't be enough.

                        Unless you invest in yourselves through a national bank. Unless you centralize those operations.

                        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                        by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:07:09 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  higher taxes (0+ / 0-)

                          would be a start. they don't have to be as high as during eisenhowers's time but not as low as they are now. and we don't need a 750 billion dollar defense budget. and i like the idea of a national bank. of course the devil is in the details but i have no doubt it can be done.

                      •  It was socialism that created a strong America (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        upstate NY

                        It was socialism that built the highways, bridges, ports, air ports, dams, levees, hydro electric power, city infrastructure such as sewer and water, schools, police, fire departments, old age security, medicare, medicaid, unemployment insurance, Marshall Plan, GI Bill, etc.

                        All of that was financed through progressive taxation coupled with corporate taxation and had resulted in the largest demographic that has ever existed in the history of the world - the middle class.

      •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

        I'd like to think that the American people can fix this but when I look at the cruelty and hatred and contempt that one part of our society has for another part of society I'm not encouraged.  When I see a major political party obsessively driven by greed and hubris to the detriment of the country and when I see polls that show that these values (perhaps not the values per se but the politicians who support them) are accepted by roughly half the people then it's hard not to lose hope .  I just don't see the power of the ballot box being sufficient anymore; government is too weak, it isn't a force that can challenge the power of big business.
        I hope I'm wrong but I've this evolving over many years and it seems to have been well orchestrated to assure that Democracy is subservient to business interests.

        •  well, (0+ / 0-)

          i guess in november we'll find out. my fear is that if the gop retakes the White House and Senate and holds it's majority in the House it will be game over. no democrat will get elected to anything after that as the gop thugs will rig the system so that they will never, ever lose power again. but like you i hope i'm wrong.

  •  The problem is that the majority of people in (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nisi Prius, upstate NY, katiec, marina

    the US have conflated capitalism with democracy, equality, human rights and freedom itself. It is no accident that this has occurred. There is no other country in the world that has been propagandized as effectively as the US has been in the last century. This has been done through education (primary, secondary and tertiary), the media in the form of advertising (as well as the so-called "news" they broadcast) and the entertainment industry.

    BTW, you even see this conflation here in DKos.

    The US forces are not a force for democracy and human rights in the world. They are the policing force for capitalism and the banner under which they fight and die is the American dollar.

  •  I think it will be up to us (0+ / 0-)

    to make "democracy" democratic.

    I don't think we'll do this without clearly expressing human values in ways that persuade large (very large considering what we're up against) numbers of people to embrace those values.

    If we want to get out of this we need to stop reacting and start creating --that's what makes paradigms shift.  Critique is essential, but it doesn't actually lead anywhere.  The best we can expect from negation-based 'activity' is stasis (stalemate).

    We need to offer much more than the absence of the bad if we want to get anywhere.  Finding the flaws in capitalism is like shooting ducks in a barrel.  We've been doing that forever, but we haven't developed enough traction with everyday people to challenge its dominance.  To do that we'll have to express a positive vision in ways that everyday people can believe in.

    Way past time we stopped celebrating doomsterism (really boring to most folks) and started creating.  It's harder, but I don't doubt we can do it

    OWS is offering a positive worldview (particularly in how it organized itself) and 'we' got our first public traction since the 60's.  We need to do a lot more than that, but it represents a healthy start.

    Stop reacting.  Create and inspire instead.

    This is our world.

    We are the people.

    •  this is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urizen

      the part where the screaming starts. what vision and who's vision. even OWS can't agree on certain things. if we just elect democrats to hold the line where does that take us. we have to play in one of two sandboxes. our sandbox MUST put forth an agenda that is positive, works for everybody in an equitable way. can we do that?

      •  sure we can (0+ / 0-)

        We don't have to "follow" anybody's vision except our own.  Make our sandbox bigger so that those who limit our effect have less influence within it.  

        As of right now, the only thing we really need to agree on is that capitalist fascism is bad for everybody except fascists.  It doesn't even matter if we agree on what to call them.  We're currently refighting battles we won decades ago (choice, voting rights, etc.).  I think any of us can agree that we need to get these backward looking people out of the way.  So lets do that.  Now.

        OWS is effective because it's inclusive (they even let Paultards participate --and I know some of them end up defecting from Paultardland).

        Build coalitions that effect things instead of trying to control other people (isn't the idea of people controlling other people a huge part of the problem?).  Instead of trying to control people, we need to inspire them, get them in control of themselves and welcome their input.  Persuade them instead of telling them they're wrong.

        •  count me in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Urizen

          the problem is our "system" allows only 2 sandboxes, a democratic one and a republican one. we have to get the democratic one to put forward a democratic vision, not just a less harsh vision of the gop box. we don't want to "control" people and i would love to persuade some to our side like you say.  but if the people in that other sandbox are wrong they're wrong. for example, "if we cut taxes for the wealthiest 1% everyone will benefit" was wrong. lets let the ones who were right make some decisions for awile. ever since reagan it seems like we've take poor policy and really bad policy and split the difference. we can all see what that has gotten us.

  •  Update on Greek elections (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina

    ND 17-20%
    SYRIZA 15,5 - 18,5%
    PASOK 14 - 17%
    KKE 7,5 - 9,5%
    An.El. 10 - 12%
    DIMAR 4.5 - 6.5%
    Chryssi Avgi 6 - 8%
    LAOS 2,5 - 3,5
    Eco Greens 2,5 - 3,5
    Dem Alliance 2 - 2,8
    Drasi 2 - 2,8
    Demiourgia Xana (3d neolib - enterpreneur party) 1,9 - 2,5
    ANTARSYA 1,2 - 2

    Syriza, the anti-austerity left and the real hope of Greece, is outperforming even the most optimistic projections so far. They were pegged at around 10% and have never gotten more than 5-6%. 18.5% is huge for them. No one could have ever imagined that they would outpoll the pro-austerity Socialists PASOK.

    Very scary: the Nazis have 8% of the vote. They have risen from less than 1% to pre-polling of, Holy Cow! Nazi's in Greece of 5%, to Oh My God, NAZI's at 8%.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:31:04 AM PDT

    •  i wonder... (0+ / 0-)

      ...what the nazi's would get here?

      •  It makes me sick (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina

        to think about it. Realize that the German Nazis killed off 600,000 people, or 10% of the Greek population. The fact that got 8% of the vote is a true sickness of the soul in that country.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:45:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  this... (0+ / 0-)

          ...is a really good diary. something to think about on sunday.

        •  Golden Dawn is taking advantage of current (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina

          economic conditions and dissatisfaction with current government. It is the exact same scenario that led to the rise of Hitler in Germany.

          You can even see some of the beliefs and actions of Golden Dawn reflected within the US.

          Greece's Golden Dawn Is Coming

          I (Elektra Kotsoni) interviewed Elias Panagiotaros, Golden Dawn's main media guy:

          Um, OK. You want to talk a little about what you guys stand for?

          (Elias Panagiotaros:)
          We are nationalist Greeks and we love our country. We have five basic principles: Greece belongs to the Greeks. One does not become a Greek, but is born one. This is not England with all their Pakistanis and those Indians! If a black man comes from Africa and stays in Greece for 15 years, he is still not a Greek. We are anti-capitalists, anti-communists and believe in a national state. We also have extremely normal and strict opinions on matters regarding illegal immigration, drugs and homosexuality. It’s all pretty straightforward if you think about it.
          ...
          What are you gonna do if you do end up with seats in the Parliament?

          (Elias Panagiotaros:)
          Immediate deportation of all immigrants. The borders should get boarded up, from sea and land, because at the moment people just come and go at their liking. Those who help the immigrants with their papers, and those who employ or house immigrants will also be severely punished.

          •  Ugly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac

            How come no one ever asks the good questions of these guys?

            "Since you're real Greeks, do you believe that the 600,000 people your philosophical mentors in Germany killed were fake Greeks?"

            That's what I want to know.

            I haven't seen a breakdown of how many votes this party will get and from what region, but I heard they were strong in Athens (where the immigrants are) but weak in places with a memory of the quisling support for the Nazis, where atrocities were carried out, not to mention their role in the Junta.

            So, it may be that the Nazi vote diminishes somewhat as we hear from the Greek hinterlands.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 12:12:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Golden Dawn also hates the Germans (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              upstate NY

              It is actually a neo-Nazi party. It just borrows ideas from Hitler's party as a way to rebuild the Greek economy. Just as Hitler did, they also need a scapegoat to blame the poor state of the economy on.

              •  But, they have really always been around (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Claudius Bombarnac

                and their fathers are the same dopes that gave the Nazis support in the 1940s.

                There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 02:19:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There's more to it than "their fathers" (0+ / 0-)

                  There are more people aged 16 to 24 out of work in Greece than there are working. Wacko right wing parties feed on poverty and discontent.

                  BTW,  the problem is not only surfacing in Greece. Germany, France, Belgium and other EU countries are seeing a resurgence of right wing Nationalistic Parties that cater to racism and xenophobia and these are gaining legitimacy within the political structures of the countries. Not a good sign.

                  •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

                    Yes, 7% is a shock. This party was comatose a little while ago. It shows that the Greek social fabric is fraying, and people trust these thugs to "guide them to the local ATM."

                    My aunt lived in her condo in Gizi for 45 years, but moved out when a neighbor was robbed and assaulted in the halls. She owns the condo in Gizi but now rents a basement studio in Glyfada near her daughter's family. The mentality of my aunt these days is one of self-preservation.

                    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                    by upstate NY on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:29:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    upstate NY, marina

    Video:

    HA-JOON CHANG, ECONOMIST, UNIV. OF CAMBRIDGE: Thank you.

    JAY: So you teach economics at Cambridge.

    CHANG: That's right.

    JAY: And you've been trying to popularize a better understanding of economics. But first of all, when you say 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, who's They?

    CHANG: Right. Well, they are the supporters of free-market economics, ranging from academics in universities through people in the private sector, government, the journalistic world. I mean, these are people who basically try to justify the status quo. I mean, they're telling people, well, whatever you think about what's going on is all how it has to be. You know. I mean, you don't like income inequality? Tough. I mean, that's the only way to run an efficient economic system. You don't like environmental destruction? Tough. I mean, that's how we become rich. You know. So these are people who have been telling us in the last 30 years that we have to liberalize everything, we have to deregulate everything, we have to make rich people even richer, so that everyone else can become rich, and so on, and engineered all [inaudible] massive policy changes like tax cuts for the rich, business deregulation, the deregulation of the labor market and eroding of labor rights, and so on.

    Watch full multipart 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

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