The bipartisan project of dismantling our democracy, which took place over the last few decades on behalf of corporations and the rich, has left only the outward shell of democracy. The courts, legislative bodies, the executive branch and the media, including public broadcasting, are captive to corporate power. There is no institution left that can be considered authentically democratic. The corporate coup d’état is over. They won. We lost. The wreckage of this neoliberal project is appalling: endless and futile wars to enrich a military-industrial-complex that bleeds the U.S. Treasury of half of all discretionary spending; deindustrialization that has turned U.S. cities into decayed ruins; the slashing and privatization of social programs, including education, utility services and health care.
The people of Haiti have been on the streets for weeks to protest rampant inflation and currency devaluation as well as the political-institutional crisis facing the country. These protests intensified this week following the declaration by de-facto President and Prime Minister Ariel Henry that he had officially requested foreign military support to curb gang violence. Haitian movements have alleged that the move furthers the already alarming criminalization of social movements demanding change in the country, and paves the way for another foreign military occupation of the country. Their protests against the call for military intervention have been met with brutal violence and repression. There exists a numerically-miniscule but economically-powerful set of inbreeding oligarch families in Haiti , who are not descendants of deported and enslaved Africans, like 99% of Haitians.
“You know me, and I know you.” Those words were spoken by president Joe Biden at the recent Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference. No doubt he was purposefully evoking Congressman James Clyburn’s 2020 endorsement. Clyburn famously said , “I know Joe. We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us.” The identity of the other party in the first person plural was never stated, but was widely assumed to mean Black people. The oligarchs of the democratic party had chosen Biden and that meant Clyburn went along as well. He is not the king maker he is made out to be. Of course the importance of his endorsement extended beyond the South Carolina primary and was considered to be a stamp of approval for all of Black America.
It’s not a presidential election year — which explains my lack of gastrointestinal issues — so when better for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to quietly, behind closed doors, change their rules to make it even harder for regular people to have any impact on our completely unhinged government? That’s exactly what they did! But in their defense, they did send out invitations to all DNC voting members with one of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s inner thigh scabs in each envelope. The DNC is best known for being the most hated organization in the United States for 26 years running! You’ll never catch up, Child Molesters of Cincinnati Club!
The fawning adulation of Queen Elizabeth in the United States, which fought a revolution to get rid of the monarchy, and in Great Britain, is in direct proportion to the fear gripping a discredited, incompetent and corrupt global ruling elite. The global oligarchs are not sure the next generation of royal sock puppets – mediocrities that include a pedophile prince and his brother, a cranky and eccentric king who accepted suitcases and bags stuffed with $3.2 million in cash from the former prime minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, and who has millions stashed in offshore accounts – are up to the job. Let’s hope they are right.
In February 2021, by order of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine shut down three domestic television channels, accusing them of spreading Russian “propaganda.” Three months later, Zelenksky arrested Viktor Medvedchuk, who was at the time leading the second-biggest party in Ukraine’s national parliament, the pro-Russia and Eurosceptic Opposition Platform for Life (OPZZh). Zelensky didn’t have trouble incinerating vaunted democratic norms well-before Russia crossed the Rubicon into Ukraine this year. So it was no surprise when he did it again amid the war in late March, invoking emergency powers under martial law to nationalize TV channels and ban 11 opposition parties, including OPZZh — all supposedly done in the name of combatting Russian misinformation and Russian sympathizers, even though OPZZh’s then-chairman, Yuriy Boyko, denounced the war and called for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
This past week, November 1 to 6, this writer wrote a daily running commentary on the developments in Congress, as the corporate wing of the Democrat Party maneuvered US House progressives into a corner over voting on the Infrastructure and Reconciliation (Build Back Better) spending bills. Ever since the two the bills—Infrastructure and Reconciliation— were first raised together last March 2021, progressives in the Democrat Party have been steadily driven into making concession after concession, reducing their proposals in a vain attempt to get the party’s corporate wing (represented in Senate by Manchin & Sinema and in the House by Cuellar and friends) to agree to some reduced cost Reconciliation bill.
In his recent article, "America's Fate: Oligarchy or Autocracy," Chris Hedges writes that bankrupt liberals have sold out to the oligarchic class to try to prevent an autocracy from rising but that is actually creating the conditions for autocracy. Hedges speaks with Clearing the FOG about the lessons from the Occupy movement - he was involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City and the occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC in 2011 - and why we must build a militant movement now to confront and hold power accountable. He explains how power works, including the role of politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden in protecting the interests of the wealthy classes.
The competing systems of power in the United States are divided between oligarchy and autocracy. There are no other alternatives. Neither are pleasant. Each have peculiar and distasteful characteristics. Each pays lip service to the fictions of democracy and constitutional rights. And each exacerbates the widening social and political divide and the potential for violent conflict. The oligarchs from the establishment Republican Party, figures such as Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, George and Jeb Bush and Bill Kristol, have joined forces with the oligarchs in the Democratic Party to defy the autocrats in the new Republican Party who have coalesced in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump or, if he does not run again for president, his inevitable Frankensteinian doppelgänger.
Don’t be fooled by Joe Biden. He knows his infrastructure and education bills have as much chance at becoming law as the $15-dollar minimum wage or the $2,000 stimulus checks he promised us as a candidate. He knows his American Jobs Plan will never create “millions of good paying jobs – jobs Americans can raise their families on” any more than NAFTA, which he supported, would, as was also promised, create millions of good paying jobs. His mantra of “buy American” is worthless. He knows the vast majority of our consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and industrial supplies are made in China by workers who earn an average of one or two dollars an hour and lack unions and basic labor rights.
The death spiral of the American Empire will not be halted with civility. It will not be halted with the 42 executive orders signed by Joe Biden, however welcome many are, especially since they can, with a new chief executive, be immediately revoked. It will not be halted by removing Donald Trump, and the crackpot conspiracy theorists, Christian fascists and racists who support him, from social media. It will not be halted by locking up the Proud Boys and the clueless protestors who stormed the Congress on January 6 and took selfies in Mike Pence’s Senate chair. It will not be halted by restoring the frayed alliances with our European allies or rejoining the World Health Organization or the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (BiBC) is calling on colonized and unrepresented people of the U.S. to join us November 6-8 for the Black Power Matters march on the white house opposing the reactionary U.S. agenda being imposed on Africans and others within the U.S. and around the world. Millions of people within the U.S. have been pushed out of legitimate political life by the rulers of this country. The two ruling parties have both put on their ritual shows called conventions, formally nominating their respective representatives for U.S. president and unveiling their two tame programs that represent the interests of one single white colonial-capitalist ruling class.
There is only one choice in this election. The consolidation of oligarchic power under Donald Trump or the consolidation of oligarchic power under Joe Biden. The oligarchs, with Trump or Biden, will win again. We will lose. The oligarchs made it abundantly clear, should Bernie Sanders have miraculously become the Democratic Party nominee, they would join forces with the Republicans to crush him. The oligarchs preach the mantra of the least-worst to us when they attempt to ram a Hillary Clinton or a Joe Biden down our throats but ignore it for themselves.
Nearly all US media articles about the visit characterize it as AMLO abandoning his progressive principles and shamefully kowtowing to Donald Trump, despite the latter’s obvious racism towards Mexicans, his brutal deportation and anti-immigration policies. Without exception, none of these articles considers the political and economic context in which AMLO and his Morena party are attempting to implement significant economic, social, and political reforms in México. In order to better appreciate what AMLO and Morena are attempting to do and the significant challenges they face, here are some important factors the Left, especially the North American Left, needs to consider.
If you think about the Civil War as a war between two different ideologies, two different concepts of what America is supposed to be, is it supposed to be a place where a few wealthy men direct the labor and the lives of the people below them, the women and people of color below them, the way the Confederacy argued? Is that America? Or is America what Lincoln and his ilk in the Republican Party in the North defined the democracy as during the Civil War? Is it a place where all men are equal before the law and should have equal access to resources? And of course, I use the word man there, but that’s because that’s the language that Lincoln used.