Home | About | Donate

America’s Real Divide Isn’t Left vs. Right. It’s Democracy vs. Oligarchy

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/09/americas-real-divide-isnt-left-vs-right-its-democracy-vs-oligarchy


And the Duopoly, the Republicans and ‘centrist’ wall Street Dems, are both on the side of Oligarchy


If I recall correctly, the only time the American populace wasn’t divided and conquered by oligarchs was The Great Depression and WW2. So take heart, a cataclysm of even uglier proportion is about to unite the whole world: Climate chaos coming to a planet near you.


Actually the US population was very divided during the 1930s and 40s when 10% of US voters cast their ballots for socialist or communist party candidates while a significant minority of the electorate concurred with the likes of Prescott Bush and Henry Ford who supplied Hitler, Mussolini and Franco and wanted the US to go fascist.

FDR would never have gotten the votes he needed in Congress to pass the New Deal if he hadn’t been able to instill the fear of a commie takeover in the hearts of Congressmen. Throwing just enough crumbs to the 99% to keep them from going commie was the New Deal’s goal.


If history is any predictor of the future, we can count on Reich to give his full and complete support to which ever Oligarch the Democratic Party presidential nominee may be.


Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We fight among each other. We are the trees which keep the forest from view.


All of us are here to comment on the article, are we not?

I am SO tired of hearing that “America’s Real Divide Isn’t Left vs. Right. It’s Democracy vs. Oligarchy.” Left vs Right IS Democracy vs. Oligarchy. Granted most people do not know the history of those terms, but Professor Reich should know better.

The terms originated in the French parliament nearly a month before the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789–the same year the US Constitution was finally ratified. The royalists (oligarchs=few who rule) clustered together at the right hand of the president or speaker, while the Republicans (advocates for representative or indirect democracy) clustered at his right. It is mostly in the 74 years since the end of Part II of the World War that the terms have ever meant anything else. It is not about this or that particular program or policy, but about whether government serves the public as a whole (some exceptions may apply) or only the wealthy and well-connected elite.

If anyone can correct any errors in this account or provide more details of the history of the terms, please do so.


That’s why Bernie may have the answer.

“Trump is the puppet master.”

Excuse me, Mr. Reich, but that is OBVIOUSLY bullsh*t. Trump is Adelson’s puppet, and by extension Israel’s puppet.

“Adelson will mold Rubio into ‘perfect little puppet’ — Trump”

“Who wrote the Book of Trump? The Adelsons”

But I can understand if you don’t want to discuss Irael’s obviously huge role in America’s oligarchy, and possibly get assassinated.

It’s only the planet’s principle democracy at stake.


How can an article about class warfare skirt around the issue of class warfare? This isn’t “Democracy vs. Oligarchy,” it’s Socialism vs. Capitalism. Time for the Wobblies to reanimate.


Let’s get real Reich, it rich vs poor, period. The sooner the plebeians get that the better off we’ll be.


The oligarchs know politicians won’t bite the hands that feed them. So as long as they control the money, they can be confident there will be no meaningful response to stagnant pay, climate change, military bloat or the soaring costs of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, college and housing.

Mr Reich reveals a truth but can not take the next step that is implicit in this truth.

Under the system called CAPITALISM the Oligarchs control the means of production through their control of the Capital. This is how Capitalism is supposed to work. One small group controls the Capital and invests the same in various enterprises so as to garner a return on that capital.

The proper remedy to this would be ensuring one small group does not control the Capital and in this way does not control the money and so does not control the means of production.

Capitalism has to go.


Haven’t we been here before…numerous times. I recall a history lesson on Teddy Roosevelt’s fight against the trust barons then there was FDR challenging the industrial magnates. Every reform gained is reversed

Isn’t the time that we understand the real choice to make. Socialism Vs Capitalism…


I’m all for the Wobs, and I order five copies of their labor history calendar every year. But the issue here is the same as above. There is a reason that the profession to which I came only late in life (and by accident) was originally called “political economy,” and is being called that increasingly today by thoughtful people. We have been taught that Capitalism and Socialism are economic systems while Democracy and Oligarchy are political systems. Good enough, but in reality you can’t separate the two, and they were separated for the very first time in 1890 by High Victorian English economist Alfred Marshall, the first person to identify himself as such. Marshall also said that human institutions have no influence in the “scientific” study of the economy, and that money is the measure of all things. He didn’t say it in those words, but it is the inescapable result of his version of value theory (much narrower even than Adam Smith’s).

It is virtually impossible to have genuine Democracy (direct or indirect) in a Capitalist economy, or to have Socialism in an O
Oligarchy. While there are probably more versions of Socialism than there are people who identify as Socialists, in a historical context left <=> Democracy <=> Socialism, and right <=> Oligarchy <=> Capitalism.


Well, the populace is conquering itself as far as climate change. Gas goes lower and like clockwork Americans are buying more trucks and SUVs. Sure, the mileage on them is better than prior to the MPG changes made under Obama, but I just read at work today about the Trump administration’s work around. It’s hard to have hope at times.


Orwell was wrong; Huxley got it right: We do it to ourselves.

Paraphrase of Neil Postman from Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1985.


I don’t really see a divide… It’s Real Americans (US) against the racist morons trump has cultivated. Which are a fairly small minority…

To deceive is worse than lying. Without technically lying, a deceit intentionally misleads others to believe a lie. Perhaps worst of all, one can unknowingly mislead others to believe a lie if the person honestly believes a lie to be a truth. “Education is the sleeping pill that makes dreams happen” Peggy Hill

You are absolutely correct that ‘non-monarchists’ sat on the left side of what was then an early creation of a Congress that would share power with two different wealthy groups. However the premier philosophers of the time (known then collectively as the “Age of Enlightenment”) wrote that the ‘Left’ side of the Chamber had a real opportunity to promote social equity and egalitarianism (get the monarchs to share their land and wealth) and to successfully accomplish such a feat, society would have to implement social justice reforms.
As everyone would find out though, there would be stiff resistance to both social equity and social justice. Those same philosophers influenced Karl Marx who also happened to be a poverty stricken father of seven who lived in the most wretched slums of industrial London. It was here that Marx said that to achieve total social equity and social justice, the masses would have to seize the “means of production” and share the wealth amongst everyone. History showed that this did not quite work out as societies in general never seem to be totally classless, however the struggle to narrow the wealth divide was still the central theme of the liberal left as well as striving for equality under the law.
Social Democracy was the next step in the evolution of a more equal and fair society, but it was in line with Max Weber’s philosophy in which people didn’t care that they were on different rungs of the economic ladder along as they knew who was on the rung above, but more importantly who was on the rung below them. But Weber, like all great thinkers who proceeded him, felt that it was only naturally that societies would develop along the way and share the benefits… just not as evenly as Marx had predicted. ‘Socialism’ was suppose to be a marriage between capitalism and communism, which still sent a chill down the spine over almost every rich industrialist out there.
In contemporary America neither mainstream party or the judiciary openly advocate for social equity or social justice. Empathy for each other is not an option in either private enterprise or in public office. Instead the ole ‘pull yourself up by the boot straps’ mentality or ‘rugged individualism’ rather than a collective response is what we’re led to believe is the better of the two options.
Though the terms social equity and social justice seem minor and vague, they actually send a clear and direct response to any political solution. Every current example we find in the news today can easily be defined, explained and solved by a ‘leftie’. North Korea? End sanctions immediately and discuss mutual disarmament because that is the just and equitable solution. Venezuela? End sanctions immediately, fund and monitor fair and just new elections and encourage the government to share its oil wealth amongst its citizenry with the emphasis on the most vulnerable first. Universal healthcare? Absolutely, while eliminating its evil predecessor (privately run healthcare) in the process. Universal education? No brainer. What is just and fair?
The list goes on and on, yet Reich is doing this critical aspect of ‘leftist thought’ a huge disservice by trying to abandon the traditional goals of the 99% and instead corral them into the tiny ring of Democrats versus Republicans. Trumps actions in regards to increasing social equity and ending social injustice should be the only yardsticks we use to determine his success or failure. However, that same measurement against his predecessors would reveal a similar if not identical pattern which may cause the masses to rethink everything they know about the current state of affairs.
While the semantics of “the Left” have been vigorously debated and have evolved over generations, the core principles have not changed one iota. This is why the establishment works so hard at demonizing the entire concept and misrepresenting its most basic objectives in the belief that to foster division while simultaneously producing an misinformed citizenry, the ruling elites will create the best possible defence against a more equitable and just society.