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As Tech Giants Threaten Democracy, Calls Grow for New Anti-Monopoly Movement


As Tech Giants Threaten Democracy, Calls Grow for New Anti-Monopoly Movement

Jake Johnson, staff writer

A major Washington-based think tank's decision to fire a prominent Google critic earlier this week brought to the surface the massive and "disturbing" influence large tech companies have on political debate in the U.S., leading many analysts and lawmakers to call for the creation of an anti-monopoly movement to take on the threat consolidated corporate power poses to the democrati


Does this mean the anti-monopoly movement is calling for an end to capitalism, the source from which corporate power springs. Or are they calling for the abolition of corporate Constitutional rights, an equal source of corporate power? Will their movement fold if they get funding and go back to work for a think tank, or build their own? As far as I can tell we’re being asked to tell Google to give them their funding back, and be ready to spring into action when they beckon. Campaign, not a movement. (Trump has me questioning everyone’s motives including my own.)

Their research is extremely valuable in detailing income inequality and corporate wrongdoing; it should be funded, and Google should heed their advice, but announcing a new movement, which is little more than a campaign, sticks in my craw. There are real movements growing in this country which need to be melded together. Would it not be more effective to bring the issue to the table as a campaign and merge with existing movements?

Part of the reason We the People are losing is because we don’t know the difference between a campaign (short-term organizing) and a movement (long-term organizing).


Hmm. Yet another ‘movement’. While I certainly applaud the focus of this particular movement, I am concerned that we are continually diluting our energies as we focus on one thing and then another. From what I can see, getting $$$ out of politics is the only viable ‘umbrella’ that everything else pretty much fits under. Can we even imagine a political system without lobbyists, motivated by the common good? How about elections that have spending limits and are publicly funded?

Our ‘democracy’ is not threatened. The coup is over, and the corporatists have won. Trying to undo their influence one piece at a time would take more time that our species has left.


In ancient times when we had some “public servants” in government, there was some protection against the worst abuses of monopolies and capitalism.
Now we only have self-servants …


It’s worse than that. We don’t have a consensus (understanding?) of what organizing is, the work it takes, and the resources required. Organizing is good and necessary (for the survival of our species) work; but it is work that requires risk and sacrifice. It is not a game.


I agree with your sentiments, but the issue of money in politics is much deeper. There’s money in politics because corporations have 14th amendment rights–equal protection under the law–dating back to 1886. They used that right to get first amendment rights allowing them to speak in campaigns and elsewhere. They went on to use those rights to gain undue influence to our political process when the Supreme Court ruled money is speech back in the 60’s. The Democracy movement aims to abolish all Constitutional rights meant for human beings (corporate personhood) and money as protected political speech (money out of politics). As long as corporations hang onto their 14th amendment rights, they will be able to undo everything the people do to try and control them–through the courts. And that’s my motive for speaking out!


Gotta deal with the system having come unhinged first:


Looking back at headlines about Citizens United at YES! Magazine

Glenn Greenwald on CU at the Intercept
To Protect Hillary Clinton, Democrats Wage War on Their Own Core Citizens United Argument


Sad but true.  Bernie has called for a ‘Political Revolution’, and that is clearly what is needed.  Whether or not we can bring it about is another question entirely.

A Nation of Sheep will soon have a Government of Wolves. — Edward R. Morrow


Upon reading your comment I found myself struggling against the confusion that you sowed! You nit pick about definitions stating a campaign (according to your definition of the word ) is different from a movement (according to your definition of the word). You also presage your comment by presenting your understanding of some anticapitalist views? By the time one reads through your comment, there is a sense that you have redefined or rather redirected what was the gist of the article.

The idea of a general movement to fight monopolies and the increasing power that these mega corporate entities have over our lives and our culture etc is not hard to understand. You throw in a question about ending capitalism which is a whole other thing entirely. But then you further redirect attention to corporate personhood as if that was the issue. While you are stating valid issues about corporate control etc, they are not what was the gist of the article.

I do not understand what you have a problem with? The piece merely asks for greater attention to be paid to the control exerted by these mega monopolistic corporations. You question motives about what exactly? I think you impugn the motives more than you do question them. Regardless, I doubt that you really object to increased efforts by people in general to battle with the monopolies that are increasingly determining our way of life as the oligarchy sees fit.


Not only should there be concern about monopoly power but certainly with Google and Facebook there should be real concerns about privacy and democracy. Do we really know what data they are collecting and what they are doing with it? How concerned should we be about fake news being spread by Facebook’s newsfeed and all the right wing web sites that tend to come up at the top of Google’s lists for many searches. And exactly where are they going with artificial intelligence. The movement should be very broad and include dealing with the influence of these companies on politics and the effects of their data collection and use of algorithms on privacy and democracy.


I say let’s not snuff this idea with complexities. Would it be possible, before the polar icecaps melt completely, for enough people to understand that any candidate who takes big money from big moneyed interests doesn’t deserve our votes? That candidate clearly doesn’t care about the growing income disparity between the rich and poor, the collapse of ecosystems, and the destruction we lay on humankind with our wars.

We’ve got the technology to spread this word like wild fire…and it’s already happenin’ among the young in many ways. In my conservative county, I think a young, intelligent independent candidate with a responsible record and the message above could beat our Republican Congressman and any Democrat… if not in 2018, for sure in 2020. People are that disgusted with Washington DC.

I don’t think I’m dreaming.




True – at least for today.  But what happens when Ajit Pai – a typical Korporate scumbag appointed to a critical regulatory post by Tweetle-Dumb to gut the agency he’s in charge of and thereby to help undermine what little is left of “our” democracy – succeeds in doing away with “Net Neutrality”?  IIRC, today was the last day to submit public comments, and the vote will be held next week.

And really, what percentage of voters are actually paying attention to what is really going on?  IMHO, we here on CD are in just as much of a bubble as those who listen only to Faux “News”.
See my post above r.e. “A Nation of Sheep” . . .


Sorry for the confusion. I’m bemoaning the overall lack of organization among We the People, and pointing to two reasons why monopolies exist, which I failed to make entirely clear.

If they truly want to end and avoid monopolies, it seems causes like capitalism and/or corporate Constitutional rights would be part of their messaging. I understand the value of their work, but question their tactics and motives, which begin with the loss of their paychecks, admittedly for specious reasons. After decades of losing, I’m wary, very wary.

I could be very wrong, and will admit it if I am, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next message you get from them after revealing your email addy is or contains a money ask, the default position of the majority of orgs on the inside of the DC beltway nonprofit complex.

Their apparent goal, strategy, and tactics are those of a campaign, and are welcome–as a campaign. Misusing the word movement and all that suggests is not at all helpful to those actually doing the work to build solidarity and power, or for those looking for systemic solutions. Single-issue legislative solutions, as can be see from the rise of monopolies since the last time a legislative cure was passed, don’t work for the long haul.


The problems this nation faces are complex and structural in nature. We can vote Trump and others out of office, but we cannot not vote ourselves out of this mess. Believe it or not, we’ve been trying–that’s how we got Trump in the first place, and Obama, and Bush, and Clinton.

Plus, both Democratic and Republican state legislatures are making it harder to vote. I would like an explicit right to vote and to have that vote counted. I would like to see the Electoral College replaced with the direct election of the President. I would like the right to vote in national referenda and ballot initiatives. I would like the right to live in a voting district based on community interests, not the color of my skin or the political party to which I belong. Codifying these items (and others) in the Constitution may one day produce fair elections, but until then, too many votes don’t happen and don’t count, and our choices are mostly abysmal.

Our institutions are corrupted. Replacing the players changes nothing without also changing the rules of the game. That means Constitutional amendment, renewal, whatever you want to call it, that actually creates space for real democracy and puts We the People back in charge. No doubt we should vote for the best candidates possible regardless of Party, but simply put, to expect a much better or even different outcome under the rules we’ve got, is an extremely optimistic point of view. (IMO)


You are being critical prior to having something to be critical about. Unfortunately you would misdirect a specific effort involving Google with a nonspecific generalized criticism of capitalism in general etc. Sorry but that is very much like a passive aggressive troll technique. Your reference to corporate personhood in this context is again a misdirection on your part that unfairly criticizes the intent of the group. It isn’t that they disagree with the issue but only that they are not approaching their fight from that direction.

Do you actually have a concrete criticism of them at all or just some nonspecific ‘wariness’ that is seemingly unjust in that you describe a subjective feeling or mood without proof to back it up.

The issue as I read it was about the growth of these mega monopolies that control whole industries (or starting to)! I am glad that someone is attempting to call attention to the fact. However if you have proof that this is all a fraud or something of that sort then show it! Otherwise if you oppose these corporate mega monopolies then maybe you might contribute?


We must take away the power the tech sector has usurped! There is a small group of very wealthy assholes who are of the opinion that they deserve our trust and have the right to do whatever they want. It is likely no accident this group is called F A N G.


There is a democracy movement afoot targeting corporate rule, which has been screaming about corporate consolidation in banking, pharma, communications, and energy for years. I’m suggested they fold into that movement as a campaign, which is what they appear to be, instead of using the word movement, which gives all these other people pretty short shrift. Had they identified themselves properly, then I might not be so suspect of their motives.


You were in the wrong and made yourself a troll for no reason other than your own confusion. You put these people down without cause… like a troll.
Accusations without any evidence is not justice! But then what’s in a name?


So what’s the problem? Defense contractors, Oil and telecom companies now have company at the table?


Unfortunately you would misdirect a specific effort involving Google with a nonspecific generalized criticism of capitalism in general etc.

You made my point. The Civil Rights Movement did not focus on just Rosa Parks and getting her a front seat on a specific bus, it focused on equality for all.

That’s the difference between a campaign and a movement. This effort is too specific to be a movement. It is claiming to be something it is not, and diminishing what movements really are. And I am calling them out on it–not trolling.

From the very beginning I said something about it sticks in my craw. I didn’t like their opening gambit and I said so. You disagree with me, and that’s the way these comments work, but that does not make me a troll.

At this point I could insult you as well. I know better because I’m familiar with your comments and know you heart is in the right place. It’s unfortunate you didn’t extend me the same courtesy.