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Plutocracy The First Time Around


Plutocracy The First Time Around

Steve Fraser

[The following passages are excerpted and slightly adapted from Fraser's new book, The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power (Little, Brown and Company).]

Part 1: The Great Upheaval


Fascinating to read an implicit ‘second take’ on the ‘first time around’ that is entirely devoid of any mention of the juggernaut of land and humanity usurpation of the preexisting diversity of native peoples. No wonder society in America has a problem recognizing the creepy embedded ‘mission creep’ that constantly re-morphs into new iterations of abuse of the living planet. Also implicit is that the horrors of ‘colonization’, like war, is boxed, wrapped and delivered as inert, and/or dusty, historical past for celebrations on ‘holidays’ and ‘vacations’. Sort of makes one think that holy days are for vacating reality.


Part of our collective problem is that we are re-learning the meager American history we were taught in school–in 30-second sound bites. This is a fascinating time in the history of our country: the populist agrarian movement, labor movement, women’s movement, the expansion of the railroads and industrialization, settlement in the west and further displacement of American Natives, mass immigration, black codes, the growth of poverty and disease, and medical advancement, the mass accumulation of wealth by a few, and the redistribution of wealth through the regulatory system and development of vertical integration. If more Americans understood what was going in the US during this time frame, we would understand where we are now and what we need to do to save ourselves. Every hour spent learning about this history is well worth it.