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What Would It Look Like to Build a Politics That’s Open to People But Closed to Big Money?


#1

What Would It Look Like to Build a Politics That’s Open to People But Closed to Big Money?

Christine Berry

When it comes to Brexit, Labour is caught between a rock and a hard place. With both the party and its electoral base divided, and passions running high on both sides, it simply can’t match the clarity of Theresa May’s pitch for a mandate to push through a hard Brexit. So it alternates between trying to triangulate this impossible position, and trying to refocus debate onto the domestic agenda.


#2

Colonization = Genocide, financial, political, ecological, informational predation and manipulation - are these things just of the past ... or present too?
A friend recently noted something worth repeating: White people are beginning to experience what everyone else has been experiencing all along. The system of capitalist institutions in their schizoid cleverness ('clever' intended here as a withering insult) seems stupider than a sack of hammers and permanently thirstier than a vampire.

Think globally act locally
+ Break up banks
+ Separate community banks from investment banks
+ Reinstate / update / regenerate a solid Glass-Steagall
+ Ban derivatives

The Glass - Steagall Act of 1932] separation of commercial and investment banking prevented securities firms and investment banks from taking deposits, and commercial Federal Reserve member banks from:

  • dealing in non-governmental securities for customers
  • investing in non-investment grade securities for themselves
  • underwriting or distributing non-governmental securities
  • affiliating (or sharing employees) with companies involved in such activities

#3

We, the Peoples of this world 'Must' form a political party that rises above the Right and the Left. It's representatives must be comprised equally of women and men. One's wealth or lack thereof must not qualify or disqualify one's ability to represent 'All' of their constituents. Strict enforcement against the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another must be a top priority of anyone within the party.


#4

We can wait for politicians to get the Big Money and revolving doors out of politics and restore democracy, or we can do something about it.

https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-01-25/direct-democracy-may-be-key-to-a-happier-american-democracy


#5

I urge study of autonomous democracy as understood by Zapatistas and Kurds who traveled to study the subject with Zapatistas.

It is impossible to imagine something new or sustainable in a society that has not even figured out that further growth is an invalid goal. A society that operates requiring more than one Earth for pollution recycling and input resources is on the common and well understood crash trajectory of a species that has grown beyond an environment's ability to provide for it.


#6

"....Politics That's Open to People...." ~~ would look like a ~~ Dem-Green Party! A party built from the same "People" to whom this article refers - "We the People", who oppose any and all oligarchs - the banksters. We the People, who oppose the buying of our representative government - And We the People, whose stomachs are turning in revulsion, at the process unfolding before our eyes - A turning of our family lives and our working lives, into an upside-down, very cruel betrayal of Humankind's moral fabric - looks like to me!

These present day Oval Office occupiers, soon will be forcing us into buying our necessities of life at a much, much higher price - a price that reflects what they have [legally] stolen. By transferring the last of America's Public Treasury into the hands of those who will pay NO inheritance tax, by selling-off America's wild heritage to speculators, and by turning our international borders into walls that forbid freedom of movement for mankind and wildlife - keeps the poor and marginalized of us trapped. I ask. Why? Why spend all this time and energy into imprisonment and control?

So, we America, it's time. It's time for Democracy and Love to outshine the disguised phantom before us, an imposter posing as our friend. The viable green future will mean a "coming together" - a patchwork from the 99%. Included: "Indies", who have been sitting on the sidelines for decades during the farce, called "voting" - Voters who have been virtually sidelined for decades, forced into picking from a "no-choice" ticket of candidates, hand-picked by the banksters - A melding of the Green [Mother Earth] Party to the Dem party whose membership has ejected all of its corporate toadies (with our "coldest regards" - Gil Scott Heron quote).

A Dem-Green party is what IT "Looks Like".


#7

As I see it, the only real solutions need to go further and deeper than this article suggests. We need to develop enforceable and just international laws to protect workers, communities, minorities, and the environment, and to end war.

Wealth tends to accumulate in a few hands, as Thomas Piketty among others has pointed out. But wealth equals power, so power tends to be concentrated also. We live in a new gilded age, and getting more gilded by the minute. We need to find a mechanism/law/custom or whatever to disperse wealth and power and keep it that way (short of war, which has been history's tried and true method).

Obviously a tall order, seemingly unrealizable. But here's a simple first step: Start thinking of yourself as a citizen of the planet first. I, for one, find it freeing, since the US seems pretty f***ed up right now. Somehow, when I look elsewhere, I see many good things I'd like to see the US emulate: forward looking climate policies like Germany's; humane social welfare systems as in the Scandinavian countries; decent health care systems -- in virtually every other 1st world country; Korea's impeachment of a corrupt president; France's rejection of a xenophobic candidate; the progressive changes that have taken place in many parts of Latin America, including the actual or de facto abolition of the death penalty: no one has been executed in any country in the Western Hemisphere since 2003 outside the US.

Our most pressing problems are planet-wide. Our solutions need to be too.


#8

These plans fail to address the flawed system itself, capitalism. Working for slave wages, cycles of boom and bust, increasing income inequality, financial institutions controlling everything, etc. Endless growth in a finite system unlimited fiat dollars, on and on. The system that's destroying Earth and her inhabitants really needs to come to a end with a REAL democracy from the bottom up instead of the hierarchical top down system as is now with a theoretical pseudo democracy, would be a good first step. Then, perhaps, the humans won't go extinct. And since this actually won't happen anytime soon the whole kit and ka-boodle will collapse. Then maybe they'll be enough of a civilization left to rebuild and go forth in peaceful co-existence with Earth and her children.


#9

What would it take?

For a start, it would take a multiple party system. Two parties are not enough to provide citizen voters with a real choice. The two-party system leads naturally to voters having to choose between twiddle-dum and twiddle-dee, often with neither being acceptable. And that is not real democracy.

For a multiple-party system to have a chance of working, we have to get beyond the use of plurality voting. That is a voting system that cannot make a reasonable choice when there are three or more candidates to choose from; trying to make it work involves reducing the choices to just two. Plurality voting is the fundamental driving force behind the two-party system.

But are there better systems? In fact there are a lot of choices. Some of those systems - the balanced voting systems - will naturally lead to participation of many parties so voters have many choices.

Is this not at least something we should be talking about?


#10

If a capitalist saw and seized an opportunity to monopolize the supply of labor, then he would soon restrict the supply of labor in order to increase what he could charge for it. He would soon figure out how much labor to supply so as to maximize his profit. Naturally he would be charging both the workers and the other capitalists for this service. The workers who got work might get more money than they would have if the monopoly had not occurred, and without any doubt the monopolist would make a healthy profit.

Likely, rather than paying the higher rates for labor the other capitalists would seek to export the jobs where possible. Naturally the labor monopoly capitalist would try to bribe and support politicians to make it more difficult to export jobs. What I am saying is that the problem is not caused by immigrants competing for jobs, but rather that the problem is that neither the workers nor the government are intelligently managing the supply of labor in order to keep wages in reasonable and fair balance with the need of capital for workers. If this were done then workers and capital could negotiate for fair rates for the hours of work. A tariff can be added to imports and services that are made cheaply with cheap foreign labor. Because of the level of debt that workers carry it is difficult and potentially extremely costly for them to organize to restrict the supply of labor in order to get better wages at fewer hours so that the work can be fairly shared by all.

Immigration and automation somewhat increase the already aggravated problem of there being a considerable oversupply of workers time available to be sold. In these times immigration is a difficult problem, more so because it contributes to the over supply of labor and adds to the need for housing and supports. Removing social supports for the working class increases the problem. How to adapt society to the steady reduction in the need for workers due to the coming mostly inevitable automation is a political problem that needs to be addressed soon, I shudder at my thoughts of how capital likely plans to address it. Real estate speculation and inflation also increase the problem.

In my opinion the main problem is that the working classes lack sufficient say and participation in the decisions made by governing structures, and because of the lack of almost any influence or control of the media by the working classes it is extremely difficult to work at organizing, educating, and having two way communication publicly discussing issues in depth. I think that "a Politics that's open to people but closed to big money" would be a politics that focused on ending the control of big money on the media and a politics that focused on fairly balancing the supply of labor with the needs of capital. If we can sufficiently break the monopoly control of big money's propaganda so that society can finally discuss the issues that matter to us then probably we will be able to finally solve some of the problems that have not been addressed because we were not able to talk about them over the din and distraction of the propaganda.


#11

Opened to capital, closed to people/labor has been the picture in the US for generations. Notice that little is mentioned in the context of national and international economics and finance as to why immigration is at its present levels. As if the history of international affairs by powerful states and corporations are a mere aside. Human rights articles abound about this topic.

Neoliberalism and the neoliberal actors in the US were a major topic before Trump and the 2016 elections. Unlike some other countries, xenophobic nationalism didn't come to the front pages in the US until the presence of Trump during the primaries and election. He was direct about his racism, sexism, nationalism, and to some ambiguous extent, his anti-neocon views. But once elected he did a 180 degree change on neoliberalism, banks, finance and to some extent, the neocon game. Notice that the right wing, in the US and elsewhere, have very little trouble adjusting their philosophies when it advantages them. This has certainly been an MO of Trump's. Note the link to the Daily Mail piece, with the comment by Tory Philip Davies: 'Labour clearly has no idea about how to negotiate.'

The pro-neoliberal crowd, in the US and elsewhere, are in the upper economic echelons. (surprise, surprise). They are somewhat limited in core social, moral values. The right wing is virtually vacuous in core social, moral values. Therefore, these types make great negotiators. If they find it necessary to commingle with white nationalists, racists, sexists, hate mongers, anti-environmentalists, xenophobes of all types, well, it's just the price of doing business. And it doesn't appear to be much of a price for them.

Yasser Louate, a French activists and researcher, speaking on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now show about the French election, opened with this comment: “The victory of Emmanuel Macron is—you know, tastes very bitter to the French voters, because they were pushed towards the voting booth with the National Front knife under their throat—either fascism or neoliberalism.” In the US, the UK, France and elsewhere, this is an overwhelming testament to the failure of the left. And when I use the term 'left', I'm referring to what is a sane, rational, logical, cooperative and humane mind set. A fundamental understanding of the common good. This represents the center of the distribution curve as shown by polls taken worldwide for years. This is where the views and beliefs for the greatest concentration of the planets human life statistically resides. This is the norm. And that is what I mean by 'left'.

Yet the majority of the populations are not represented in the social machinery of governance. That's the global problem. Not academics playing correspondence chess with exchanges about what's too neoliberal or not. It also demonstrates the old axiom that changes happen from the bottom on up.


#12

Here's a novel idea, LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE. Democrats in the US are divided. We have the 3rd Way which are those more aligned to Wall Street and corporate America and then to the left we have the Progressives, a group that is growing with every election so apparently some are actually paying attention. Trump and the Republicans won in 2016 for multiple reasons, not the least of which was interstate cross check aka the purging of voters they felt were the same person registered to vote in 2 states, never mind that they had different middle names or birthdates, etc., they just purged them....from both states. Add to that all the gerrymandering of districts, voter suppression laws, bad machines or too few, etc., the bad campaign practices of the Democratic Party to follow on the GOP and run negative ads which turn voters off. That works for the GOP but not for the Democrats. We Progressives tend to get too intellectual and lose people along the way whereas the GOP have found that using a fixed phrase or code words works quite well to rally the base. The left need to do that as well and repeat it over and over and over again.


#13

I agree. In the US, we have to get past the $$ parties. The question is how? They won't give up power, and the electorate is deeply wedded to the two-party ideal. If we remain with these two $$ parties and an electorate that does not demand and create a viable third way, the republic will crumble for a 2nd time. As for initiative (as someone else mentioned in the comments) -- that might work at a state level -- but it's not an option at the federal level.


#14

It will not be easy (no change of this magnitude is), but changing the way we vote in the U.S. is probably easier than you might think. The reason is that our Constitution takes voting out of the hands of the federal government. It is a matter for states to decide - so long as the method is not discriminatory.

State politicians tend to be closer to their constituents than those in Washington so if the people want something they are more inclined to respond. But in many states, even the state politicians cannot block change - though they may try. In many states, voter initiatives can place an issue on the ballot for citizens to decide directly.

Maine did exactly this in last November's election. The voters approved a measure to adopt ranked voting in future elections. Unfortunately, this is being challenged as not conforming to Maine's constitution, which requires that ballots be counted locally - something that ranked voting cannot accommodate easily. Ranked voting should be interpreted in this context as IRV and that is a voting system with other problems - discussed in detail at the linked series of articles.


#15

The Democratic Party is irretrievably corrupted by it's own group of billionaire owners, led by radical Zionist Haim Saban, who also owns the Clinton faction of the party, which still controls the national committee. The only solution to them is to abandon the Democratic Party and use the Green Party to permanently bring them down and send them the way of the Whigs. There are already millions of we former disgusted Sanders supporters who have moved to the Greens and make them into the needed party of common working people who want to save the planet. Please come and join us and our quest. #Demexit 2017!


#16

Thank you! If people can see there are options, maybe it will be easier to let go of the attachment to two-party, winner take all. I am happy to have the link you provided and will read more there.


#17

Yet in 2008, as capitalism loomed on the brink of imploding, a duopolistic effort was mounted to throw trillions of dollars of support into propping it up in its current rapacious form.

A candidate who promised change looked to the very culprits responsible for causing the financial meltdown to resurrect the system that should have been allowed to collapse.

Bankers who had brought their companies to ruin still received bonuses. Bad debt was transferred from bank balance sheets to government balance sheets. The Treasury printed lots of money. All while millions of homeowners were foreclosed on so that speculators could grab up real estate at rock bottom prices.

Here's a thought that has occurred to me repeatedly: the best chance to unravel capitalism will happen under complete R-Party control. After they deregulate and Wall St goes full casino, at least there's a chance that the Freedom Caucus will stay true to their belief in creative destruction and let the system fall into ruin, no bailouts.

I know, it's a pipedream...yet seemingly the only hope outside of revolution and/or environmental disaster.

Dang. we're screwed.