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Who Represents Us When Our Political Parties Represent Only Corporations?


Who Represents Us When Our Political Parties Represent Only Corporations?

David Korten

We the people of the United States find ourselves in a political crisis and resurgent tribalism that pits left against right, hard-left against moderate-left, and extreme-right against everyone else. The result is a political impasse that leaves us unable to address our own needs domestically and has stripped us of credibility globally.


Will we survive “Trump’s unintended gift to the nation” ?

If Trump was THE problem, rather than being one of many symptoms of the problem, I would say yes.

The combination of Trump and GOP control of Congress, courts, and nearly enough states to enable a constitutional rewrite, combined with an “opposition” party addicted to corporate money has the potential to push us past the point of no return.


All representative democracies are striving to grow their economies faster and faster to infinity on a finite Earth. Could the idea of representative democracy therefor be considered a problem that has served out its use? Maybe the time has come to contemplate autonomous democracy.

No matter what, we have no choice other than to start from where we are, standing on the shoulders of our ancestors, we use our ancestors methods of maintaining material our lives. We are in the age of plastic and the production and free market systems, Modern plastic based capitalism requires a huge one-way flow of single use plastic through private capitalist markets that dispose of the plastic using socialist investment and efforts.

The future is not ours to see. Even so, if we think green and live green individually, we begin to see a way forward. Consider uniting under a green banner and working together to create a path to a healthy future. Avoid the democratic party and become green.


Excellent analysis and commentary from the author!

a short synopsis…

“The interests served by bloated military budgets and endless wars against sometimes wholly imagined enemies are corporations that profit from defense contracts.”

“The misguided corporatist loyalty of the U.S. political establishment did not begin with the Trump presidency. Defense contractors and infant formula corporations are just two examples of the abuse of unaccountable institutional power in which both Republican and Democratic parties have been complicit for decades.”

“The political establishment’s sellout to corporate interests is reflected in every aspect of policy from military, to health care, to financial regulation, to education, the environment and much else.”

“When two corrupt parties control the political system, debating which is the more corrupt simply diverts attention away from addressing the source of the corruption”

"We must all, including the principled wealthy, work to dismantle the institutional instruments of monopoly power while creating truly democratically accountable institutions and markets that advance the equitable redistribution of wealth.

United we stand, divided we fall is a rallying cry for our time. We must do this together." - David Korten


We The People must represent ourselves when those elected will not, and use the rights granted to us under the Constitution, to demand resignations until they are gone.


Very well put! Excellent article.


Will this work? I have been battling with Disquis and finally had to connect with a different browser which I can finally log on with. I had to change my handle so this might fail, or it might continue in the Common Dreams data base

In 2004 an article described the run to the center by the democratic party. Support corporations and ignore other issues. With a few changes, it could read as the latest attempt to hold back the left. Which is to continue to run away from the New Deal.

The “centrists” tell Democrats not to hammer corporations for their misbehavior and not to push for a serious crackdown on corporate excess, for fear the party will be hurt by an “anti-business” image. Yet such a posture, pioneered by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, is mainstream: A 2002 Washington Post poll taken during the height of the corporate accounting scandals found that 88 percent of Americans distrust corporate executives, 90 percent want new corporate regulations/tougher enforcement of existing laws and more than half think the Bush Administration is “not tough enough” in fighting corporate crime.

This time around the scare tactic of killing off the left won’t work. But not sure when Schumer and Pelosi will exit the state

Debunking ‘Centrism’ It’s what corporations want, not the public.


Very strange description of politics in the US. Does Korten not understand that the moderate-left is against the extreme right? The one thing he got correct is that the hard left does oppose the moderate-left and extreme right. But he also fails to appreciate the force of populism in driving politics. The parties don’t actually only represent corporations. Yes, they are certainly influenced by corporations, particularly the Republicans who have traditionally represented big big business, but both parties are heavily influenced by voters. The obvious reason for this is the jobs of politicians depend on getting votes. The hard left is largely based on believing conspiracy theories. The vast majority of Americans do not believe in these conspiracy theories which is why the hard left opposes everyone else.


There comes a time when the interests of the many must supercead the interests of the few .
Creating a society for the highest good of all and making the purpose of the economy to create wealth that is shared .
A Use and Access economy as opposed to one that solely focuses on the profit .The profit survival mentality has got us into this mess and that is just an illusion.


“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.”

― H.G. Wells

I’d submit that it always has been and always will be as long as its based on, calibrated, evaluated and fomented as hierarchy of eat or be eaten.

These seem to be times when the conventional descriptives speak more of what we explicitly are not - an antithetical lexical lesion of sorts - that wreaks havoc with minds, souls, speech and bodies of each and every type, scale, size and interconnectivity.


And speak and LIVE poetry of love and humor.


The parties are only mildly influenced by voters and then only to the extent that they put lipstick on their pigs. For example, the ACA was built to assuage the interests of corporate healthcare and the insurance companies. Single payer wasn’t even allowed on the table for discussion by either party.

While many on the hard right do, in fact, wallow in imagined, fact-free, conspiracy theories, the hard left isn’t expressing that there is a conspiracy, only that the big money corporate political system dictates what the parties do. This is observed behavior, not some abstract conspiracy theory.

We’re still waiting for you and your corporate political cronies to actually propose any real life policies to address the needs of the public. So far, all we have experienced is silence on the policy front with lots of hand wringing about how your triangles line up.


Spot on. This country for decades devolved from a democracy to a corporatocracy. Historically tension has always existed between rule by the people and the aristocracy. Corporate money controls both the Democrat and Republican Parties. A real serious problem is that corporate money also controls the media and minds of the vast majority of the voters. The main stream media is basically corporate garbage. It is going to be interesting to see if sites like this one and others and the internet can enlighten enough corporate poisoned brains to see through the fraud of both parties and create a sane government. Stay tuned. Gopherit


“Very strange description of politics in the US”?? Uninformed, head in the sand propaganda rubbish from you!

BS! Your entire defense of the DP status-quo is rubbish…please inform us the difference in policy focus between the 'hard left" and “moderate left”…also pray-tell, what “conspiracy theories” the
“hard-left is largely based on” and that the "vast majority of Americans do not believe in…you have made claims, now back them up with some evidence or even opinion from non-partisan sources…

Where the bloody hell do you get this stuff??


You’re a joke. Large majorities support the policy positions of the “hard left”. You are on the ideological right. Come to terms with that. People like you have supported policies that have destroyed working people, the poor, the domestic economy, as well as environmental, labor and financial regulations. You are deeply unpopular. You speak for Lrx, and people like you. A small, shrinking, Clintonite bubble, and if you were in any other country, you would be considered right wing, which is what you are. I mean, the right in Canada is well to your left on healthcare. They would never support a system that you and those like you support in Canada, in part because they could never win elections standing for what you stand for on healthcare. If a party in Canada offered to dismantle Medicare and to install something like the ACA, they’d get wiped the hell out.

For kicks though, define “hard left” and explain what positions it takes that doesn’t have strong support among the public.


Here’s a link to Sirota’s prescient 14 year-old piece, “Debunking Centrism” to skip the Nation’s wanting you to sign-up. Thanks for reminding us Don.


Fredrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and the rest of the neoliberals (libertarians who wanted “new economic freedom” from regulations) never bothered to mention that privatizing the government in order to create a market-driven “society” meant the end of the democratic experiment and the beginning of fascism 40 years ago.

The question isn’t whether Trump will serve a 2nd term, but will neoliberalism serve a 12th? Carter was the first administration that began carving away at the middle class by busting unions and decades later, the white collar class is finally feeling the heat. (See great article by Lynn Parramore: America’s White Collar Middle Class Takes a Terrifying Slide Down the Mobility Ladder).

The economy is too important to leave up to the economists and it’s time we learned the basics. There’s a great YT video interview between Prof. Stephanie Kelton and Derrick Crowe that offers a brief, concise understanding.


Please describe a single “conspiracy theory” that you supposedly reference.


All you do here is support corporate rule over the Democratic party. You are nothing but a sycophantic mouthpiece for power. (Or you are an AI bot, playing a sycophantic mouthpiece for power.)


Yes, they do. The Page/Gilens study (among others) demonstrates this empirically.

No, they’re not. The same patrons who DO influence the parties employ a divide-and-conquer messaging strategy via their propaganda arm to keep the voters from their gates.

Like the one that FDR’s New Deal policies benefited much of the working class and provided something of a social safety net? Yeah, that’s a real whopper.
The U.S. doesn’t have a genuine “hard left” of any import.


I have no trouble accepting that our form of government is fascism/corporatism and that the Demopublicans are controlled/manipulated/dominated by corporate money. My question - a sincere one - is how do you break the stranglehold the corporations have on our government and make it actually work for the people, the greatest good for the greatest number? I had/have a lot of trouble accepting “solutions” like Obamacare which was set up by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. People tell me now when they go to a doctor he/she spends over half the time staring at a computer screen to make sure they are fullfiling government requirements. It is a from- top down created mess, not organically grown by doctors and patients. The idea of putting something so important as health care in the hands of a corrupt, corporate-controlled government is simply a nightmare concept. Really - how do you create a healthy government of, by, and for the people and not the money? Gopherit


The only force that can break the Democrat-Republican collusion is the American Voter. To do this a common issue needs to dominate this midterm election.

The most important question this midterm has got to be “do you take special interest money?”. If we could make this a single issue election on the subject of election reform we could regain control of what is supposed to be our republic. Without true election reform our future will be nothing but politics as usual.

Our country’s governance is dysfunctional. The reason for the dysfunction and the cure are staring us directly in the face. The problem is too much money in politics and the cure is to
change Congress. Only we voters can affect the needed change and that is by getting rid of any congressmen or candidate that takes special interest money.

The fundamental problems we have as a community are not being addressed. We have a Congress that simply does not have our best interests at heart in their legislative actions. Our governing system is one of legislation for sale. Only 6 of the 535 members of Congress do not take special interest money. We have had at least four decades of congressional candidates seeking special interest money, for TV ads, and sellings their souls to get it. The end result is 529 legislators doing the bidding of the 1% and the corporate and financial industries, while ignoring the needs and wants of the American People.

In most western democracies the taking of special interest money (also called bribery) by those in or seeking office lands them in jail. Here our Congress, backed by a politicized Supreme Court, has not only made the practise legal but has opened control of our electoral system to essentially unlimited amounts of money. This allows those who exercise their political influence thru our elected officials to control governmental processes in perpetuity. Money buys votes!

As sick, frustrating, and pervasive as the present rigged system is; it has an Achilles heel: That is that our elected representatives must stand for reelection every 2 or 6 years. If we would judge them on whether or not they take special interest money and favor a complete rewrite of election law we would have a Congress with a completely different set of values. This should be the overriding criterion for our votes in this year’s midterm election. It is a simple, straight forward question: “do you take special interest money”?

Reelection rates for Congressional incumbents is historically in the 90+% range despite their historic approval ratings being below 60% and currently around 17%. We voters need to somehow get past this disconnect. Any Congressman or candidate that takes special interest money is simply not worthy of our votes. We need to act accordingly. We need a movement to: CHANGE CONGRESS.

To apply the Emoluments Clause and get an impeachment would require a Congress willing to follow valid Constitutional Law. The present bunch is so bought off and corrupt there is little chance of them practising what is their legal obligation to those who put them in office. We need an electoral revolution.