The time has come to occupy democracy.
I have spent the better part of my adult life trying to unpack the interaction among business, society, law, religion and politics.
Let me tell you a few things I know for certain:
+ Democracy (operating free from the control of any group or faction) is the best way humans can organize society.
+ Free markets (operating free from control of any group or faction) provide the most productive way to organize work.
+ Neither free markets nor democratic government can function when any group dominates.
The concentration of wealth creates a center of power that corrupts both markets and governments by providing an avenue of control.
President Eisenhower was quite correct in his assessment in his famous farewell address warning of the corrosive power of the military-industrial complex.
Since World War II, and especially with the dismantling of progressive tax mechanisms, there has been an ever-increasing concentration of wealth and power.
This loosely affiliated group of capitalists -- note here the difference between free markets and capitalism -- this group of capitalists succeeded in increasing their own wealth exponentially while paying for a nearly permanent war-footing by imposing a huge Federal debt on the American people.
The purpose of capitalism is to produce capital -- stored wealth.
Creating new value is a good thing, if it serves the needs of society.
So we need not throw out what is working.
Freed of bought influence, a democratic republic can function quite well to produce a government of the people, for the people by the people.
Freed of bought influence, markets can function to meet the needs of humanity and to serve human flourishing.
So you see, markets, democracy, government, even taxes are not some evil to be destroyed.
We can have free markets without capitalism.
We can have democracy without capitalism.
We can have freedom without capitalism.
Capitalism is not an economic system.
Markets form an economic system.
Capitalism is an ideology that puts wealth creation above all else and makes an idolatry of wealth.
Being wealthy is neither good nor evil.
The distance from humanity that come with great wealth, the will to power, the drive to win, to control, this toxic brew distorts the minds of those who drink that Kool-aid.
Yet the dead on the beach do not come from that lofty group.
The dead are our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, uncles.
The challenge for this generation is to resist the twin siren songs of greed and anger.
The marketing machine of the 20th century knows quite well how to manipulate the sentiments of ordinary people.
We fear embarrassment, we desire status and we have been led on a debt-driven consumer binge for decades.
This orgy of consumption has distracted us from the inevitable realization that we have been sold the big lie, that we are the soon-to-be-rich.
As we lose homes and futures to a financial machine calibrated to concentrate wealth by setting a minefield of fine print in our daily lives, we still admire the elite that owns Congress and the courts.
The marketing machine that sells us on food that is killing us, is feeding us something much more sinister, political ad by the hundreds fly at us trying to use fear, irrational, unfounded fear to keep us from realizing the we, the American people are the punchline to the old adage, “You can fool some of the people all of the time; you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can never fool all of the people all of the time.” Well, the internet has changed all that.
Democracy is about the communication of ideas.
Hate, lies and distortion need the darkness of ignorance and isolation to breed.
The internet is a memocracy, where good ideas propagate and bad ideas die for lack of care.
Even with paid astroturf, the corporatist message, does not ripple through the collective global consciousness.
The new age of empathy has begun.
And the corporate lackeys, the paid errand boys of the leisure class are running scared.
Neo-conservatives don’t have money, they just want to be liked by the whales that do.
They are going to come at this spreading consciousness with everything they have.
Savage attack ads paid for by billionaires defending their privilege.
And mark my words, if these market-manipulating plutocrats sense for a second that they have lost the war in the public square, they will loose the hounds.
How do you know that the next terrorist attack that makes it through their airtight cordon is really authored by Iran or the Al Qaeda or a manufactured fringe right-wing or left-wing group? I am sad to say that no group that has a monopoly on power willingly lets go.
If the people are wining in a democratic forum, be sure that a plunging stock market or a terrorist attack will blow onto the front pages and the TV news to try to rekindle the fear that has kept us at each other’s’ throats for years.
Don’t buy it.
There is no real enemy out there.
We have met the enemy and he is us.
Or rather the enemy is the corporatist club.
Don’t ever believe that democracy is the threat.
Don’t believe that markets are to blame.
Don’t believe that a democratically elected government is dangerous.
Don’t even take the leap to argue that the creation of wealth is a bad thing.
Capital is the land, the roads, the buildings, the machinery.
These are useful tools for serving human needs.
No, the change that is coming is really so simple.
The screaming threats for human freedom, Fascism and Communism -- these monopolies of power -- have fallen in our lifetime to the combined forces of democracy and market productivity.
There is no revolution coming.
It is so much simpler than that.
The big lie is over.
Corporations are not people.
Money is not speech.
History will look back on this time as the defeat of the third great threat to human freedom.
The simple answer it to take back our government, in our cities, our counties, our states and the nation.
Vote your conscience.
Vote for freedom.
Seek out candidates who are not trading on fear, who are not selling stupid, simple solutions to tough problems.
The time has come for us to put away childish things.
We need to vote like the intelligent adults that we are.
This time in history has brought together a generation capable of asking tough questions and making tough choices.
The time has come to occupy democracy.